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Saturday, April 12, 2014

How to be a Productivity Ninja, A Review

In his book, How to be a Productivity Ninja, Graham Allcott delivers awesome advice in easy to understand and incorporate bits.  

I'm a home-based, disabled, student, and I learned a lot of ninja skills to speed up my processing.  I really like the weekly and daily checklists.  As well as the second brain and getting inputs to zero concepts discussed in this book.  Then, again, I'm a productivity geek too.

I was very excited to get back to this book and learn more ninja secrets from the master while I was reading this, so I give it 5 stars.

I received my copy for free from the publisher through the NetGalley Professional Reader program.  My opinion, as ever always, is my own.

52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life, A Review

Andrea Owen brings us a great book, quick to read, but deep and takes a long time to soak in the lessons.  There's the usual get out of your comfort zone and get over your ex chapters.  Then there's the strange ones, the ones that make you pause and wonder if you really can do them, like telling 5 people your secret dream,  or ditching your drama addiction?  Can that really be done?  If so, how?  Read chapter 24 to find out!

Other topics are more serious but still as important.  Chapter 20, You can't "Feel Fat" or Chapter 33, Move out of victimhood.  I know I battle with those among other health and body issues.  What about you?

I think my favorite topic is Chapter 34, You are always worthy of love.  We are all there, every day and every moment.  I hope you have a lovely day.  

I received my copy of this book for free through the NetGalley Professional Reader program.  My review is my own opinion as always.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Tale of the Three Brothers, from The Tales of Beedle the Bard, by J.K.Rowling

So, I'm writing a paper for a class I'm taking.  I'm looking at how the ideological messages are transmitted in a piece of writing and have chosen to use the Tale of the Three Brothers from The Tales of Beedle the Bard, by J.K. Rowling.  Now, what are ideological messages, you may ask?  They are the ideas beyond what is written, like the moral of a fable, the hidden message.  So, not only am I looking for the hidden message, but for how that hidden message is given to the reader.

A little background.  Three brothers come to a raging river.  They use their magic to make a bridge across the river.  Death gets angry because usually people die trying to cross the river.  So, Death meets the three brothers midway on the bridge and offers them each a gift of their choosing for having outwitted him.  The eldest, belligerent brother asks for a wand to beat all others in battle.  The middle brother asks for something to return those who have died.  Then, Death asks the youngest brother what he wants.  The youngest brother asks for something that would allow him to go from that place unseen by Death and avoid Death until he was ready to meet him.  Death gave the eldest brother a wand of elder, the middle a river washed stone, and the youngest received Death's own invisibility cloak.

Well, the eldest brother goes to a fellow who he's had trouble with in the past and they duel and he wins.  He goes to the local watering hole and boasts of the power of the wand Death gave him, gets drunk, passes out in a room above the pub.  A pickpocket decides to steal the wand while that brother sleeps, and for good measure, slits his throat.

The middle brother goes home, and uses the stone to bring back his dead fiancee.  She'd died just before their wedding.  They can't quite connect because of being on different dimensions of time and space, he goes mad, and kills himself to be with her.  So Death has two of the three brothers.

The youngest brother lives to an old age, gives the invisibility cloak to his son, and meets Death as a friend and they walk off into the sunset.

So that's the tale in a much abbreviated manner.  The hidden meanings in the story are: 1, you have nothing to fear from Death if you live sensibly, 2, your end will come about from the way in which you live your life, and, 3, as Dumbledore wrote in his commentary, Death is inevitable for all humans.

So, the question then becomes how did Rowling put those messages into the story?  Let's take the second meaning of the tale, that your end will come about from the way in which you live your life.  How did I get that meaning from the story?  Well, each brother died in a way related to what he asked of Death.  The eldest brother asked for a wand to best all wands.  He died in a combative situation, had he not been drunk from too much wine.  The second brother wanted the power to bring back the dead.  He was pinning for the past, and assumed that the girl wanted to be back with him rather than where ever it was she was.  He was lost in the past with his longing for her when he killed himself.  He never enjoyed living in the present after leaving Death on the bridge.  The youngest brother just asked to be allowed to go from there on his way.  He didn't ask for any special power, just for freedom to pass.  Then as his time of life grew long and full, he went to Death when it was the right time, rather than losing his life too soon.  Thus, each brother died according to what he asked of Death, and this tells us that your way of Death will come about because of how you live your life.

Ahh!  I just had an insight.  Dumbledore tells Harry "It is not what happens to us that makes us who we are, but our choices that make us who we are."  Just as our death will come from the choices we make about how we live our lives.

Pope Francis and Rabbi Skorka On Heaven and Earth, A Review

Despite viewing the Old Testament/Torah from different places, both men met to talk about various topics and shared their views on God, the Devil, Death, Euthanasia, Women, Same-Sex Marriage, Poverty and the Holocaust among other Twenty-First Century Topics.

Both view God in a similar way, though the Jewish prohibition of not referring to God by his name is handled by using G-d for when Rabbi Skorka refers to Our Heavenly Father throughout the book.  There are differences in whether we believe in the Messiah having arrived or not, yet.  But, on the whole there are far more similarities than dissimilarities.  This was borne out in a variety of other topics, none more so than the topic of Same Sex Marriage.

Both men view same-sex marriage in similar manners.  While both are respectful of all their fellow humans, both men do not believe that being made homosexual from birth grants a person to the right of marriage.  Both men also agree that adoptions should only be to families with both a mom and dad, one each.

This is to be expected coming from leaders of their respective religions, though I would have wished for more than just recognition that the humans involved deserve respect.   I am a Mainer.  We have legally recognized same sex marriage here.  Many of my friends have gone through getting married even if they'd had a commitment ceremony previously, just for the legal protections.  It is not fair that their religions do not recognize their unions with the same connection as the rest of the world.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Great Comforter

The Lord is my shepherd; 
I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: 
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: 
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; 
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: 
thou anointest my head with oil; 
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: 
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
     ~~Psalm 23, KJV

You know my needs.  You are my shepherd.  I shall not want.  You bring me to green pastures to lie down in.  You lead me by still waters to drink deeply until my thirst is gone.  You restore my soul.  You lead me in the paths of goodness to bring honor to your name.  Even though demons come towards me and threaten me, I will fear no evil for you are with me.  Your rod and staff comfort me by letting me know the boundaries, that you are near, and of your love for me.  You prepare a table of a feast for me in the presence of those who would do evil to me.  You anoint my head with oil, you touch my head and I know all is well.  My cup runs over from being filled with the blessings you give to me.  Goodness and mercy cannot but follow me for all the days of my life for you love me and I love you.  I will dwell in your house for ever because you allow me to.  Thank you, Lord.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Autism Awareness

from the blog of

Monday, February 17, 2014

My Favorite Poem. Yes, I have a lot of those.

From Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising Sequence, The Grey King.

On the day of the dead, when the year too dies,
Must the youngest open the oldest hills.
Through the door of the birds where the breeze breaks
There fire shall fly from the raven boy,
And the silver eyes that see the wind,
And the Light shall have the harp of gold.
By the pleasant lake the Sleepers lie,
On Cadfan's Way where kestrels call,
Though grimm from the Grey King shadows fall,
Yet singing the golden harp shall guide
To break their sleep and bid them ride.
When light from the lost land shall return,
Six Sleepers shall ride, six Signs shall burn,
And where the midsummer tree grows tall
By Pendragon's sword the Dark shall fall.
Y maent yr mynyddoedd yn canu,
ac y mae'r arglwyddes yn dod.


Now, supposedly, "Y maent yr mynyddoedd yn canu, ac y mae'r arglwyddes yn dod," means something like "The mountains are singing and the lady comes." But, there's some grammar errors in there that may change the meaning, too.

5 Reasons Migraines are Not Just a Headache

Monday, February 10, 2014

My Current Daydream

Every morning I wake to the sounds of gentle rain dripping off the tile roof of my one bedroom flat in Oxford.  I make some coffee, toast a crumpet, spread it with jam and enjoy my breakfast.  Today is my day to go to the library and study the actual texts of the medieval Irish and Welsh myths and legends and folktales.  I am looking for clues as to who the writers were and why they wrote in the ways they wrote.  I am also looking for the similarities and differences in the texts.  After lunch, I will go to the river for a walk and think over what I've peered at all the morning.  In the afternoon, I return to my flat and write up my notes, just in time to go to the train station and meet my sweetie on her vacation to England.  We go to a nearby pub and have a dinner and some local ale, then we go to a lecture on the historical lumps and depressions in the surrounding country side.  We go home afterwards for some much deserved time to ourselves.  In a few days, we emerge and go on an exploration of the Iron Age remains in the area while taking in the scenery and stopping at pubs for lunch and dinner, or tea as they call it there.  I don't make her climb a tree as our favorite Brit Com leading lady does in their own Iron Age remains episode, so I don't look foolish talking to a tree when a bicyclist goes by and she refuses to answer me from the tree.  Then again, the car didn't have a ladder, so it wasn't really feasible.  :)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Watching Lady Gaga and Oprah Talking About Fame ... Oh My!!

It's Sunday, so of course, it is Super Soul Sunday and Oprah's Next Chapter in my house on the television.  Oprah is interviewing Lady Gaga about her life and has just asked her about fame and how it feels to have the most followers on Twitter.  Lady G doesn't disappoint and turns the conversation to how her team keeps her honest and grounded by telling her the truth.

This reminds me of the time when I was told of a friend's secret affair.  The affair was the truth, and it's story was spreading faster than anything on Twitter, though only through word of mouth.  I asked the one telling me about the affair if we could talk about something else, like her daughter's winning score in the recent basketball game.  Despite the truth of the conversation's details, the friend whose secret it was wasn't there to do the sharing of her secret, so as her friend, as part of her "team," I felt that it was best not to talk about this secret that wasn't really a secret anymore without her being present to share her truth of the events.