Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Currently Reading, History / Science, the Music Challenge and the Birth Day Thing.

Not a lot to say on the personal front. We've been enjoying cooler temperatures the past few days, with a nice breeze keeping the temperature down to the low 20s. I hope it's also helping those people trying to fight the forest fires in the Interior. Rain is what they need of course, but not much in the forecast. Oh we finished Season 6 of Game of Thrones on the weekend and are now looking forward to Season 7 which starts this Sunday. We also watched a couple of episodes of the first season of The Good Fight. I'm enjoying more than the last couple of seasons of The Good Wife. I think I enjoy not having Julianne Margulies about.

Currently Reading

Yesterday, I finished The Archer Files, my first exposure to Ross Macdonald's PI Lew Archer. He's a detective in the same vein as Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade and Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe. I wanted to read it because I've enjoyed a few books by Macdonald's wife, Margaret Millar, an excellent mystery writer. I'm moving on to the 2nd Inspector Morse next, Last Seen Wearing, by Colin Dexter. If you're interested below is my review of The Archer Files.

" The Archer Files: The Complete Short Stories of Lew Archer, Private Investigator by Ross Macdonald is my first exposure to Macdonald's writing. I have enjoyed quite a few books by his wife, fellow mystery writer, Margaret Millar and have wanted to explore the world of Lew Archer, as created by Macdonald.
The book is a series of short stories featuring PI Archer and also a number of unfinished stories showing some of the other cases that Archer might have been involved in.
I enjoyed Macdonald's writing, in the style of Dashiell Hammett and John D. MacDonald, and enjoyed PI Archer. Archer takes on cases where he feels a responsibility to the person hiring him or the person being investigated. In a number of cases, he just falls into it by accident and wants to correct a wrong or just help a person in need. He never overcharges; $50 a day plus expenses and he doesn't like helping the Mob or being bought. He's an ex-boxer and officer from WWII and knows how to handle himself in a bad situation. He works in California with a small office on Sunset Boulevard. The book starts off with a nice biography of Lew Archer, his past and what makes him tick.
People get killed in his cases, sometimes by him, sometimes by someone else. There are nice little twists in each one, some not complex. You can figure out who is responsible, but the explanations are always interesting. MacDonald's description of the people and the surroundings are always on point and he has a nice, tidy way of getting out the facts and the stories. I enjoyed very much and now look forward to trying one of Lew Archer's cases in novel format. (4 stars)"

The Missus's Music Challenge

Today let's see what people were choosing for Days 48 - 50.

Day 48 - Song from an Artist whose Concert was the Best you ever went to. There were so many I could have chosen here; The Police, The Cars, Chantal Kreviazuk, to name a few. I ended up picking the first concert I ever went to, from back in my university days. The concert was by the Electric Light Orchestra and I saw it at old Maple Leaf Gardens. They were touring to promote their New World Record album. I chose Do Ya as my song. Jo chose The Sun Goes Down by Level 42. Some other choices included My Cherie Amour by Stevie Wonder, Station to Station by David Bowie, Inner Smile by Texas, etc.

Day 49 - A Song you Know all the Words to. As I said on the Facebook challenge page, I don't know all of the words to any song. As my Dad would tell me, Billy sing solo... so low I can't hear you. :0) Anyway I did pick a song, that being Yellow Submarine by The Beatles. Jo picked Don't Stop Believing by Journey. Of course both Jo and her sis know all the lyrics to so many songs, they have that kind of memory and they sing enthusiastically. Speaking of Sue, she picked Dancing Queen by ABBA. Some other choices included Love for Sale by De Lovely, Daydream  Believer by The Monkees, Rhinestone Cowboy by Glen Campbell, etc.

Day 50 - Favourite Christmas song. So appropriate to pick a Xmas song in July. It was actually a very popular challenge. I chose 12 Days of Christmas by Bob and Doug MacKenzie. Jo chose I Believe in Father Christmas by Greg Lake (great song). Other choices included Fairytale of New York by The Pogues, Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt, I Wish it Could be Xmas Everyday by Wizzard. I could have also picked Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses.

Today's pick is your favourite TV theme. It's been very popular so far, but I'll wait until next entry to go into that one.. :)

Great Historical Events

Continuing our historical journey through 1778.

"1778. The British loss, up to this date, amounted to 20,000 men and 550 vessels.
Feb. 6. - France acknowledges the independence of the United States. (Ed. Comment. No ulterior motives for that I'm sure.)
March 1. - $1in specie is exchanged for $1.75 in paper money; Sept. 1, for $4; 1779, March 1, for $10; Sept. 1, for $18; 1780, March 18, for $40; Dec. 1, for $100; and 1781, May 1, for from $200 to $500.
June 28. - Battle of Monmouth
July 3, 4. - Massacre at Wyoming. Over 1,000 Indians and Tories fell upon the inhabitants, and cruelly put to death the great part of them, destroying everything in their savage fury.
June 16. - War between England and Spain."

Next entry will go into John Paul Jones' naval victory.

Science of Common Things - from the great mind of Prof. L.G. Gorton

"Why on a warm day does moisture collect on the outside of an ice-pitcher? Because the moisture of the atmosphere is condensed by coming in contact with the cold pitcher. What causes dew? At night the earth and all objects upon it radiate the heat received from the sun during the day and become colder than the air, and the vapor of the air coming in contact with the cooler objects is condensed and deposited in the form of dew. (Ed Comment. I thought it was from giant's tears.)"

More about dew next entry...

The Birth Day Thing 10 November 1995 - On this day I reached the exalted age of 40... Egads!

US Billboard Chart #1 Single 10 November 1995

Fantasy by Mariah Carey. This was the 2nd time since 1990 that Mariah had the #1 single on my birthday. Maybe I inspired her? Interestingly, besides Carey herself, other song writers given credit for this song, include Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads.

UK #1 Single 10 November 1995

Gangsta's Paradise by Coolio. Coolio is an American rapper. Gangsta's Paradise was written by Stevie Wonder, amongst other credited writers. It was used in the movie Dangerous Minds and is a fantastic song, reaching #1 around the world.

New York Times #1 Fiction Best Seller 10 November 1995

The Lost World by Michael Crichton. The Lost World is Crichton's sequel to his equally popular book, Jurassic Park. I'm sure I've read it, but then again, it may just be that I've seen the movie so many times. If you haven't heard of it before, you need to read both. Exciting stuff.

Pulitzer Prize Winner 1995

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields. The Stone Diaries is a novel by American-born, Canadian novelist shields. Besides the Pulitzer it also won the Governor General's Award in Canada. The book is the fictional autobiography of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a seemingly ordinary woman whose life is marked by death and loss from the beginning, when her mother dies during childbirth. Through marriage and motherhood, Daisy struggles to find contentment, never truly understanding her life's true purpose. Shields was born in 1935 in Oak Park, Illinois and died in 2003 in Victoria, British Columbia./

Nobel Prize Laureate 1995

Seamus Heaney (Ireland). Heaney was an Irish poet and playwright who lived from 1939 - 2013. He was awarded the Nobel Prize laureate "for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past."

Hugo Award Winner 1995

Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold. I think I finally get the hint. This is the 3rd time that Bujold won the Hugo Award since 1991. OK, hit me on the head with a hammer, I get it. I'll try her work. :)

Mirror Dance is the 14th book of 30 in Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga as published but it is listed as the 8th book in the saga. What do you think the odds are that another one or two might win the Hugo award? We'll see.

Edgar Award Winner 1995

The Red Scream by Mary Willis Walker. Mary Willis Walker is an American crime writer. She was born in Wisconsin in 1942. The Red Scream was the first of 3 books featuring Texas-based crime reporter Molly Cates, who is compared to Kinsey Milhone and Kat Colorado. I'll have to check this out.

 Man Booker Prize Winner 1995

The Ghost Road by Pat Barker. Pat Barker is an English novelist. She was born 1943 in Yorkshire. The Ghost Road was the 3rd book in her Regeneration trilogy, on the subject of WWI. The Ghost Road follows the fortunes of shell-shocked British army officers towards the end of WWI.

 Giller Prize Winner 1995

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. I'm not sure which of his books I read first, but when I read the first, I found myself reading all of the other books by Indian-born, Canadian writer Mistry. Such a Long Journey, A Fine Balance and Family Matters are all excellent novels, which tell such poignant, fascinating stories.
"A Fine Balance is set against the emergency measures imposed by Indira Gandhi in the mid-1970s. It follows the lives of four unlikely people as they struggle “to maintain a fine balance between hope and despair.” Originally published in 1995, A Fine Balance is both a warning about the human terrors that await a society without compassion and a testimony to the enduring greatness of the human spirit. It has a unique ability to be terribly depressing but also provide hope for the strength of human spirit. I loved all of Mistry's stories."

I hope you enjoyed. More next time. Have a great day and week!

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