Sunday, July 31, 2005

Review~ Something Rich & Strange

Written by Patricia A. McKillip & illustrated by Brian Froud in 1994. Second in a series. A novella length allegorical tale reminding humanity of our interwoven relationship with the earth, and especially the sea.

Megan, a pen & ink artist specializing in seascapes, lives with Jonah in a seaside village making a living selling fossils, Megan's drawings & tourist knicknacks to the invading hordes. The story details the strange & wonderful events that begin in Megan's drawings.

I, personally, would have taken Adam in a minute. Dropped Jonah like a hot potato & not looked back. But,hey.

Saturday, July 30, 2005


Tara's blog entry a while ago about heroes & antiheroes has had me thinking. What is the defintion of a hero? What qualities does a hero have? Who are some of my favorite heroes? The dictionary source for these defintions is my Random House College Dictionary.

Hero, noun- A man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for brave deeds & noble qualities.

Heroic, adjective- Of,pertaining to or characteristic of heroes. Suitable to the characteristic of a hero: daring, noble, bold, altruistic, determined etc.

Hamartia, noun- An error in judgement,especially resulting from a defect in the character of a tragic hero, leading to his downfall. That last phrase added from here.

Somehow, lost in the mists of time, the archtype (noun- original pattern or mold after which a thing is made) for heroes in Romanceland has been the 'Alpha hero', often otherwise termed a jerk. Usually controlling, arrogant, cold, emotionally damaged, may have addiction or anger control issues, jealous, possessive. May have a criminal past or be considered a criminal (pirates for example). Many of theese character traits could actually be instances of the tragic flaw or hamartia that ordinarily would bring about the doom of the character.

In Romanceland though, these are desirable traits. Many women, myself included, like alpha heroes. We are asked to believe that the act of falling in love with a 'vituous woman' will be enough to bring about the complete & total redemption of an alpha hero. Somehow.

I freely admit I like alphas (as long as there's no abuse). What I want to know is- how did we women get sucked into this ridiculous belief? What woman in her right mind would actually marry some of these men? I agree, they're more interesting, sexy & what have you, but still. Yes, I realize romance, like all fiction, is exactly that- fiction. I would like a teensy drop of likeability or realism though.

If the heroine could actually see some of these men without their rose colored, hormone framed glasses, they'd run for the hills. Most heroines are in their early twenties & naive, both emotionally & sexually, yet we are asked to believe that their very naivete is one of the reasons the hero changes. But would a 'real' alpha man be attracted tosuch a naive, innocent womanchild in the first place?

Some of my favorite heroes- Jamie in Outlander (don't ask about Clare), Nicholas in Splendor, Niall in Son of the Morning, Damien in Lord of Ice & Simon in Lord of Danger. Who are some of your favorite heroes? Hero peeves?

BTW~ beta heroes & heroines are another discussion entirely!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Review~ Fever, 1793; Laurie H. Anderson

A young adult novel, set in 1793 Philadelphia, follows 14 year old Matilda Cook as she helps her mother run the family coffee house at the beginning of the yellow fever epidemic of 1793 (an actual event). Dramatic & painful events overtake the little family forcing Matilda to mature rapidly & take charge of her future at a young age. Leavened by scenes with Matilda's love interest, Nathaniel Benson,& her mother's attempt to marry Matilda 'up' socially, Fever is serious in tone & subject.

Halse deftly reveals an accurate portrait of the various social classes without belaboring the point. Actual historical figures & events are woven into the narrative of a harried businesswoman trying to juggle too many balls with too few resources in a dangerous & difficult year. At the end there is a touch of romance & hope that had me smiling, although my 13 year old daughter said the overall tone is sad despite Matilda's new prospects.

Fever only took one afternoon to read, & isa richly detailed character study set in colonial Philadelphia during the yellow fever epidemic of 1793. If you or a schoolage reader like historical novels with a serious tone leavened with a touch of romance, try Fever. Halse has written several other young adult novels, one of which (Speak) has won several national awards for quality children's literature.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Hubby & I decided to visit Philadelphia Friday night. We packed up the kids Saturday morning & wandered among the Mummer's Museum exhibits by 1 pm. Nice place.Beautiful costumes. However, if you've dust allergies or asthma I highly recommend taking your meds before you enter. If you're a post card collector buy Mummer postcards there. I wasn't able to find them anywhere else.

Independence National Park is a large part of the old city of Philadelphia & encompasses a large area. Park under the Independence Vistor Center & get a map from the desk upstairs. I highly recommend ordering the free tickets if you want to see Independence Hall or Congress Hall. There are limited tickets per day per venue & they go quickly. We ordered tickets Saturday & reserved a space for the 3 pm Sunday afternoon tour of Independence Hall. Seeing the Liberty Bell is free after going through the security line. Luckily, the line moved fast. We waited only 30 minutes before getting in.

We also watched a magic show in the shaded courtyard beside Betsy Ross' house. It is a self guided tour. The textiles (bedlinens & curtains etc.) are beautifully preserved. Betsy Ross lived quite a full & adventurous life other than flag sewing.

On the map from the Visitor Center there are 13 gold stars. Each shows the location of a storytelling bench near the major historical attractions. Park your tired behind on a bench. Many are shaded & some are in quiet places; ie, outside the Friend's Meeting house & inside the cemetary where Ben Franklin is buried. We only managed two of them this visit since we didn't realize what they were until late in the afternoon. Anyhow, they are great for a quick 5-10 minute story & a chance to rest up.

We also walked up & down several blocks of South Street, a boutique & bar laden neighborhood laden with tattoo parlors & quite a cast of 'characters'one would expect to find in an eclectic area. The one place I really wanted toexplore, nut couldn't because we had all of the kids was Condom Kingdom. Warning- do not open link if you are offended by sexually explicit material. Ate some of the best cheesesteaks in a tiny shop below street level where the clientele were local & the prices cheap (5th & South St). No ambience to speak of & a tiny seating area, but well worth it.

We walked everywhere. Most of the historic areas are within walking distance of each other. We didn't go to see the historic, society homes though, so I don't know if they're close enough to walk to. There are many guided tours on various types of vehicles, all of which were overpriced IMO. Unlike DC, in Philly the food the relatively cheap but the museums charge.

So there you have it. The impromptu, two day Philadelphia historic tour.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Hugs to the British~

Again! Hope it isn't as serious as last week. Best wishes & prayers to all. Take a quick look at the photo galleries at the link above. Photoshop& the human spirit are alive & well.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The recent kerfuffle at Smart Bitches regarding a book cover done by the author has caused not a little meditation on my part. I started this thinking a review should be more plot summary & friendly in tone whereas criticism (critique is the verb) is a more thorough, less friendly analysis. My reference for the following is my ancient Random House College Dictionary.

Criticism, noun- The act or art of analyzing and judging the quality of a literary or artistic work, musical performance,dramatic production, etc. The act of passing severe judgement.

Review, noun- A critical article or report on a recent book, play, recital or the like; evaluation. Further down the synonym list says the following about review & criticism- review & criticism imply carefully examining something, making a judgement, and putting the judgement into written implies a less formal approach .

I've no idea where I developed the idea that review implies a certain, ah, friendly, tone. That isn't the right word, but it comes close. Thinking back, when my grandfather said we were going to review my latest French lesson there was certainly no frindliness implied! He wasn't at all mean or nasty, but certainly gave no quarter. Perhaps my subscription to a certain fangirl magazine has affected my analytical faculties.

Anyhow, I personally welcome impersonal, thoughtful, indepth analysis. I'm not a writer, but if I was I'd welcome such criticism or review. I suppose the writer's output may be viewed as their child or as an extension of themselves, but such an attitude is likely to be counterproductive to growth.

My beloved grandfather was my strictest critic, but I learned more & better French from him than I ever did anyone else. Je t'aime, Grandpere.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Murphy's Law, parenting version

Lovely day today. No, really. *snort*

Took the 3 cherubs to the dentist. 2 are fine, oldest has gingivitis. Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm. Now he needs to be watched like a hawk. We all know the drill~ brush, floss & gargle with Listerine & flouride rinse. Oldest is a 16 year old male. Time together in the bathroom? Ewwww.

Discover for a heartstopping 30 minutes that my checkbook has vanished. To say completely freaked out is not an understatement. I've had to deal with check fraud previously, it is no joke. Call the bank immediately & put a hold on a certain run of check numbers. Oldest child (gingivitis teen) goes out to the car looking for something else & finds checkbook wedged tightly in loose edging & seat.

Take refuge in the house with our newly replaced air conditioner. Decide the better part of valor is to take a nap. YUM.

Awaken & discover youngest child has stolen $5 out of my wallet to buy stuff at the grocery store. Send child to bed without supper after a serious 'whuppin' as my grandmother would have called it. I do not practice corpral punishment as a method of discipline. In some serious cases I think a little pain helps the memory. This particular child finds it hard to evolve out of the 'I WANT IT NOW' stage of child development. Somehow I foresee lots of extra chores for the next 5 days.

So here I am, mercifully at the end of another day, chatting with you. I hope your day was less humid, less aggravating & more peaceful.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Review~ No Greater Love; K. Kingsley

Georgia Wells, private seamstress to Lady Raven, agrees to marry Nicholas Daventry after meeting him once. Mrs. Wells, widow, has been kept isolated from the staff at the manor house & cannot leave as Lady Raven would never give her a reference. Nicholas Daventry is the supposedly ne'er do well nephew of Lord Raven, who fell mysteriously ill the day he wrote Nicholas asking him to return home. Daventry & Lady Raven have a poisonous past.

Daventry & Georgia marry in the local parish & settle into Daventry's run down family home. Trying to impress/not scare Georgia away, Daventry creates misunderstandings between them. Georgia, knowing she must make this marriage work, tries to put the best face on her miserable past & this too leads to misunderstandings. Meantime, there are Daventry's frightening night terrors to puzzle out. A serious illness causes both parties to review & rethink the basis for their relationship.They solve several longstanding family related problems & triumph in London while defeating the evil Lady Raven.

This novel uses several interwoven, traditional romance plotlines. The poor girl marries up. The evil stepmother/aunt. Mistaken/lost identity. Tortured hero. The difference is that Kingsley pulls them off this time. The H/H are in their midtwenties or early thirties. They communicate with each other (finally). They are devoted. They stand together & defend each other. Yes, the ending is a bit too neat & Georgia was briefly irritating regarding one issue, but overall, this has been a wonderful read.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The temper tantrum continues

Dropped by Romancing the Blog late last night & again today. Apparently the 'Romance is literature & deserves respect' tantrum lives on. You know, I'm reminded of a toddler who doesn't get his way rolling around on the floor flailing her arms & screaming, 'I deserve respect!'. This situation is getting old fast.

The literati will never accept genre literature of any stripe. These people seem to me to be overly self involved (stuck up, as my kids tell me). Not only that, they want to exclude people, thus maintaining their 'higher social status' so to speak. The literati would likely say that money isn't the issue~ it's the ART stupid!

Whatever. Presumably artists need money to eat & pay bills too.

If romance writers,publishers & readers are so insecure that they need everyone else's respect, what's the point?! Is the respect of people who prejudge entire categories of fiction without prior knowlege worth having?

Someone says to you,"All Birkenstock wearers are vegetarians." You'd likely ask them to back up the statement with facts. "Do you know for sure? Where'd you hear that?" If they then said,"It's common knowlege. Everyone knows that." You're going to write them off as an uninformed, prejudiced quack. Why shouldn't romance aficionados do the same?

These tantrums are getting old. Read your romances proudly. Hold your head up. Someone who makes negative comments about you based on your reading (or writing) habits is less than dust beneath your Birkenstocks (or Pradas or flip flops). What is it about women's self esteem that we constantly need approval from outside sources?

It's Harry Potter Night!!

Tonight daughter, younger son & I are going HERE for a HP party complete with a lantern lit walk two blocks down the road to the bookstore to pickup our books. I don't know who's more excited~ the kids or me! To that end I made the kids take naps since I doubt we'll be home again before 1am & I'll be damned if I have to carry the son.

Not made signifigant progress on the Katherine Kingsley novel as we've been uncommonly busy. Hope to finish it this weekend.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Keeper shelf review

So today was a R & R day after yesterday. We watched the Tour de France all morning (HOORAY! a Frenchman won on BastilleDay). I showered & then left 'to go to the drugstore'..& returned three hours later. I am renewed! BTW- the outlet works fine, but the dishwasher is still clogged. Ah well, I enjoy dishwashing if the truth be told.

I finally recieved my copy of RT Bookclub. In light of my recurrent problems with burnout I've decided not to buy any more Regencies until Christmastime. Instead I'll focus on other time periods & historical fiction while pretending to work on reducing Mt. TBR.

What romance subgenres make up your Keeper Shelves? Reviewing mine I find they are overwhelmingly:

1.Paranormals (vampire & fairies & ghosts)
3.Historical suspense
4.Love & Laughter historicals
5.Mythology or fairytale makeovers
7.Time travels

I've a strong preference for deeply flawed or 'dark' heroes. Certain alphas, but not the more extreme types. No very defined traits for heroines.Perhaps intelligence, resourcefulness and understandable, realistic emotions. The only contemporaries are the paranormals & fairytale/mythology & time-travels. I still have the early Elizabeth Lowell & Julie Garwood contemporaries. I've enjoyed most love & laughter treatments within the listed subgenres but I demand emotional depth too & that is often hard to find in L&L. I've limited keeper space & I really want emotional grabbers.I weed out my keepers too, but less often than I weed Mt. TBR.

What about you? What are the most prevalent subgenres on your keeper shelves? What do you most want in heroes/heroines? What must you absolutley have in a keeper? How often do you weed your keeper shelves?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Murphy's Law at home

Time for an update on the homefront. Last evening I went into the kitchen to empty the dishwasher & scrub the pots. LO & behold~ the dishwasher was full of rinsed but still filthy dishes. The dishwasher drain is plugged. Huge sigh. wash & scrub & put away all of the dishes. This, BTW, was after the kid down the street shows up at 9:30; "I'm here to sleepover with older son." Naturally I'd forgotten.

Bail dishwasher out. Start scrubbing counters. Start wiping off washing machine. Get the shock of a lifetime while wiping dials. Pick myself up off the floor & unplug washer & run around like a maniac telling everyone not to touch the washer since I can't flip the breaker as it is shared with the 'fridge. Wonder what the hell else can go wrong before the night is over.

Spend today helping hubby replace wall outlet behind washer & dryer. Discover dryer vent has pulled away from the wall & the floor was covered with a fine layer of lint. Oh yes & the floortiles arecoming loose under the whole area. I try to be grateful the machines themselves are functional. I wonder, offhand, how much life insurance hubby has & where & how much the policies are for while I watch hubby play with ground wire on the new outlet.

Here it is early evening, the outlet replaced, loose floortiles pried up, floor free of lint, new dryer vent installed. Still need to feed kids. Paint chips for bedroom laid on the bed (shades of peach-pink).

I'm so tired. I wish I could go to bed.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Review~The Prisoner; Karen Monk

The first half of The Prisoner by Karen Monk sounded & felt so much like another romance I nearly didn't finish it. No, I don't remember which other book or even which author wrote the now forgotten title. Unfortunately, that is very typical of me & is the reason why I started a written journal of what I've read. Yes, I know a finite number of plots & character types out there & everything we read is a repeat of someone else's words, but even so..a foolish romance reader such as myself remains hopeful.

Still, I persevered. The children, who form a backbone of this story, were mostly realistic & well enough done that I wanted to know how they fared at the end. Low & behold~ TAAA DAAAA!! Ms Monk manages to wrap my heartstrings around her characters their plot twist & the HEA. So much so that tears were shed during one particular scene near the end. Causing my sons & their teenage male friend to ask,"Hey, are you ok? What's wrong?" Naturally bewildered by my mutters "It's just my book- mever mind" they all shrugged & returned to the pressing problem of the afternoon. How much food can they consume without my noticing? The answer? WHen mom is reading you can eat everything in sight that is even remotely edible. Leaving pantry bare & the fridge lonely.

The Prisoner truly captured my heart during the second half of the novel, so much so I overlooked a plot flaw or t wo. Since I actually cried a tear or two The Prisoner automatically gets a coveted spot on the keeper shelves. Yes, people, I am a total sucker for tearjerking romances.

Please excuse any typos on a water saturated keyboard~ a victim of the 'Not Me Mom' poltergeist.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Review~ A Sister's Quest

Written by Jo Ann Ferguson, published in 2000. What can I say? I really, really liked it. I'm a sucker for a well written spy-adventure romance; especially one set in the heart of Europe (Zurich, Switzerland; Vienna, Austria & Paris).

Dashing Russian spy Alexei Vatutin swoops into a Swiss boarding school & scoops up Miss Michelle D'Orage, the language mistress, convincing her to accompany him to Vienna as his translator. Michelle, reluctant but wanting an adventure, agrees. Naturally there's more to Vatutin's story than meets the eye, but Michelle perseveres. A grand, rollicking adventure in Vienna ensues~ complete with a masterly seduction in a conservatory during a party.

I enjoyed this story more because the characters' feelings evolve realistically over time & the problems they encounter are solved believably (with only one minor complaint about Michelle's stupidity concerning Prince Bartholomew). Even the ending works out well for my modern sensibilities. They plan to marry even as they plan to move to Moscow for their next spying adventure together as man & wife.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Desperately Seeking...

Who knew that romance exists outside the UK/US/France?? Not I. Until yesterday that is. Hunting desperately through Mt. TBR looking for a book to read while waiting to pick up my younger children, I came across a gem of a book (which I don't remember buying, natch) set in- get ready - Zurich, Switzerland & Vienna, Austria among other exotic locales. I'm impressed.

The US/UK/France/exotic island requirement is very careworn & cliche ridden, as far as I'm concerned. You know, the whole damned planet is swarming with people. There must be romance elsewhere besides the English & French speaking nations. Maybe?? What about Canada? They're our biggest neighbors, they speak English AND French plus having a whole delicious history of trappers, traders, Indians & the Mounties. Yet, there are few romances set there.

Are romance readers that set in their outlook? Are publishers that unwilling to push the boundaries of what might sell? Do we really care where a book is set as long as the HEA is there & the sex is hot? Is research really that hard? Ok, don't answer that last, as I've learned the hard way that history is apparently quite a)hard b) boring c)time consuming & d) a waste, because who will notice or care really?
ME damnit. I care. And I'm getting bored.

So this little book I found buried in my own house is A Sister's Quest by Jo Ann ferguson. Book three in the Shadows of the Bastille series.Website for Ms. Ferguson here. Better still, there's a teeny blurb in the front advertising next month's releases (this was 2000) saying that author Kathryn Fox would have the first in a series featuring the Mounties. I couldn't find a website for Ms. Fox, so I presume this might be hard to locate, but I may just have to try, although the blurbs I could find were rather dry.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Tooting my sister's horn

Wow that was weird. Worked on an entry, finished it & hit 'publish' & got a strange blog name & .. well, it was just weird. So I've changed my password & I hope it doesn't happen again.

ANYHOW~ my sister pubbed a young adult novella in a small magazine a year or two years ago. She's worked on it since then with a group & joined the Children's Writer's Society & just generally worked it as much as she could. This morning she sends me an email saying an agent in NYC has asked to see her manuscript! I'm so excited for her! I hope her book goes all the way.

The tentative, working title is 'Veiled'. If it gets pubbed, you'll hear it here first!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Review- Lavender Blue

Let me start by saying I began this book really, really wanting to like it. Lavender Blue was written by Sandra Heath. I suppose you could say it's a Regency paranormal adventure romance. Light on the romance part, unfortunately.

Lady Anthea Wintour has broken off her 'arrangement' with His Grace, Jovian Cathness, Duke of Chavanage over a year ago due to his inexplicable descent into a permanent drunken stupor. His Grace, meanwhile, has a new best friend- his wine & brandy. Lady Anthea's father remarries while away, his wife dies suddenly & he sends his new stepdaughter to London to live with Lady Anthea & her chaperone while he traipses off to the wilds of Brazil- still with me?

Odd things begin to happen to Lady Anthea, the stepsister Corinna & Aunt Letitica the chaperone, several months after Corinna arrives in London. Corinna of course foregoes the usual, strict & lengthy mourning requirement via the convenient device "my ____ wouldn't want me to mourn so long/ I look terrible in mourning'.

Anthea occasionally addresses Jovian as 'Duke'. It may be correct, but I found it odd & stilted. Not to mention that I thought the correct form of address would be 'His Grace', which is what I'd call my ex beau who can't seem to stay on the wagon.

There is no adequate explanation for why Anthea dropped Jovian like a hot potato without fighting to sober him up even a little bit. One pathetic squabble & she caves. Why Anthea loves him in the first place isn't addressed at all. He's rich, handsome, titled &..well, that ought to be enough I suppose.

Needless to say, they reunite after Jovian convinces Anthea there's danger afoot. For the sake of a hot smooch or two, she believes him. Even Aunt Letitica gets into the act & gets an HEA of her own. Not Corinna though. She can settle for having survived the story.

This is a combination of Children of the Corn (S. King- you remember!) & the Persephone/Hades myth. Not nearly so scary/creepy as King obviously, but the resemblance was there. There were excellent possibilities with this storyline. However, the relationship development was pushed aside for overly convoluted plot devices. Too bad Lavender Blue wasn't a full length novel- it deserved a better telling.

I'd give this a C-/D+. It needed more relationship focus & more length to justify such a twisted plot. Too bad really. I had high hopes.

Review- Lord of the Mist

Finished Ann Lawrence's Lord of the Mist a few days ago. Cristina le Gros, wife of Simon, is wet nurse to Durand de Marle's motherless daughter. Cristina, married to a social climbing, greedy man, loves her little charge & carries her everywhere- even while collecting the herbs & flowers she uses to make into lotions & creams & medical ointments. Durand meanwhile, knowing he & his deceased wife Marion had not had sex, becomes suspicious of all of the men in his keep. Who is Felice's father? How can he move beyond jealousy of this unknown man & maintain the friendship with & the loyalty of his men?

Swirling around this difficult problem, are several layers of personal & political intrigue. Will Durand be able to walk the tightrope of loyalty between King John & King Philip of France? Can he win back the manors he lost & so provide for his sons & his brother? Who will John try to force him to marry? As for Cristina, she must deal with territorial doctors, arrogant noblewomen, & a husband who berates her for not giving him a son. Plus a request for a fertiltiy potion & a smelly ointment to retard hairloss. Why does Durand ignore his daughter? How can she keep her husband happy, give him a son & feed Felice while Durand requires Cristina & Simon to live apart?

Both main characters are fully realized, actual people true to the time period they live in. Cristina accepts her lot as wife while trying to nurture a small business & resigns herself to a hostile & belittling husband. Durand has a lot happening in his life right now & his lust for his daughter's married wetnurse bothers him, but there's so much else he needs to take care of that he can't fully act on his desires immediately. I really appreciated that Durand acknowleges his part in his wife's unhappiness & he realizes that his jealousy achieves nothing & probably hurts him. As for Cristina, her loyalty to her fickle husband is admirable & well explained, but nonetheless grates a bit. However, she too is shown to have her strengths as well as her foibles.

This is one of the best medieval romances I've read in quite some time. The love scenes are hot, the characters are true to period & the unusual twist at the end makes this one a keeper for me.

Condolences to the British

My deepest & most heartfelt sympathies (& hugs) to the people of London & the people of Britain as a whole due to the horrific bombings on the Tube & the bus lines this morning. If I could I'd donate blood, but since I sit here across the pond with my heart in my mouth, all I can do is donate $$ to the British Red Cross.

On a lighter note, coming later tonight, reviews of Ann Lawrence's Lord of the Mist A+. Also reviewed Sandra Heath's Lavender Blue C+.

Am rushed off my feet at the moment, so I'll sign off now. Chat later!

Monday, July 04, 2005

MTV/VH1 ruined Live 8

Saturday was Live 8- as everyone knows, unless you live in Africa that is. I agree more needs to be done to help 'Regular Joe' Africans (as opposed to their dictators), yadda, yadda. I AGREE OK?!

But WTF is wrong with MTV & VH1?? Let me clarify- hubby & I had plans Saturday so we DVR'd the entire Live 8 broadcast on MTV & VH1. Sunday we settle in to watch what ought to have been some awesome performances.

NOT. What we ended up with was 'vj's' or whatever you call those awful, fucking annoying TSTL MTV/VH1 personalities. Note, the British MTV people probably would've been less irritating except that the US people continually interrupted them or simply cut away- while the Brits were talking!!

God forbid you wanted to hear an entire set or even an entire song in some cases. It was more important to get face time for the US vj's. Oh & let's not forget the advertisers. The same commercials. Over & over & over & over...You get the deal.

One song from Japan. Two or three from Berlin. Thirty seconds from Johannesburg South Africa. Two songs from Canada. No coverage at all for any of the other locations. Plenty of face time for some dude who thinks AIDS is white conspiracy to depopulate the earth of blacks. Oh yes. It was out there.On international tv. We replayed that interview three times, we were so shocked. It really happened.

Guess how much of the 8 hours of airtime was music? Seriously. Guess. Fast forward over the commercials, vj stupidity & interviews. How much time was left for music? Less than 3 hours. Yes, kiddies. Less than three hours. Not even half of all of that airtime was music. I guess actually showing the performances is right up there with showing music videos. IE- NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

Hopefully the concerts will be put on DVDs so we can actually see & hear the music. I'm not holding my breath. And if MTV & VH1 put out the DVDs? I refuse to give them my money.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Happy 4th of July

This is the 4th of July trivia geek edition of today's blog. Happy Independance Day!

Fireworks fangirl? Fact Monster has cool trivia.

I regulary fake my way through nearly all patriotic songs after the first verse. Luckily for me, the verses (& history) of many of these songs have been put on the web by the Library of Congress.

Unable or unwilling to come/go to Washington DC to see in person the Declaration of Independance ? Well, the National Archives has put it here, available in high resolution & with lots of historical details too.

Were you awake during U.S. History class? Do you know both of your Senators' names? Could you answer these questions to become a citizen? Following are 50 sample questions:

1. What are the colors of our flag?

2. How many stars are there in our flag?

3. What color are the stars on our flag?

4. What do the stars on the flag mean?

5. How many stripes are there in the flag?

6. What color are the stripes?

7. What do the stripes on the flag mean?

8. How many states are there in the Union?

9. What is the 4th of July?

10. What is the date of Independence Day?

11. Independence from whom?

12. What country did we fight during the Revolutionary War?

13. Who was the first President of the United States?

14. Who is the President of the United States today?

15. Who is the vice-president of the United States today?

16. Who elects the President of the United States?

17. Who becomes President of the United States if the President should die?

18. For how long do we elect the President?

19. What is the Constitution?

20. Can the Constitution be changed?

21. What do we call a change to the Constitution?

22. How many changes or amendments are there to the Constitution?

23. How many branches are there in our government?

24. What are the three branches of our government?

25. What is the legislative branch of our government?

26. Who makes the laws in the United States?

27. What is the Congress?

28. What are the duties of Congress?

29. Who elects the Congress?

30. How many senators are there in Congress?

31. Can you name the two senators from your state?

32. For how long do we elect each senator?

33. How many representatives are there in Congress?

34. For how long do we elect the representatives?

35. What is the executive branch of our government?

36. What is the judiciary branch of our government?

37. What are the duties of the Supreme Court?

38. What is the supreme court law of the United States?

39. What is the Bill of Rights?

40. What is the capital of your state?

41. Who is the current governor of your state?

42. Who becomes President of the United States if the President and the vice-president should die?

43. Who is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?

44. Can you name thirteen original states?

45. Who said, "Give me liberty or give me death."?

46. Which countries were our enemies during World War II?

47. What are the 49th and 50th states of the Union?

48. How many terms can the President serve?

49. Who was Martin Luther King, Jr.?

50. Who is the head of your local government?

Answers here halfway down the page.

MArch of the Penguins

After taking the grand tour of Arlington searching for a tiny one block square upscale restaurant, boutique & theater area, we finally found it after realizing the stub of a road where it was had been lost in the no man's land between map pages. Of course, the showtime we wanted was sold out, so we had three hours for dinner & browsing before the movie.

March of the Penguins was incredible. Gorgeous cinematography. Listening to Morgan Freeman for nearly two hours isn't half bad either. There was more audience participation than even that old saw Rocky Horror Picture Show. Laughter. Tears. 'Oh no, watch out!' moments.
The baby penguin mosh pit would've been hilarious if the situation hadn't been so serious. Penguins fly-swimming & soaring out of the ocean onto the ice.

The aurora australis, which result from solar wind, the earth's magnetic field & the earth's atmoshere (science lesson over now), is photograhed & showcased as well. Gorgeous photos here.

If March of the Penguins comes near you at all, I highly recommend it. Rush out there & go see it.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Just a tidbit of personal info- I am a complete professional cycling junkie. The Tour de France starts tomorrow. I'll be watching every spare moment for the next three weeks unless I absolutley must do something else. So, there may be odd, completely unbook related ravings here. Alternatively, if the race sucks I may be ranting & raving at the horribleness of the Goddess for not giving me reasons to scream at the tv like a lunatic (much like hubby during March madness, I might add).

Stolen library book update. If you remember, my mother showed up Wednesday morning & took our younger son & several of my library books away with her. *Sigh* She called me today- I was stuck in the notorious DC 4th of July traffic- I had the radio way, way up- & said, "Your library books are great I love them!" Then she hung up on me! WTF!!!! I hadn't even started them & she's raving about how wonderful they are. Actually, she's lucky I saw the phone blinking. The guy in the car beside me & I were enjoying U2's 'One' together as we inched along I95. Great stuff. The music that is. Not the traffic.

No idea what we're doing for the famous 4th. Most likely we'll rush up the GW Parkway just in time to see the fireworks. Hubby has to work. Maybe this weekend we'll return to the Folklife Festival to see Paul Prudhomme, photo here in case you're unsure of who he is.