NWS Flood Warning now through Friday


Wednesday November 28, 2012

The week after Thanksgiving and we are rushing toward Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanza. Whatever your faith we wish you a happy holiday season. Ira Hays has some suggestions for holiday shopping  Ira’s Shopping Tips and Carol reviews a movie and some books  Carol Says the Peace Page continues discussing Gaza Peace and Gaza and The Fringe endeavors to “piss people off” The Fringe and Babies and we need to prepare for lots of water, falling from the sky. Some preparation tips right here. Get Ready Also Holiday on Main December 1 in Downieville, the Community Children’s Christmas Party in Sierra City on December 15 and then a Stroll Through the Snow Stroll in Sierra City the next day. This weeks picture of the Downie River in Downieville will be compared to next week’s when we see how high this storm makes it rise. Don’t forget to be in Downieville this Saturday for Holiday on Main, visit Santa and see the Pet Parade.

Wednesday November 21,2012

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and all the preparations for the Miss Jody Community Thanksgiving Dinner are under way. Hope to see you there. This week I am so excited because we have a new movie reviewer. Movie Reviews by Carol is clever, funny and informative be sure to check out what she has to say each week. She will be reviewing both new in the theatre and DVD releases. So stay tuned. The usual Gabby, Java, Cooter, Disgruntled Fringe, Jerusha. Two guest articles one on the Peace Page and another about Drones  are well worth reading. We need to think, these make us think. This week’s photo is from Lori Prorok and Don McIntosh’s home overlooking Downieville.

Carol Talks Books 5/8/13

Still Points North: 
One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown-up World, One Long Journey Home
by Leigh Newman
I first read about this book in either AARP or Reader’s Digest.  But don’t let the old peoples magazines keep you from reading it!  This is a very thought provoking book…I am not sure if it is about how parents can completely ruin a child or if it is about her life.  Both, really.  It would be very good to be in a book group to meet and talk about this book, because there is so much to discuss.
It starts out when Leigh is 8 years old, and “suddenly” her parents divorce.  She is confused and frightened, and her parents seem oblivious to this fact.  Her dad is a surgeon in Anchorage, Alaska, and her mom is a social worker living in Baltimore, Maryland.  Leigh visits with her dad mostly during the summer months.  We learn later that her parents have argued vigorously since she was born, so she has learned to paste a smile on her face and never voice her concerns, fears, questions.  When the divorce takes place, neither parent explain anything to her; they do not ask how she feels or really have a meaningful communication with her.  The step-mother is a wonderful woman, but Leigh cannot open her heart to her for many years.  It is her loss, sad to say.
The book covers from age 8 to much later in life.  So the first few chapters are of 8-12ish, then the next chapter she is 26, and so on.  At age 26 (and further) it is still very hard for her to open up and tell people how she is feeling, ask questions of her parents or tell her few friends her thoughts.  However, I must be clear that this is a very intelligent woman and successful in her career.
I did like this book.  It is not a “downer” (but it sure teaches you everything you don’t want to be in a parent).  About 3/4 way through, it starts getting very wordy, and you know how I feel about that.  I think she didn’t want to stop writing, so I skipped through a bit of it.
Granny D
by Doris Haddock
Amazon says:
On February 29, 2000, ninety-year-old Doris “Granny D” Haddock completed her 3,200-mile, fourteen-month walk from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. She walked through 105-degree deserts and blinding blizzards, despite arthritis and emphysema. Along her way, her remarkable speeches — rich with wisdom, love, and political insight — transformed individuals and communities and jump-started a full-blown movement. She became a national heroine.On her journey, Haddock kept a diary — tracking the progress of her walk and recalling events in her life and the insights they have given her. Granny D celebrates an exuberant life of love, activism, and adventure — from writing one-woman feminist plays in the 1930s to stopping nuclear testing near an Eskimo fishing village in 1960 to Haddock’s current crusade.
Carol says:
I am currently reading another book and didn’t finish it in time for a review.  So I looked at my list of favorite books (yes, I keep a list….) and saw “Granny D”.  Which I read years ago and it is very fresh in my mind how much I enjoyed it.  She is just a role model.
When Granny D was 89 years old, she got mad over some political thing, and decided to walk across the United States and tell anyone who would listen about her idea for campaign finance reform.  But that is the reason she decided to go, and the book explains why she felt this way, but mainly it is about her walk and the people she meets.  Sometimes when we are driving along I just wonder:  who lives in that house?  What do they do?  What do they think about?  I really do.  Well, Granny D meets those people that I wonder about.
Her health is not great.  But she just keeps walking along and spreading her word and we learn more about the people living in America.  Ya just feel good reading this book.  Oh, and during her walk, she turns 90.  After writing the books, she was a much desired person to have come speak to audiences.  Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo has an author come once a year to speak in their auditorium – she was one of those authors.
The Great Gatsby
by: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Carol says:
I first read this book about 40 years ago, and all I could remember was there was Gatsby and Daisy.  I could not tell you more than that.  And I also saw the movie – same thing – only to add that the scenery was beautiful.  And I liked both the book and movie, 40 years ago.
So when I saw previews for the new movie with Leo DeCaprio, I had to wonder what I had read (and liked, 40 yrs ago).  And I have to say, I do prefer Robert Redford as Gatsby.  Just threw that in….
The story is narrated by Nick.  He has moved in next door to the Gatsby mansion, hears the partys going on, wonders who Gatsby is, and he is intrigued.  He does meet Gatsby; Gatsby wants to meet Nicks cousin, Daisy, and so Nick sets it up.  Little did he know that Gatsby had met Daisy 5 years ago and Gatsby is still in love with her.  Daisy is married to Tom, who cheats on her.  And so it goes from there, and to tell you more is to just give the story away.
I found the writing is very discriptive and it is obvious why it has lasted through the years.  However, I found that I didn’t really like any of the people in this book.  Did I like the people 40 years ago, or did just recognize a good book when I read one?  I had to keep reading out to find out what happened and, at the end, find out “who did it”.  So I guess the bottom line is, I don’t like the people in the book, but there was something about it that kept me reading it.
Amazon says:
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.
Unsinkable:  A Memoir
by Debbie Reynolds
Carol says:
While driving on I-5, listening to NPR, I heard Debbie Reynolds being interviewed about her new book.  Well, we all grew up with Debbie, and I was curious.  After reading the book and knowing I needed to review it, I just found it a hard job.  There are so many aspects of this book, and I will try to break it down for you.
This book is her 2nd book published, and it picks up after the Eddie/Elizabeth situation.  While she does refer to it in this book, and goes into it a little, but it is not a main point.  She talks about her career, husbands, actors, and her children.  It is very clear how much she loves her children and her career.
Debbie is a happy teenager and her life is very happy until mid-marriage to Eddie.  Then all of that happened.  After their divorce she meets Harry Karl.  As many of you already know, he spent all of her money, and then some, and sent them into bankruptcy.   She worked hard to pay off the millions that he lost for them.  Now you will see this:  TMI, throuhout this review.  Too Much Information!  No!  I did not need to read about their sex life!  Why did she think I wanted to?
After she pays off all the debts that Harry incurred, she marries another guy, and I forget his name and do not really want to remember it.  He is a con man, and on top of that spends all of her money and is such a horrible person.  During this marriage, they buy a hotel in Vegas, try to rebuild it and run it.  Neither of them know the first thing about construction or running a business.  They get into terrible debt, he is cheating on her, and they divorce.  Not a simple divorce.  It wears you out.  But she goes back to work, pays off all of the millions in debt, and swears to never marry again.
Then she decides to build a museum to show all of the Hollywood memoribilia she has collected – worth millions.  But again, she knows nothing about construction, and other outside factors cause problems, and the museum is not built and again she is millions in debt.  She has to sell her collection to pay off the debt.
In the book she talks about other actors – TMI.  I don’t need to know about their body parts or sex live.  But on the other hand, there were some interesting stories about them (just snippits) and about work during various films she made.  It felt like sometimes she was just looking for something to say about the film making.
Throughout the book she describes herself as happy and when things turn out terrible, that she just starts back working again and going forward and things will be great.  I don’t know if that is how she truly is, or trying to convince us or helself.  But the thing is, you can tell she is a positive person with unbelievable work ethics, and you cannot help but love her.  At the end of the book I was worn out, had respect for her work ethics, doing what was right by paying off all the debts, knew that she loved her family, friends and work.  She has been through so much and came out on top.  And I do think that she is a positive person and very spunky.

Unsinkable is the definitive memoir by film legend and Hollywood icon Debbie Reynolds.

Actress, comedienne, singer, and dancer Debbie Reynolds shares the highs and lows of her life as an actress during Hollywood’s Golden Age, anecdotes about her lifelong friendship with Elizabeth Taylor and her experiences as the foremost collector of Hollywood memorabilia, and intimate details of her marriages and family life with her children, Carrie and Todd Fisher.

A story of heartbreak, hope, and survival, “America’s Sweetheart” Debbie Reynolds picks up where she left off in her first memoir, Debbie: My Life.

Unsinkable is illustrated with previously unpublished photos from Reynolds’s personal collection.

The Storyteller
by Jodi Picoult
Carol says:
I have read only a few of her other books and liked them – also knew at the end there was usually a twist at the end, too.  She did not disappoint!
What a book.  Well, this is a book of romance, guilt, suspense, and horror.  The story is told by Sage, Leo, Josef, and Minke – what they have gone through emotionally, how they have coped, the horror Menke lived through with the holocaust as a prisoner in Auschwitz (and elsewhere), and Josef as a Nazi working at Auschwitz.  Be warned – the parts as a prisoner is very descriptive and emotional.
Sage, who happens to be Jewish but does not practice her religion, is about 25 when she meet a man, who is in his 90’s, at the bakery where she works.  The man (Josef) confides with her that he was 2nd in command at Auschwitz.  He wants her to help him kill himself due to his guilt.  Sage contacts the FBI, the division where they proscute war criminals, about  Josef.  The person she ends up working with is Leo (and he has a great mom).  Sage’s grandmother, Minke,  was a prisoner at Auschwitz.
The story begins with Sage and deals with her emotions about her mom’s death, the scar on her face, and the married boyfriend she is involved with.  Josef has guilt about the war, and wants to beforgiven by a person of the Jewish faith.  She meets Leo from the FBI from who we learn more about prosecuting war criminals.  And then we meet Minke and learn of her life before the war, and then during the war as a prisoner.  And that is all I should tell you.
I could not put this book down.  For many reasons.
Amazon says:

Book Description

Release date: February 26, 2013
Some stories live forever . . .Sage Singer is a baker. She works through the night, preparing the day’s breads and pastries, trying to escape a reality of loneliness, bad memories, and the shadow of her mother’s death. When Josef Weber, an elderly man in Sage’s grief support group, begins stopping by the bakery, they strike up an unlikely friendship. Despite their differences, they see in each other the hidden scars that others can’t, and they become companions.Everything changes on the day that Josef confesses a long-buried and shameful secret—one that nobody else in town would ever suspect—and asks Sage for an extraordinary favor. If she says yes, she faces not only moral repercussions, but potentially legal ones as well. With her own identity suddenly challenged, and the integrity of the closest friend she’s ever had clouded, Sage begins to question the assumptions and expectations she’s made about her life and her family. When does a moral choice become a moral imperative? And where does one draw the line between punishment and justice, forgiveness and mercy?In this searingly honest novel, Jodi Picoult gracefully explores the lengths we will go in order to protect our families and to keep the past from dictating the future.
After Visiting Friends: A Son’s Story
by Mike Hainey
Carol Says:
This is a true story and it is good.  The writer is a professional journalist, and a good writer.  The sentences are short, to the point, and you get the whole picture of what he is conveying in a short sentence.  Well, about half way through the book he carries on a little more, but you know me – I skipped that part.  During the parts I skipped (partically skipped so I could explain it to you what I skipped), it is his imagination on what might of happened – I just wanted to read what really happened.  But really, he is such a good writer.
When Mike (the author) was 6 his dad died; his brother, Chris, was 9. The boys, and his mother, were told that his dad died of a heart attack and was found by his car.  He had been at a friends house and on his way home.  But Mike said the story just never rang true to him.  He describes his mother and you just cannot help but like her.  She uses these hand gestures I can just imagine – she  would flip her hand around when making a statement, and when she was done talking about a subject, she would slice her hand through the air.  End of subject.  I like that.  I have tried it out a few times to see how it feels.  Anyway –   So this is what it is about- when Mike is about 35 years old, he starts researching how his dad died and where he really was.    And it is interesting how he researched his dad’s death 30 years after his dad died.  It took him on a road of meeting the people his dad had worked with (his dad had worked at a newspaper), high school friends, a police report, coroner’s report………. and I don’t want to give away where he found the actual information (I don’t want to spoil this part by giving you that information).
His dad’s journalist friends have this “brotherhood code of silence” so they would not tell Mike the truth. Well, one of them did and then the doors opened up.  Mike talks about when he was a kid and the TV shows they watched, which brought back memories even though I am older than he is – but there were reminders there.
And the other big delima – what to tell his mom.   The truth?  Let the lie continue?  After reading this book I had so much fun talking with friends, laying out the scenario, asking if they would tell their mom or not.
Amazon says:

 Released February 19, 2013
A decade in the writing, the haunting story of a son’s quest to understand the mystery of his father’s death—a universal memoir about the secrets families keep and the role they play in making us who we are.Michael Hainey had just turned six when his uncle knocked on his family’s back door one morning with the tragic news: Bob Hainey, Michael’s father, was found alone near his car on Chicago’s North Side, dead, of an apparent heart attack. Thirty-five years old, a young assistant copy desk chief at the Chicago Sun-Times, Bob was a bright and shining star in the competitive, hard-living world of newspapers, one that involved booze-soaked nights that bled into dawn. And then suddenly he was gone, leaving behind a young widow, two sons, a fractured family—and questions surrounding the mysterious nature of his death that would obsess Michael throughout adolescence and long into adulthood. Finally, roughly his father’s age when he died, and a seasoned reporter himself, Michael set out to learn what happened that night. Died “after visiting friends,” the obituaries said. But the details beyond that were inconsistent. What friends? Where? At the heart of his quest is Michael’s all-too-silent, opaque mother, a woman of great courage and tenacity—and a steely determination not to look back. Prodding and cajoling his relatives, and working through a network of his father’s buddies who abide by an honor code of silence and secrecy, Michael sees beyond the long-held myths and ultimately reconciles the father he’d imagined with the one he comes to know—and in the journey discovers new truths about his mother.A stirring portrait of a family and its legacy of secrets, After Visiting Friends is the story of a son who goes in search of the truth and finds not only his father, but a rare window into a world of men and newspapers and fierce loyalties that no longer exists.##############
The Guestbook
by Andrea Hurst
Amazon says:
Fleeing her picture-perfect life among the privileged set and the wreckage of a failed marriage, Lily Parkins moves to the only place that still holds happy memories: her grandmother’s farmhouse, now a converted B&B on the enchanting Madrona Island. After learning her grandmother has passed away, Lily is left with only an old guestbook as her guide—a curious book full of letters, recipes, and glimpses into her family history. She is determined to embrace her newfound independence and recreate herself, one page at a time. With the help of quirky island residents, she finds the strength to follow her passion and culinary dreams. But as soon as she has sworn off men and is standing on her own two feet, Lily meets Ian, the alluring artist who lives next door, and her new life is suddenly thrown off course. The last thing she wants to do right now is fall in love. Ultimately, Lily must decide if it’s worth giving up her soul for security or risk everything to follow her heart.
Carol says:
The author does a fine job of describing scenery – I can just picture it all in my mind.  And the story is fine.  You know what is going to happen before it does – but no matter, it was a light read.  I enjoyed it.  The characters are likeable and it is an easy read.   So if you want a light read and like the characters, I think you would enjoy this book.
A Week In Winter by Maeve Benchy
Amazon says:

Stoneybridge is a small town on the west coast of Ireland where all the families know one another. When Chicky Starr decides to take an old, decaying mansion set high on the cliffs overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea, everyone thinks she is crazy. Helped by Rigger (a bad boy turned good who is handy around the house) and Orla, her niece (a whiz at business), Chicky is finally ready to welcome the first guests to Stone House’s big warm kitchen, log fires, and understated elegant bedrooms. John, the American movie star, thinks he has arrived incognito; Winnie and Lillian are forced into taking a holiday together; Nicola and Henry, husband and wife, have been shaken by seeing too much death practicing medicine; Anders hates his father’s business, but has a real talent for music; Miss Nell Howe, a retired schoolteacher, criticizes everything and leaves a day early, much to everyone’s relief; the Walls are disappointed to have won this second-prize holiday in a contest where first prize was Paris; and Freda, the librarian, is afraid of her own psychic visions.

Sharing a week with this unlikely cast of characters is pure joy, full of Maeve’s trademark warmth and humor. Once again, she embraces us with her grand storytelling.

Carol says:

This book is written very simply.  The sentences are simple and everyone in the book lives happily ever after (except for one).

It is about Chicky who lives in Ireland, and at the age of 18 (or so) she meets a man and follows him to America.  Then very quickly in the story he is gone and she is 40 and moves back to Ireland to open a B&B.  About each chapter is dedicated to a character in the book – first the employees then the people who come to visit the B&B in the very first week it opens.  After reading the book I thought about each character, and even though it is a simple book, each person has gone through a life experience of someone we know.  So that part was a little more realistic.  But the book is simply written and if you are looking for light reading, this would be fine.

My Beloved World
by:  Sonia Sotomayor  (Supreme Court Judge)
The first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor has become an instant American icon. Now, with a candor and intimacy never undertaken by a sitting Justice, she recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a journey that offers an inspiring testament to her own extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself.Here is the story of a precarious childhood, with an alcoholic father (who would die when she was nine) and a devoted but overburdened mother, and of the refuge a little girl took from the turmoil at home with her passionately spirited paternal grandmother. But it was when she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes that the precocious Sonia recognized she must ultimately depend on herself.
Carol says
I enjoyed this book.  When I saw her approved as a Justice on the Supreme Court, I knew she had worked hard for this position and just assumed that her childhood had been nice, and that all had been well.  You just never know the path that someone has travelled, do you.
Sonia’s family had been very poor and lived pay check to pay check.  She had racial slurs made towards her; nuns at the school who were physically abusive (hitting a studet when the did something “wrong”), walking around street gangs so as not to have them in her path.   Her mom had moved from Puerto Rico, married Sonia’s dad, and for awhile they were happy.  Sonia’s dad was an alocoholic and her parents verbally fought a lot.  Now here are some other things I found interesting:  Sonia knew the streets well around her life, but outside of those streets it was a world she was not introduced to.  Through the book you follow her as she sees things that most of us were aware of.   Attending Princeton was a whole world opening up to her.
Sonia’s family was very loving and supportive.  It is so interesting to read that when she didn’t understand something, she would go to books and learn.  Or how she would think things through and intellectually figure them out.  She cares deeply about people and their feelings.
We follow her from childhood to when she becomes a judge.  That is a good place to end the book and of course she explains why it must be ended at that point.   There are many interesting aspects in this book about her, family relationships, her thought process, and of course more…..  If you like learning about people then I think you will like this book.
Left Neglected -Lisa Genova
Amazon says:
Sarah Nickerson, like any other working mom, is busy trying to have it all. One morning while racing to work and distracted by her cell phone, she looks away from the road for one second too long. In that blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her over-scheduled life come to a screeching halt. After a brain injury steals her awareness of everything on her left side, Sarah must retrain her mind to perceive the world as a whole. In so doing, she also learns how to pay attention to the people and parts of her life that matter most.In this powerful and poignant New York Times bestseller, Lisa Genova explores what can happen when we are forced to change our perception of everything around us. Left Neglected is an unforgettable story about finding abundance in the most difficult of circumstances, learning to pay attention to the details, and nourishing what truly matters.Carol says:From now on, before reading her books I am going to read the back part of the book: “A Conversation with Lisa Genova”.   I learn so much from that part – the amount of research done before writing (3-4 months), who she talked with – patients, spouses, neurologists, nurses, rehab specialists, etc, etc.  And the NEHSA (you have to read the book to find out what that stands for).This book is about a woman who is married, has a stressful job, 3 children, and then in a car accident.  She wakes up and has Left Neglect, which most of us have not heard of (unless you read my previous review by an author who is a Professor of Neurology).  Left Neglect, also known as Unilateral something (I forgot to write down the word) or Spatial neglect, is when the right hemisphere of the brain is injured and you do not even know there is a left side.  No left arm, left leg, etc.  There is just no left.  When drawing a picture, you only draw the right side of what you see.  That is a brief description.  The book has fictional characters but the information and recovery of a left neglect patient is based on information provided by those interviewed, so in my mind, that is non-fiction.So she is in this accident and this is about her recovery (thank goodness she has a sense of humor), her relationship with her mother, and ofcourse the support she receives from her total family.  Sarah, who has left neglect, works too hard, loves her family, and has a positive attitude.  I really enjoyed the children in this book.  They all have different personalities and one can identify with things the children are going through in school and just around the house.  They are happy children.The relationship between Sarah and her mother is just so interesting.  It is strained with unresolved anger from Sarah, and a mother needing foregiveness from Sarah.  and that is a whole other story.  So there are stories within the whole story, which I liked.################
Walking the Gobi
by Helen Thayer
Amazon says:
Walking the Gobi takes readers on a trip through a little-known landscape and introduces them to the culture of the nomadic people whose ancestors have eked out an existence in the Gobi for thousands of years. Thayer’s respect and admiration for the culture of the Gobi and her gentle insights on the desert’s natural history shine throughout this remarkable story. The author proves that Baby Boomers don’t have to take life lying down–their adventures have just begun.
Carol Says:
Well, I think Amazon could have given more life to their description.  While the title and idea of the book may make you wonder “how could that be interesting?”, it was!  After reading “Wild”, I was inspired to read another walking book.  Helen, as a young child, had always wanted to walk across deserts (why, I didn’t know, until I read this book).  And she has accomplished just that.
This book is about her and her husband’s walk across the Gobi Desert in Mongolia.  She talks a  about how they trained, got there, rented camels, and off they went.  She mentions a few medical problems but does not whine about it throughout the book (as did another author which drove me nuts, but that was a good book).  Throughout the book we learn of Mongolian customs and hospitality.  In Mongolia, one never knocks at a “door” – you just walk in.  While it felt odd to Helen and her husband, it was the only proper thing to do. They took care in not crossing over the China border.  She also talks about the people they meet, what their life is like, the food they eat, and of course much more.
Helen’s writing just draws you into her life while walking the Gobi Desert – what she sees, the people they meet, her descriptions are lovely and you can just picture it in your mind (which I thought was better than me walking the Gobi myself).  I enjoyed the personalities of the camels and it was fun & interesting to learn more about them.  I never skipped a page in this book!
Did I mention this was a 1,600 mile walk?

And here is a bonus review:

The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of The Window and Disappeared
by Jonas Jonasson
This was a silly but entertaining book.  It is about a man who “escapes” from an old folks home at age 100 and all that happens after that.  The book goes back and forth from when he was a child to current day.  I have to say, I looked forward to seeing what had happend/what’s going to happens and the whole time realizing how the story was preposterous.  But fun.
Now I don’t really want to tell you the story, because this plot just turns and twists and you never know how they are going to work things out.  So you just have to read this and go with the flow.
The story of his younger years are entwined with historical events and political figures.  There is crime/mystery, humor, and a whole assortment.  So if you want some light, entertaining reading, you just might like this.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat
by Oliver Sacks
Amazon says:
In his most extraordinary book, “one of the great clinical writers of the 20th century” (The New York Times)recounts the case histories of patients lost in the bizarre, apparently inescapable world of neurological disorders. Oliver Sacks’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat tells the stories of individuals afflicted with fantastic perceptual and intellectual aberrations: patients who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts; who are no longer able to recognize people and common objects; who are stricken with violent tics and grimaces or who shout involuntary obscenities; whose limbs have become alien; who have been dismissed as retarded yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents.If inconceivably strange, these brilliant tales remain, in Dr. Sacks’s splendid and sympathetic telling, deeply human. They are studies of life struggling against incredible adversity, and they enable us to enter the world of the neurologically impaired, to imagine with our hearts what it must be to live and feel as they do. A great healer, Sacks never loses sight of medicine’s ultimate responsibility: “the suffering, afflicted, fighting human subject.”
Carol says:
When I read Penny Marshall’s book, she mentioned the movie “Awakenings” and a little about the doctor/professor who wrote the book.  Since I liked the movie, I thought I would read the book.  But I couldn’t find it on my Kindle.  So I read – kinda – his other book “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and other clinical tales” by Dr. Oliver Sacks.
Each chapter in this book is a case study on various neurological problems.  For instance, one was about a professor who does not recognize faces.  Also, if handed a pair of gloves, he cannot figure out what they are or what they are used for.  Another patient was 49 years old, but can only remember things (in detail) until he was about 20 (in 1945).  He was in WWII, in the service when he was 20 yrs old, continued in the service for years after that but doesn’t recall those years or anything after about age 20.  He cannot remember what happened 1 minute ago, nor meeting you one minute ago.  It is full of stories like these.
So here is the rest of the story – there are big words in this book and lots of clinical stuff.  I skipped the first 2 chapters and read the patient case stories.  And skipped through some of those.  But if you are inclined to learn more about what the mind can do (or not do), this is an interesting book.
Married to a Bedouin 
by Marguerite van Geldermalsen
Amazon says:
Publication Date: April 1, 2010
New Zealand born nurse Marguerite van Geldermalsen first visited the lost city Petra with her friend Elizabeth in 1978 on a sightseeing tour of the ancient world. Already looking forward to her beach holiday at the end of the trip, little did Maguerite know she was about to meet the man she would marry, the charismatic Mohammad Abdallah Othman, a Bedouin craftsman of the Manajah tribe. A life with Mohammad meant moving into his ancient cave and learning to love the regular tasks of baking shrak bread on an open fire and collecting water from the spring. But as Marguerite feels herself becoming part of the Bedouin community, she is thankful for the twist in fate that has led her to this contented life. Marguerite’s light-hearted and guileless observations of the people she comes to love are as heart-warming as they are valuable, charting Bedouin traditions now lost to the modern world.
Carol says:
I was talking with my friend Naydene and she was telling me that she went to Israel to participate in a Dragon Boat race.  Her whole team was going – competing against teams from all over the world.  On her agenda was visiting Petra, Jordan.  She showed me pictures of Petra….I had no idea what it looked like and how beautiful it is.  Naydene told me about a book she read – a real story – of a gal from New Zealand  traveling and she  goes to Petra, meets a Bedouin, leaves and comes back a few weeks later and marries him after knowing him for just a very, very short time.  This is in 1978.
Before you read this book, I suggest that you look at photos of Petra so when you read this, you can invison this better.  Here is one website of photos:
Marguerite does not know the customs and learns them as it comes.  She really doesn’t know him that well (how well can you know someone in such a short time?)  But it works out perfectly.  She describes a Bedouin wedding (I really want to attend one!) and everyday life in Petra.  To me, it is all hard – to her, it is all just fine and exciting. I love reading about everyday life (I don’t want to tell you because then it will ruin the surprise for you).  She lives in a cave, no toilet in the cave, no running water, no stove.  And there are scorpians that get into the cave.  She loves it (not the scorpians).
The author talkes about excursions she takes around her town.  She also gives little stories (little chapters) of something that happened, and in these stories we learn about day to day living, traditions, beliefs, and just life in Petra. She has great subtle humor in some of her thoughts.   At the end of the book, everyone has to move out of their caves and into new housing provided by the government.  In a sense one way of life has changed into a new way of life.  But she is OK with that.
So the books goes on about her life there.  I really liked this book.  If you ever wanted to travel, have traveled, or want to learn about other cultures, you will love this book.  And I wonder – how many of us wonder if we could have/would have been able to live the life she chose?   (Thank you Naydene!)
My Mother Was Nuts
by Penny Marshall
Most people know Penny Marshall as the director of Big and A League of Their Own. What they don’t know is her trailblazing career was a happy accident. In this funny and intimate memoir, Penny takes us from the stage of The Jackie Gleason Show in 1955 to Hollywood’s star-studded sets, offering up some hilarious detours along the way.My Mother Was Nuts is an intimate backstage pass to Penny’s personal life, her breakout role on The Odd Couple, her exploits with Cindy Williams and John Belushi, and her travels across Europe with Art Garfunkel on the back of a motorcycle. We see Penny get married. And divorced. And married again (the second time to Rob Reiner). We meet a young Carrie Fisher, whose close friendship with Penny has spanned decades. And we see Penny at work with Tom Hanks, Mark Wahlberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert De Niro, and Whitney Houston.Throughout it all, from her childhood spent tap dancing in the Bronx, to her rise as the star of Laverne & Shirley, Penny lived by simple rules: “try hard, help your friends, don’t get too crazy, and have fun.” With humor and heart, My Mother Was Nuts reveals there’s no one else quite like Penny Marshall.
Carol Says:
Yep, her mom was nuts!  Or maybe, just bizarre.  She was something.  The stunts she pulled just made me laugh, but really, it was not funny and would not want her as my mom.  Penny is very honest about the emotions she went through, and learned that humor is the best route to take.   But the book also goes mostly about Penny’s life.  She is just so open and honest, you gotta love her.
Penny writes about her life – growing up, getting pregnant and married, divorced, working on “Laverne and Shirley”, the crazy life she led, marriage, drugs (wow, she is really honest about this aspect of her life), etc.  Things that are personal and she just opens her life up to us.  She also writes about being a director, the people she worked with on movies and people she knew socially.  Penny explained some decisions she made as a director, and I learned a little something here.   She is just who she is, and not phony.  She has good philosophy on how people should treat each other.  She is very down to earth.
I enjoyed this book very much.  I liked reading about her childhood, and really, just everything.  It is a fun and interesting read.
The Round House 
Amazon says:

National Book Award Winner

One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe’s life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared.

While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. And this is only the beginning.

Written with undeniable urgency, and illuminating the harsh realities of contemporary life in a community where Ojibwe and white live uneasily together, The Round House is a brilliant and entertaining novel, a masterpiece of literary fiction. Louise Erdrich embraces tragedy, the comic, a spirit world very much present in the lives of her all-too-human characters, and a tale of injustice that is, unfortunately, an authentic reflection of what happens in our own world today.

Carol says:
This book goes indepth in many different areas.  It starts with a 12 yr old boy who is turning 13 next week, and so most of the book is while he is age 13.  The first few pages he is in a happy, loving family.  Then his mother is beaten up and raped, and that is the core of the story.   The book works around that main event, how the family is emotionally scared by the rape; how they cope; but also just life itself from day to day.
But then the story goes on about Joe, the 13 yr old, on his day to day adventures with is friends, and just kid stuff.  How he is dealing with the rape of his mother, but also just out doing what boys do and have a good time.  And then he goes home and dealing with the changes in his mother and father.
They live on an Indian Reservation and so we learn about life on the reservation.  We also learn the lore of the Indians and their way of life.  It talks about how they have been treated by the government and had to fight so much for what they do have.
Now this book may sound very sad, and of course it is.  But it is not one of those “dark” books.  There is a lot going on in this book and it is very interesting.  There are just a lot of level to this book.  Oh, the book is written where Joe is now an adult telling his story of when he was a child.  So most of the time it is from a 13 yr old point of view, with the older Joe making a note here and there.
Here is the thing:  I skipped through some parts.  Found some parts hard to believe.  So I am just saying I read the book, and liked many parts of it.  And of course some people will like the whole book and, others not.  There are books I loved more than this, and yet I did like parts of this book.
How to Be Black by Baratunde Thurston
Amazon book description:

  • Have you ever been called “too black” or “not black enough”?
  • Have you ever befriended or worked with a black person?
  • Have you ever heard of black people?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, this book is for you. Raised by a pro-black, Pan-Afrikan single mother during the crack years of 1980s Washington, DC, and educated at Sidwell Friends School and Harvard University, Baratunde Thurston has more than over thirty years’ experience being black. Now, through stories of his politically inspired Nigerian name, the heroics of his hippie mother, the murder of his drug-abusing father, and other revelatory black details, he shares with readers of all colors his wisdom and expertise in how to be black. Beyond memoir, this guidebook offers practical advice on everything from “How to Be the Black Friend” to “How to Be the (Next) Black President” to “How to Celebrate Black History Month.”

Carol Says:

I was driving down Hwy 49 listening to NPR, when I heard this interview with Baratunde Thurston.  He wrote a book on “How to be Black”.
Because I want to learn more and be smarter, the book peaked my interest.  He was interesting to listen to, and gave out questions and answers people want to know about being black, and too shy to ask.  I had to read the book to learn more about this man.
First of all, this is one smart man – went to Harvard, accomplished, and has a mom that any kid would love to have (as opposed to the book I am currently reading).  She is a role model!  He is also a stand up comedian, and humor is the avenue he takes in this book on educating people (great messages in the book) about life as an African American.
My favorite parts were the questions and answers from his panel; when he talked about his life as a kid; his family (when he was a child); his life in all aspects of schooling; and just the information I received from the book.
He uses a lot of humor, and I think he could have saved some of that humor for the next book.  But like I said, he went to Harvard, I didn’t, so, what do I know.  But I do know it was interesting reading.  He points out that non-blacks think all blacks can dance well and voted for Obama.  But those were just the light messages – there were some messages/information that I  really “listened to” and stopped reading and thought about.
Why did I read this book?  I want to learn more about African American culture, and actually, any other culture.  What people think, feel, have been through.   How does that sound?  I think it sounds good.



“The Queen of Katwe” by Tim Crothers

 Amazon says:

Release Date: October 9, 2012
Based on a popular ESPN magazine article selected by Dave Eggers for The Best American Nonrequired Reading and a finalist for a National Magazine Award, the inspiring true story of Phiona Mutesi, a teenage chess prodigy from the slums of Kampala, Uganda.

Carol says:

I don’t know where to start with this.  So before I get into it, let me just say, read this book.

The description makes you think the whole book is about Phiona.  But it isn’t.  She is a “thread” in the first half, and finally, a little after the second half, she really comes into the book.  A few people I talked with said they picked up the book and thought it was all about Phiona, and it was confusing when she was hardly in the first half of the book.  But they just rolled with it and appreciated what was being read.

But you have to read the first half to really fully appreciate the second half.  Now let me say here, the word “incredible” is often overused.  I have a friend and everything is “incredible” to him.  So when he says something is incredible, then I know it was just really good.

If you want to learn what incredible really means, read about the people in this book.  They live in incredibly horrible conditions,  and they are incredible people due to the drive they have in their character, and what they achieve.  The hope and courage these people have is uplifting.

Be sure to read the acknowledgments.

1/2/13 Books by Bob Tarte
Bob Tarte has written 3 books and I have read two of them – so far.  If you like cats, birds, rabbits, ducks, geese, turkeys, and most likely something else I have forgotten about, then you will like these books.  They are a delight.
Bob and Linda Tarte live in Michigan on a bunch of land.  Little by little, they seem to have acquired about 54 pets.  Yep.  About 54 pets.  The ones I mentioned in the first paragraph.  Bob writes about how they accumulated them and his description of each animal is just a kick.  You can picture the animal and learn each of their behavior which is entertaining.  And, they are not docile.
Bob is very witty, which kept me laughing a bit.  And self-depreciating.  And honest about his phobias and fears.  And when he writes about his phobias and fears, you know it is quite a concern for him, but he writes about it where you just kind of chuckle about it.
Anyway, mainly it is about the animals, how he got them, their personalities, stories about them.  How the animals run them, not the other way around.  I had to think about how much work and time goes into 54 animals in one day, and the cost of the food?   Really, I did sit there and give it some thought and realized that I would not want to devote so much time and effort.  And think about this – Michigan?  Going outside in that freezing cold during the winter to take care of them, every day, several times a day.  They are devoted.
Bob also corresponds with people who have pets and need advice on the behavior or illness that a pet may have.  He doesn’t try to cure the pet, but I guess these pets get diseases, behaviors, etc, that it helps to talk with each other about.
I have read:  “Enslaved by Ducks”; “Kitty Cornered:  How Frannie and Five Other Incorrigiable Cats Seized Control of Our House and Made It Their Home”.  I am now going to read “Foul Weather”.
“Fowl Weather” UPDATE
I didn’t finish this book.  Very different from the others and am disappointed.  So I would suggest you read the other two books first, and while I don’t care for this book, maybe you will.
Amazon on “Kitty Cornered”
Bob Tarte had his first encounter with a cat when he was two and a half years old. He should have learned his lesson then, from Fluffy. But as he says, “I listened to my heart instead, and that always leads to trouble.” In this tell-all of how the Tarte household grew from one recalcitrant cat to six—including a hard-to-manage stray named Frannie—Tarte confesses to allowing these interlopers to shape his and his wife’s life, from their dining habits to their sleeping arrangements to the placement and furriness of their furniture. But more than that, Bob begins seeing Frannie and the other cats as unlikely instructors in the art of achieving contentment, even in the face of illness and injury. Bewitched by the unknowable nature of domesticated cats, he realizes that sometimes wildness and mystery are exactly what he needs.Amason on “Enslaved by Ducks”
The book that Entertainment Weekly called “hilarious,” Publishers Weekly declared “a true pleasure,” Booklistcalled “heartwarming,” and the Dallas Morning News praised as “rich and funny” is now available in paperback.When Bob Tarte bought a house in rural Michigan, he was counting on a tranquil haven. Then Bob married Linda. She wanted a rabbit, which seemed innocuous enough until the bunny chewed through their electrical wiring. And that was just the beginning. Before long, Bob found himself constructing cages, buying feed, clearing duck waste, and spoon-feeding a menagerie of furry and feathery residents. His life of quiet serenity vanished, and he unwittingly became a servant to a relentlessly demanding family. “They dumbfounded him, controlled and teased him, took their share of his flesh, stole his heart” (Kirkus Reviews).Amazon on “Foul Weather”
In Bob Tarte’s home, pandemonium is the order of the day, and animals literally rule the roost—thirty-nine of them at last count. Whether it’s the knot-tying African grey parrot, or the overweight cat who’s trained Bob to hold her water bowl just above the floor, or the nightmarish duck who challenges him to a shoving match, this menagerie, along with his endlessly optimistic wife, Linda, provides daily lessons on the chaos inherent in our lives. But not until this modern-day Noah’s Ark hits stormy weather—and Bob’s world spins out of control—does he realize that this exuberant gaggle of animals provides his spiritual anchor. It is their alien presence, their sense of humor, and their impulsive behavior that both drive Bob crazy and paradoxically return him to sanity.



Reaching for the Stars and Beyond,  by Peter Heubner

I’m going to try to not write a book about a book.  When reading this book, it felt like Peter just sat down and poured out his heart and his story, and said:  Here.  Here it is.

The book is in three parts (or so it feels to me).  The first part is about Peter’s life in Germany and then a little bit about in the United States.  Peter was 4 ½ when WW2 came to his town.  His account of the war is heart breaking.  Now I have to tell you, I have read books on victims of the Holocaust, but never a book about the average citizen living in Germany and having the Russian and Mongolian troops storm into your town and victimize everyone they saw.  Brutally.  There were times I  put the book down to really think about what happened, the terror they felt, the  Russian & Mongolian troops atrocities on the German citizens (women and children), and the life Peter and his family lived during the war.

Then we have after the war, and one sees the warmth and kindness of the Peter we all know.  I know Peter as a friendly acquaintance, but obviously never really knew about his life.  It just makes one think, again, of the people you know and what you don’t know about the life they have lived.  But I digress…..Peter writes about his work in the restaurant/hotel business, and I could just picture it all.  Mostly, how people responded to him because he is so genuinely warm and friendly.

That is the main part I want to tell you about the book.  The book goes on to moving to the US and his life thereafter.  Then there is Part 2 (as I call it) has the sailing crossings of his vessel, Lady Lee and the Log of Lady Lee.    Part 3 (again, as I call it) is a story about his dog, Ziggy.

If you want to purchase this book, and I hope you do, you can contact Peter at:  pwhziggy@gmail.com or P O Box 349, Sierra City, CA 96125-0349.



License to Pan:  Deals, Steals, and My Life at the Gold & Silver
by:  Rick Harrison, Tim Keown
In Las Vegas, there’s a family-owned business called the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, run by three generations of the Harrison family: Rick; his son, Big Hoss; and Rick’s dad, the Old Man. Now License to Pawn takes readers behind the scenes of the hit History show Pawn Stars and shares the fascinating life story of its star, Rick Harrison, and the equally intriguing story behind the shop, the customers, and the items for sale.Rick hasn’t had it easy. He was a math whiz at an early age, but developed a similarly uncanny ability to find ever-deepening trouble that nearly ruined his life. With the birth of his son, he sobered up, reconnected with his dad, and they started their booming business together.
Carol’s Review:
You really need to like watching PAWN STARS to enjoy this book.  I think.  Maybe you don’t have to watch that show to enjoy the book.  I love this show because I love seeing the items brought in that people sell, and the history behind each item.  And I wonder why they would sell some of the history they have in the family?  One guy sold some political buttons handed out by George Washington that belonged to his great-whatever grandmother.  How could he do that?  But I digress.  Love the show for the history lesson.  As for the guys on the show, they were OK.  But now that I have read their life story, I can appreciate them more.
The book is mainly written by Rick.  He talks about his life and is open and forthright.  He talks about his family, Chumlee, but mostly about the shop.  I learned some of the Federal laws, stories of people that visit the shop, about the filming, and other questions I had.  Rick writes like he is just sitting there talking with you.  The writing is clear and honest – not poetic, becaue that is not Rick.  He is a smart guy and it was interesting to learn what I learned about him and the rest of the gang.  Rick writes about his wife Tracy and you can tell that they are a real team.
Old Man (Rick’s dad) writes about his life and you just feel how hard he worked to get the business going and that he really loves his wife.  He writes just how he talks on TV, and that was a kick.
Corey, aka Big Hoss, writes a chapter and he is brutally honest about his childhood and behavior.
Chumlee is a delight.  He said he is just a simple guy and one feels he is just a good guy, doing the best he can.  He grew up very poor and is trying to use the money he is earning wisely.  Can’t help but like him!
I enjoyed this book because of what I learned about these guys.  If you don’t watch Pawn Stars, then I don’t really know if you would like this or not.  I think if you like learning about people in general, then you would enjoy this book.  And poor David – every time I read an interesting fact I would share it with him – while he was trying to read a book.  I am sure he appreciated that…..but there was so much I learned about the business, people, laws, on and on, I just had to share it with him.


Still Alice
by Lisa Genova
Still Alice is a compelling debut novel about a 50-year-old woman’s sudden descent into early onset Alzheimer’s disease, written by first-time author Lisa Genova, who holds a Ph. D in neuroscience from Harvard University.Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what’s it’s like to literally lose your mind…Reminiscent of A Beautiful MindOrdinary People and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeStill Alice packs a powerful emotional punch and marks the arrival of a strong new voice in fiction.Carol says:

After you have read this book, be sure to read “A Conversation with Lisa Genova”.  There you learn her credentials for writing this book and all of the deep research she did for this book.  Now about the book – my sister told me about the book and that she loved it.  She also said that it is not a happy book, but not a “downer”.   It is a remarkable book, and I loved this book and did not want to put it down.  Alice, who is 50, has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.  While the characters in this book are fictional, and all of the medical information is actual (except for the made up medication they are testing, and at the end of the book the author tells you that information).  In writing this book, the author  interviewed people with this disease and learned how they thought and felt and coped.  The characters in this book are likeable (the husband likeable enough, not a bad guy at all, just struggling with decisions about his career and what is best for his wife), but the context and what the book is really about is early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and actually, Alzheimers.  And what can be done medically to slow it down, and how they can determine if you have Alzheimers.  I found one can also get tested to find out if you have the DNA for it.  The book just so insightful to what a person feels and thinks with the onset of Alzheimer’s (the author did her research!).  This book is about Alice and what is going through her mind as she notices the changes in her (getting lost, losing things, forgetting things) with the onset of Alzheimers.    This book may sound depressing, but the love and support of her family is inspiring.  It helped me to know more about what a person may feel and think, the frustrations, the support (from family and the medical field).  What really interested me about this book is that it helped me to learn more about the onset of Alzheimers.   And I thought my friends would not understand when I told them the following, but they did – reading this made me calmer with understanding what happens with this disease.  Now my thoughts go deeper with this, but just had to put that out there.



Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – 2011

A fisheries expert is approached by a consultant to help realize a sheik’s vision of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the desert and embarks on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible possible. Director: Lasse Hallström Writers: Simon BeaufoyPaul Torday (novel) Stars: Ewan McGregorEmily Blunt and Amr Waked |

Amazon description:
For Dr. Alfred Jones, life is a quiet mixture of civil service at the National Centre for Fisheries Excellence and marriage to Mary—an ambitious, no-nonsense financier. But a strange turn of fate from an unexpected direction forces Jones to upend his existence and spend all of his time in pursuit of another man’s ludicrous dream. Can there be salmon in the Yemen? Science says no. But if resources are limitless and the visionary is inspired, maybe salmon fishing in the Yemen isn’t impossible. Then again, maybe nothing is.
Carol’s review:
This is a delight to read and so is the movie.  I first saw the movie with Betty and Cheryl and throughly enjoyed it.  Then I saw it with Dani and she loved the movie – so watched it two nights in a row, even though she would have changed the ending a little so everyone would be “happily ever after”.  Now the details – the movie is lovely.  It moves along nicely, good acting and a feel good movie.  Then I got the book and am enjoying that, too.  However, the book gets a little wordy in one part (I didn’t want to read the detailed report about the salmon) but other than that, I love the descriptive paragraphs.  On page 157 and a few more, I loved her description of the woodsy area she is in.  And I love it when the sheikh talks because he is so gentle with his words, and insightful.  All the characters personalities are well written and come through to where you understand them well.  Of course the book differs from the movie, but ever so slightly.  It helped seeing the movie first, to understand the landscape of Yemen and the water way.  And the book explained more the relationship between Alfred and Mary, which the movie did not and one had to wonder more of their relationship (obviously married, but I mean deeper tan that).  So if you can’t tell from my review:  read the book, see the movie (or vise versa).
UPDATE: OK, I just finished reading “Salmon Fishing on the Yemen”.  Here is my update.  In parts, the book had areas that I skipped through.  Too much detail for me.  And the ending is very different from the movie – to me, then ending in the book would just not do for the movie.  I prefer the ending in the movie, but the ending in the book was a surprise and OK for the book.  So part of the book was “lovely”, other parts just too much detail for me.  I’d say watching the movie might be easier than reading the book.



11/28/12 Carol broadens her scope of reviews this week; She says –

“I just cannot help myself – I am also going to give two book reviews.  But first, here is a movie review:”
50/50 Inspired by a true story, a comedy centered on a 27-year-old guy who learns of his cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease. Director: Jonathan Levine  Writer: Will Reiser  Stars: Joseph Gordon-LevittSeth Rogen andAnna Kendrick
Netflix description on cover of DVD:
An otherwise healthy twentysomething has a comically early midlife crisis when he gets slapped with a cancer diagnosis – and a 50-50 chance of survival.  But what’s the meanging of life when you’re not sure how long yours will last?
My review:
In the first 5 minutes one has to realize that you just have to get over the x-rated descriptions about sex, and realize they are setting up the bond between the friends (that is how I wanted to think about it).   I had to wonder, do men really talk that way?  And thank goodness if they do, I don’t have to hear it.  But I just decided to get over it.  So when you overlook that throughout the movie, and really look at what they are trying to convey, it is a good movie.  I told David that if I were to get cancer and got a counselor to help me get through it, I would not want to be that counselor’s 3rd patient ever.  She did go by the book, and you know she is going to become a really good counselor, but  I don’t want to be her 3rd patient.  But that has nothing to do with the movie, really.  Just my thoughts.  And she is very likeable.  I liked this movie, would recommend it with the caveat to just “get over” some of the discussions, and think about what is really going on with this man.  Oh, and I really liked the ending.  It was perfect.  So, watch this movie is my recommendatin.
Book Review-

The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.
Amazon’s Description
When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…. Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.
My Review:
My friend Cheryl said she could not put the book down, and so I ordered it on my Kindle.  My friend Gay and I agreed we had no problem putting the book down!  But we did have to finish it (in our own ways) just to find out what happened with these people.  They are the most dysfuntional people you will read about.  However, we couldn’t help but get caught up in the characters.  The author does a great job of description – every little thought of each person, the description of “each leaf on the tree” (as I call it) – it was just too wordy for me.  I don’t want that much description.  However, if you like lots of description, this is a good book for you.  And if you want to read about dysfuntional people, also good.  Now after saying that, I did have to find out what happened to each person.  Oh, and one of this one girl I couldn’t help but like because you knew deep down she just needed a chance.   So the way I read this book  was to fast forward through alot of the description.  Did not read the book word for word.  I think the hardest part is is the realization that her writing is so true of people’s life, and really makes one pause and think.  You don’t read this book and just say “that was good” – the books characters stays on your mind.

Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home

by Laura & Lisa Ling

Amazon Description:

On March 17, 2009, while filming a documentary on the Chinese–North Korean border, Laura Ling and her colleague Euna Lee were violently apprehended by North Korean soldiers, charged with trespassing and “hostile acts,” and imprisoned by Kim Jong Il’s notoriously secretive Communist state. Kept totally apart, they endured months of interrogations and a trial before North Korea’s highest court that led to a sentence of twelve years of hard labor in a North Korean prison camp.

When news of the arrest reached Laura’s sister, journalist Lisa Ling, she immediately began a campaign to get Laura released. Her efforts led her from the State Department to the higher echelons of the media world and eventually to the White House. Lisa takes us deep into the drama between people in the highest levels of government, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, and eventually former President Bill Clinton, who arrived in North Korea in mid-August for a suspenseful rescue.

My Review:

OK, I cannot put this book down.  Even though I know how it ends.  The chapters switch between Laura and Lisa (sisters – Laura in in North Korea and her sister is here in California), and what is happening with each of them – their perspective – of what is happening about the situation and what is being done to resolve it.  Laura’s description of North Korea is just so interesting.  But everything in this book is interesting.  Laura explains they were in China filming about human trafficing of women from North Korea into China.  I got really frustrated that they would go onto North Korea soil (but it was for such a worthy cause and I figure they just got too caught up in their documentary) and create so much trouble for Laura and her crew member, Euna, and for the U S government.  I have to be honest about that thought.   It was interesting to read about the documentarys they have produced, the connections they have in government and the world of news, but those were just side notes, in a way.  Laura writes about her guards, inprisonment (not in a prison, but inprisonment) interrigations, etc.  But I tell you, every aspect of the book is just so well written, descriptive (but not too wordy!) that you should do yourself a favor and read this book.




11/21/12 Three movies get reviewed this week, and here they are:

LINCOLN- Steven Spielberg directs two-time Academy Award® winner Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln,” a revealing drama that focuses on the 16th President’s tumultuous final months in office. In a nation divided by war and the strong winds of change, Lincoln pursues a course of action designed to end the war, unite the country and abolish slavery. With the moral courage and fierce determination to succeed, his choices during this critical moment will change the fate of generations to come.

and Carol says:

We saw this and I have conflicting feelings about it.
After it was over with, I really liked the history I learned.
During the movie, it was long and dry.
Acting was great.  Daniel Day Lewis was fabulous.  All the acting was great, HOWEVER, one (me, not Dani) couldn’t help but think:  Oh!  There’s Sally Field!  oh!  Theres Hal Holbrook  and on and on.   I would have liked fresh faces to make the people seem more real.   Didn’t bother Dani.
Dani and I thought it was an overview of his life as president, but it is really focused on the passing of the 13th amendment.  which was interesting, but not 2 1/2 hrs worth, which really did not drag that much.  But on the other hand, it did.
BUT, I must admit there were times I thought:  I wonder why I cannot go to sleep for a little nap?  Or, I wonder how nice it would be to be home in a nice warm house?
It was very wordy.
So the thing is, after it was over I really liked the film, with some exceptions.  My friend Dani gave it 2 1/2 stars, and I agree with her for other reasons than she gave.  But the acting was good, liked the history lesson, but really folks……..
I just don’t know what to tell you.  I would love to hear your thoughts if you go see it.  Oh – the seats were packed, and not one person under 40.  And I don’t remember seeing anyone that young, but surely someone was there that age?  But again, I liked the history I saw and watching Abe.  I saw an interview and the research for his character.  It was great acting on his part.
OK, bottom line:  I would rather have seen it than not seen it.

In this action-packed mystery thriller, Academy Award® winner, Denzel Washington stars as Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot, who miraculously crash lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe, saving nearly every soul on board. After the crash, Whip is hailed as a hero, but as more is learned, more questions than answers arise as to who or what was really at fault and what really happened on that plane? Flight is directed by Academy Award winner Robert Zemekis and stars Denzel Washington, John Goodman,Don Cheadle and Melissa Leo.

And Carol says:

Saw “Flight” last week.  If you want to watch a drunk for 2 hrs and not like any of the characters (except one who is in briefly), then see this movie.  It is a real downer.  The first 20 mintues are interesting.  My friend and her husband saw it and they both said that if they knew more what it was about, then they would not have gone to see it.  I felt the same way.
So if I have not been clear, my suggestion is don’t go see it.  If you must, wait until it is out on video.

Based on true events, Warner Bros. Pictures’ and GK Films’ dramatic thriller “Argo” chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis–the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades. Cast: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Kerry Bishé, Kyle Chandler, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham, Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Victor Garber, Zeljko 

And Carol says:
After the first time I saw it, I got the book on my Kindle.  I had read that the movie had been “Hollywoodized” and was curious what was real, what wasn’t.  As usual, the part I thought was real, wasn’t, and vise versa.
Let me just say, I really enjoyed the movie.  Dani wanted to see it, so I went again with her and picked up a few things I missed the first time, and still enjoyed the parts that were fiction.
The movie moves right along and the acting was very good.  I like movies that move along.  Also had actors I didn’t know, which was nice.  Be sure to stay for the credits – there is a nice surprise during the credits.
As for the book opposed to the movie.  Want to know some of the differences? (this might turn into a book review, also).  Here it is – so if you don’t want to know, stop reading.  Tony was happily married with 3 kids.  He didn’t go alone to rescue the people (He and another guy went).  The people didn’t actually make it to the Canadian homes for about a week or two after leaving the compound.  They were separated into two different homes.  They never went to the bazarre, and made it through airport security with no drama.
As for the book, it was very interesting.  Learned a little more Iranian history, and really interesting the works of the CIA.  If you ever watched “Mission Impossible” – remember how they would take off “their face” at the end and there is the actor?  Well, they do that in the CIA.  Very interesting book.  He wrote another book “Master of Disguise” which had interesting parts (key word:  parts) and it was fine.  Parts of it.
Anyway, go see “Argo” – you won’t be sorry.  By the way – If you didn’t see “The Big Year”, don’t miss it.  And actually, the book is better than the movie, but the movie is very enjoyable and you get to actually get to see the birds (which you dont see in the book….)

Gabby Fringette 5/8/13


Mothers’ day

By Gabby Fringette

Ah, Ma.

Ma went into the valley of death to bring me into this world.

Even if your ma isn’t actually the one who gave birth to you, she can still mean as much, if she still talks to you, helps you with your homework, feeds you, she’s still your ma.

Mothers’ day is the day of the year that we give our hard working moms’ a small token of gratitude.

This is a tribute to mom, my hard working mom, who takes care of me when I’m sick, nags me on my homework, takes away my computer when I skip my math, and generally tries to make me a better, non-slob person.

Mom can be annoying, even when she’s trying to do her best, and often when she’s doing what’s right. It seems like a pain in the butt, like when she insist I do my homework instead of creative writing, but she’s right, I can destroy pixilated villains after my science assignment.

Of course, not every thing mom does is to keep me in line, and to stop me from taking over computer game worlds.  Sometimes she gives me extra money when we go to the bakery or the candy store.  Often times, she gives us an “work free” day.

Of course, mom is her own person, she likes some candies more than others, likes different colors, and flowers.  Her tastes in movies and food often affect what we eat for dinner, and what we watch while eating it.

Don’t protest, it won’t make any difference, just learn to love tofu and British mysteries without salt or laser fire.

What to give such a generous person is hard, so this year I’m going to give her chocolate and a good grade.  She needs to know all her effort isn’t wasted.

Moms are great; they put up with so much.  I think they should have a whole week, not just a day.  Remember, all you mother’s children out there.



By Gabby Fringette

Moving could be dancing, but it could also mean uprooting my stuff and planting it somewhere else.

One of the worst things about moving is you can’t find half your stuff.  That’s why my sister is wearing my underwear and a clothespin;  we couldn’t even find a hair tie!

Another thing about moving is you find lots of stuff you had, but didn’t need, or want.  Now all that stuff is in bags and cluttery piles for you to deal with.  I found a consolation prize from the second grade. It was taken apart and some of the pieces were lost, gone to the Davy-Jones locker of my room.  What was the point of keeping the prize, I asked my self, they hand these things out like psyche meds. But another part of me said: it’s a small part of your child hood, blah, blah, blah. You be glad you kept it.

It turned out to be a very small part.

I don’t mean to rant and be all curmudgeonly, (of course I do, ignore her), but another thing about moving is the heating.  You don’t know if the last people in the house cleaned out the heating ducts, but it’s probably a cake of mold with a dust and cat hair frosting.  You should just naturally assume that when (if) you turn it on, it won’t go for a minute, but then hot air is going to blow it all out of the vent onto your bed and clothes.

So, until we figure out another heat system, we’ll be putting things in the fridge to keep them warm, and camping by the electric heater.

Now the good things about moving:

It’s a new adventure, your get to meet new people find cool shops, or, if you’ve moved out into the sticks, a beautiful piece of land to run around on.

Believe it or not, we need a certain amount of chaos, and moving is the right amount.

Ok, I’ve run out of nice things, now back to complaining.

I did not cover losing things well enough- wait! I found another nice thing to say! Sometimes, you lost stuff before the move, and then it turns up!

I lost a shirt eight months ago, and then as I was digging for clothes, I found my missing shirt! (And some money that was in one pocket).

Moving isn’t all bad.  Just some of it. And when you’ve settled in, every thing is a new normal again!




By Gabby Fringette

The derogatory term ‘chicken’ means, cowardly, lily liver, scaredy cat.

 Real chickens are carnivorous, crafty, spry, fierce, and adaptive.

(Their Latin name is Gallus domesticus)

Why is it that being called chicken is bad? Why should it be an insult, not an honor, to be called chicken?  They move out of our way when we walk by, but humans, the smart ones, move out of the way of big-rigs when they come by.

Chickens are carnivores.  A six-foot tall chicken would look, and hunt like, a veloceraptor with a hooked beak.  Chickens are smart, when they go out and forage or hunt, the old ones lead the young ones to the best places for worms, seeds, and other morsels. The old ones know from experience where the best places for berries are, or what places creepy crawleies are most likely to be at.

Chickens are spry. Even the heaviest of the chickens can leap four feet into the air to get at some flying thing, or run fast enough to catch an escaping snack.

Chickens are fierce.  Many a time a bird has gotten caught in the chicken wire, and been torn beak to feather and eaten.  I have seen chickens with gardener snakes in their beaks.  I have also found large numbers of headless ripped up snakes.  The chickens, it seems, only want the heads of the snakes, as though it is an honor to eat the snake’s head.

Chickens are adaptive.  They can go from eating grain as a chick, to being free ranged, and they will know what to eat: every thing.

It tastes like chicken.  Every thing taste like chicken, because chickens will eat every thing.

I have known many chickens, none of them cowards. Some of them skittish and alert, some of them benign, but many were ornery, some were almost war like, some were sweet, and some were dramatic, loud and clever.

I know from experience every thing I have said in this Gabby, now being equipped with this knowledge, decide if being called ‘chicken’ means you are a coward.



Child Free

By Gabby Fringette

The essence of living things is to reproduce.  Among human society having children is a big issue.  But, if you check the statistics, you’ll find that one in five women don’t have children by the age of forty.

There are several reasons for this:

  • Economic instability. (Not being able to find a job.)
  • Not being able to find a suitable mate.
  • The belief that one is too old (fertility in women declines after thirty-five).
  • Infertility.
  • The belief that one will be a crummy parent.
  • Disgust or fear of pregnancy or child birth.
  • The belief that it’s wrong to bring a child into this world.
  • Doesn’t want the problem or turmoil of kids.
  • It costs $390,000 to raise one child from birth to eighteen.

Back in the 70’s one woman out of ten did not have children.  In the 70’s most women were still married, and the men were the main providers, his job paying for food and the car and the house, and the woman often got a part time job, paying for vacations and holidays and birthdays.

In day-to –day life, childless people are as happy or happier than parents. But, looking back, parents were more satisfied and fulfilled than people without children.

There are seven billion people on earth, right now.


Standardize testing

By Gabby Fringette

This week I’ve joined hundreds of thousands of kids all over the U.S in taking standardized tests.  For three days, stuck in a strage class room, with a bunch of other kids. I’m probably going to get a head cold. Why? Funding. The state measures the schools by how the kids did in the tests, and then they decide how much money to give the schools.

This is not the only standardized test.  There is the SAT, which is an empty acronym.   The SAT determines where you place in the competition for a place in collage.

But how does that measure who we are?  What does that say about us? How does it label us? A kid smarter than the teacher could fall prey to the traps set in the test, and do badly, but an average kid could just be so good at guessing and estimating, and pass the test with flying colors.

I have here an example from practice tests.  The practice test are made up from standardized test questions from years past.

This is one from a fifth grade science book.

For which of the following do many plants depend on animals?

  1. seed dispersal
  2. food
  3. shelter
  4. photosynthesis

What do you think the answer is?

Well, I was angry, confused, and cursing when I found out the answer was C.

Critics of standardized testing say that it’s not an effective measurement of how smart a student is, it requires no thinking or creative ability.

The high-stakes testing is having negative affects on many students, teachers have seen them do things like: crying, vomiting, and being violent to others.

Although, there are some who say that standardized testing seems to work, the only way they can measure it is with a standardized test.

It’s not a great idea, it labels us like cows, but that’s just my opinion.



Barking at the ants

By Gabby Fringette

The Old Man made vegetable soup last night, and it got me thinking about vomit.

 Warning, educational content; may cause sickness.

How about a language class? Here’s how to say ‘vomit’ in four different languages:

  • French; vomir
  • German; erbrechen
  • Italian; vomitare.
  • Latin; vomo.

The word ‘vomit’ is both a verb and a noun.

The scientific term for vomit is ‘emesis.’

Vomiting is the expulsion of stomach content through mouth and nose. Frequent or unexplained vomiting can be cause for medical concern.

Some times once one person barfs, others do too.  This is known as sympathetic barfing, or chain barfing.

Classifying barf

There are different kinds of barfing. There is the thick stuff that’s rich in chunks, the stuff that qualifies as ‘Technicolor yawn’.  Then there is the acidic watery stuff, that’s ‘nostril sauce’.

Then there is the dry heaves.  You heave and heave but nothing comes. Then you heave more. That is the ‘heave’ or the ‘gale force burp’.

There are so many phrases and names for vomit, I only have room for the cream of the yodeled groceries.

Now let’s get descriptive!

  • Toss your cookies
  • Blow chunks
  • Spew
  • Hurl
  • Heave
  • Technicolor yawn
  • Yodel groceries
  • Bow to the porcelain god
  • Chow shower
  • Doing the hoaky choaky
  • Gale force burp
  • Nostril sauce
  • Gush
  • Barf
  • Loose you lunch
  • Feed the chickens
  • Bark at the ants.  My favorite.

No thanks necessary thank The Old Man’s soup.



Easter fools

By Gabby Fringette

April fools day and Easter are close together, and I wanted to do write them both.  I have come up with the solution. I will combine the holidays, to create Easter fools; and I have Easter pranks!

First I have a non-Easter prank. Very funny.

All you need is T.P (toilet paper, non-used, this is an all ages approved prank,) non-toxic wash-off glue, and a shoe some one is going to wear later  (preferably a nice shoe).  Use about five squares of T.P and glue one end to the underside of the shoe, and then stuff the other end under the front of the shoe so they don’t notice.  Ha ha ha! What a dork!

Now I have an Easter prank to play on the organizationally obsessed.  This is a nerd prank taught to me by my mother.

When someone is not using the computer, go and change it’s settings, and desktop to Easter-y things, then, if possible, change the screen lock password to ‘April fools’.

Now I have another non-Easter prank:

Wait until some one is boiling water, then when they leave the room turn another burner on, and move the pot, then go to them and say: “your water is boiling all over the stove”.

When they say the water’s not boiling all over the stove, say: “yes it is, it was just boiling over here.”

I have one last prank:

On April Fools day, take one plastic egg, put garlic chunks or other stinky things in it, and give it to the prankee, telling him or her you found it from yesterday.

Happy Easter Fools day every one!




By Gabby Fringette

That’s right, today is the first day of spring, when all the snow magically melts and the flowers bloom, the days grow warm, and all the birds have chicks.

Spring is the time when you can go out side in a T-shirt and snow boots, when a light jacket is recommended.  The air is clear and the land has been purged after cold temperatures and moisture.

Winter is nature’s cleaning lady, she’s cold, and dangerous if you’re not careful.

But spring, spring is the best friend who comes over after the cleaning lady so you can take back the place, then blame it on summer and fall, spring’s sisters.

Spring, though, is when things happen.  People are no longer kept inside by the elements, there is enough snow left for winter activities, but it’s warm enough for every one.  Spring is when people shake off the last of the cabin fever, and get to know each other again.

Spring is therapeutic.

If you live with lots of snow, the change from winter to spring can be almost surreal.

The streams are breaking through, and crisscrossing where ever they please, and whole islands can be created inside streams, the water is cold but the dirt is wet and warm, and there are caps of snow on the islands, melting.  The trees and white thorn are green, but the snow still clings to them.   Wherever there is ground; grass is growing on it, fighting the snow.  The first plants are cut down by late frosts, but then they win.

Things lost to the snow start peeking out, while others are still in twisted pillars, where the snow has melted and sunk down.  This contrast creates a mystical wonderland, till’ the sun kills the great still beasts of snow and summer-like temperatures cover the land.

Till’ fall, that is.



The hero’s journey

By Gabby Fringette

A hero’s journey is where the hero under goes a life change.  Most often the hero puts his neck on the line for a larger cause, but always the hero grows as person.

Joseph Campbell gave the idea of the hero’s journey to us.

Thanks, dude.

The hero encounters many characters.  There are six character archetypes,

Protagonist (hero), nemesis (enemy), Atracttor (love interest, trickster (friend-enemy), and mentor (teacher), and magical friend (person who helps the hero, but doesn’t tech him, or turn him in to the enemy).

This is what happens on a hero’s journey:

The hero lives in his or her (let’s just call the hero ‘the hero’) world, but something is missing, or the hero is uncomfterble, or has to hide something.  Then something happens, and the hero starts on the journey.  It could be something like a war breaks out and the hero is drafted, or the hero could just be a chess whiz, but has to cope with his empathy if the hero wants to win.  Then the hero either refuses, or goes.  But, if the hero is going to be a hero, then the hero goes one way or another.  Then the hero meets the teacher, and the love interest.  Now the love interest isn’t exclusively a possible mate, the love interest could just be a friend or a loved one, some one who the hero wants to protect.  The teacher and/or the atracttor could be some one the hero has known his/her whole life, or it could be some one he just met.  Sometimes the enemy is not apparent until the end of the journey.  But, the enemy, the atracttor, the mentor, the trickster, the magical friend, they are all hero’s in their own stories.  Then the New World, the strange world that the hero has his challenges in. Next, the hero (the one we are focusing on) has his tests, tests that will prepare the hero, ones that will see if the hero is worthy.  Then the approach to the inmost challenge.  The one that will change the hero for good.  Each hero had his/hers.  Luke Skywalker’s was the destruction of the Death star, Katniss Everdeen had fooling the Capitol with the berries, Odyssey had taking back his home, and Dorothy had escaping the Witch. After that is the death and resurrection.  The death of the old self, and the resurrection of the new self.  Sometimes it is literally a death and resurrection, like when Jason got eaten by the dragon, and he was brought back to life.  Then there is the road back. This in when the hero reflects on every thing that has happened.  Then the return.  The Old World is strange to the hero, it is different, but now the hero has unity.  The hero is the hero’s true self.

 It’s a hero’s journey when you go to college, because part of your old world leaves you.  When you become a parent, you become a mentor, and that is a hero’s journey too.

Every one has hero’s journeys, big ones and small ones; you have had hero’s journeys in your life.


Electromagnetic pulse

By Gabby Fringette

Electromagnetic pulses happen all the time.  When you turn on or off a light, or an appliance, like a toaster or dryer.  Those are tiny.  They can also be caused by nature.  The sun makes them, and the sun makes them huge.  A massive one in 1859 caused all the telegraph lines in the world to go haywire. The sparks caused the telegraph paper to start on fire, and a few telegraph operators were electrocuted.

If that happened today every electronic on the planet, and in the space around the planet, would stop functioning. This would be a good thing.

Here’s why:

  1. Most Americans are illiterate without a computer.  This change would cause us to read and write on paper. It’s good for us.
  2. We have grown lazy, and stupid. If we had to do things without help of computers and appliance, we would probably be smarter, and we would learn how to get off of our butts.
  3. This one is the biggest reason. The probable destruction of the government.  There is no place to hide on earth, and probably most of the inner solar system. The government is watching us, and have absolute control over us.   They know I wrote this, and they are watching you read it.

Did I mention we are almost due for an electromagnetic pulse?

Ok, now for the cons list.

1. Ok, most Americans don’t know how to survive on their own, and a lot of hospitals will go down, and the cities are so packed, there will be rioting, and about 70% of Americans will die in the first year.

2. America is large, and will probably split up into many smaller countries, maybe not a bad thing, but you can count on war between them.

Is it bad or good? Well that depends on if you live in a city or not.



Critical thinking

By Gabby Fringette

Thinking is a mental calculation. There it the basic kind of thinking: naïve, where you make no distinction between emotion and thought. Critical thinking has two kinds:

Selfish critical, where you passionately challenge the other argument, and fair minded or objective critical thinking.

This kind of thinking challenges all premises, and thinks about it dispassionately.  Since ‘passionately’ means ‘with passion’ or strong feeling, ‘dispassionately’ means ‘without passion’.   Passion affects arguments and choices, so when looking for the best solutions, use critical thinking, not naïve thinking.

Now that we know this, we need to have an argument to put it to.  I think it should be breast-feeding in public.  Every so often some poor woman’s baby gets hungry in a public place, so she feeds her baby the way nature intended.  From her body, with breast milk. There is nothing wrong with her, it just the culture insisting that breasts are bad.  Lets look at the facts: corporations make millions off of cloths to make women more appealing.  They even sell slutty clothes to young girls.

The breast is out only a split second, and even then, the baby, who is using the breast for it’s main purpose, covers it, leaving everything to the imagination.

It won’t scar any one for life.  Boys will see many breasts in their life, and women have breasts, so seeing one under a hungry baby won’t hurt them.  Logically, it should be O.K for a woman to feed her child in public.

Can you tell if that argument was selfish critical thinking or fair minded critical thinking?


Chocolate blues

By Gabby Fringette

Recently I have been trying to save money, and this means cutting out chocolate.

It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but believe me, the chocolate I buy is no chocolate chip, not by a long shot.  The chocolate I buy is hand crafted by little old ladies in the back of the shop.  If that isn’t enough, try to imagine how it tastes.  The dark chocolate is so rich that at first my head buzzes.  The chocolate melts like butter in my mouth, releasing the rich chocolate flavor, often with a little cinnamon in it.  It tastes like a sun ray in the dark.

But of course this has it’s con as well as its pros.  Am I setting myself up for a life of drug addiction?  I don’t think so, but isn’t that what drug addicts say?

But on the other hand, if I avoid foods that I like, such as fine cheese, salami, chocolate, olives, things like that, I’ll wind up being a Nun.

There’s nothing wrong with being a Nun, I’m sure it’s fine, if it’s not me who’s the Nun.

Chocolate also has many healthy things.  It helps when you have a migraine, and it prevents many diseases. So chocolate is good for me.  Of course, that might be my inner drug addict talking!!

Probably not though.  Its good to have a little indulgence, and I think, if I keep it to chocolate, I’ll be fine.  Besides, I have enough money, I will let my self go, and have a little chocolate.



Valentines Day

By Gabby Fringette

Saint Valentine was a celibate Roman Catholic saint, who died on the 14th of February. Now he is the patron of lovers. He was celibate, and today’s Valentine’s day is about lovers, so how did that happen?

As if that’s not odd enough, we are actually celebrating on the day of his death with chocolate and flowers.  Any body see what’s wrong with the picture?

I’m not dissing St. Valentine’s day, I think it’s a nice thought, except for the part where we totally forget what its about and go on to impressing possible mates.  Maybe we can put that on a different day, maybe in May.  There are more flowers in May, and it sounds nicer than February.

Another item on my agenda is hearts. Not the vital organ that pumps blood, but the symbol of childish crushes.

The one that looks like this:

Clip Art of Two Red Hearts

It looks like the silhouette of boob, and it you turn it upside down, it looks like the silhouette of a woman’s butt.  I suppose that it is a fitting symbol for love. A butt.

Now for the last item on the agenda.  Flowers.

Yes, I know, they are pretty elegant, a symbol of nature, blah blah, etc etc. What they really are is plant genitals.  You see, they hold the plant’s reproductive organs, the lovely blossoms and scent are to attract bees to pollinate them.  Again, not an unfitting symbol for love.

Happy Valentine’s day.



Neanderthal Genes

By Gabby Fringette

A lot of people think all Neanderthals have died out. That might not be exactly true.

There were many branches of humanoids around the time Homo sapiens left Africa.  They would have come across other tribes of humanoids. They would have fought, traded, and inter-bred.

We are not purely Homo sapiens today, we have Neanderthal, and Denisoavan genes. (The Denisoavan are another form of humanoid we thought were completely extinct, they are not exactly human, or Neanderthal, and have many DNA traits that are unique to that variety of humanoids).

How often did Neanderthals and human party? Only about one hybrid birth per thirty years in a given area.

Almost all people of European decent have some Neanderthal blood, because human and Neanderthal clans met up in most of southern Europe.

Of course, the humans, Neanderthals, and Denisoavans all came from a common ancestor in Africa, they just left at different times, and different places, and evolved to survive there.

The Denisoavans weren’t in Europe, but in many island places, so today many humans of island decent may have up to 5% Denisoavan DNA.

The DNA of living Europeans and Asians is 2.5% Neanderthal.

This isn’t very much, so scientists think that human-Neanderthal relations didn’t happen too much.

There are certain diseases that people with Neanderthal DNA can resist.   The same goes for those with Denisoavan heritage.  There are kind of a lot of gaps, but it is still possible that people have physical traits because of the presence, or lack of, Neanderthal or Denisoavan DNA.

Ladies, this is why you have five a clock shadow in your arm pits.

This is backed up by logic, and the studies of Geneticist Dave Reich.



This thing called love

By Gabby Fringette

What is love? On TV women doll them selves up, men spend money, people fret about relationships, and do very stupid things.

Love is a collection of feelings and desires, and anyone, of any age, can fall in love.

Why do we do it, and how does it happen?

We fall in love so that we make more babies, if we didn’t there would be no humans.  So yeah for love.

Love is part lust, which is caused by the brain chemicals, that are released when we see or think about someone we like. Dopamine, which is released when we do drugs, see someone we like, or eat something tasty.  There is also adrenaline, which is released when we run, fight, or have sexual activity, like kissing, cuddling, or sex. The last one is seritones, that chemical is responsible for human doing stupid things when we’re in love.  There are two others, oxytocin, it’s in breast milk, but it also helps bonding.  The last one is vasopression, which is what forms long term relationships.  It all falls into mate selection.

People choose mates that are attractive and have good body symmetry, and over all health, that’s why shiny hair and white teeth are important.

Women look for men with resources, and men look for women who are attractive, and young.

Next is children.  Sex is necessary for the bearing of children, but not for raising children.

Humans spend a short time in the womb, but have a long childhood.  This is because our brains are large.

Society tries to find ways of making sure the children are provided for, and one of those ways is marriage.

Marriage is social, sometimes religious, and always legal.

In the U.S both men and women can choose whom they marry, but in many Asian and Middle Eastern countries, there are still arranged marriages, they believe that love will grow over time.

I think that this is a fitting Gabby, being so close to Valentine’s Day.

And remember: any one can fall in love.



Low wages and hypertension

By Gabby Fringette

When you think ‘hypertension’, you tend to think older men.

But people, especially women, between 25 and 44, whose salary is at the low end of the pay scale, tend to have hypertension as well.

Hypertension affects 1-in-3 adults.  $90 billion per year is spent on hypertension medication, missed work days, and disability.  Hypertension also increases the risk of heart attack and stroke; both are leading causes of death, and disability.   Hypertension occurs when the force of circulating blood against artery walls is too high, this often happens when someone is stressed.

There was a study in 1999, and it was determined that a ten percent increase in the pay, would reduce the amount of hypertension cases by 132,000.  There were 110 million (working for $2.38 to $77 per hour) workers between the ages of 25 and 65, and if the wages were doubled there would be a 16% reduction in hypertension for males, and a 35% reduction for women.

 In this study they found that being female or in the 25 to 44 age group you would be more likely to have hypertension, it was made worse by high alcohol content, or diabetes.  They found that women were more likely to report a health problem than men, so maybe there were more men with hypertension.

There is a cost of health for cheap work. All workers should have fair wages.

The study’s co-author was Juan Du, the study was funded in part by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (grants R01 H008248-01 and U54 OH007550-11).



Wasted Food

By Gabby Fringette

Today there are seven billion people in the world.  One in seven are under nourished, many in Third World countries. Many in America are malnourished too.  People here seem to have too much food.

There is a common that we are running out of food, and have been for years.

Well, the Americans sure are taking it lightly.

About half the food produced in America is wasted.  Some of it disappears in the manufacturing process.  The process of getting the food to the people is flawed, the machinery could spill the food, or shipping could take to long, or pests could get in the food.

But a large part of it, maybe 30% of the food in the U.S is wasted at the plate.

Super markets and buffets waste huge amounts of food.  The food is almost perfect, only a little past the date. I’m sure the starving children in Africa would like that food.

The average American throws away a lot of food as well, they throw away leftovers instead of eating them the next day, and let food go over the date in the fridge.

Even more is wasted if you count the amount of excess calories Americans eat. Today, the average is about 1,400 calories per person.  That’s five hundred more than in the 70’s. Humans were fine then, weren’t we?

If we went by a 900-calorie diet, then there are more than 100,000,000,000 excess calories in the U.S. that would feed millions of people in third world countries. (Information from Treehugger)

Here are graph on how much we waste, in booth food and water. (Also from Treehugger)



The odd and the clumsy

By Gabby Fringette

Adam Lanza, the young man who shot 28 teachers and students, including his mother, in Sandy Hook was described by people who knew him to be socially clumsy and “odd”. Asperger’s is a cognitive disorder that may cause a person to seem socially clumsy.  We don’t know if Adam Lanza was diagnosed with Asperger’s, but his behavior was like that of people with Aperger’s Syndrome.

Four people per thousand, may be diagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome, considered to be an Autism Spectrum disorder.  People with AS are described as intelligent but have trouble with emotions.  Many people with AS and not only socially clumsy but are physically clumsy, too.  this means they are not good at sports, and not popular at school.

It is not a mental illness, it is a developmental disorder, does not make them violent to others. There is no danger from interacting with people who have Asperger’s. In fact, they may more often be victims of violence because they are ostracized.

Hasn’t this caused enough sadness? Aren’t we just prolonging the tragedy by singling out socially the kids who are already getting picked on?



365 Day Fix

By Gabby Fringette

A New Year, 365, chances for someone to do something right.

For the world:

  1. I want Monsanto to go out of business, it destroys small farms.  And its Round-up ready food is poisonous.
  2. I want people to stop using oil, and start using Eco friendly things, like Hemp oil and solar panels.
  3. If there are any GMO foods left at the end of the year, (which there shouldn’t be), I want them to be labeled.

For the United States:

  1. I want Republicans to leave women alone on reproductive rights, its her choice, not theirs.
  2. I want the rich to pay more taxes and the money used to create public jobs and maybe there would be a little less crime.
  3. I want clothing and makeup companies to stop telling girls which mini skirts are cool and how much mascara is the right amount.
  4. I want homosexuals to have the right to marry.
  5. Artificially flavored soda should be off the market, and so should soda that has artificial sweetener.

For me:

  1. I want to get a perfect score on the STAR test.
  2.  I want to increase my math scores.

With any luck, at least 4 of those should come through.  I think that at least 1, 9 and 10 might pull through.

Have a happy New Year!




By Gabby Fringette

It’s the end of 2012, and it’s time to think up more New Year’s resolutions.

But what exactly is a New Year’s resolution?

A New Year’s resolution is when you are going to change you bad habit for a good one, or to change something about your self that you don’t like.  For an example, say your resolution is to give up candy. Simple enough, get rid of the candy in your house, and don’t buy more.  But suppose you got to a Valentines Day party of an Easter thing, and there are bowls of candy there.   If you have a strong will you can resist?  But if you really want a piece, you start thinking, what’s the harm? It’s only a little candy.  Why am I doing this any way? What’s the reward? To this I say, this can be your reward, eat a bag of chips!  Okay, something about that tells me I’m not getting it.

I’m going to tell you the number one reason people’s New Year resolutions fail; they don’t want to change.  We are comfortable with our selves; we don’t like to change.

There are many kinds of resolutions, impossible to keep, like not going sunbathing if you live near the beaches of southern California.  Then there is the 50/50 chance of crashing and burning, like giving up eating oatmeal cookies.

Then there are the fool proof ones, like giving up eating squid.  Then there are the ones I like to call illusion resolutions.  They seem easy, like giving up buying 5$ movies at some big department store, but it turns out to be hard, especially if you looking for a cheap gift or you see a movie you thought was funny, or a movie you heard very good things about.

I have one resolution, I will stop eating Buttermints. Their really only around at the very beginning and the end of the year, but the temptation is so great that I crack under pressure.

We’ll see how long it lasts.

Have a merry day after Christmas and a happy new year!



Grapefruit over Dose

By Gabby Fringette

The citric fruit, very healthy food, orange juice and grapefruit are popular breakfast foods: lemonade, the American classic, and limes, drenching salsa with their sour zesty juice, don’t even forget key lime pie.

But despite all the good things about citric fruit, in particular grapefruit, they react badly with eighty-five prescription drugs. From birth control to cancer prevention, about 43 of the 85 drugs are very dangerous when combined with grapefruit.

The affect differs from drug to drug.  Some of them, it had no effect on others, it causes them to work less efficiently.  But some are more dangerous.  Causing things from hypertension to death.

The amount of grapefruit also has an effect. There is a big difference between the occasional small piece of grapefruit and eating a grapefruit every day.

What causes the reaction is an enzyme that deals with processing the drug in your liver and an enzyme in the citric messes it up.

 Here are some things that someone taking any of the 85 drugs should know.

  1. You can’t simply take the drug and eat citric at different times, you must avoid citric the entire duration you are taking the drug, and have it in your system.
  2. There are different siverities of the affect, and that also depends on the amount of citric.
  3. If you can’t live without grapefruit, talk to your doctor before going off of a drug!

Here are all 85 drugs that react to citric Drug Interactions



Death by Doctor

By Gabby Fringette

Of all the things people in the US die of, doctors are the third most common cause of death.

Compared to other industrial countries we don’t rate that well. That’s compared to countries like Japan. We are rated for the following:

    13th (last) for low-birth-weight percentages

    13th for neonatal mortality and infant mortality overall

    11th for postneonatal mortality

    13th for years of potential life lost (excluding external causes)

    3rd for life expectancy at 80 years for females, 3rd for males

    10th for age-adjusted mortality.

Its not the people them selves, individually we have pretty good health.  For example, one source points out that American women don’t smoke more than the Danes, who have better health outcomes.  American men smoke much less than the Japanese, who also have better health outcomes.  We rank fifth lowest for alcohol consumption, and fifth lowest for the consumption of animal fats for men 55 to 64, a key age period for heart disease.

There is only one viable answer. The doctors.

I mean, it’s probably not intentional.

There are 700,000 Doctors in the US.

There are 7,000 deaths caused by over medication and mediation errors. (Don’t you think that’s a viable statistic? Every time you go to the doc it seems like he prescribes you something new.)

 Another 12,000 deaths are caused by unnecessary surgery.

After that, 120,000 deaths are caused by infection, because the doctors didn’t wash their hands, or used dirty tools, and medical error because they weren’t following procedure.

 Sources agree160,000 deaths are caused by negative reactions to medication.

Yikes! Doctors are dangerous.

They are way more dangerous than gun owners are.  There are 80 million gun owners in the US, and there are only 1,500 gun deaths per year.

Compare that to the doctor statistics.

Still think it’s so nice your friend’s son is a doctor?

We should all eat an apple every day.



I’m Not Gonna Put any Thing Off -starting tomorrow
By Gabby Fringette

Have you ever had a deadline that seemed far enough away to put it off till’ tomorrow? It happens all the time. But after your days of fun, when you wake up Tomorrow, the deadline will hit you with full force, demanding to be honored.

This is called ‘procrastination’. It means, basically, putting this off until tomorrow.  My dad also calls this ‘FO’ which means effing off.
I do it all the time, my folks do it all the time, but we find procrastination is less fun when the deadline is up.
Here are a few scenarios for you:

1: you need to get a birthday present for your foul-mouthed, beer drinking, motorcycle riding grandma, who is turning 98.
You put if off until the day of the party, and swing by the drug store and buy her an over priced tacky coffee mug.
You get to the party and realize you forgot to wrap it. So when you get there you peel the paper off of the side of a larger, better thought out gift (which was from your sister), and more-or-less wrap the cheap gift you got her.
Grandma is not pleased and curses you out, and having drunk a little too much, she threatened to leave you out of her will if you get her any thing less than a case of beer.

2: even simple chores can be a hassle, like removing a bowl of half eaten noodles from your room.
Every time my mom told me to take them from my room, I always said, ‘sure, in a minute.’  That minute turned into an hour and that hour turned to a day.  Two weeks later, I had to do something else I had been avoiding till the last minute, and while I was looking for the science book, I found the bowl of…noodles?  I was about to remove the bowl, (any thing was better than that science assignment), when I picked up the bowl, I heard thousands of tiny voices screaming in terror.  What could I do but enter the bowl instead of the boring science report. I’ll admit that time it worked in my favor, but it usually doesn’t, for example, the co-co cheese stained the cup.

Starting tomorrow, I will do things right away instead of putting them off.


Weird Stuff

By Gabby Fringette

A collection of more-or-less categorized and aptly named ‘weird stuff.’

But there are also three ‘red herrings.’  See if you can spot them.

State and government weird stuff:

1. Benjamin Franklin gave guitar lessons

2. Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, but the last signature wasn’t added until 5 years later.

3. Minnesota has 99 lakes named Mud Lake

4. It is Alaska law that you cannot look at a moose from an airplane

5. It is Kentucky law that you have to bathe at least once a year

Animal oddities:

1.A gozzard is a person who owned geese

2.By the time you say ’30,000 puppies,’ 30,000 puppies will have been born

3. The preying mantis male cannot mate with his head on, so a female rips his head of before they mate

4. A female starfish must consume up to three times her weight before mating.

Feed and health:

1.When Heinz catsup leaves the bottle it travels 25 feet per second

2.Pound per pound, a hamburger costs more than a new car

3.Eating half an orange a day will reduce your chance of a heart attack by 50%

4.Eating lemons makes you live longer

5. 64% of Americans won’t tell a friend if they have spinach in their teeth.

Random oddballs

1.The electric chair was invented by a dentist

2.If you refrigerate rubber bands they last longer
3.The term “the whole 9 yards” came from WWII fighter pilots in the Pacific. When arming their airplanes on the ground, the .50 caliber machine gun ammo belts measured exactly 27 feet, before being loaded into the fuselage. If the pilots fired all their ammo at a target, it got “the whole 9 yards.”

The red herrings were: number 5 of ‘feed and health’ number 4 of ‘animal oddities’ and number 2 of ‘ state and government’.

Yeah, I would have thought the moose law and the bath law, but no.




A Chocolate Nobel Prize

By Gabby Fringette

Yes, this can mean only good if it has chocolate and Nobel Prizes.

I read this article the other day, about the chocolate consumption of countries, and how many Nobel Prize winners they had.  The study showed that the countries with the highest yearly chocolate consumption had the most Nobel Prize winners. Yeah! Now, it didn’t state what kinds of Nobel Prizes, and it’s possible it was a Prize for chocolate consumption.

Unfortunately, there was no data on the chocolate consumption of the Nobel Prize winners.

Still though, there is hope for children with candy liberal parents. (Hint, hint, Mom; your daughter a Nobel Prize winner!).

Chocolate has been proven to be healthy, and it does have bio flavinods that are useful to the forming of a healthy brain.  Even if you are an adult, you are learning new things.  It just gets a little harder for your brain as you get older.

And if you eat good chocolate to help your brain stay healthy, since your older, your brain can understand things easier than if you were very young, so, it could be believable that you would be smarter.

But even so, this may be one of the times when it’s better to start when you’re young.

Yeah, that’s what I’m gonna do.  If this is correct, when I eat more chocolate, my grades should go up.

Then I’ll get a Nobel Prize.

I’ll be the first one to decode Hen Speak. I already know the difference between the ‘I laid an egg ‘ song and the ‘something startled me’ alarm.

Back on topic, I’m going to point out some flaws of the study.  Maybe the countries were very large and that’s why there was such a large chocolate consumption.  In such a big country, there is bound to be a couple of Nobel Prize winners. Maybe it is a coincidence.  Also: countries that can afford larger chocolate consumption are more likely to have more universities, so more Nobel Prize winners.

So in conclusion, chocolate is probably somewhat good for you, but maybe this whole this is ‘causation correlation’ mistake.

Enjoy your brain healthy chocolate.

Wednesday 11/14/12

The beautiful picture this week was taken by Jenny Varn from her home.  Next week is Thanksgiving, a time when America joins family and friends to enjoy our lives and remember what we have and to be thankful for our bounty whether it be large or small. SCP reporter Ira Kane sent a link to information about the story of Thanksgiving, not just the fable of happy Indians and Pilgrims but it tells some of the truth about history both good and bad, it’s good to base your life in reality and not just the fairy tale ending. Reality can be good and when it’s bad it helps to remember so we don’t let it happen again. See here Thanksgiving Story . Meanwhile if you are in Downieville on Thanksgiving Day stop by the Miss Jody Community Thanksgiving Dinner, a fun event for all, locals, visitors and families sponsored by the Downieville Lion’s Club, the United Methodist and Assembly of God churches. For fun be sure to read Gabby, Java, Cooter, The Fringe and Mary (oh wait, he’s not funny).and Ask Jerusha .  We have some great guest articles this week Sandy a Savior?Radioactive Tea and of course The Peace Page .

By the way if you have pets and need a safe, happy, clean place to board them during holiday or other travel occasions when the pet can’t travel with you try the Wag Hotel in West Sacramento. Java loves to go there and she even gets a Report Card on her activity when she checks out.

Mark your calendar for December 1 and the Holiday on Main celebration in Downieville. December 15 will be the Children’s Christmas Party and Potluck in Sierra City Sierra City Christmas.

We want to know what you think about the Prospect and if you would like us to add any features or other information.  Send an email to: editor@sierracountyprospect.org

Wednesday November 7, 2012

Don’t forget to go see Red Tails this Friday night at the Yuba Theatre. Want to see how Sierra County voted – go here – SC Election results . Lots of stories this week including Gabby, Java, Cooter, Jerusha, Fringe, Veterans. Sunday is Veterans Day and our picture this week is of an Eagle “Standing Guard” at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, MN by amateur photographer Frank Glick as it appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune Image © 2011 Frank Glick, used with permission, all rights reserved. www.liketophoto.com See story here Eagle. Be sure not to miss the showing of Red Tails at the Yuba Theatre Friday night. The election is over, so we can all relax and work together to keep our country great. No more campaign ads…. yahooooo…..

Friday November 2, 2012

Well some important issues arose that need to be seen right away so I am posting an extra issue. Firstly, the Downieville Warriors won their last Volleyball game of the season against Loyalton. Go Downieville see the happy post game meal here.  The Winners .  Veterans Day is Sunday November 11, we want Sierra County Vets to sign up for the annual Downieville Muster.Veterans Lunch  Then there is the Parent Teacher Organization raffle PTO2 with some really really great prizes, find out who kissed the chicken and how to get your tickets here Chicken Kiss.  Lastly, if you are a woman you might love this, I do, and if you love a woman you might want to listen to this. You Don’t Own Me