Dean Koontz’s The Night Window-Jane Hawk 5

I received this book courtesy of Random House Bantam for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: It’s time for the final battle with the would-be gods of the new world. The Techno-Arcadians believe that they have America by the throat, all they have to do is turn everyone in the States against–what they think is–the sole enemy of the revolution. Jane Hawk has a few tricks left up her sleeves, as well as a small army that does not have a whole lot to lose. Let’s place our bets on the winner.

Story Telling: We are still full throttle in a techno-thriller. This is also the closing book of the Techno-Arcadian conspiracy.

Dislikes: Calling all psychopaths and sociopaths! Goodness, I’m not sure how many of those nuts that were part of the Techno-Arcadians, but we got one or two extras thrown in.

And there was something unsettling about the ending. It’s not how I’ve come to expect Mr. Koontz to end his novels.

Likes: There were many instances of Americans doing what they do best in this novel. Everyone has seen times of great disasters, when Americans go above the call of duty. It’s who we are, aside from a few self-centered people.

And for every monstrous personality introduced, we were gifted with two or three heroic ones. The balance was definitely kept straight.

Favorite Quote: As this is an Advanced Reader Copy, Random House as requested that quotes are checked against the final product. That’s about three months away.

Favorite Character: We get two. Cornell is back, and proving to be quite quick on his feet.

And Porter Crockett is the kind of man that you want on your side during these kinds of messes.

Favorite Scene: It’s when Porter and Tom are in the diner.

Conclusion: This is a good series. The only thing that could possibly explain the loose threads is that Mr. Koontz has admitted that Jane has seven books. This is only book five.

Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch’s The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington

Overview: We have all heard of how, when the Continental Congress declared America’s independence from Great Britain, George Washington was elected to lead our army to victory. But have you heard the whole story? Including the potential assassination attempt? You will now.

Story Telling: This is a novel, but it’s also a non-fiction book. Depending on the author, and reader, the combination can make for an enjoyable read.

Dislikes: My only problem was the fact that Mr. Meltzer and Mr. Mensch came out and called many of our militia men ignorant, or illiterate. This was not the case, at least not from what my reading partner and I’ve been able to learn. Unless you were the unfortunate child of the rare parent who had to be the smartest person in the family, then you were well educated. The average graduating age from grade school, the 12th grade today, was twelve. And one of the requirements to graduate was the ability to read and understand Latin. These men were not idiots, not by a long shot.

Likes: It was fascinating to see how the Founding Generation handled the stress of the upcoming battles.

John Jay obviously was a lot more than a powerful lawyer, and Chief Supreme Court Justice. This guy was big on law enforcement.

Favorite Character: If I can’t pick George Washington, then I’m picking John Jay.

Favorite Quote: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” You get bonus points if you recognize the quote without reading the novel.

Favorite Scene: We got two of them. The first comes with General Washington ended the fight between two different militia groups.

The second one is what happens to the statue of King George III.

Conclusion: This was a great read. Enjoy it for the pacing, and the story telling. You might just learn something as well.

DK Publishing’s Preserve It!-Bottled Fruits, Jams & Jellies, Pickles, Cured Meats

Overview: Are you interested in growing your own produce? If you are, then what do you do with it when it comes in? This book is all about the art of preservation. Here’s a shocker: preserving is far more than jerky, pickles, and jellies.

Story Telling: We have a recipe book. The only difference is that most of these recipes aren’t meant for immediate use.

Dislikes: If I have any complaints, it’s with some of the slower preservation techniques. And then it’s more because of a lack of explanation.

Likes: There are several useful grafts to aid both the new and more experienced preserver.

Also, there are several recipes in each section. This makes it so that you have a good grasp on the ideas behind each technique.

Favorite Recipe: I’m looking forward to trying the Hot Pepper Jelly.

Conclusion: This is a good resource for the homesteader and anyone else who wants to have a garden. Enjoy it, and your end results with the rest of your family.

Virgil’s The Aeneid

Overview: Have you ever wondered what happened to the Trojans that survived Troy’s fall? Well here’s the answer, partially anyway. Aeneas has been given a decree to found a new home for his kinsmen and friends who have escaped both Troy’s fall and enslavement to the Greeks. Will they make it? And are their troubles far behind them? Let’s find out.

Story Telling: We have another epic poem. This one is more of a mythological founding, sort of like Gen. Washington and the cherry tree. And a word of warning: this is an unfinished commissioned work.

Dislikes: Dido wasn’t done right. Her whole part was a warning, I get it, but it still wasn’t right.

Likes: Aeneas was loyal, even if that loyalty was only to his family and friends. Jesus warned us against that ideology.

Favorites: I don’t have any this time around.

Conclusion: I’ll admit that this was a book to be read for educational purposes. But see here, it was read ahead of that purpose, so I was blind to the fact that it wasn’t finished and it was commissioned. Granted Virgil didn’t kiss up to his patron, but still I may have been able to enjoy the book somewhat if that awareness existed. Enjoy the story, you can see why the Sermon on the Mount is so important to our lives.

Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex-Oedipus the King-Theban Plays 1

Overview: Oedipus has been ruling Thebes since his defeat of the Sphinx so many years prior. Now Thebes is under a pall of plague. According to the Oracle of Delphi, it’s due to an unresolved murder. Can Oedipus solve this mystery? And does he even want to?

Story Telling: This is a rather ancient play, in a form that we aren’t quite used to today.

Dislikes: The subject matter of this story is a bit disturbing.

Likes: Justice is a terrific thing to bring about, as long as you don’t mistake it for revenge. Or the reverse of that idea, mistaking revenge for justice.

And Oedipus showed how much he cared about his family.

Favorites: The only favorites that I have is Merope and Polybius.

Conclusion: This is a disturbing play that just happens to have a good theme. Read it if only because our Founding Fathers probably did.

Homer’s The Odyssey

Overview: The Trojan War has been over for quite some time. But, what could be keeping Ulysses/Odysseus? Telemachus is curious, and then there’s the problems with Penelope’s, his mother, suitors. Will they find the truth? And what does Ulysses/Odysseus plan to do about it all?

Story Telling: This is another epic poem from Homer. You could even call it a partial sequel to “The Iliad.”

Dislikes: King Agamemnon’s wife was pretty treacherous. Today we would be asking if he had a few life insurance policies.

And the serving women did do a bad thing. But does being seduced by a jerk and promised the moon equal the death penalty?

Likes: Penelope was very loyal to her spouse. Too bad her ‘suitors’ caught on to her little trick.

And Ulysses/Odysseus’ inability concerning the truth aside, he was determined to get home.

Favorite Character: It’s Penelope.

Favorite Quote: When Ulysses/Odysseus went down into the underworld and met up with his former colleagues, Achilles had this to tell him. ““Say not a word,” he answered, “in death’s favor; I would rather be a paid servant in a poor man’s house and be above ground than king of kings among the dead.””

Favorite Scene: It’s when Penelope tests Ulysses/Odysseus with the state of their marriage bed.

Conclusion: This is a good story about hospitality, home-coming and loyalty. Enjoy it, even if you are just looking for an adventure.

Homer’s The Iliad

Overview: Let’s head back to the era of the Trojan War. Achilles, Odysseus/Ulysses, King Agamemnon and other heroes of that war are about to really get into a big quagmire of troubles, passions, egos–let’s not forget the egos–that intends to lay waste to the best made plans of men. Sounds like it might be fun, at least for the readers.

Story Telling: This is considered to be an Epic Poem. You have to hand it to Homer, he managed to write one long poem. It took me three days to finish this one.

Dislikes: Oh boy. Talk about an ego trip. Achilles’ pride causes him to be a bane to quite a few people. I know the poet refers to it as Achilles’ Rage. Pride just seems to be the precursor to it.

And Helen. She seems to be proud of the fact that she’s the cause of all this nightmare of a disaster. Sick woman.

Likes: Nestor and Odysseus/Ulysses gave good counsel.

Patroclus held a lot of courage.

And Hector, while he was reckless, truly wished to protect Troy, his home.

Favorite Character: It’s a toss-up between Patroclus and Hector.

Favorite Quote: It has to be when Zeus/Jove and Ares/Mars had their little conversation. “Do not come whining here, Sir Facing-both-ways.”

Favorite Scene: It’s Book XXIV. That made the whole story worth it.

Conclusion: Read this poem, at least as a warning against letting your passions rule your life. And if you are religious, just treat the old gods as characters in a book. After all, the only way not to learn from a book is to never read it.

Free?

Everyone at one time or another has heard the phrase: “free doesn’t come free.” or some spin on it. Yet, just the idea of something or some principle, of freedom gets our thinking messed up. Maybe it’s time to reconsider the concept.

For our first, and most important example, we have ‘free’ will. We have the “freedom” to make our own decisions about life. This doesn’t mean that our decisions don’t hurt someone. That’s why paternity shows are rising in popularity. One choice made out of carnal desire, and three lives, if not more, are tossed into a metaphorical whirlwind. Is that God’s fault? After all, He gave ‘free’ will-but, can we blame Him, when one makes a bad or carnal choice. Who wants a bunch of soulless robots running the congratulatory committee?

Then we get to our Founding Fathers, and the first Amendment they wished the citizens of The United States of America two of our “freedoms” guaranteed in that Amendment- “Freedom of Speech,” and “Freedom of Religion”- are under an inadvertent attack. People seem to think odd things about these Rights.

When it comes to “Freedom of Speech” we have a large group of those both heading to and coming our of college, that believes that h=this freedom guarantees the freedom from offense. Let’s face it, if our citizens have the right to speak our minds in the medium we choose, some one is going to be offended.

You cannot avoid that fact of life. We’re individuals, we have individualistic tastes. Preventing all offense is about as successful as an injured deer escaping from the wolf pack. The odds are fairly slim.

And then, we come to the “freedom of Religion.”
Now, Christians, and some Conservatives seem to think that this should preclude non-Christian beliefs from coming out in our country. But at the flip side of that coin, the Atheists wish to tell us that religion only belongs in the home–and in some cases–not around any children. Neither of these views are accurate, for much the same reason as mentioned in the Freedom of Speech. The Founders knew the best they could get people to agree to was the Ten Commandments.

What’s really painful for stores, and–in the long run–the customers is the instance on the part of the customers for “free” shipping. With some stores you pay a “membership fee” for discounted or even “free” shipping. That way the shoppers know what they are getting.

Other stores, like Amazon, just offer free shipping period. Yes, the fine print states that there is a minimum order, but that minimum is so low that unless you are just really stingy, almost anyone will reach it. But that’s filtering down to those who utilized the handmade on Amazon and Etsy shops for their home based businesses.

Etsy in order to compete for business against that big business, is encouraging their shop owners of offer free shipping. Some shops will do so only to close later as they aren’t making enough profit to pay for the owner head expenses of materials, time shipping and packing. Some shops, like ours, have a promotion where you get free shipping only after you spend so much money.

There is one other group that’s the one where you don’t get “free” shipping. But even they are a divided group. Part of them are completely honest. The other part, tells you that you are getting free shipping, but the handing fees, taxes, and product prices have been raised to cover their costs.

This is a long article only to say that there is always a price to free stuff. Either it’s as in a gift from a loved one, or the prices the Soldiers and Jesus have paid, or you’ve missed the fine point.

You will not get, in this life, anything free. If you personally haven’t paid for it, someone else has. Even then, you might have to pay with your time, money, rights, but you will pay. Suddenly that promised ‘free college education’ doesn’t look so good now, does it?