Writing Quotes

It’s all about the honest truth. You basically have a lot of hideous sentences if you don’t rewrite. I know from experience. Holy crap. Frustrating and exciting at the same time.

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New Idea Called The Trifecta

Image of the Week

This is self explanatory as I feel as if I’m leaping toward 2018 and doing my best to leave 2017 behind, but like everything, life is a work in progress and process.   It never really begins or ends because it is always moving and revolving in many directions.

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Word of the Week

I picked this word because it started with a Y and was rather random this time.  I’m waiting for a word where I can actually relate.

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Video of the Week

I picked the ice dancing skaters, Klimova and Ponomarenko, from the Olympic Games in Albertville, Canada.  They won Gold with their flawless free dance.

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New Year, New Random Info

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January 2018: Looking Back in Time and Random Information

Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem “The Raven” was first published in the New York Evening Mirror on January 29, 2845. Poe was paid $15.

Astronaut John Glenn was seventy-seven when the Space Shuttle Discovery launched in 1998, making Glenn the oldest person ever to travel in space.

Roald Dahl, best known as an author of children’s books, including The BFG and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was the screenwriter of the 1967 James Bond film, You Only Live Twice.

You probably wouldn’t consider Australia as a skiing destination, but it does snow down under. The Australian Alps get about 6.5 feet of snow from June through September.

Use baking soda in place of many toxic and irritating cleaners. To clean the bathtub, sprinkle baking soda over the tub surface, then wet it, and scrub with a damp sponge. Rinse, and enjoy your shiny tub.

The South Pole is colder than the North Pole.

It is tradition to open your front door on New Year’s Eve in Scotland before midnight to let the old year out and the new year in.

Price for one pound of Oreo cookies in a novelty can when the cookie was introduced in 1912 was 25 cents.

The number of publishing companies that rejected the manuscript of Dr. Seuss’s first book for children, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street was 27.

The London Underground subway began operations on January 10, 1863.

Source Material: Andrew McMeel Publishing

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I understand semi-functioning hands is not ideal as 2017 ends

I’ve been waiting to get surgery on my hands for over two months now.  Good thing is I got it done before the New Year.  Bad thing is I’ve only been able to watch Netflix and movies the past few days.  I’m looking forward when I can get these bandages off tomorrow.  I can’t wait to shower and get my stalled life started again.  I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m recycling my old crap and beginning with some new stuff.  Let the New Year start because I’m more than ready to showcase my blogs with more consistency and better construction.  Thanks everyone for following me as I’ve reached my one year mark basically.  Until the next time, goodnight.

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10 Must See Holiday Themed Movies

10 Must See Movies in Decemberor maybe in January

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These holiday themed movies are in no particular order.  If you’re wondering why I didn’t include It’s a Wonderful Life, it’s because I’ve never seen it.  Yes, you heard it right.  Maybe this year will be the year.  I mean while I’m at it, I might as well fit in The Hebrew Hammer.  Until the next time, cheers with eggnog or hot apple cider or hot chocolate or whatever else you might drink on a cold, winter night.

A Christmas Carol

While not the best rated or most liked version of this story by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (2009), is about Ebenezer Scrooge.  It’s easy to find bitterness when the future looks bleak.  I envision most people going through this at some point in their lives.  Scrooge ultimately has to decide which road he will take.  I really liked this version because of Jim Carrey’s voice and the film’s animation.

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Four Christmases

There are two camps of people: those who enjoy the cold weather in December and those who would rather be somewhere toasty warm.  Four Christmases (2008) is a hilarious movie about spending time with your family and wondering if you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.  Jon Favreau gives a solid performance as Vince Vaughn’s redneck brother.  There’s other funny moments and is a lighthearted movie.

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Home Alone

The staple of every holiday movie collection.  KEVIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!  Home Alone (1990) is where you realize eight-year olds know more than you think and are able to take care of themselves.  This is a big SORT OF.  Kevin McCallister turns out to be his parents’ worst nightmare on Christmas, but soon everyone realizes the true meaning of Christmas by the end.  It has a few sappy moments, but a great movie for any family.

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The Polar Express

ALL ABOARD!!!!!!!!!  The Polar Express (2004) is another animation movie Robert Zemeckis directed.  This movie is about a boy who travels to the North Pole where he learns about himself and what friendship means during Christmas.  Again the animation is visually great and you can’t go wrong with Tom Hanks.

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Little Women

I’ve seen this movie more than ten times and probably less than twenty.  Little Women (1994) is one of many adaptations about the March sisters from the story written by Louisa May Alcott.  You journey into the lives of each sister as they grow up without their father due to the Civil War.  It touches upon many subjects and all in all is a good wholesome movie.

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Bad Santa

Willie is a very bad Santa.  I mean what can go wrong.  A lot.  Bad Santa (2003) is about how even criminals can get a do over.  Willie and his sidekick elf, Marcus, commit robberies in department stores but meeting a kid throws a wrench in his holiday game plan.  It sends him in a downward spiral, making him face his holiday demons.

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Arthur Christmas

This is a movie about time constraints and sloppy work done, but there is nothing to fear because Arthur will make all things better.  Arthur Christmas (2011) is about how Arthur’s journey to right the wrong before Christmas morning arrives.  It is up to him to that a girl’s missing present doesn’t become just that.  Arthur is voiced by James McAvoy and Santa is voiced by Jim Broadbent.

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A Christmas Story

This is a movie I never really appreciated until I sat down and watched it in its entirety.  It’s a classic.  It’s so funny.  A Christmas Story (1983) is freaking awesome.  The tongue on the pole, the pink bunny costume, the leg lamp, and Chinese restaurant.  Ralphie got a raw deal in life, and even though he has the brattiest little kid brother, he still holds out hope for the BB gun.  Christmas miracles do happen.

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas

A character to scare every little kid out there, solely based on Jim Carrey’s make up, but is a great story by Dr. Seuss.  How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) is how one girl’s actions leads to changes within the Grinch.  He learns that there’s more to life than being mean and selfish as he meets the people of Whoville.

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The Family Stone

This probably isn’t the first movie you’d pick as a holiday movie, but The Family Stone (2005) is one of mine.  It’s about a family where the tightness among them is tight despite all their dysfunctions.  It centers around a matriarch, played by Diane Keaton, and how she wary of the newcomer, Meredith, which is her son’s girlfriend.  The differences are noticeable among them all, but it’s hard to put them aside when nothing said is right and every action taken is misunderstood.  A good movie for those who know dysfunction exists in every family. 

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Come Back Next December for More

One Sheets from IMDb

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Keeping it Real Holiday Quotes

Not your typical holiday quotes, but in all seriousness, I hope everyone is having a great time with friends, family, food, drink, and gifts.

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Movie Genre Recommendations #2

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Here’s a list of the major genres recognized by IMDb.  There are many to choose from, old and new, and my examples are ones I’ve recently watched the first time or again because I could and did.

IMDb Major Genres and Definitions

1. Comedy

Virtually all scenes contain characters participating in humorous or comedic experiences.

Moana (2016) is an animated movie I absolutely loved. It weaves the story of ancestral lines, familial duty, and individual dreams. It has a female protagonist, Moana Waialiki.  She searches for her own destiny, as well as protecting the island on which she lives. The scenes between Maui and herself were the some of the funniest.  You can’t beat Dwayne Johnson as Maui and his moving tattoos.  The musicality is a highlight as well.

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2. Documentary

Numerous consecutive scenes of real personages and not characters portrayed by actors. This includes stand-up comedy and concert performances.

13th (2016) does an excellent job breaking down the reality of the current day prison system, and the involvement of the African-Americans in the United States. It has solid, good information that should not be ignored. Historical events occurring 200+ years ago doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant today. It gives insight into the ugliness of race relations and inequality that still bleeds in present day situations, and how politicians use it recklessly to further to their campaign agendas.

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3. Family

Universally accepted viewing, and aimed specifically for the education and/or entertainment of children or the entire family.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) is another adaptation of the story by Roald Dahl. Who is better as Willy Wonka, between Gene Wilder or Johnny Depp, is anyone’s guess. They were both equally good, playing this kooky character, and I’m not sure who would stand on top of the candy cake. This story reminds me how kids are the products of their environment, and each one seems to have a few of the deadly sins, unless you have the name of Charlie. The kids are less interested in the Oompa-Loompas, and more concerned about the competition among themselves and where they fit into Wonka’s candy filled factory. This movie is a dream for people who want to run around in a house made of candy, eating whatever is within reach, or maybe I’m just speaking for myself here.

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4. Film-Noir

Typically features dark, brooding characters, corruptions, detectives, and the seedy side of the big city. Almost always shot in black and white, American, and set in contemporary time.

The Maltese Falcon (1941) is one of the best movies Humphrey Bogart starred in and one of the best mysteries ever made. It’s a whodunit without really ever getting closure for some of the people. It leaves you with scrapes without any ointment to stop the burning. Who knew a bird could be the object of so much attention, but well deserved, indeed.

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5. Horror

Numerous consecutive scenes of characters effecting a terrifying and/or repugnant narrative.

It Comes at Night (2017) builds slowly over time, with its focus being on survival in a time of uncertainty. The head of the family, Paul, expects discipline in following his rules to keep them safe.  This is put to the test when someone enters into their life, ultimately seeking help, further complicating the line between safe and unsafe.  There aren’t any gimmicks to draw the viewer into this movie.  What you get is what you see with honest dialogue, raw tension, and ending that leaves you thinking about what you would do in this situation.

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6. Musical

Several scenes of characters bursting into song aimed at the viewer while the rest of the time, usually but not exclusively, portraying a narrative that alludes to another genre.

Les Misérables (2012) is an adaptation from Victor Hugo.  Let’s all stand and clap at his writing achievement.  This musical production is one you either loved or hated.  I found very little wrong with it.  The cast was amazing with Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean and his nemesis, Javert, played by Russell Crowe.  The duo of Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter were perfect to play the Thénardiers  Anne Hathaway shined as Fantine as a prostitute and her daughter Cosette, played by Amanda Seyfried.  This story has it all: turmoil, revenge, forgiveness, redemption, and change.

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7. Romance

Numerous inter-related scenes of a character and their personal life with emphasis on emotional attachment or involvement with other characters, especially those with a high level of purity or devotion.

Her (2013) is not your typical romance movie.  When I first heard about it, I thought seriously, how good can a movie like this be?  I should’ve known better because of two things.  One, it was written and directed by Spike Jonze, and two, it starred Joaquin Phoenix.  This involves a writer, Theodore, who falls in love with the voice from his operating system on his phone. He’s not socially awkward to the point of not being able to have friends, but they are few and far between.  It’s an intriguing story with undercurrent themes of consumerism and social media.

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8. War

Numerous scenes and/or a narrative that pertains to a real war, past or current.

Allied (2016) could be seen as a typical love and war movie, and in some ways it is, but it also had an edge to it.  The main characters, Commander Max Vatan and French Resistance member Marianne Beauséjour, come together during World War II, working together for a greater cause.  It’s after things settle that complications arise.  Domesticity only goes so far.  This is about one’s loyalty to country and what happens when things appear differently from another angle.

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9. History

Primary focus is on real-life events of historical significance featuring real-life characters, allowing for some artistic license. Fictional characters, incidents, and dialog should be minor.

Lincoln (2012) is the movie when I realized James Spader had changed quite a bit in appearance.  It’s also the movie about the biggest conflicts, Civil War and slavery, the United States government and citizens and non-citizens have ever had to face.  Daniel Day-Lewis took the role and carved himself another fine performance.  The scope of negotiations to secure the ratification of the 13th amendment might seem simple when looking at it today, but as we’ve currently seen with Congress, there’s ample room for debate between two political parties and factions within even one or the other party.  This movie focuses on a small slice of American history and you don’t want to miss it.

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10. Music

Significant music-related elements, such as concert or story about a band.

Baby Driver (2017) was a surprise, meaning that it was that good. I wasn’t sure about the title of it and a half pink/tan one sheet.  I learned my lesson.  Don’t judge a movie by its one sheet.  Baby is a getaway driver for a ruthless crime boss named Doc who controls his future and every move.  His dream of living on his own terms is within grasp, but he keeps getting pulled back time and time again.  You learn music is an integral part of life.  The best scenes were between Jon Hamm who played Buddy and Ansel Elgort who played Baby.

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11. Mystery

Numerous inter-related scenes of one or more characters endeavoring to widen their knowledge of anything pertaining to themselves or others.

Wind River (2017) is one of the movies I always appreciate where it focuses on the interconnectedness between people.  The movie has conflict throughout: the FBI and locals unable to see eye to eye, two fathers clashing with each other, the cultural differences between Natives and everyone else.  Revenge is a dish best served cold especially in this case because the location is Wyoming during the winter.  You finally find out how the girl was murdered, but not before realizing some harsh truths about life.  It has a great realistic ending.

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12. Sci-Fi

Numerous scenes and/or entire background should be based on speculative scientific discoveries or developments, environmental changes, space travel, or life on other planets.

The Martian (2015) is pretty much a feel good movie with a lot of holy crap moments.  Matt Damon’s character of an astronaut, Mark Watney, learns to thrive on Mars when he is left alone. A mission is formulated to rescue him and as it gains momentum, it’s not only the space world wanting him to return safely.  This is a movie you could watch with your family except small children just because they don’t have the attention span.

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13. Thriller

Numerous sensational scenes or a narrative that is sensational or suspenseful.

The Butterfly Effect (2004) is a relative oldie in my collection and not sure why it was rated so poorly among some critics.  It definitely kept my interest.  It stars Ashton Kutcher as Evan Treborn who tries to piece his childhood together one memory at a time.  He goes back and forth between past and present time for what you will recognize this is a good thing.  Many things happen behind closed doors and this is one of those movies.

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14. Western

Numerous scenes and/or a narrative where the portrayal is similar to that of a frontier life in the American West during 1600 to contemporary times.

The Hateful Eight (2015) is not supposed to be funny, but for some reason I find Quentin Tarantino’s movies more hilarious than not.  This isn’t my favorite film of his, but it’s good with its superb cast including Walton Goggins, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Samuel L. Jackson.  Never able to narrow down what year exactly this takes place except to know it’s after the Civil War, eight people are forced to face nature’s harsh winter and counter defensive moves among each other.  You won’t be disappointed in this over the top movie.

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15. Fantasy

Numerous consecutive scenes of characters portrayed to effect a magical and/or mystical narrative.

Elf (2003) is a gem of a holiday movie about an elf, played by Will Ferrell, that is nothing what you would think these toy makers should look or act like because let’s face it, he’s not an elf.  As you can guess, he has some identity issues.  He ventures out into the “real world” to find out who he really is and connect with his birth father.  Elf is the epitome of a holiday movie: the North Pole, Santa Claus, family, and spirit.

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16. Drama

Numerous consecutive scenes of characters portrayed to effect a serious narrative, and can be exaggerated upon to produce melodrama.

Spotlight (2015) showcases the power of a newspaper, especially when it’s willing to dig where few people ever want to dig within religion.  The level of sexual abuse is maddening and tragic within any institution, but the Catholic Church seems to be the top layer for the widespread incidences, as you learn in this movie.  It has lasting effects for the abused and often little consequences for the abusers.  The statistics listed at the end are daunting.  It highlights a huge problem called power inequality (racial, social, economic, familial), and until this is fixed it will never be fully rectified.

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17. Crime

Whether the protagonists or antagonists are criminals, this contains numerous consecutive and inter-related scenes of characters participating, aiding, abetting, and/or planning criminal behavior or experiences usually for an illicit goal.

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) is one kick ass, bad ass, and kill as many people who deserve it movie where Keanu Reeves is John Wick.  The level of fighting and vendettas is even better than the first movie.  John Wick was born to do one thing, well probably more, but since his family life rug was pulled out from under his feet, he does what he has to do to survive.  It’s a simple story with adrenaline filled scenes and great special effects.  I can’t wait for the third installment as it’s bound to be just as good in 2019.

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18. Action

Numerous scenes where action is spectacular and usually destructive.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) is a movie for my heart.  Apocalyptic movies tends to bring out the best in the downtrodden and worst for the other side.  This story is about a the attempt to right the perceived wrongs by a displaced woman, Furiosa, and a man with nothing to lose, Max.  They learn to trust each other, and ultimately find a little bit more peace when their road out of hell appears to have ended.

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19. Biography

Primary focus is on the depiction of activities and personality of a reason person or persons, for some or all of their lifetime. Events in their life maybe reenacted or described in a documentary style. It should generally follow reasonably close to the factual record.

Lion (2016) is one of those movies I will watch year after year.  It has to be one of the best movies based on real life I’ve seen in a long time.  It probably struck a chord because like Saroo, the protagonist in the movie, I too was adopted.  The movie doesn’t hide the  difficulties of some adoptions.  The interaction between the two brothers before Saroo’s adoption were the best moments in the film.  There are many heart wrenching scenes and the ending is unforgettable.  It left me thinking there are no coincidences in this story.  With this being the last genre recommendation, I would say put Lion near the top of your list to watch.  You won’t regret it.  Trust me, you won’t.

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One Sheets from IMDb

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Exactly Twice Coloring

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Flash Fiction: When a Father Creeps like a Spider on a Chessboard

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“You overstepped.”

These simple two words sent me back to the past.  The words I often heard.  His voice always thunderous above my head, even if I was standing level to him.  He made me look up to him, always.  He made me come to him when he moved, the most annoying.  A father shouldn’t change positions so much, but mine did, constantly.

There were times he crept around like a spider, feeling the vibrations on his legs.  I fooled myself many times thinking he was something to not be afraid of.  Other times he hopped around, out of control, like a child on a pogo stick, leaving impressionable dents to the floor and my pride.  No one ever felt safe around my father.  My friends didn’t understand him.

This wasn’t even the worst part.  It was when he questioned your existence that made you feel tiny, as if your right to breathe the same air as he did was a tragedy.  The constant taunting about how he wanted to drain my blood and refill it with someone else so we had one thing less in common.

“Did you hear me?  You overstepped your boundaries again.” 

He put enough emphasis on the word, again, that I thought he was done.  He was not. 

“Did I raise a daughter so stupid?  Is this my last reward for being your father?  You blessing me with utter senselessness!  I don’t even know how you live with your pitiful self.”

I glanced at his wrinkled face.  He seemed to have aged a few years in the past ten minutes.  I could tell he was at a breaking point.  The point when he felt when his personal welfare was threatened.  Whatever left was inside him unhinged more, making his half empty heart, emptier.  His face twisted into a disturbing expression.  This was a record for him.  I believe he had reached a personal best.

You must keep screaming inside so your lungs don’t give out.  You must picture your flailing arms calm when they are anxious.  This was what my brother told me in order to deal with him.  How easy for him to say.  He stayed in his little bubble until the day he turned 18, and never turned back when he left home. 

I had worn my game face before, and because this was definitely a game, I made sure I had additional layers this time.  I wasn’t willing to be a pawn anymore on this family chessboard.  As I knocked every demand and threat he said to me from the board, I faced the realism of it all.  As I tossed every shameful thing he did into the burning garbage can below, I was up for the challenge.  As I was no longer willing to have him spit such hatred at me, I was prepared.

Eventually, the king will be knocked off his pedestal, and I intended to do just that.  His tall shadow wouldn’t belong to him much longer, but first I said some words.

“Yes, father, I heard you, and no, you didn’t raise me to be stupid.  I’m actually quite smart if you cared to notice.” 

The past twenty years came up in my throat like a bad case of indigestion.  I was ready to get rid of it.  I was ready to move forward. 

“Now, I believe it is my turn to ask you some questions.”

He looked at me, holding surprise at the corners of his mouth, and I knew.  If you take away a spider’s legs before a fight has begun, there isn’t much to stand on but false hope and flawed expectations.

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A Few Pictures I’ve Seen Recently

Father Snow

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Clouds

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Making Contact

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Strength and Beauty

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Family of Four

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Sunlight on Water

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Book Recommendation: Patton’s Drive

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I’m finally done with this book to give it a proper recommendation and review.  This book has gotten mixed reviews, as do most things, but I’d say it is worthy enough.  The content isn’t so much about Patton’s military accomplishments or failures, but about how Patton himself viewed himself during them.  It’s about the psychological make up of Patton.  It’s not surprising he was a proponent of bathing in as many turbulent waters as possible.  The short time he lived on this planet might have been a blessing, as he wasn’t very in tune to the inner working of himself, in particular his emotions.  His abrasive personality and tough bravado was partly due to his belief system: you must be ready for war at any time. 

He took pride in training his men as much as when he led them into battle.  He found his courage and reason for living in war.  Where many ran away from it, he jumped feet first into the dangerous areas, and only retreated when he felt that he was still not afraid of dying.  One might say he lived his life recklessly.  He believed he was born great and was the reincarnation of many past men involved in battle.  He kept a journal religiously or as the writer, Alan Axelrod, a diary.  In it you see the other side of him, someone who was fragile and sensitive to criticism. 

The author does some jumping with Patton’s timeline.  It might be seen as jarring.  For example, at one point he is talking about him alive, and then soon after he’s talking about him dead.  He believes Patton to be the greatest general ever to have lived, which some might argue.  I don’t have that much knowledge with comparing generals to say if he was or wasn’t, but the fact he had such a hard time controlling his temper, it would be logical to think others would come before him.  This doesn’t diminish his natural ability to see fresh solutions and make difficult decisions during stressful times.  

This book basically focuses on his Army path to stardom, ultimately landing at Lieutenant General, and then ultimately dying in a freak accident in 1945 although some speculate it was deliberate.  He was 60 years old and buried at Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial in Luxembourg City.

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A Soldier’s Burial

by George S. Patton

Not midst the chanting of the Requiem Hymn,

Nor with the solemn ritual of prayer,

Neath misty shadows from the oriel glass,

And dreamy perfume of the incensed air,

Was he interred;

But the subtle stillness after fight,

And the half light between the night and the day,

We dragged his body all besmeared with mud,

And dropped if, clod-like back into the clay.

Yet who shall say that he was not content,

Or missed the prayers, or drone of chanting choir,

He who had heard all day the Battle Hymn

Sung on all sides by a thousand throats of fire.

What painted glass can lovelier shadows cost

Than those the evening skies shall ever shed,

While mingled with their light, Red Battle’s Sun

Completes in magic colors o’er our dead

The flag for which they died.

Explore Patton’s Drive on Amazon

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Book Recommendation: Animal Ingredients

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If you want to read what happens to roughly the other 50% of an animal after it dies, then this is the book for you.   It’s a short book of only 99 pages, but there’s a lot of information in it.  I’m not going to go on an environmental rant about how you should not eat meat and get up in your space for not recycling.  It’s up to you to decide what your contributions will or will not be in your lifetime. We’re not built to think the same way for a reason.

It includes a comprehensive list of animal ingredients and possibly derived animal ingredients.  These are the words you can’t pronounce and spell by heart.  It discusses vegan nutrients and alternatives, as well highlights basic nutrition and origins of vegetarianism.  It goes into moderate depth of alcoholic beverages.  German beers seem to take the top prize as most are vegan.  It offers animal organization contact information, cruelty free products,  and recommended literature. 

Bottom line, this book is a reference manual.  It goes beyond the act of killing an animal.  It isn’t even a book about animal rights, not outright, and don’t think it’s preachy.  I definitely don’t abide by completely vegan standards in what I eat or use.  Some of the information can be mind boggling.  Vegan jewelry?  Labeled non-dairy when it is?  Animal blood found in items you wouldn’t think?  If you want to a book to browse when you have a little bit of free time here and there, this is the one for you.  It jogs your brain and educating yourself is half the battle.  Do what you can with what you have, and enjoy if you get a copy of it.

Explore and/or Buy on Amazon

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