Month: July 2013
Sometimes you stumble on something so special, and so uplifting, that you just have to share it with the world. [Thank you Mark].
These children are playing instruments made from rubbish thrown onto landfill. And their music is beautiful.
Please watch this video clip, and then share it with your friends. Promoting wonderful things is what social media should be all about.
This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge is Masterpiece. Most people think of works of art or fantastic buildings when this word is brought up, but to me, nature is the source of the real masterpieces. So, I searched my nature photo files for the one that screams masterpiece to me. This desert scene, shot just east of Tucson, Arizona, shows nature at her best. Hope you agree.
A further installment in the story of my diplomatic career http://charlesaray.blogspot.com/2013/07/diplomatic-life-tale-of-khao-soi-and.html
http://charlesaray.blogspot.com/2013/07/beware-trolls-lurk-among-us.html A think piece on the practice of Internet Trolling.
For anyone interested in prints of nature and wildlife scenes, some of my photography is available for sale at:
I’m adding photos daily, but here are some examples of what is currently available:
I love taking photos of all kinds of wildlife. One usually thinks of wandering far afield when doing this, and in truth I have done that, with photo safaris in Africa, Europe, Asia, and many parts of the United States. On July 4, 2013, though, I fell and hurt my hip, and since then I’ve been pretty much confined to my house or hobbling around with the aid of a cane, which you might think would inhibit my ability to get good wildlife photos. Not so. My deck looks out on a wilderness park, and my neighbor has a profusion of flowering plants in his back yard. Butterflies, birds, squirrels, and many other small creatures can frequently be seen hopping, perching, or flying around in both places, as well as my small back lawn.
For the past thirteen days, I’ve spent many hours sitting under an umbrella on my deck, camera in hand. I’ve documented an interesting array of nature’s creatures who’ve come to visit, all without having to move more than ten feet – to the rail of the deck for a clearer shot in some cases. More often than not, I’m able to just sit in my chair and by using my telephoto lens, get some pretty good shots of my visitors. Here is a small offering of what I’ve been able to get. I’d be interested in how many readers have also documented the wildlife around their homes. If you do a post of your photos, please link them to this post so that I and other readers can also enjoy them. Happy shooting.
Wicked Hunger (SomeOne Wicked This Way Comes, #1)
by DelSheree Gladden
Published: July 9, 2013
Publisher: GMTA Publishing
Vanessa and Zander Roth are good at lying. They have to be when they are hiding a deadly secret. Day after day, they struggle to rein in their uncontrollable hunger for pain and suffering in order to live normal lives. Things only get worse when Ivy Guerra appears with her pink-striped hair and secrets. The vicious hunger Ivy inspires is frightening, not to mention suspicious.
Vanessa’s instincts are rarely wrong, so when they tell her that Ivy’s appearance is a sign of bad things to come, she listens. She becomes determined to expose Ivy’s secrets. Vanessa tries to warn her brother, but Zander is too enamored with Ivy to pay attention to her conspiracy theories.
One of them is right about Ivy … but if they lose control of their hunger, it won’t matter who is right and who is wrong. One little slip, and they’ll all be dead.
Chapter 3: No Happy Endings
“I want you to stay away from that girl,” I say.
“But she’s Laney’s cousin. I can’t avoid her without doing the same to Laney.”
“Maybe that’s just how it has to be, then.” Giving up friends, it’s something Van should get used to, now, because it isn’t going to stop any time soon.
Van shakes her head. “No, Zander. She’s my best friend. I’m not going to bail on Laney like that.”
“You think she’ll be happy you stayed friends with her when you kill her pretty little cousin?” I snap.
Her head drops down, but I can still see the corner of her mouth twitching. “I can control it. I won’t hurt her.”
“You can’t guarantee that.”
“I won’t live like you,” she says quietly. “I won’t live alone for the rest of my life because I’m scared of hurting people.”
I sigh and close my eyes. “It’s not about being scared, Van. It’s about being smart. Stay away from her.”
For a long moment, she doesn’t say anything. Deep down, I’m hoping with everything I have that she’ll listen to me. I can’t go through it again. Oscar nearly broke me. She can’t expect me to go through that with her. I won’t make it. Please just listen to me, I beg.
When she finally speaks, her voice startles me. “She knows something.”
It’s just a simple sentence, but it ignites my anger like a match to a fuse. “She doesn’t know anything! Nobody does. Get that through your head and quit looking for answers, Van!”
My sister’s head snaps up and my hands tighten into fists at the determination in her eyes. “She knows something, and I’m going to find out what it is.”
Then she throws open the door of the truck and runs away.
Psychologists and therapists must delve into the dark recesses of their patients’ minds in order to help them come to term with their demons and restore some semblance of order and sanity into their lives. How much more difficult that task is when having to deal with the shadows over their own minds is hard for a mere layman to fathom. In Losing My Mind: Dark Shadows of a Wounded Healer, David G. Mirich takes us on his own personal journey through the shadows of the valley of madness.
Having endured growing up with a driven, humorless, alcoholic father, and a childhood that can only be described as dysfunctional, Mirich was able to eventually come to terms with the things that haunted his existence. In doing so, he was then able to more effectively help others.
Losing My Mind reads like a roman noir; gritty and uncompromising. The reader quickly finds himself sucked down into the vortex of confusion, anger, and alienation that characterized most of the author’s life. This is not a book that can be read in one sitting. One has to get away from it from time to time to allow what has been read to germinate into fuller understanding. In addition, it is intense; so intense, breaks are necessary to relieve the tension.
This is not light reading, but certainly worth the effort.
The One We Feed by Kristina Meister is a chilling story that will keep you awake at night. Lilith is an immortal working with mortal cops to go after the Sangha. While on a stakeout, she sees a group of Sangha members with a captive, a little girl. As Lilith rushes to the girl’s rescue, she discovers that the child is something else – something beyond imagining. The question for Lilith then becomes, who in that tableau needed saving?
Gritty dialogue and graphic descriptions take you into a netherworld of the undead and the soon to be dead. You’ll smell the blood and sweat and hear the rapid panic-inspired beating of hearts. Meister is aptly names, for she is a meister of the genre. A writer who is destined to take her place in the galaxy of horror fiction stars.
When you open the pages of The One We Feed make sure your seat belt is fastened because you’re in for one hell of a wild ride.
Fantastical Ramblings by Irene Radford is a fantastical collection of short stories. Many of the stories in this beautifully crafted book have been previously published in fantasy anthologies, while others were featured initially as free offerings on Book View Café. Each story, from ‘The Sword of Herakles’ to ‘Not My Knot’ is worth getting the book for.
A military brat who grew up all over the place, and who found refuge in books at an early age, Radford has a magical way with words. The worlds she creates in her stories are fantasy, but she describes them in a way that makes them seem real, and her characters, whether from mythology, history, or her own fertile imagination, stride confidently off the pages to grip you in a vice-like clasp of believability and adventure.
The way Radford adds little twists to her stories is particularly appealing. She grabs readers firmly by the imagination for a roller coaster journey and at the end springs an ‘Oh, My’ moment on them that leaves them gasping for air.
This is a book that can be read over a long weekend or in snatches as you commute back and forth to your mundane job. Whichever you do, it’s guaranteed to please.
Gregory Karp’s Living Rich by Spending Smart has as its main premise what is essentially a no-brainer: controlling what you spend is the key to building wealth. This book grew out of columns Karp wrote for the Tribune Company of newspapers beginning in 2004. In the columns, he didn’t focus on telling people what to do with excess money; rather, he talked about how to manage spending so that people could generate excess money in the first place.
Written in easy to understand English, Karp’s guide covers the waterfront, from how to avoid the worst spending habits, to strategies for intelligent spending on specific occasions like holidays, shopping and spending around the home, vacation spending, and financial services. In selecting bank accounts, for instance, he warns against paying banks to hold your money. Like I said, a no-brainer, but a spending mistake that millions make to their detriment.
Whether you’re just starting out in your working live, or you’re trying to make ends meet on retirement income, there’s something in this book that will help you become more financially secure.
Even though it was originally written in 2008, it’s a must-read in today’s uncertain economic times. A clear five stars.