Saturday, 17 June 2017

Currently Reading, General Topics, the History and Science Things and the Birth Day Thing

It's been a sort of lazy day today, or at the very least, I've been feeling sort of lazy. Took Bonnie down to the vet to get her tail checked again. It's progressing nicely, the vet says it's getting better each time I take her in.

This is what it looked like back in 2003 when we first bought it
The missus started painting her 'woman's cave' today. We emptied out the closet, took down the shelves, moved out a bit of the furniture and all of the loose stuff. Jo will finish painting tomorrow, or get the main stuff done. Then on Monday, the kids show up to put new shelves in the closet and mount a display board on the wall. We'll be working on the closet in the den while they work upstairs.
This is the view, but with the old windows.
We've done some work on the room, but just basic stuff; painted it, installed new windows. But it's basically become a storage room. So it'll be nice to turn it into a usable room again.

Currently Reading

This morning I finished the sixth book in the Travis McGee mystery series by John D. MacDonald, that being Bright Orange for the Shroud. Definitely a dark story and it kept me on the edge of my seat. My review is below. I've started something I think will be a bit lighter as a replacement, Death of a Cad by M.C. Beaton. It's the 2nd book in the Hamish MacBeth mystery series. Anyway, the review for the McGee book follows -

"Bright Orange for the Shroud is the 6th book in the Travis McGee mystery series by John D. MacDonald. It surprised me that it's been 4 years since I last delved into McGee's world.
McGee is a beach bum who lives on his houseboat in Florida and to make ends meet takes cases to help people in need. In this story he is planning to take the summer off, having earned enough money from previous cases, so he can take the boat and just relax and vegetate for the summer.
His plans are upset by the sudden appearance of an acquaintance, Arthur Wilkinson. Arthur is at wit's end and doesn't know who can help him, but McGee. He married a few months back and it turns out that it was part of a scam to bilk him of his inheritance. Arthur is beaten physically, mentally and spiritually by this encounter. With the assistance of Chooke, a dancer who had previously dated Arthur, McGee agrees to try and help. While Chooke works to build up Arthur's spirit again, they set off to try and get Arthur's money back.
That's the basic story, but it has an edgy darkness to it. Arthur is a decent guy, who has had his spirit broken by his 'wife', a malicious, wicked gold digger and his body broken by a swamp dweller, Boone Waxwell, who partners with the 'wife', Wilma. Other people were involved in the scam but Boone becomes the focus and he is someone you don't ever want to meet.
McGee's plan to recover the money is not without danger and the story begins to get under your skin, in a creepy, dangerous way. I'm trying to remember the other McGee stories I've read so far, but I think that this one might have been the darkest, or at the very least, right up there.
The story is a page turner, the characters; McGee, Chooke and Arthur are all well-crafted and they are people who you don't want anything bad to happen to. Excellent story and I look forward to the 7th instalment. (4 stars)"

The Missus's Music Challenge

Today I'll look back at the entries for Days 23 - 26.

Day 23 - Name a song that Everybody Should Listen to. I chose Hello Birmingham by Ani Di Franco. Jo's sis, Sue, chose James by Billy Joel, Jo picked Age of Reason by John Farnham. A couple of other choices included Mississippi Goddam by Nina Simone and Symphony by Clean Bandit.

Day 24 - Song by a Band or Group you Wish were still Together. I chose Living in the Past by Jethro Tull. Other selections included Selling England by the Pound by Genesis, He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother by The Hollies, and Jo's choice, Kisses of Fire by Abba.

Day 25 - A Song by an Artist no Longer Living. I chose Billy's Blues by Laura Nyro. Other choices included The Arms of Orion by Prince, Jesus Was a Cross Maker by Judee Sill (picked by Jo), Let The Music Play by Barry White, etc.

And finally, Day 26 - A Song that Makes you Want to Fall in Love. I chose Passionate Kisses by Mary Chapin Carpenter. Other selections included Close To You by The Carpenters, You Give Me Something by James Morrison, In Demand by Texas (Jo's selection), etc.

Today's selection is a Song that Breaks Your Heart. You'll have to wait until next post for that one. :)

Great Historical Events
This excerpt will concern July 4th, 1776.


July 4. - The American colonies openly declared their independence and freedom from British sovereignty
Eleven of the thirteen States establish a second branch of Legislature, calling it a Senate.
The States unitedly agree in appointing for each a Governor, or head of each State.
The States agreed in deriving their powers of government from the people' and in no case was the smallest title or power to be exercised from hereditary right.
All hereditary privileges and religious establishments were declared abolished, thereby destroying the alliance between Church and State (Ed. Note - Oh my, that is funny. You'd never know it these days in the US of A), and leveling all social distinctions."

Science of Common Things (Today's excerpt from Prof L.G. Gorton)

"Why is it frequently warmer when a frost sets in? Because when a liquid is changed to a solid heat is given out. Why is it sometimes colder when a thaw sets in? Because when a substance changes from a solid to a liquid it takes up heat. How is ice cream frozen? (Ed. Note - Now who doesn't want to know that?) By placing salt on pounded ice. The salt melts the ice, and in melting the heat is taken from the cream."

Well, there you go.. what will the good Professor discuss the next time you ask? Wait and see.

The Birth Day Thing 10 November 1989

US Billboard #1 Single 10 November 1989

Listen to your Heart by Roxette.  Roxette is a Swedish rock duo who formed in 1986. They had 4 US #1's and Listen to your Heart was their second.

UK #1 Single 10 November 1989

That's What I Like by Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers. Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers were an English novelty pop act in the 1980's and early 90's. They had 3 UK #1 singles, with That's What I Like being the second.

New York Times #1 Fiction Best Seller 10 November 1989

The Dark Half by Stephen King. I think this was around the time I started to lose interest in Stephen King. I had been a real fanatic up to then. I remember starting this book but for the life of me, I don't remember finishing it. This was around the time that he also put out Rose Madder, Gerald's Game, Dolores Claiborne, etc and they didn't grab me like his earlier books.

The Dark Half, as far as I recall is about a writer who begins seeing some sort of evil twin. I think I'll let you look it up as even now I'm losing interest.. ;0)

It was turned into a movie as well, starring Timothy Hutton as the main character.

Pulitzer Prize Winner 1989

Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler. I can't say I've ever read anything by Anne Tyler although I have looked at her books on occasion. Breathing Lessons is her 11th novel, of 21 so there is lots to choose from.

Breathing Lessons tells the tale of the ordinary marriage of Ira and Maggie Moran as they travel from Baltimore to attend a funeral and back again in one day.. (Well, maybe I won't look up her books....)

It was turned into a TV movie starring James Garner and Joanne Woodward and also was adapted into a stage play.

Nobel Prize Laureate 1989

Camilo Jose Cela (Spain).  Camilo Jose Cela lived from 1916 - 2002 and was a Spanish novelist, short story writer and essayist. He was awarded his Nobel Laureate 'for a rich and intensive prose, which with restrained compassion forms a challenging vision of man's vulnerability.'

Hugo Award Winner 1989

Cyteen by CJ Cherryh. This was Cherryh's second Hugo Award, the first being for 1982's Down Below Station. The story is set in her Alliance - Union universe and in the story the murder of a major Union politician and scientist has major repercussions.

I have looked at Cherryh's books many times and keep putting her stories back on the shelf. I will definitely have to try one of her stories.

Edgar Award Winner 1989

A Cold Red Sunrise by Stuart Kaminsky. I have read other books by Kaminsky and enjoyed. A Cold Red Sunrise is the 5th book in a series I've not yet tried, that of Porfiry Rostnikov. Rostnikov is sent to investigate the murder of a Commissar under the watchful eye of the Kremlin.

It does sound a bit like an Arcady Renko mystery. Maybe I'll have to check it out.

Man Booker Prize Winner 1989

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. I did have this book on my shelf for awhile but I kept getting mixed reviews of it and I've so many to read that I ended up trading it in, unread.

It is a story by British writer Kazuo Ishiguro and tells the story of a butler, Stephen, recalling his life in the form of a diary.

The book was turned into a movie as well, starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson and was nominated for 8 Academy Awards.

So there you go, a late entry today. Enjoy your Sunday!

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