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Archive for June, 2012


Last night, the world lost a real American treasure.  Nora Ephron died of Leukemia.  So many people have eulogized her today better than I ever could.  I just know that her works spoke to me.  I consider her the Jane Austen of the 20th century and the quirky Sally Albright her Elizabeth Bennett.  She wrote about strong, complicated women and men, their relationships, and their lives.  She was a funny, great writer, a feminist, and contributed a vital thread to the American story.

She will be missed.  Rest In Peace Nora and thank you!

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My dad died in 1996.  He was 56 years old.  He suffered organ rejection from a lung transplant.  He had a transplant the year before because he suffered from alpha-one antitrypsin deficiency.

I miss my dad a lot, as does everyone in my family.  Generally, though, I no longer sit around lamenting the loss.  The passage of time has helped heal my grief some as does knowing he’s no longer suffering.  Mostly though, I know that my dad would not want me to sit around making my life miserable because he’s no longer around.  He loved life.  He loved his family.  And he loved to laugh.

Laughter is a gift I have inherited from both of my parents.  There is a lot of joy and laughter when we are together celebrating the good times and the muddling through the bad.

So, in honor of Father’s Day, I want to share some of his funny stories in his honor.  It is how I like to remember him and how I know he would like to be remembered.

He drove to Washington, DC one time to visit me for my birthday.  My stepmother made my favorite cake, yellow cake with chocolate icing.  We sang Happy Birthday at my house and I gave cake to my roommates.  Then we packed everything up in his car to go to my brother’s house to celebrate.  We backed out of the driveway and as we started to pull away we all heard something slide across the roof of the car and THUNK! hit the pavement.  Yep, my birthday cake was now splattered all over the street.  He was carrying the cake and put it on the roof to put other stuff in the car and forgot it.  I never had a single bite of it as I was waiting to eat the cake at my brother’s house.

One time, he was getting ready to drive to DC to visit me and offered to give a friend of mine a ride down here as well.  I gave him her number.  She was a massage therapist and he called and left a vulgar message on her machine.  I was horrified.  But wait, there’s more.  How could this possibly get worse, you ask?  He called the wrong number and left that message on some other woman’s machine.  How do we know this?  That woman called him back!  Fortunately, she was laughing when she called to inform him he called the wrong person.

He created a special way to celebrate Christmas.  Of course he got everyone the presents or money they wanted.  Then he would pull out a giant bag filled with stupid $.99 toys and other junk, carefully wrapped with loving care.  Stuff like jacks, Silly Putty, Plastic Bubbles, $1.00 pair of stretchy gloves, stupid stuff.  We then took turns opening gifts.  You also had the choice of opening a new gift or taking someone else’s gift.  We did three or four rounds with the bag of junk fighting over the stupid $.99 toys cheering when we got something good and then getting upset when someone else took it away.  He just sat back laughing and taking pictures.  It was his favorite part of the night.

He had this joke that only he could tell.  Everyone knew it as he told it 1,000 times at least.  Invariably, at some family function someone would ask him to tell his Archibald Asholbrook joke.  It was vulgar.  He could tell it over and over again and everyone laughed just as hard as they did the time before.  But the final joke was on us.  The secret of the joke seems to have died with him.  No one else really knows it.  And nobody else can tell it the way he did.

So, Happy Father’s Day, Dad!  I know you’re causing all kinds of trouble and keeping God on his toes!

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In one of my previous posts, I promised more about this book, so here it is.

Before I begin my review, I have to tell you a little about this book.  Percepliquis is the sixth and final installment of the Riyria Revelations.  A member of my writer’s group, Michael J. Sullivan, wrote this series.  Since the initial publication of this series, that he put out partly with a small publisher and partly as self publication, the books have been picked up by Orbit.  Orbit then re-released the original six books in a series of three.  Those books are Theft of Swords, Rise of Empire, and Heir of Novron.

I purchased Percepliquis as an individual book instead of buying Heir of Novron because by the time Orbit had picked up and released the new versions of the series, I had already purchased and read the first five books.  I wanted to complete the original set.

The Review

I am going to give some of the plot away in a minute, but the only salient information that you need is that this is a very good book.  It is worth reading either as a stand alone or as the final chapter in a series, although, if you’re going to take the time to read this book, I definitely recommend the series.

This is a hero’s tale.  Granted, at least one of the heros are a tad reluctant to don that mantle, but  he’s a hero nonetheless.  Sullivan really delivers by providing an exciting challenge for the characters and a satisfying end to the series.  There is even a nice surprise twist to the plot right at the climax of the story.  Definitely a fun read and an enthusiastic two thumbs up from me.

If you do not want to know anymore than that, STOP READING NOW!

Here are some of my favorite things:

Arista – She’s always been one of my favorite characters and has had a very interesting and complex storyline.  I also love strong women in literature and Arista fills the bill.  She even has a love interest.  It might catch some people by surprise, but not me.  It was the ending I was hoping for.  And she doesn’t just go off and live happily ever after either.  She has a strong leadership role after the story ends in what will become the new empire.  Very happy with end result.

Modina – The Empress.  What a character arc for her!  She appeared in the second book as a somewhat meek but daring country girl.  Through the series she is transformed into the heir of Novron and Empress who is controlled by the evil Saldur who wants to create an empire of his own making.  She leads a revolution against him and the other nefarious bad guys to truly become an empress in her own right.  And in the end, she stands in the rubble of the once great city of Aquesta between the last of her people and a giant Gilarabrywn (giant magical undefeatable dragon)  and the elves declaring they will not harm her people.  That act alone played a huge role in the saving the realm.

Hadrian – I cannot say enough good things about Hadrian and his friend Royce.  They are really the focus of the books.  They start out being unwitting suspects in a plot to kill a king and end up being our unwitting heros.  Hadrian, as it turns out, is a Teschlor knight and is a descendant of the old empire.  It has been his family’s job through the millennia to protect the heir of Novron, the descendant of the king.  The problem is, through the centuries, the heir and his/her protector became separated and Hadrian never knew he was the protector of the heir until late in the series.  As a result, he longs to have a purpose for his life, a heroic purpose if possible.  He regrets the folly of his youth, his life as a criminal, and tournament champion.  He wants to have a noble raison d’etre.  He finds it in this book as without him the heir and the world will be lost.

Royce – Royce is awesome.  He’s the dark hero in this book.  He’s had a hard, unhappy life.  His memory is long and he’s slow to forgive.  He’s a smart, extremely talented thief, cynical, and heartless.  But if you gain his respect, or his love, he would die for you.  Which, ironically enough, is where we find Royce in this book.  The love of his life died at the end of the last book, and in this book, he’s on the verge of ending it all.  When he’s asked to go on a mission to retrieve the horn of Novron from the underground city of Percepliquis, he only agrees in part because there is a huge chance he could be killed.  Turns out, he is more important to the mission than anyone knew.  I have to admit, I kind of guessed his purpose in the series early on and I was not disappointed in the least with the outcome.  Even though I suspected his role, Sullivan did a great job of leaving enough distractions to still make it a little bit of a surprise.  Of all the characters in the book, Royce has the  most dramatic character arc from the beginning of the the series to the end.  To see him at the end of the journey find a new purpose for his life and able to let go of his old hatreds and old ideas and find a new place in the world was very satisfying.

I was sorry to see the series end.  I really loved reading these books and I will miss the adventures of Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater.

 

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I have been watching the Queen’s 60th Jubilee Celebration off and on this week.  What a fun party that was. 

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Being American, we do not have a royal family.  Our presidents serve for 4 or 8 years.  They are citizens before taking office, they serve as citizens, and remain citizens when they are done.  Granted, nearly all of our presidents are priviledged and wealthy, but citizens nonetheless.  Having a citizen government was created by design to avoid the establishment of a monarchy to hopefully avoid some of the corruption suffered in Europe due to the corrupt  nobility and royalty at the time.  Ironically, as we know all to well, a constitutionally representative government is not free from corruption either.

The Contitutional Monarchy in Britain has served its people well and they are generally happy with their form of government as far as I can tell.  Queen Elizabeth II is currently the second longest serving Monarch in England’s history.  Queen Victoria served for 63 years.  And Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Anne Boleyn the second wife of Henry VIII, served for 45.  In fact, of the top ten longest serving Monarchs, 3 of them are women with Elizabeth II and Victoria holding the top two spots for longest reigns.

I like Queen Elizabeth II.  She’s one classy woman.  I congratulate her on her 60th Jubilee and look forward to watching her ursurp Queen Victoria as the longest reigning Monarch three years from now and then to celebrate her 70th Jubilee in ten years.

On a side note, Britain is really turning out to be one of the coolest places in the world.  We had the wedding of Will & Kate.  The Queens 60th Jubilee.  And the Olympics.  Not to mention the upcoming season three of Downton Abbey, which I won’t get to see until January because I’m in the US and not London!  It’s good to be Queen.

Congratulations to Queen Elizabeth and the entire royal family.  Long live the Queen! 

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