Aug 31, 2010

Aug 28, 2010

Alasandra's Reading List ~ August

  1. Bastion of Darkness by R. A. Salvatore - Del returns to save his daughter. Belexus finds a way to defeat the undead Hollis Mitchell and Rhiannon defeats Morgan Thalasi once and for all.
  2. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown - Great book, full of lots of interesting tidbits about Washington D.C.. Robert Langdon's friend and mentor is kidnapped and he must decipher the Masonic Pyramid to get him back. 
  3. Earth is Not alone by John Knapp II (See Book Review) Thumbs down in my opinion, I am sorry I wasted my time reading it. Frankly I think the book belongs in the dustbin.
  4. Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton - Enjoyable Read. Captain Charles Hunter makes a daring raid on Matanceros, survives hurricanes, cannibals and a kraken only to discover that Port Royal is under the control of a deadly enemy. With help from his crew he escapes and delivers justice to those who betrayed him.
  5. Mortal Fear by Greg Iles - Great book! Harper Cole has a secret that could destroy his marriage, but when he uses the secret to lure a psychopath that has been stalking women online into the open, someone close to him will die. Can he clear his best friends name and stop the psychopath before he and his wife becomes the next victims.
  6. The Touch by F. Paul Wilson - Alan Bulmer is an old fashion doctor who believes in healing people, he even makes house calls. His life is changed forever when a dying derelict touches him and passes on Dat-tay-vao (the ability to heal any illness at certain times of the day). Unfortunately the ability to heal comes with a price every time he heals someone a part of his brain is destroyed. Will his love for the Widow Nash and her autistic son led him to destroy himself in order to cure Jeffy?
  7. The Thousand Orcs by R. A. Salvatore (Book I The Hunter's Blade Trilogy) - The Companions & Bruenor's dwarven army set out for Mithral Hall, where Bruenor will be crowned King, again. They stop by the rival city of Mirabar where they find they are unwelcome by the human inhabitants of the city. Continuing on their way they find Nikwillig and Tred, two dwarves from Citadel Felbarr whose trading party was wiped out by giants and orcs. Nikwillig and a small body of dwarves continue on to Mithral Hall to prepare for an orc attack. While King Bruenor and the rest head to warn the human city of Shallows of the orc activity. They are warmly welcomed by the inhabits of Shallows and their wizard but before they can prepare a thousand orcs and ten frost giants attack the city. Drizzt & Guenhwyvar leave their friends behind to stop the giants' attack on the city. Regis sneaks off to go get help and Wulfgar, Catti-brie, King Bruenor and the remaining soldiers attempt to defend the city. When all hope is lost and the city is falling Regis arrives with reinforcements. They manage to rescue the survivors but must leave immediately before Drizzt can rejoin them. Believing themselves to be surrounded by orcs, they are relived to discover Torgar Hammerstriker with a host of dwarves from Mirabar who were on their way to Mithral Hall in the hopes of finding a new home amongst their kin.
  8. Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott - a very disturbing book. It weaves seventeenth century murders in with modern day ones.  The book revolves around a book being written by Elizabeth Vogelsang about Newton at the time of her death and the secrets the ghostwriter Lydia uncovers.  
  9. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory - I love her books and it has been a long time since I have read one.  The book opens with Elizabeth Woodville a young widow with two boys (The Grey Boys) standing by the roadside in hopes of catching the eye of King Edward IV. Their attraction is instantaneous and they secretly marry. After he secures the crown he brings her to London and has her crowned Queen. They have a number of children including two boys of their own Edward (Prince of Wales) & Richard as well as Princess Elizabeth (their eldest daughter).  King Edward puts down a number of rebellions including one by his brother George the Duke of Clarence and Warwick. Just when it looks as if the Royal Family & England will know peace King Edward takes a cold and dies. Richard takes Edward (Prince of Wales) into his custody and imprisons him in the Tower of London, and has himself crowned King. Queen Elizabeth takes her other children and goes into sanctuary. She first schemes with the Duke of Buckingham and Margaret Beaufort (Henry Tudor's Mother) to overthrow Richard but then fearing they will double cross her and take Edward's thrown for Henry she accepts Richard's rule as King. Her daughter falls in love with her Uncle Richard and they have plans to marry. Queen Elizabeth believes that Buckingham and Margaret Beaufort had her son Edward and the young boy with him in the tower killed. Queen Elizabeth's youngest son Richard has been sent into hiding. At the end of the book King Richard has promised to name his nephew Richard as his heir and Queen Elizabeth is considering bringing him out of hiding.
  10. The Search by Nora Roberts ~ Excellent book I couldn't put it down. Fiona and Simon are a cute and funny couple.  When Simon's Mother gives him a puppy (Jaws) he needs dog trainer Fiona to save the day.  Fiona is being stalked by a serial killer so her life is just a tad complicated, but it's nothing Simon can't handle, even though she isn't his type.

Aug 20, 2010

Great LTE on Net Neutrality

Let the FCC regulate the ‘neutrality’ of the Internet 

I read Mr. Jose Marquez’s letter of Aug. 9 (“‘Net Neutrality’ rules are wolves in sheep’s clothing”) on the subject of net neutrality with astonishment that someone who had taken the time in New York to write a letter to the Sun Herald could be so unfortunately mistaken.

Network neutrality is the principle that the Internet should remain the way it is now — Internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon and AT&T shouldn’t discriminate (by, for example, slowing down or cutting off access) in providing Web access to different Web sites or Web services.That’s it!

As an aside, much of the infrastructure that ISPs own was paid for with government subsidies.

You and I pay an ISP money monthly to get access to the Internet at a certain speed and for a certain amount of data transfer, or bandwidth.Google (which owns YouTube), Facebook and everyone else who provides a Web site or other service also pays an ISP commensurate to their usage.

Larger companies like Google are paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bandwidth costs, and have often themselves bought up miles and miles of “dark fiber” — cable that had already been laid, but wasn’t being used. Thousands of miles of these unused cables are still out there.

The Internet is getting along fine right now providing YouTube and other streaming video services to millions. Even if it weren’t, ISPs are sitting on billions of dollars in profit and are being offered more subsidies to expand their infrastructure. They’d like to increase that profit by instead restricting access — imagine a model where companies must pay more money to get into the “Basic Internet” package, and you must pay more money for the “Internet Plus” package to see the Web sites that couldn’t afford that.

The courts say the FCC has the authority to regulate this, and they should.

JONATHAN ALAWINE
Ocean Springs

Aug 16, 2010

Old Irish bones may yield murderous secrets in Pa

The brothers have long hypothesized that many of the workers succumbed to cholera, a bacterial infection spread by contaminated water or food. The disease was rampant at the time, and had a typical mortality rate of 40 percent to 60 percent.

The other immigrants, they surmise, were killed by vigilantes because of anti-Irish prejudice, tension between affluent residents and poor transient workers, or intense fear of cholera - or a combination of all three.

Old Irish bones may yield murderous secrets in Pa. - Nation Wire - SunHerald.com

Aug 14, 2010

Alasandra's Garden

I love the Mexican Petunias. 



 I think yellow is a very cheerful color. Yellow flowers always make me smile.

The insects like my yellow buttercup shrub.

Does anyone know what the insects on the leaves are?



The Thyme is blooming.

Foxgloves

The red is a Texas Star Hibiscus and the pink is a Chinese Hibiscus

The beginning of my Cottage Garden. The flowerbeds will eventually be rocked up like the flowerbed in the front yard. If you enlarge the photo you may be able to see the roses. They were gifts from my parents and are suppose to have pink and red blooms.

Aug 11, 2010

Aug. 11 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Letters - SunHerald.com

Nice to know someone else with a brain lives in Mississippi

America’s wall of separation actually protects religion

I’m so weary of letters extolling the incorrect views that this nation is a Christian nation and has been from its inception. Read your history! Most immigrants to this country were not religious. The Founding Fathers were mostly Deists and Freemasons. 

Many conservative religious activists try to rewrite history, but their claims simply don’t hold to the historical evidence. Nowhere in the Constitution do you find the word “God.” It is a secular document, meant to be that way to avoid the inherent problems with theocracy that had been evidenced in Europe for centuries. Thomas Jefferson interpreted the First Amendment in 1802 in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, calling it a “wall of separation between church and State.” Madison wrote that “Strongly guarded … is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution.” 
The wall of separation actually protects religion. There are more churches in the U.S. than fast-food establishments. Keeping religion separate allows atheists and religious groups to practice their beliefs without government intervention.

As the young nation began to delve into international affairs, few foreign nations knew about its intentions. In the 1700s the U.S. sent a letter called the “Treaty of peace and friendship between the U.S. of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli, of Barbary.” It stated, “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; … it is declared that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” 

The words “In God We Trust” on money and “One Nation Under God” in the pledge of allegiance were placed by congressmen who were followers of the radical fringe group “The Family” founded by Abraham Vereide. They owned the now-infamous townhouse on “C” Street in Washington.

I was raised as a Christian, before that word became a name for a radical view of the scriptures. As a Christian I firmly believe in that wall of separation. We only have to look to Iran to see how a theocracy comports itself in the world. 

CAROL STROHMETZ
Bay St. Louis

Aug. 11 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Letters - SunHerald.com

Aug 6, 2010

Banana Ice Cream

2 cups sugar
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (13 oz.) can evaporated milk
6 cups whole (I use fat free/skim) milk
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Flavoring
3 bananas mashed

Mix all ingredients blending well, pour into freezer can of a 1 gallon freezer and freeze well.

Book Review ~ Earth is Not Alone by John Knapp II

The Emryss Chronicles

Since this book is targeted for teens I asked my boys if they would like to read it. My 19 year old took a pass, but my 21 year old read it and and pronounced it passable.

I find Knapp's switching between the past and present annoying. Also he refers to Jonas Harwell as Michael Hammond Jr's Step-Father which is INCORRECTA STEP-Parent is someone who is married to one of your biological parents. The only way Jonas Harwell would be Michael's Step-Father would have been for him to be married to Michael's Mother, which he wasn't. Jonas Harwell is Michael's adopted Dad. He adopted Michael after his parents were killed in a car crash that also claimed the life of Jonas' wife. Also the adoption seems a bit POINTLESS as Michael lives with his Great-Aunt.

Dr Jonas Harwell is the preacher at Grace Missionary Alliance Church (the plot is frequently interrupted by a sermon or prayer from him), besides adopting Michael he is also the legal guardian of  Triana Simms (Alien). Both Michael and Triana have Marvin Cample (Atheist) for a teacher. The book opens with Mr Cample accusing Michael & Triana of cheating due to them both turning in similar folktales from Emryss. At this point Mr. Cample doesn't know Triana is an Alien, much less that Emryss actually exist. A secondary plot involves the Earth being hit be an electronic magnetic pulse frying all the electronic gadgets on earth. The United States is living under a barter economy.

The folktales they turned in are shared in their entirety and are rather enjoyable. In fact for me they were the most enjoyable part of the book.

The character development stinks. I never felt a connection with any of the characters and could have cared less what happened to them.

If you want to be preached at and told how wonderful Christianity is this book is for you. If you want an enjoyable read I recommend you look elsewhere.

Aug 2, 2010

Serendipity

Serendipity is a propensity for making fortuitous discoveries while looking for something unrelated.

Mrs Ann over at Zoolatry made a lovey banner for Charybdis' blog. I was looking for a bluish-gray color for the background color to go with the banner when I stumbled on the hex code for quartz. Thinking it was the bluish-gray I was looking for I used it for the background. Turns out it was more of a lavender color. Since I had chores to do and a Hubby around to remind me that I couldn't play with hex codes all day I left it up and ........................I decided I REALLY LIKE IT with the banner. Turns out the banner has some lavender and purple in it that I didn't notice until I used the quartz for the background color. It also brings out the greenish leaves in the pink rose dividers.

I needed new towels for the Master Bathroom and I was TIRED of PINK. First I thought of going with green, but wasn't having any luck matching the green ( soft apple green) in the shower curtain and accessories. Then I thought of going with the purple but couldn't find a match for it either. I wound up going with Desert Gold and am pleased with the results. I'll probably buy some additional washcloths next month as we don't seem to have enough.