Reading List #Whatever Part 3

Same format as Parts 1 and 2!  This part deals with #’s 21-30.

21. January 2013 Calliope Magazine-staff.  Same publishers as ask magazine, aimed at older kids.  1 teacup (whole magazine).

22. December 2011/January 2012 Cook’s Country Magazine-staff.  Magazine for the PBS series America’s Test Kitchen.  2 teacups (whole magazine).

23. January 2013 Odyssey Magazine-staff.  Same publishers as ask and Calliope, older kids.  1 teacup (whole magazine).

24. July 2011 Southern Living Magazine-staff.  Fine food articles about peaches.  2 teacups (whole magazine).

25. May 2011 Woman’s Day Magazine-staff.  Don’t really remember anything about this one.  1-1/2 teacups (whole magazine).

26*. The Hobbit-J.R.R. Tolkien.  Prequel to LOTR. 3/4 teacup per chapter.

27. Dragon Lovers-anthology collection, names forgotten.  Four short stories or novelettes about dragons and the women who love them.  The stories are set in places as diverse as the fictional countries of Dorn and Saragond, to 12th century Wales or medieval Japan (Anna and the King of Dragons) and contemporary Santa Fe, New Mexico (Dragon Feathers).  Dragon Feathers, quite frankly, STANK. 4 teacups per story, except Dragon Feathers which I skipped.

28*. The Justice Riders-by Ken Abraham, Tim Grayem, Aaron Norris and Chuck Norris.  A Western set in the final days of the Civil War and the immediate aftermath of Lincoln’s assassination on April 20, 1865.  Includes a horrifyingly realistic description of the chaos aboard the steamship Sultana when her boiler blew. 2 teacups.

29*. Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible-Paula Deen (who else?  😉 )  What do you think?  😉  3/4 teacup.

30. January 2013 Better Homes and Gardens-staff.  Please see #25.  2 teacups (whole magazine).



This blog post today is a promotion of a fan fiction written by my Facebook friend Dylon Perkins.

Rothterran Prime: Liberation
The sun rose slowly over the Campus Martius, the trees motioned playfully. Job stood tall and hard as an oak, the iron armor clanged softly as he adjusted his stance, and moved; the gentle breeze tugged his deep red war cloak. His emerald eyes gazing across the soon to be battle field at the Sordorian Camp. The Sordorian Wars had been going on for a generation and Job was confident he would end it. The Skarlet people had elected him as Emperor for his promise to put the long war to an end. He had to keep his promise. And if the Sordorian’s wouldn’t negotiate, he would have to fight them. 
“Well general, is the artillery ready?” Job quizzed as his General at Arms approached, his voice deep and commanding yet soft.
“Yes my lord, the ballistae, and catapults are primed and ready to hail death.”
“Good, rouse the men, we attack at midday.”  Job nodded, his crown catching a bit of the sun. Reflecting it toward the Sodorian camp. Job then turned to reenter his command tent; the red wool coverings offering shade.
“Yes milord.”
The General jogged off to get the army ready for the assault. His metal armor clanking as he moved.Meanwhile in space above the planet; a small fleet of Sith war ships leaped from hyperspace to take positions in the star system. Dozens of Star Destroyers; hundreds of frigates and cruisers.
“Sir, there seems to be no advanced technology in system,” spoke an ensign staring at his display. “At least none our scanners can pick up.”
“Good. Makes our job plenty of fun.”
The captain smirked, standing from his throne. His black uniform tidy and neat. “Hail the Krayt.” His voice was demanding.
“Yes sir!” the ensign followed orders and an image of the fleet admiral appeared on the bridge’s view screen. A broad man; his skin a hellish red, his eyes could pierce the soul. 
“Yes, Captain Valoris?” spoke the admiral in a deep commanding voice through a mask that covered his nose and mouth, it was designed to look like a skull’s jaw. Every few seconds a bit of steam emitted from between the “teeth.”
“The jump into the Uncharted Region was successful, milord. The planet appears to be primitive, orbital scans indicate a basic society,” the captain reported.  “I think we can engage to form our base sir.”
“Why fight, when we can take our role as gods to these primitives?!” the admiral asked rhetorically, his hands gesturing to the heavens.
“Start the attack, target major cities first and then start the land assault. I want no losses from us, Captain. This operation must not fail.” The Sith Pureblood’s gloved fist slammed against the arm rest.
“Yes, Lord Terminus,” Valoris spoke; swallowing the fear of his master, attempting to look confident. The middle-aged captain turned to his com officer.  “Commence the bombardment of the major cities. And prep all landing parties.” 
“Yes sir,” the officer went to work relaying orders.As the dawn settled into morning, the streets of Skarlet were bustling with life, merchants selling all sorts of goods, from food to elaborate metal work. The Royal Guard along the walls, the city was safe from almost any attack from the ground. 
As an elderly monk pushed the large cumbersome doors of the temple open, a burst of light from the heavens; as intense as the sun blasted through the stained glass, incinerating a few other holy men, and the crowded streets turned to panic as the lights hailed from the sky.  Within a few moments, Skarlet was razed to the ground.  Ashes and broken walls littered with bodies.
The blue Banner of Sordor burst into flames as the lights hailed across the world, kingdoms fell to what was said to be “Ahvo’s Wrath”: every palace crumbled, every wall shattered; those not killed or wounded were traveling, of the four billion inhabitants of Rotherran Prime, the survivors of this fire from the heavens numbered only half a million. Half a million battered,  terrified people. The armies in mid conflict, sword smashing against shield, arrows falling as rain in the wind, javelins tossed meeting flesh, stopped almost as one to see the horror of heaven’s fury hailed upon the cities that their families, and loved ones dwelled in. Fear gripped all, anger strangled a few.
“Perhaps we should end this bloodshed,” Sordor’s general, who had led the blue banner to battle that morning, spoke; removing his iron helmet and watching the lights continue to fall.
“Agreed.  We should send a rider to check our respective homes.”
Job looked at the blood stained ground, bodies of the red and blue nations tangled in death.  Job removed his helmet and put his hand on his counterpart’s shoulder.  “Rainear, we should tend to our fallen and find out what’s happened..”
“Yes..” was all Rainear said, walking half strength to his camp. 
“Gather the fallen; prepare them for a pyre!” Job ordered to his men.
“Do the same,” he addressed to the Sordorian nearest him. And in turn walked back to his camp. This war had ended without a victory.“Begin the landing,” Captain Valoris ordered; sitting on his throne, his lips around a death stick.  A combined force of thousands of small ships burst into the atmosphere; hundreds of landing craft full of droids and warriors, Sith Lords, and Sith troopers, ready to begin the bloodbath of conquering another world.  Lord Terminus himself was on the landing craft that hit surface first.  He walked off the craft as a king would to see his subjects, dark black cloak, a blood-red tunic trimmed in gold, his lightsaber hilt modeled after the iron sword’s hilt with guard. 
“Darth Malgus continues a campaign as a puppet of the Emperor, blind to the new order I shall build and surpass the Sith of old.” Terminus’ pride was high, his laugh frightening as the survivors of the bombardment were rounded up into new camps to be surveyed by their new lords. “Milord, there’s a large group of warriors to the west,  two different banners fly. One red, one blue. Orders?” A Sith knelt before Terminus. His cloak a clone to the hundreds of other Sith in the Empire.
“Deal with them, you imbecile!  Don’t let them rally a resistance.” Terminus smacked his subordinate with his gauntleted hand the phrik steel, slashing the Sith’s face who was unmasked. 
“Yes milord,” the Sith tried to hide his anger from the attack, faillingly; his sneer dripping blood.

Motivated Grammar

I’ve been meaning to set up some sort of occasional round-up of interesting pieces on the rest of the Internet, and with the new year, there’s no better time to start.  I’ll be posting these (hopefully consistently) every other Friday, starting today. This edition is going to go a bit outside the past 14 days; I hope this doesn’t sour you to it.

A couple links with commentary:

* Jonathon Owen’s post on relative pronouns and the silly proscriptions they engender is really darn good, and having been posted on Christmas Eve, it would have made a great present, if only I’d seen it then.  This part I’m quoting isn’t even my favorite part, that’s how good it is:

If you think the system doesn’t make sense, the solution isn’t to try to hammer it into something that does make sense; the solution is to figure out what kind…

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Reading List #Whatever Part 2

This continues the list from my previous post.  This post deals with #’s 11 through 20.  The format is the same.

11*. Earth’s Children #4: The Plains of Passage by Jean M. Auel.  This is the travel book of the series.  It showcases the continent long trek from the Black Sea to modern-day southern France.  2 teacups.

12*. Agincourt: A Novel by Bernard Cornwell.  This is about the battle of Agincourt in October 1415.  Though it is about that pivotal battle in the same war where Joan of Arc later died, it begins in early December 1413 in England, progresses to the battle of Soissons in 1414 and concludes after the battle of Agincourt in London; once Henry V’s victorious army has returned to England. 2-1/2 teacups.

13. STAR WARS: DARTH BANE: PATH OF DESTRUCTION by Drew Karpyshyn.  This is Darh Bane’s origin story and it begins in the cortosis mines on the planet Apatros.  6 teacups.

14. Enemies and Allies: The Dark Knight meets the Man of Steel by Kevin J. Anderson.  This is a story of the 1950’s and tells of what could have happened had Batman and Superman joine dforces then… .

15*. White Night-by Jim Butcher.  A novel of the Dresden Files.  In this novel, Chiago’s White Council Warden, the Wizard harry Dresden, and his apprentice Molly Carpenter, chases  an Exodus 22:8 quoting serial killer, and at least twp copy cats; one of which is a White Court vampire from House Malvora… and one of Harry and Molly’s allies is Harry’s first ex-girlfriend, Elaine Mallory.  1-1/2 teacups.

16. Strawberry Shortcake Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery by Joanne Fluke. The title character, Hannah Swensen, is judging a dessert bake off contest in her hometown and one of her fellow judges, a wife beater, gets murdered.  His last meal, not counting the samples they ate as part of their judging, was a piece of her strawberry shortcake.  This makes life very interesting in Lake Eden, Minnesota!  Like all the other books of this series, Strawberry Shortcake Murder, includes yummy recipes, including the one for the title treat.  1 teacup for the chapter, plus 1/4 teacup per recipe.

17. January 2013 ask (Arts And Sciences for Kids) magazine-staff.  What it sounds like.  🙂  3/4’s of a teacup.

18*. Catch as Cat Can by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown.  The Dogwood festival and the Wrecker’s Ball in Crozet, Virginia leads to a series of dead bodies including one of a great pileated woodpecker.  The postmistress, her cats and dog solve the murders. 1 teacup.

19. December 2012 dig magazine-staff.  This is published by the same company as ask magazine but is aimed at slightly older kids.  1 teacup.

20*. Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State and the Birth of Liberty by John M. Barry.  Treatise.  1 tea cup.

Reading List #Whatever Part 1

This is a list of books and magazines I have either read or am still reading this month.  I will give title of book or magazine, author of book, a one, two or three sentence description of said book or magazine and a time rating.  My time rating will consist of a number of teacups, with fractions of a tea cup representing a ten minute interval for reading.  If the book or magazine listed is a work in progress, I will indicate that this is so by using an * by the number and the teacup rating will be for either one chapter in an in progress book or one article in an in progress magazine.  This post is about the first ten books and magazines.  With no further ado, here they are!

1. STAR WARS: DARTH BANE: THE RULE OF TWO by Drew Karpyshyn.  The second book in his trilogy of books about Darth Bane, the Sith Lord who created the Rule of Two a millennium before the Battle of Yavin.   6 teacups.

2. FOOD CURES:A by the editors of Reader’s Digest.  A not very interesting book.  2-1/2 teacups.

3. CLASSIC STAR WARS: SPLINTER OF THE MIND’S EYE byAlan Dean Foster.  This book is set in the first year or less after the events of the original movie and follows Luke, Leia, R2 and 3PO through a messy adventure on Mimban, a swampy world.  They are assisting an old, somewhat Force Sensitive grifter named Halla seeking a legendary local power place called the Temple of Pomojema and the equally legendary Kaiburr Crystal. 1-3/4 teacups.

4*. Jubal Sackett by Louis L’Amour.  This is the fourth of his Sackett novels, telling the story of American history through the eyes of a single family.  This book is about Jublain Sackett, also called Jubal, one of the second generation of Sackett’s in America and tells of his travels west of the Mississippi River to the Sangre de Christo Mountains in what is is modern day New Mexico seeking Itchakomi Ishaia, a princess of the Natchee (Natchez) Indians of what is now modern day Louisiana. 4 teacups.

5. Claws and Effect: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown.  I’ve forgotten what this particular Mrs. Murphy Mystery is about.  7 teacups

6. The Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander.  This is the third book in his Prydain Chronicles and tells the story of how Princess Eilonwy of the red-gold hair endures her education as a Princess.  3 teacups.

7. The Great Bird Flu Hoax: The Truth They Don’t Want you to know about “The Next Big Pandemic” by Dr. Joseph Mercola with Pam Killeen.  A bunch of anti flu vaccination propaganda! DO NOT READ THIS UNLESS YOU HAVE A HIGH TOLERANCE FOR HORSE HOCKEY!  1-1/16th of a teacup…my lowest rating so far.

8. January 2013 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Magazine by staff.  This is the first issue of the 125th anniversary year! 6 teacups

9. Comforts of Home Cooking complied by the editors of Midwestern Living Magazine.  It’s a cookbook.  3 teacups.

10*. STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASHED by Sean Williams.  The novelization of the STAR WARS game of the same title.  3/4 of a teacup.

Motivated Grammar

I’ve been looking through some unfinished drafts of posts from last year, trying to toss some of them together into something meaningful, and I found one that was talking about the stupid Gizmodo “Hashtags are ruining English” piece from last January. (Given hashtag‘s selection as ADS Word of the Year, I think that claim has been safely rebutted.) Apparently, in a fit of light madness, I read through the piece’s comments. I didn’t find any of them particularly noteworthy, save one. A commenter named Ephemeral wrote:

“The point is that texting and hashtags are at the root of the increasing illiteracy. Why worry about what an adjective is? If it doesn’t fit in my 140 character limit, it could be an adverb, for all I care. And, if it can’t be reduced to a less-than-five-character ‘word’ with letters and digits, then I am not interested anyway. […] #ltr8”


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