Archive for October, 2010

It’s Halloween!!

When my kids were young… and all else failed.. sheets worked wonders!

Boooooooo !” (and neener neener neener!)


If that doesn’t get you… Maxine will !

  Gotta love Maxine!!!

Happy Halloween Everyone!


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Portrait of a Killer

Portrait of a Killer by Patricia Cornwell.

Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: Berkley; First Edition edition (October 28, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0425192733


From Publishers Weekly

Jack the Ripper was renowned artist Walter Sickert (1860-1942) according to Cornwell, in case anyone hasn’t yet heard. The evidence Cornwell accumulates toward that conclusion in this brilliant, personal, gripping book is very strong, and will persuade many. In May 2001, Cornwell took a tour of Scotland Yard that interested her in the Ripper case, and in Sickert as a suspect. A look at Sickert’s “violent” paintings sealed her interest, and she became determined to apply, for the first time ever, modern investigatory and forensic techniques to the crimes that horrified London more than 100 years ago. The book’s narrative is complex, as Cornwell details her emotional involvement in the case; re-creates life in Victorian times, particularly in the late 1880s, and especially the cruel existence of the London poor; offers expertly observed scenarios of how, based on the evidence, the killings occurred and the subsequent investigations were conducted; explains what was found by the team of experts she hired; and gives a psycho-biography of Sickert. The book is filled with newsworthy revelations, including the successful use of DNA analysis to establish a link between an envelope mailed by the Ripper and two envelopes used by Sickert. There are also powerful comparisons made between Sickert’s drawing style and that of the Ripper; between words and turns of phrases used by both men; and much other circumstantial evidence. Also newsworthy is Cornwell’s conclusion that Sickert continued to kill long after the Ripper supposedly lay down his blade, reaping dozens of victims over his long life. Compassionate, intense, superbly argued, fluidly written and impossible to put down, this is the finest and most important true-crime book to date of the 21st century.

I did it! I did it! I finished the book before RIP ended!! woohooo!

Ok..now, as to the book…..

I have to say that over the many years of my life (back when the earth was young) I do remember hearing “stories” about Jack the Ripper and more then likely I’ve seen a documentary and or/ movie about Jack the Ripper, but I can’t honestly say I remember much, other than he gruesomely murdered many prostitutes.

Cornwell really did her homework for this book and presents a good case against  Sickert.  Along the way she lets you know just how London was in the lat 1800’s and how little the police could do to find their murderer.   We do tend to forget that DNA is “new” and forensics on the whole is fairly new.. at least they didn’t have it back then.  Unless there was an eye witness or a murderer was caught in the act, there was little ways of finding them.

It didn’t help that the police not only received letters from the Ripper but from many others pretending to be the Ripper.. after a while they didn’t know what was real and what was not.

I didn’t think I could read a book with the very descriptive words on just how mutilated a body was when the Ripper was done with them but I did find it bearable in that it was “factual”.. but again, if one has a queezy stomach, this book might not be for them.

I did find the book very factual and very interesting.  However I think that is because I went into it feeling like I knew nothing except that Jack the Ripper was a horrendous murderer.

I did feel as if I was in London of old and felt as if I was among the “low class” hookers and how they had to survive.  I found it pretty sad actually.

If Sickert is actually the Ripper it seems unfair he was never caught and punished, although I will say he didn’t have a happy life.

Once again I say I did enjoy this book.. and all the historical history that surrounds it.

And once again I thank Carl for a great RIP challenge!!!!!  I do have a few more books that fit the bill that I will read while I am still “in the mood”  :o)

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Never Enough Time!!!

ACK!!!  OMG, this weekend is the end of RIP!!!  I am never going to finish this book on time!!….

I’m on page 228 of 361 !!!… argh!!!!!!!! not fair, not fair I tell ya!

If I could finish it I would have read 3,997 pgs for RIP!  But without this book I’ve only read 3,610 :o(  *sigh*  That almost 4,000 pgs would be really good for me considering the slump I have been in for the entire year!!!! 




*sniffle & sigh*, arm across my forehead, taking a deep breath…. I cannot go on…. *sigh*… I must go for a night walk and clear my head… 

oh wait.  Maybe not.  I know Jack the Ripper is long gone, plus that happened in England.. but… but…(gulp)  maybe I will forego that walk, heh.

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As I entered my bedroom I felt an eeriness fall upon me.  I looked around but saw nothing when suddenly I noticed that Pumpkin boy was not in his usual spot!

I quickly scanned the room for any mystifying clues, when out of the blue I spied Pumpkin Boy on my dresser!  Whew, he was not harmed, but why did he leave the safety of A.C.Bears lap???

The day dawned sunny and once again I found Pumpkin Boy on the move!!  This time he was on my bookshelf looking rather smug.  Hmmm, what is he up to?

Next I found him on my other dresser!   He was beginning to get me worried…

..and for good reason!  I actually found him trying to make friends with the Nazgul!! (stay there and we will have a Smashed pumpkin!)

I guess the Nazgul frightened him and I spotted Pumpkin Boy hiding in my plants.

When he noticed I spotted him he hid again in yet another plant.

…and again…

When next I found him he seemed to have found a new friend!  It reminded him of someone…but he moved on.

Wouldn’t you know it… I found him horsing around!

I guess he got thrown off the horses and found himself in the wheat field.

When I next searched I got worried again… this time I found him in Indian Country!

..if you aren’t careful you will get your head scalped and your inner’s taken out!

… oh now this is just beyond the pale!… Dead Fred must have eaten him!… but he escaped thru Dead Fred’s Eye!!!  (groan)

I guess Pumpkin Boy finally realized what was best and found safety in the lap he is always nestled in once more!

And what did this adventure teach Pumpkin Boy??

Well, when I asked him all he did was ask me a question:

Why isn’t Dracula invited to parties?

I stood and wondered, when he blurted out…

Because he’s a ‘pain in the neck’.

*groan* Maybe the Nazgul smacked him on the head after all!

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The Glass of Time

The Glass of Time by Michael Cox

Paperback: 592 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (October 5, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0393337162

From Booklist

The author’s first novel, The Meaning of Night (2006), set in London in 1854, was told from the viewpoint of a scholar turned murderer, but this sequel, set some 20 years later, is narrated by an innocent, 19-year-old Esperanza Gorst. Orphaned as a child, she has been raised in relative luxury in Paris by her guardian and given an excellent education by her tutor. However, her world is upended when they inform her that she is to leave for England in two months, where she will be employed as a lady’s maid by the widowed Baroness Tansor on the vast estate of Evenwood. It is to be the first step in what they call the Great Task, but Esperanza’s ultimate goal will only be revealed to her in phases. Although she appears far too refined for her occupation, Esperanza is immediately embraced by the family, but Lady Tansor proves to be a difficult employer, given to hysterics due to her tragic past—the love of her life, the pretentious poet Phoebus Daunt, was murdered by an old friend. Cox so cleverly incorporates the plot of his first novel that his new one can be read by both those who are familiar with The Meaning of Night and those who have never read it. Great period atmosphere, a cunning plot, and an intelligent narrator make this one a special treat for those who like some history with their mystery.

Ahhhh, once again I am savoring the the feel of the satin pages of a Michael Cox book! 

I can honestly say that his story telling is well worth the fine paper the publishers gifted him with.  But, I am saddened beyond words that he is gone and I can no longer look forward to these excellent novels of his.

This book picks up about 20  yrs after the first book, The Meaning of Night with a girl named Esperanza Gorst, who is an orphan raised by a guardian. My first mistake was not even recognizing her initials E.G. (which would mean something to anyone reading both of Cox’s books) After that I “thought” I figured out what was going on, and to a point I did. But Cox handled his book like one of the masters and let you surmise some things, and kept some surprises for later.

I very much enjoyed reading Cox’s first book,The Meaning of Night… and I can tell you unequivocally, the sequel is even better!

Although there are secrets galore to try and figure out, you get the feeling that you are ahead of the author, and know all the secrets by the time you are half way thru the book.  

I have a surprise for you.. you will NOT know ALL the secrets until the end of the book! As the man said just before getting hit by the train, “I never saw it coming!”

Michael Cox sure held back some surprises for the ending of The Glass of Time!!  If I put the two books together I can say that they have been my favorites of my reading for RIP!  I will keep these books and reread them one day.

There were even small things throughout the book that I just loved, like the fact that  Alice, more than once, shows to be a fan of Wilke Collins. :o)  It’s an enjoyable thing to read books when familiar names come up.

Both of Michael Cox’s books were excellent and if you like to unravel secrets along with a murder now and then I think you would really enjoy his books.

This is probably my final book for RIP, although I will begin another such book… I just doubt I will finish another rather large book before RIP is over.  So thank you Carl for yet another splendid challenge!

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Another Sunrise

The season must be “changing” and so the sunrises are more dramatic lately.

But even if there wasn’t the color in the sky… there’s just something about the clouds here that I didn’t notice anywhere else I lived.

7:20 am.. the magical hour (until we change the time this weekend)

just look at the contrasts with the white and gray …

This dead tree gets filled with Vultures now and again.

I can’t believe that most people here, sleep thru this sort of view everyday….

Even the reflection in the water shows the clouds beautifully.

Once the sun is up… the animals begin to show  up..

One day I will see the sunrise at the beach!.. but for now the animals and I have …The Pond.

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Early Morn’

7 a.m is when I took my mile walk around the pond (5 times around equals 1 mile)

It’s still darkish out, I can barely see the black top path that leads me around the pond… all is quiet.

When I reach the far side of the pond I can hear the cars going by out on Indian River Blvd.  It’s Monday (yesterday) so many are headed to work for the day.   About 7:15 each morning I hear the train whistle as it crosses a street (about 3/4 of a mile away).  It echoes a haunting sound.  It breaks the silence of my walk.  When the whistle stops sounding I can hear the “clickity clack” of the train moving off into the distance, going I know not where.

This early in the day, the fountain isn’t on yet  and so the pond is smooth… except for the fish that come up for air.

… the rest of the pond lies quiet. Only reflections on its surface.

Looking east I can see the sky becoming brighter as I walk.  Now I see the outlines of the Palm trees against the clouds.  Lately I’ve found the Florida clouds somewhat fascinating.  They seem lower than clouds in other states and they draw my attention for reasons I’m not sure of.

To the west there’s a shade of pink… although the old saying of “pink skies in the morning, sailor take warning” won’t apply today… there’s no sign of rain in the forecast.

When I return into my apartment I look around and realize I have gotten out of hand with “low light plants” in the tiny space I have I am beginning to feel like I am in a jungle…

(not all plants here are new)

I look around and chuckle… I really wouldn’t mind being in some forest… but a jungle??   nah, it can’t be a jungle… it’s a forest… yeah, that’s the ticket!

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Stuff… just stuff

After reading The Meaning of Night I wanted to read more by Michael Cox. So I went on a search and found The Glass of Time, and also discovered that some of the characters were from The Meaning of Night and so I sent for a “used”  (but new) copy of the hardback.

Yesterdays mail finally brought the book to me!  (the same day I finished The Little Stranger.. how nice!)

So as you can imagine, I went right to this book!

My hands felt the same satin pages that his other book had! I have no idea why the publishers used such fantastic paper but they sure made my day!  It’s books like this that will make sure that electronic books will never really replace the feel of a book in my hands! ( It’s sad that the feel of these satin pages impress me so lol.)

I couldn’t resist, and so yesterday I read the 30 page preface. :o)  Of course it’s yet another book over 500 pages!  Today I plan to dive into the book and put a dent in those very pages!

Something I didn’t know until my “sis”, Cath, told me, was that Michael Cox died about a year ago… it’s sad to think that there will be no more books by him.

On another note………

For whatever reason one of the Moorhens was laying in the grass.  I approached it and snapped this closeup…

…Lately, when I feed them and toss some bread into the water 3 softshelled turtles come to eat…and I’ve even spotted two baby softshells!  Here’s one’s face as he waits for more bread..

As I stood there with my camera a lady from another building came walking her dog… naturally I had to snap a picture!

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The Little Stranger

(book 6 for RIP)

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Trade(May 4, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1594484465

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Waters (The Night Watch) reflects on the collapse of the British class system after WWII in a stunning haunted house tale whose ghosts are as horrifying as any in Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. Doctor Faraday, a lonely bachelor, first visited Hundreds Hall, where his mother once worked as a parlor maid, at age 10 in 1919. When Faraday returns 30 years later to treat a servant, he becomes obsessed with Hundreds’s elegant owner, Mrs. Ayres; her 24-year-old son, Roderick, an RAF airman wounded during the war who now oversees the family farm; and her slightly older daughter, Caroline, considered a natural spinster by the locals, for whom the doctor develops a particular fondness. Supernatural trouble kicks in after Caroline’s mild-mannered black Lab, Gyp, attacks a visiting child. A damaging fire, a suicide and worse follow. Faraday, one of literature’s more unreliable narrators, carries the reader swiftly along to the devastating conclusion.

The first book I opened after The Meaning of Night was The Magicians and Mrs Quent… gone were the satin pages… gone was the crisp type and double spacing sentences.  My hands felt paper similar to newspaper and the words seemed so close to each other I felt I wasn’t reading each word.. so I set it aside for another time because I know I want to read that book, but as things happen when you leave an enjoyable book..the “next book” isn’t easily found.

But find it I did!  This time it was The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.  No, it did not have those satin pages but the print was much easier to read and it drew me right into the story.

I am finding that most of the “gothic style” books all seem to walk at their own pace, neither fast nor so slow you don’t pick them up again.

The book had quite a good story to tell, however, I found myself wondering if all the things that occur in that house are “ghostly”.  Often I found myself waiting for someone to be uncovered as the culprit.  I thought it was not quite defined as “a ghost”…either that or..it really sounded much more like a person was doing the things on purpose… so I found myself always “waiting” for the discovery.

I also found that I really wanted to go see this house for myself!  They never did say quite how many rooms there were in it but at times when one of the characters would go into rooms they had not used I really wanted to wander thru and see them all for myself. (I guess they call that good writing!)

But, like I said, it was still very enjoyable… I can always tell by the fact that I seem to read over 500 pages more quickly then some shorter books!

The book left me with one question in mind:  who..is.. “you”?  You can guess..but one never really knows.

For those who have read Sarah Waters, Fingerpost, I think they will also enjoy The Little Stranger.  In fact, I’d be surprised if they didn’t !

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I walked once around the pond and walked back in my apartment for my camera!  It is an unusually busy day at the pond!  I have to tell you though… this is not my best set of pictures this morning..not many would “pose”  lol.

Right out front of my apartment Woody was “resting”.

Off to the corner were Ibis doing their thing (when they aren’t stealing bread from the Moorhens) of shoving their long beaks into the mud and coming up with something to eat.  (snails?)

Also in a corner was DeadEye…

The big Blue Heron was here.. can you see him?  He’s a Master of Disguise!

…. well… partly anyway heh.

And surprise, surprise!… a Grebe!! He/she looks younger than the one that stayed a long time last year… but he’s just as lonely looking.. never 2 only one.

On the far side of the pond the trees are turning to “rust”.. I guess that means “winter” is on it’s way.  The tree in front of my apartment is last to loose its leaves and last to get the new leaves in the spring. I sound like there is really a spring and fall here.. not!

(but we have had a drop in temps and humidity so it is a relief, just not really “cool”.  Have to wait for those “cold fronts” to come thru.)

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