Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ye Unsupported Browser

I thought I would see if I could post from my iPod Touch.  A monster warning said they have detected an unsupported browser and I might get "unexpected results".  Although I have posted with my iPad, I don't recall any such warning.  It did do awful formatting changes, so maybe that is what we will get when I hit publish.  Exciting g stuff, eh?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Five Best Pieces of Literature I Read in High School

Luis Ruuska at the Huffington Post has an article on the five best pieces of literature he was forced to read in high school.

He chose:

Dante Alighieri's Inferno

J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye

Elie Wiesel's Night

Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment

How I hate required reading.  Of all the things we have to do of necessity in this world, being made to read something boring or awful is right up there on the BAD scale.

For myself I secretly appreciate being introduced to:

Evangeline: a tale of Acadie  by Longfellow which we not only read but acted out.

A Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank   I think it was the first book I read in diary form and the story it told was so compelling, and about someone my age.

A Midsummer Nights Dream  which we not only read through in class but had a trip to the Guthrie to see the play performed.  This experience and my college Shakespeare professor made me a huge fan of all things William.

Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck  which we also read aloud with everyone getting a chance to read a part.  I thought the story was terribly sad but very interesting.  I hated hated the Red Pony and The Pearl by Steinbeck, two others we read along the way.  Why why couldn't we have done the Grapes of Wrath or Travels with Charly?

The House of Seven Gables by Hawthorne.  We read it and saw a cheesy yet entertaining movie version.  Anytime class time included a diversion such as a movie or even a filmstrip, it was like a FREE DAY.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Saturday Night at the Movies: It's ALWAYS a Good Day to Die Hard!

We went to see A Good Day to Die Hard last night.  Despite reviews from critics (aka The Bozo Patrol) we knew we would like any Die Hard movie.   From the franchise one and three are our favorites.  

This installment has John McClane heading off to Russia to get his boy out of jail.  Time to warm up the explosions!  He arrives to "rescue" John Jr. right in the middle of a complicated attempt from an opposing faction to extract political prisoner Yuri Kamarov from a trial.  As the explosions begin John rushes in and tries to save his kid.  His kid, who turns out to be CIA is supposed to grab the prisoner and run to safety with him. 

Yipee Ki-Yay, like that goes well.   Soon John Jr. and the political prisoner are off on a fantastic chase scene through the streets of Moscow with bad guys (aka Scumbags) chasing in an armored vehicle and John Sr. chasing them in some sort of Jeep like truck.

Jack (aka John Jr.) apparently detests dear old dad, and his interference here doesn't help.  Soon father and son are working to get the Russian prisoner and his secret files out of the country.  I must say Jack takes a beating and you can feel his pain, while John is there all bloody and beaten and looking like he's rested and ready to hit the beach.

I didn't care for Jai Courtney who plays Jack in the previews but he turns out to be a perfect son for hard ass John.  He even calls him dad in a dire moment.  Then claims he didn't say that at all. Wouldn't be cool for a McClane man, nooo.

My favorite scene is at a safe house where the baddies break in and Jack and Yuri duck and dodge while John stands there blasting away with a gun.  Mr. Unstoppable.

Bust a move, guys!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye

One of the Edgar Nominees this year for best novel is Lyndsay Faye's The Gods of Gotham.

It is a story of the very first policemen in New York City, circa 1845.  Timothy Wilde is a newly appointed "copper star" thanks to connections his brother has in the Democratic Party.   He isn't sure he wants the job but he has just lost his savings and part of his face in a devastating fire.  The police are not welcome in the city and are seen as a threatening "standing army" by citizens who feel their freedoms are threatened.

Timothy patrols the sixth ward and on one of his first patrols a young girl runs into him in a blind panic.  She's covered with blood and tells a tale of a man in a black hood who kills young child prostitutes in some kind of horrific agreement with the house madam.

Nineteen bodies are found thanks to the frightened girl, all Irish in a time when thousands of new Irish immigrants are coming to New York.  The Irish are reviled by "natives" and it is a difficult task for Timothy to solve the murders without creating riots between the Irish and the established New Yorkers.

The city is fascinating as always, and the historical snapshot is seething with vice and hard living and hope.  I found the description of Harlem as a lovely country retreat from the evils of the city to charming.

Timothy is a great hero, principled, hard working, protective of children and anyone who is downtrodden.  His unrequited love certainly has a twist.

You will be pleased to find after reading The Gods of Gotham that a sequel is due out in August 2013 titled Seven for a Secret.   (Yes! it is an old Victoria Holt title!)

Visit Lindsay Faye's site for more on the background of the  early New York Police Department and the incredible patter of the New York Streets called "flash".

Cryptogram Answer, Flawed Crypto, Bah

Better late than never, right?  My husband revealed that my last cryptogram was flawed, gasp! and contained duplicated words.  This is a flaw in my cryptogram typing that put a second "there" into the sentence.  I reek.  No surprise.




The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Reading the Edgar Nominees for Best Novel

I had a Cone of Shame Moment or two when I went to see how many Edgar Award Winners I've read.  I will be drummed out of the Mystery Reader's Corps if word gets out, I'm sure of it.

I decided I could begin to remedy that by reading the nominees for Best Novel.  The awards will be given out in April so no problems, right?

I requested all of the selections my library owned and got a small pile.  I liked the Gods of Gotham by Lindsey Faye and All I did was shoot my man by Walter Mosley almost equally (though they are very different) and so started reading those in tandem. 

I have in hand The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins and Potboiler by Jesse Kellerman.  I'm waiting for Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Live by Night by Dennis Lehane and Sunset by Al Lamanda.

I need to read much faster.  They all sound really good though and I'm pleased to have such fine reading in store.   I will also get to keep my spot in the ranks of Mystery Readers, having these excellent nominees under my proverbial belt.

First Line Cryptogram February 2nd

It seems to me Mr. D.O.A. and myself had a conversation about first line cryptograms being more pleasing to solve than title cryptograms because you had more letters to give you clues and patterns.  Since he may be my only Cryptogram fan, I should make up ones juuust for him.


Answer on Tuesday!