Archive for May, 2013

Mo’ Books


I found Roosevelt’s Secret War at the used book store.. 1.00.

Despite all that has already been written on Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Joseph Persico has uncovered a hitherto overlooked dimension of FDR’s wartime leadership: his involvement in intelligence and espionage operations.
Roosevelt’s Secret War is crowded with remarkable revelations:
-FDR wanted to bomb Tokyo before Pearl Harbor
-A defector from Hitler’s inner circle reported directly to the Oval Office
-Roosevelt knew before any other world leader of Hitler’s plan to invade Russia
-Roosevelt and Churchill concealed a disaster costing hundreds of British soldiers’ lives in order to protect Ultra, the British codebreaking secret
-An unwitting Japanese diplomat provided the President with a direct pipeline into Hitler’s councils

Also found Five Sisters there… 1.00.  I don’t know of the Langhorn’s but then I didn’t know of the Mitford’s when I read their story.. the blub on the cover has the same sort of feeling .. “discovery” of names I’ve missed.  I hope it’s as interesting as the Mitford’s was.

Book Description Five Sisters:

The beautiful Langhorne sisters lived at the pinnacle of society from the end of the Civil War through the Second World War. Born in Virginia to a family impoverished by the Civil War, Lizzie, Irene, Nancy, Phyllis, and Nora eventually made their way across two continents, leaving rich husbands, fame, adoration, and scandal in their wake.

At the center of the story is Nancy, who married Waldorf Astor, one of the richest men in the world. Heroic, hilarious, magnetically charming, and a bully, Nancy became Britain’s first female MP. The beautiful Irene married Charles Dana Gibson and was the model for the Gibson Girl. Phyllis, the author’s grandmother, married a famous economist, one of the architects of modern Europe. Author James Fox draws on the sisters’ unpublished correspondence to construct an intimate and sweeping account of five extraordinary women at the highest reaches of society.


Then from Amazon came The Black Country (boy I have a chit-load of books for RIP now!)

Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad returns, in the stunning new historical thriller from the author of the acclaimed national bestseller The Yard.
The British Midlands. It’s called the “Black Country” for a reason. Bad things happen there.
When members of a prominent family disappear from a coal-mining village—and a human eyeball is discovered in a bird’s nest—the local constable sends for help from Scotland Yard’s new Murder Squad. Fresh off the grisly 1889 murders of The Yard, Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith respond, but they have no idea what they’re about to get into. The villagers have intense, intertwined histories. Everybody bears a secret. Superstitions abound. And the village itself is slowly sinking into the mines beneath it.
Not even the arrival of forensics pioneer Dr. Bernard Kingsley seems to help. In fact, the more the three of them investigate, the more they realize they may never be allowed to leave. . .

and The Tutor’s Daughter.   I thought it was nice of Amazon to send them to me!  …oh, but then I noticed they billed my charge account… dang it all!

Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father regain his spirits when his academy fails, agrees to travel with him to the distant Cornwall coast, to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But after they arrive and begin teaching the younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen and danger mounts. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte, only to find the music room empty? Who sneaks into her room at night? Who rips a page from her journal, only to return it with a chilling illustration?
The baronet’s older sons, Phillip and Henry, wrestle with problems–and secrets–of their own. They both remember Emma Smallwood from their days at her father’s academy. She had been an awkward, studious girl. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her.
When the suspicious acts escalate, can the clever tutor’s daughter figure out which brother to blame…and which brother to trust with her heart?


I wish I was one of those people who could read more than one book at a time!!

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Chekov’s Enterprise by Walter Koenig.

Paperback: 222 pages
Publisher: Intergalactic Trading Co (June 1991)
ISBN-10: 0962943207



The actor who portrays Lieutenant Pavel Chekov of the Starship Enterprise describes his experiences and provides portraits of fellow actors during the filming of the Star trek movie based on the popular television series

My girlfriend Michelle made it possible for me to repurchase Chekov’s Enterprise.  I had it for years but it got waterlogged in my brothers basement in a box.  I kept the book anyway because I love Walter’s writing.

One might think: who wants to read a book about the first Star Trek movie? (No one seems to like that particular movie)  But I liked it.  Not saying I loved it or it’s my favorite movie of theirs, but I do remember the anticipation of it’s release, and I was so happy to see them all on the big screen that the story almost didn’t matter!  They were back!  And so was the Enterprise!  I find myself wondering how any fan could NOT like it, for those reasons alone!

But I regress.

I had fond memories of this book and wanted to read it again.  I will admit to forgetting parts of it.  But at my age just remembering that I read it is amazing!

Walter is a very good author.  .. and he has a great sense of humor, and portrays it throughout this book.  A chuckle here, a laugh out loud there…  and then one of the parts I forgot about.  He mentions his son Josh a number of times and it made me feel like crying . 

This book is like a diary that Walter kept while making the movie.  Besides being funny it’s very interesting to see how the movie was made through Walter’s eyes.  You have to remember he was only on the sets on the days that he was going to be in the shots of the movie, so he wasn’t there everyday.  There was also the coming together of these actors who hadn’t much seen each other in nearly 10 years.  He wondered if the same feeling for each other would be there?  After all, unlike other Trek series they had only worked together for 3 seasons.  But then… memories are long, and you don’t forget something like Star Trek, or in Walter’s case, Russian accents.

I’ve chosen a few paragraphs from the book for you.. In the first one Walter remembers DeForest Kelley.

Whatever comedic lines the script possesses are the unchallenged province of Dr. McCoy.  I can think of no one better qualified to carry off the wryness demanded than De Forest.  I also can thin of no one (other than myself) I’d be happier to see get the opportunity.   De is one of the genuinely nice people in the business.  He is one actor who seems incapable of pretense and sham.  I have always found him very straightforward and honest.  There are people who abuse these qualities by candor as an excuse for crudity, but not so with Bones’s alter ego.  I’ve never seen him lack sensitivity in dealings with his fellow man.  You can tell I’m very pleased to consider him a friend.

and another clip..

Thursday September 28: Yesterday wormholes, today plasma energy probes. Nobody said being an officer on the U.S.S Enterprise would be easy.

Monday October 2: Today a security guard (who else?) and seven pages get zapped.  A piqued probe is responsible for the security guard.  A piqued Paramount is responsible for our shortened story.  We’re still under orders to bring the picture in at two hours and ten minutes.

Tuesday  October 3:  We know all about the laws of probability.  The laws of probe-ability are currently being researched on our bridge set.  By the time we’re finished testing them, we shall have made an important contribution tot he literature.  Now.. if we could only wrap up the work sometime before next June.

After reading the book I am finding I want to watch ST 1 and see if I can match the book with the movie parts.  I’m sure I can.. Walter’s writing is just that good.

I wish he had written a book like this for each of the movies made by the Original Cast.  It makes you realize all the work involved and although each of those movies weren’t fan favorites…none were really “that bad”.  Each one gave us our Original cast, and each one gave us the Enterprise, and even moments of joy and moments of sadness ..that to me is and enjoyable movie. 

And that’s the truth… ppppllllsssstttt.

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Dear Mrs Kennedy by Jay Mulvancy & Paul De Angelis.

Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press(October 12, 2010)
ISBN-10: 031238615X


From Publishers Weekly

"Never have I been so filled with revulsion, anger, and sorrow as when I heard of your husband’s death," wrote Winston Churchill to Jackie Kennedy on November 24, 1963. And a fourth-grade Nebraska farm boy wrote to little Caroline Kennedy, "I am sorry to hear about your Daddy. God will take good care of him." Immediately after President Kennedy’s assassination, more than 1,250,000 letters arrived at the White House from the famous and ordinary citizens alike, expressing their sorrow and sympathy for the president’s young widow, Although she promised that the letters would be displayed at the Kennedy Library, they remained filed in a warehouse for decades until the opening of the library building. A controversial culling reducing the collection to 368,000 letters also delayed cataloguing of the letters until 1988. Mulvaney ((Diana and Jackie) and former publishing executive De Angelis regard the collection as a "poignant time capsule," and they include an informative historical backdrop for their selections, including letters from society queen Babe Paley, Rev. Billy Graham, and publisher Bennett Cerf, among many others. For those who relive the pain of the Kennedy assassination every November 22, this volume will provide company and perhaps some consolation. 20 b&w illus.




What a small and powerful book this is!

The book is filled with letters sent to Jackie Kennedy after the assassination of JFK.

Naturally most of them in the book are from famous people of one sort or another.  In between letters you find some very interesting pieces of information of the time and/ or happenings that occurred around that November when Kennedy was killed.

Some tidbits bring back a time many younger people would laugh at or think impossible for a time that isn’t really “that long ago”.  Here are a few clips from the book….

America in the fall of 1963 was a world from another era.  There were only 3 television networks.  Nine of the top ten shows were broadcast on CBS (only Bonanza, in second place, gave NBC an inroad).  Gas was thirty cents a gallon, milk a little higher at forty-nine cents.  The choices offered at movie theaters included From Russia With Love, the latest James Bond: Alfred  Hitchock’s The Birds, and Cleopatra, the film that brought Elizabeth Taylor international fame, along with the condemnation of the Vatican for her affair with Richard Burton during filming.”

“It was a defining moment of a generation.  Like the shock of the terrorist attacks of September 11,2001, the shock of JFK’s murder in Dallas on November 22, 1963, stunned and stupefied a nation and the world. 

What were you doing when Kennedy was shot?  Ask anyone over fifty: For a moment the world seemed to stand still.  In factories, offices, coffee shops, and university lecture halls, a pall of disbelief descended.”

Dear Mrs Kennedy,

Never have I been so filled with revulsion, anger and sorrow, as when I heard of your husbands death.

On this great and good man were set the hopes of humanity.  The grief and loss must be unspeakable for you, who have stood by him for so many years, and who were at his side when he was struck down.  Nothing can be of consolation to you at this time.  But I would like you to know that throughout the world, and in England especially, all men who prize Freedom and hope for Peace share your loss and partake of your grief.

                                                                     Winston S Churchill”

This book is one that will stay with me.  Both in my mind and heart and on my book shelf, It’s a keeper!

Great little book.. I can say no more.

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Just so I can post on Chris’s Saturday Farmers…  Below are some veggies my neighbor is growing in pots and then some flowers from my patio..


(if she weren’t such a nice lady I’d be stealing these tomato’s not taking pictures of them!)


She has picked several cucumbers and more just keep coming..



I think I had said this was a garlic blossom but in truth it’s an Onion blossom.



(below) my patio flowers..and my very young Crepe Myrtle beginning to bloom!




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Star Trek

I just came home from seeing Star Trek.

I can say just one word:  damn! (in a good way!)

I will say a few more without giving away anything. 

This movie was kept well under wraps!  WELL! There are scenes that you just don’t see coming!  And I will say I may have jumped out of my seat a number of times. heh..great sound, what can I say?!

This movie is chock full of surprises!

And chock full of emotion. (for me)

Major Kudos to the following:

Kudos to J.J. Abrams.

Many kudos to our very fine crew of actors! Every one of them!!

More kudos to the writers: Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lundelof.. and in his own way: Gene Roddenberry.

I found this movie most outstanding in the script writing and of course in special effects. (although my only “complaint” would be that there is a touch too much “motion” in the “exciting scenes”, but that is only because I think I came close to motion sickness which I get easily)

For you who have not seen the movie but are fans from the originals on.. you are in for a number of surprises!

My only wish is that J.J. Abrams does not take long to make another movie!  I am old and do not have “all the time in the world” and I do so want to see this crew again!


I wish I could say more but to be honest.. I knew little of the story when I went in, and less about what was was going to happen..and that just added to the enjoyment!  I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!

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 Exiles in Hollywood by David Wallace.


Paperback: 266 pages
Publisher: Limelight Editions (July 1, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0879103299


Book Description

Release date: July 1, 2006

(Limelight). Fleeing Nazi persecution, half of Europe’s creative talents, including screen legend Greta Garbo and composer Igor Stravinsky, were, in Arnold Schoenberg’s words, "driven into paradise," settling in Los Angeles. It was the greatest flight of European cultural and intellectual talent in history, and for a time made Los Angeles a cultural capital. Their presence, enabling the evolution of film noir, also changed American movies forever. In Exiles in Hollywood, David Wallace, author of the national bestseller Lost Hollywood and whom columnist Liz Smith has called "the maestro of entertainment history," tells their dramatic stories. His profiles of refugees include filmmaker Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock, Nobel Prize-winning writer Thomas Mann, the screenwriter Salka Viertel and her controversial relationship with Greta Garbo, the deeply conflicted actor Charles Laughton, and many more. The result is a rich, page-turning look at an era, its triumphs and tragedies, its gossip and hidden facts, and its colorful personalities.

This was a very interesting book.  Names I knew and Names I didn’t know but the short chapters of each, and being very direct with information made this book one that I read every word to the bitter end.

It’s strange how one books leads to another and another. (I have found this to be true far too many times!) Well, this one did the same thing for me.  One small sentence in the chapter of Charles Laughton and his wife Elsa Lanchester made me immediately go to Amazon and search for Elsa’s biography and send for it!  

Everyone who knows Elsa knows her best for her scream and looks of The Bride of Frankenstein.  When in truth Else had a good career in the movies..she truly wasn’t “just” The Bride of Frankenstein!

I knew she was married to Charles Laughton (man of many fabulous movies) .  And like many others “had heard the gossip” that Charles Laughton was gay.  But I never really thought any more of it.  It’s not like it’s shocking news to find out an actor is gay. (duh) And since it doesn’t bother me one bit I never gave a second thought to Elsa.  Hmmm. The sentence in the book mentions she was married to him for over 30 years and yet he had told her he was gay only a year after they were married.  So I instantly became curious to what her life was then like! Did she stay in love with him?  Did they just lead separate lives?  Why didn’t they divorce??  I guess I will find out when I read  her biography!

Other’s in the book  were writers, directors, symphony conductors etc.. all having exited their countries (mostly Germany) when Hitler was coming into power.  There were some names I hadn’t heard of, but when you read about their connections to movies / music and Hollywood you do recognize those!

I found this book very interesting indeed.  Parts of Hollywood History that were unknown to me, and I probably never would have thought of,  if it were not for this little book. Exiles in Hollywood is definitely a book that will only interest those who want to know more about Hollywood and the creative people in it during it’s early days. But this book is focused only on a handful of Exiles.

This was an excellent read..

..and now I think I will stay with “reality” a bit more and pick up another “little book” titled Dear Mrs. Kennedy, which basically is letters written to Jackie Kennedy during the time of grieving for JFK’s assassination .  I’ll be back when I finish the book!

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(11th book for Once Upon a Time)

Straken by Terry Brooks

Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Del Rey; (August 28, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0345499409


From Booklist

Brooks concludes the High Druid of Shannara trilogy, which begins with Jarka Ruus (2003) and continues with Tanequil (2004), in an equally rich and riveting high-fantasy style. Young Pen Ohmsford, now armed with the darkwand he obtained from the ancient sentient tree Tanequil, is taken to Parador by Druids who have been pursuing him, is imprisoned, and is deprived of the darkwand, his only means of crossing over into the Forbidding to rescue his aunt Grianne, held captive by a demon. Can Khyber Edessedil, wielder of the Elf Stones, rescue him? The demon that passed through to the Four Lands when Grianne was taken is still working to destroy the barrier between the two worlds. Shadea, the false leader of the Druids, and Federation prime minister Sen Dunsidan continue their machinations aimed at destroying the elf and dwarf populations and expanding their sovereignty. All characters remain true to their already established identities, and Brooks unerringly weaves the many threads of his complex saga into an intricate and colorful tapestry that, taken with the previous books, casts the expected magical spell over the reader

As with any well written adventure trilogy, by the time you get to book 3 you can’t put it down for any length of time!

Pen takes the darkwand and finds his way into the Forbidding. Meanwhile, treachery abounds in Parador as Shadea’s minions begin to fall.

Pen’s parents escape Parador and go find the companions that helped Pen only to find out that they have to return to Parador so that they can help Pen and Grianne when they find their way back from the Forbidding.

And for something you couldn’t see coming… the last chapter holds a surprise!

It is a really good 3rd book.  It pulls all the strings together, lets you know what happens to the, oh so many, great characters before coming to it’s conclusion.

I can’t say enough good things about this trilogy… many people say that when an author writes a really good trilogy (Sword of Shanarra) that the following books never really measure up to the “originals”.  I have to say that I think this comes in a close second!  There aren’t many “sequels” that I care for but this one is a good one for sure!

If anyone is interested in knowing the books of Terry Brooks they are as follows:

The Original Shannara Novels
•The Sword of Shannara
– In the Shadow of the Warlock Lord – first 1/3 of The Sword of Shannara
– The Druids’ Keep – middle 1/3 of The Sword of Shannara
– The Secret of the Sword – last 1/3 of The Sword of Shannara
•The Elfstones of Shannara
•The Wishsong of Shannara

A Shannara Novella
•Indomitable – An epilogue to The Wishsong of Shannara
A Shannara Graphic Novel
•Dark Wraith of Shannara

The Heritage of Shannara
•The Scions of Shannara
•The Druid of Shannara
•The Elf Queen of Shannara
•The Talismans of Shannara

A Shannara Prequel
•First King of Shannara
The Word & Void Novels
•Running with the Demon
•A Knight of the Word
•Angel Fire East

The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara
•Ilse Witch

High Druid of Shannara
•Jarka Ruus

Genesis of Shannara
•Armageddon’s Children
•The Elves of Cintra
•The Gypsy Morph

Legends of Shannara
•Bearers of the Black Staff (in stores)
•The Measure of the Magic

The Dark Legacy of Shannara
•Wards of Faerie (forthcoming August 21, 2012)
•The Bloodfire Quest (forthcoming March 19, 2013)
•Witch Wraith (forthcoming August 2013)

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(10th book for Once Upon a Time)

Tanequil by Terry Brooks.

Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (August 28, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0345499115


From Publishers Weekly

Make a wish on an Elfstone and anything can happen, including a fresh second installment (after 2003’s Jarka Russ) in Brooks’s bestselling High Druid fantasy trilogy, part of the long-running Shannara series whose magic has been showing signs of wear. As the Free-born Federation war continues in the Four Lands, life is packed with peril for the Ohmsford family. While High Druid Grianne Ohmsford languishes in the Forbidding, a demon tracks her gifted nephew, Pen, with orders to kill him from the Druid responsible for her banishment, the evil Shadea a’Ru. Young Pen and his followers—perky Elven Elfstone carrier Khyber, grumpy dwarf Tagwen, blind Rover girl Cinnaminson and helpful Rock Trolls—seek the tanequil, a mysterious tree from which a "darkwand" must be formed that will aid Pen in rescuing his aunt from the Forbidding. Pen’s parents, Bek and Rue, are also ensnared by Shadea, an uneasy ally of Sen Dunsidan, the Federation’s prime minister.

In book 2 the companions continue on their quest, but not without evil things happening to deter their progress.

Although Pen is young he makes a good protagonist, and along with those that he finds willing to help him with his quest Terry  Brooks continues to write a very enjoyable story.  As in many other books: good against evil.  It’s always interesting to see how he gets his little troop into and out of circumstances, always adding twists and turns that you don’t know will happen until they do.

This trilogy is my second favorite of his next to the original Sword of Shannara Trilogy.  I find myself flying thru these books and I haven’t done that in some time!

This middle book has Pen trying to get to a tree called the Tanequil to procure a small branch from the tree that will help him save his Aunt from the Forbidding.  With no real plan in mind Pen surrounds himself with others that want to help him to help his Aunt, and by doing so, it helps his chances of success.   What he wasn’t told was how to find the tree and how to communicate what he wants from the tree.  Nor is he told what the tree might want in exchange!

A good surprise ending to book one makes you want to quickly pick up book three to see what happens next! 

So off I go to begin the last installment of this very enjoyable trilogy!

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Mother’s Day


Missing my mom… always. 

mom_zps245c6a31[1] (Mom in High School: 1930’s)



Happy Mother’s Day to all you mom’s out there!!

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Since Chris loves his gardens I thought just once I would show some of my neighbors (since I am not growing veggies)  These are all grown in pots!



Egg plant blossoms are pretty!


Easy to grow cucumbers in a pot but the vines crawl all over!


Garlic Blossom (below)


Lettuce greens and a pepper plant.



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