Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hawaii Vacation Blog





BLOG DESCRIPTION: An adventure blog to guide you to all the hotspots on the islands of Hawaii. Hop onboard and follow the tracks of the Trailblazer Travel Book authors.

OUR REVIEW: Ah, how I’d love to be in Hawaii right now. It’s not in the cards however, so the Hawaii Vacation Blog is a nice substitute. It’s written by people who actually live in and have traveled throughout all the Hawaiian islands. (Just as a point of interest, the Big Island of Hawaii is not actually the one people think about when they think of Hawaii, that’d be Oahu, on which is located Honolulu. Just in case you don't know that!)

  • Staying on Oahu
  • Guide Me (uninformative title for an entry about the Big Island
  • The Once and Present Place to Be – Mauna Lani Resort
  • Lyon Arboretum – it’s grrreeat!
  • Some enchanted evening article on the Fairmont Orchid Hotel

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tracy Thomas Photography



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Tracy Thomas Photography


BLOG DESCRIPTION: This blog provides a glimpse into the creative process that exists behind my photography and describes the feelings that affect my subject choices.

MY REVIEW: Usually when I review a photography blog, I say, "Great blog, but unsuitable for the Kindle." That's because the photos are in color, and the Kindle of course gives them in greyscale.

But for Tracy J. Thomas' Photography blog, I take it back. The photos reproduce excellently in black and white. They weren't originally shot that way - they are in color at her website and look pretty good there, as well, but for whatever reason, they also make great b&w portraits... more so than those from other photog blogs I've looked at. (Perhaps it's the resolution at which she produces them?)

In addition, the author also talks a bit about the photo, andabout her creative process, which makes the blog doubly interesting.

The only flaw, both on the Kindle and at her actual website, is that she shrinks the photos too much. Oh, the impact is still there, but it'd be nice if they were larger. But I suppose since she is a professional photog (which means she sells these photos as prints), she doesn't want to reproduce them lifesize.

I recommend this blog highly.

Sample post
Photo: UFO Watchtower, Hooper, Colorado.

There certainly are a lot of mysteries in this world. Things beyond human comprehension that do not seem to fall into the realm of logic. Some of us toy with the possibility of a spiritual realm, using strange tools like EVP’s, IR illuminators and thermal imaging to try to capture evidence of the ethereal. For centuries now, humans have been praying blindly by faith without any concrete evidence whatsoever, that something greater than themselves actually hears their pleadings. If Christians can believe in a Holy Spirit and the resurrection, then why not believe in the existence of ghosts? Alternately, there are those on this earth who doubt the possibility of anything beyond the concrete and the physical. They choose to place all their faith in that institution called “science” to prove or disprove reality. So if one’s faith is in science, then what of Quantum Physics with its invisible units of energy? Our own planet is but a tiny grain of sand surrounded by a universe that stretches into infinity. How is it that we as human beings became so egocentric that we believe we are the only planet with any form of intelligent life?

Whether you believe in the possibility of little green men with advanced technology traveling from afar to visit our world or you guffaw at the notion that there is any entity out there with an intelligence far greater than yours, all must pay a visit to the UFO Watchtower in Hooper, Colorado at least once in their lifetime. Peruse the alien abduction books in the bookstore. Pick up a glow-in-the-dark Alien Frisbee for the kiddies, then stroll through the Healing Garden and leave your own quirky offering at the alien shrine. Before you leave you must stand for a while on the metal platform to soak up the breathtaking view of the Sangre de Cristo’s in the distance. Take a few moments to look towards the Heavens, and maybe if you are lucky, you might spy something otherworldly in the sky.

--UFO Watchtower…Really
--For the Love of Birds
--In Search of Open Spaces
--Rusty Pier

Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Drink of the Week





BLOG DESCRIPTION: Drink of the Week is an enjoyable bar blog that offers delicious drink recipes on a weekly basis, in addition to advice and information about bar supplies.

MY REVIEW: Why didn't a find this in college. Well, that's easy, we didn't have the internet. Each blog, one drink, a picture, a little history (or lore), maybe a story or quote, then the recipe and directions. The rest is up to you.

It's a simple concept but well played. I'm quite sure there is some commercial sponsorship here. Who knew that in a Vesper one would want to use Tru2 organic gin, or a entire post is dedicated to Skyy vodka. Some posts, such as the one for Mint Juleps, describe several different brands of bourbon. But, it still works. Keep your kindle with you when you entertain and show off some new skills.

This is a well done blog on very popular subject. And, far those who enjoy adult beverages there is a lot to be learned and one can broaden their range. I personally found the history amusing.

Sample post:
"I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made."
-James Bond, "Casino Royale"

The "one drink" that Bond is talking about is the Vesper--named after villain/love interest Vesper Lynd. Made with gin, vodka and Lillet, this martini variation, it is indeed very strong.

3 oz. gin
1 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. Lillet Blanc

Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. You can shake or you can stir. A shaken drink will be a little colder. A stirred drink will be a little stronger. The drink is served up (with no ice).

Extra credit info:

Bond was very particular about the brands used in his drink, although the liquors he names have changed formulation in recent years. The vodka Bond was talking about would be 100 proof, and at the time Gordon's gin was 94-proof--both stronger than what we typically use now. Today's Lillet Blanc contains less quinine than the Kina Lillet of 1953, meaning it is slightly less bitter. If you want to replicate the Bond version using a high-proof vodka and gin, you can also add a dash of orange or Angostura bitters or quinine powder.

I think the drink is plenty strong as is and don't miss the bitterness. For our version, we used Tru2 organic gin, Rain vodka and Lillet Blanc. The Tru2 has a light amber color with citrus and spice notes more pronounced than in a London dry gin. Rain vodka is smooth and doesn't overpower the taste of the gin. Lillet Blanc, which is in between dry and sweet vermouth in character, compliments botanical and citrus flavors perfectly.
--What's up, Doc? Cocktail
--Lucid Frappe
--Sex and the City, 2 Cocktails from Skyy
--Nightclub and Bar Convention 2010

Ann Currie writes two blogs:
My Life a Bit South of Normal
Silver Pieces: The Strange and Peculiar

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Aboard Madrigal

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES, with reservations

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Aboard Madrigal, by Jenny Halteman


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Justin and Jenny live aboard a 35' Ericson sailboat in Boston Harbor with their dog Willie and cat Gollum. Follow their adventures and dreams and learn more about living aboard as they blog about their life.

MY REVIEW: Why live in a house when you culd live on a sailboat? Although why you'd live on a boat in Boston Harbor when you could be sailing the world... at least, those areas of it which are still safe, shrinking though they may be..

Anyway, this is an interesting blog, with a single problem, the authors don't post in it enough. A married couple, the wife is just now she is going to handle living on water and dealing with morning sickness I do not know.

It's an insight into a different way of life, check it out.

--Hurricane Earl
--Week 8
--Cruising World

Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Moving at the Speed of Creativity

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES, with reservations

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Moving at the Speed of Creativity, by Wesley Fryer


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Moving at the Speed of Creativity blog posts and podcasts focus on blended learning, digital literacy, technology integration, web 2.0 tools, authentic assessment, school transformation, digital storytelling, and educational leadership issues.

MY REVIEW: I'm giving this blog a recommendation of "Yes, with reservations" because, although it is an excellent blog, most entries have videos or podcasts that of course cannot be viewed or heard on the Kindle, so you need to go to the website to listen to them.

However, for getting an idea of what's going on in education, I think this is an extremely valuable blog.

Here's a bio of the author from his website:
Wesley Fryer is a digital learning consultant, author, digital storyteller, educator and change agent. With respect to school change, he describes himself as a "catalyst for creative engagement and collaborative learning." Wesley serves as a co-convener for the annual K-12 Online Conference and is the executive director of the nonprofit Story Chasers Inc., the lead partner in the statewide Celebrate Oklahoma Voices digital storytelling project. His blog, "Moving at the Speed of Creativity" ( was selected as the 2006 "Best Learning Theory Blog" by eSchoolnews and Discovery Education, and is utilized regularly by thousands of educators worldwide. Wesley secured $1.3 million in grant funding for West Texas schools participating in the Texas Technology Immersion Pilot Project in 2004-2008. He was named an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2005. He was an elementary classroom teacher for six years in Texas public schools before serving as a college director of distance learning for five years. He worked for AT&T from 2006 - 2008 as the Director of Education Advocacy, and the Director of Technology and Education Outreach for the Oklahoma Heritage Association from July 2008 - January 2009. Wesley is completing his doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at Texas Tech University.

Sample post:
YouTube and iTunes fame paying off for Alabama family
The news article, "Internet Meme Turns Headline into iTunes Hit" shares the inspiring story of crime victims turned empowered entrepreneurs in Alabama. Antoine Dodson's angry rant to reporters following the attempted rape of a family member in his home went viral on YouTube, and he recorded a song about the incident which is now being purchased by thousands on iTunes. He hopes their family will move out of "the projects" soon with the extra funds. An inspiring tale well worth reading and sharing.
All of us are a YouTube post away from national media attention. Are your students equipped to make ethical choices with the power at their fingertips in our "publish at will" era? Remember to make discussions about digital citizenship a regular part of your curriculum this year. This would be a good story to share and discuss together.
[I dont' share the video]

--Best games for kids on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch
--Cell Phone Computers or Mobile Learning Devices (MLDs)
--Free eBook: Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture and Media Education
--Laptop Learning in Massachusetts: BYOL on the horizon?
--Why publish school updates on Facebook?
--Easily Sync Google Calendars to your iPhone

Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Improve Your General Knowledge in your Leisure Time



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: Improve Your General Knowledge in Leisure Time!


BLOG DESCRIPTION: It provides readers with information that people should know as their general knowledge; the knowledge that is well known or must be known by everyone. This blog is to help people establish their common framework in a social context to know general items in various areas of social life, science, business, technology, art, sport, universe, creatures, etc. It presents the information in an easy way to read, memorize (also to improve memory) and self-test. So readers could improve their general knowledge while enjoying their leisure time.

MY REVIEW: Each entry in Improve Your General Knowledge is simply a piece of trivia.

For example:

Jeopardy: The American quiz show featuring trivia in topics such as science, literature, history, music, culture, sports, etc.

Cold Mountain: wounded soldier, Inman, leaves the Civil War and walks home to his sweetheart Ada in Charles Frazier’s book: Cold Mountain.

The Falkland Islands: IN 1842, the British made Stanley the capital of the Falkland Islands of Argentina.

Well, the trivia is interesting, and it can certainly act as a spring board to do further research, should you find one of the trivia pieces is interesting.

I just wish that each piece of trivia would actually give a bit more information. Two paragraphs are better than one!


Monday, October 8, 2012




AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Hoystory, published by Hoystory.


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Commentary and criticism on media, politics and society.

MY REVIEW: This is a right-wing blog, which means that it's a conservative blog. I have no problem with that. Indeed, as I said a few weeks ago when I first started reviewing Democraft and Republican blogs, although I'm a Republican, I like reading blogs from "the other side" so as to get the complete story on any one issue before making up my mind. Perhaps I'm more of an independent than a Republican.

In any event, posts are driven by what's happening in the world on that particular day. It's interesting. Give it a try.

Some sample paragraphs:

Have you ever wondered why your flood insurance doesn’t pay off when your house burns to the ground?


Well, then you’re smarter than that guy in the White House.

When I was young, just got out of college, I had to buy auto insurance. I had a beat-up old car. And I won’t name the name of the insurance company, but there was a company — let’s call it Acme Insurance in Illinois. And I was paying my premiums every month. After about six months I got rear-ended and I called up Acme and said, I’d like to see if I can get my car repaired, and they laughed at me over the phone because really this was set up not to actually provide insurance; what it was set up was to meet the legal requirements. But it really wasn’t serious insurance.

Now, it’s one thing if you’ve got an old beat-up car that you can’t get fixed. It’s another thing if your kid is sick, or you’ve got breast cancer.

This just in: the state insurance minimums, which is what Obama certainly had if he was driving “a beat-up old car,” cover liability. Not comprehensive. Not collision.

I can see it now. Everyone is required to buy liability, comprehensive, collision, towing by the federal government because we don’t want stupid people to be confused. Yes, they’ll pay more, but they’re getting better insurance – whether they want it or not. Driving a 1978 Ford Pinto that requires you to park on a hill because the starter’s shot? Is the floor rusted almost clean through? Well, you definitely need collision coverage on that clunker.

Was Obama paying attention in driver’s ed? They cover this stuff there.

-Remember, He's Smart (pointing out Obama's errors on health care)
-Health care reform (comments on the health care debate between Obama and the Dems and the Republicans
-Don't bring a spork to a gun fight (Howard Friel and a book called The Lomborg Deception) on global warming) A post that necessitates you go to the web to download a PDF
-The right to be paid for what you create (complaints about uncompensated journalism, and appropriate of stock photos without paying for them - done from "liberal sites" like Huffington Post) [as an aside, if people are willing to write for free, even if it does drive down fees for writers who like to be paid for what they's a free country. As for using stock photos - hey, that's what stock photo means! So many people use them on the web that eventually it's impossible to know who - if anybody - owns it. I'm willing to cut some slack on this.]
-This used to get people fired (MSNBC regular Donny Deutsch calls Republican senate candidate Marco Rubio of Florida as a coconut.) Hoystory points out that its analgous to calling a black person an Oreo. A coconut is deragatory slang for a Latino attempting to appear white. Although this did create some controversy, apparenlty Deutsch is still employed (and you know that had he been a Republican leaning reporter saying that about a Democrat, he'd've been fired the next day!)

How To Get Focused

and our final retro-review for the day! Rest assured new blogs will be reviewed starting Tuesday and it will be business as usual!





BLOG DESCRIPTION: How To Get Focused, by Scott Scheper, is an online book that covers a variety of topics which teach one how to get their life back and get focused in an age of distraction.

MY REVIEW: This may be one of those times when it is actually more attractive to read a blog on Kindle than at the actual web address for the blog. Each of the blog entries, at the web address, is illustrated by a photo, and so you've got a table of ten squares - two across and five down, each one with an article title, a paragraph, and a photo. Frankly, I'd rather see the list of entry titles, and choose from them which entries I want to read. Of course, that means that the entry titles have to be descriptive - which they are in this particular blog.

I enjoyed reading this blog, because what the author has to say makes a lot of sense. Life is simply too short to waste even a second of it, or even an "unforgiving minute" of it. By learning how to focus on your goals, you will improve your life, and this blog will help you to do it.

The secret history of flow
The concept of flow was recently proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, in which flow was characterized as a state of completely immersible, focused energy. Because of Mihaly’s inspiring work, many fell into the belief that the concept is modern–they think the concept of flow is new. A state that describes the zone athletes enter into. History makes it clear that the concept of flow is not new. It’s been described for thousands of years–and the concept has been explicitly defined over-and-over again. Below, we’ll look into different cultures’ descriptions of flow.

Taoism’s sacred belief of flow
Wu Wei is an ancient concept rooted in Chinese Taoism. Wu Wei is the belief that one is at its most natural behavior when he or she doesn’t have to think about acting, or think about creating. By definition, “Wu” translates to not having; “Wei” translates to action. Combined, this translates to not having to act.

-Interview with Seth Godin on Life and Linchpins
-The Concept of Flow
-Leveraging LinkedIn For Results
-No Joke: How to Get an Ivy League Education For Free
-The Habits of Focused Entrepreneurs
-Leveraging Sleep to Become More Focused
-Interview With Creative Productivity Company, Behance
-When to Ditch the Keyboard and Start Hand-writing

Sunday, October 7, 2012




AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Chickaboomer, by Marty Davis


BLOG DESCRIPTION: TV news, talk radio, politics
(That's all the description she gives. But her wikipedia entry states: Marty Davis (January 8, 1949 - Detroit Michigan) is a former network radio and television news anchor with a master's degree in journalism from the American University, Washington, D.C. Marty Davis has appeared on NBC's Today Show,[5] MSNBC, CNBC, CNN[6] and other media outlets. She also served as a correspondent for Gary Collins' syndicated talk show Hour Magazine)

MY REVIEW: I don't care very much for Davis's website. There's a photo of her actually giving the finger to... her readers. (She's staring at the viewer...which is whoever's reading her blog/website, and giving us the fnger? Heck, if Limbaugh ever did that...!)

Anyway, presumably this is supposed to be a political blog, but she doesn't seem to cover anything in very much detail. A couple of paragraphs only on any subject, and very few on any topic of real importance. Mostly she seems to talk about the personalities in the news - Joe Haldeman, Piers Morgan, Keith Olberman, Anderson Cooper

Recent post:
NBC, CBS: Pussies Galore
THR's James Hibberd: NBC and CBS have rejected an advertisement that urges viewers to protest a mosque being constructed two blocks from Ground Zero. The broadcasters have refused to air the one-minute commercial, sponsored by the National Republican Trust PAC, which critics have called inflammatory. The ad mixes images of 9/11 and Muslim militants while slamming a controversial proposal to build a mosque and Muslim community center in lower Manhattan. "To celebrate that murder of 3,000 Americans, they want to build a monstrous 13-story mosque at Ground Zero," the narrator says over images of the destroyed World Trade Center. "This ground is sacred, where we weep, they rejoice ... that mosque is a monument to their victory." Yet in rejecting the ad, NBC Universal advertising standards manager Jennifer Riley didn't take issue with the content, but rather the vague construction of its narration. "An ad questioning the wisdom of building a mosque at Ground Zero would meet our issues of public controversy advertising criteria," she wrote. "However, this ad, which ambiguously defines 'they' as referenced in the spot, makes it unclear as to whether the reference is to terrorists or to the Islamic religious organization that is sponsoring the building of the mosque." Reps from ABC and Fox said they had no knowledge of the ad being submitted to their networks.

--Letterman Con Up For Emmy
--CNN's Dissociative Identity Disorder
--Revenge of the Nerd
--'Putsch' Schultz on 'Eunuch' Harry
--NBC, CBS: Pussies Galore

Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Topical Murder and Dated Death

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Kindle Taproom





BLOG DESCRIPTION: Friendly, entertaining bar chat on all manner of topics, but especially great stuff on Kindle.

MY REVIEW: The author, Joe Menta, posts on average a couple of times a day (the Sample posts below are his first posts on each day, not all the posts on one day). He'll review a book available on Kindle, or a movie, tell a joke, and so on. Because of the great amount of content, I highly recommend the blog.

He writes well, he's amusing (when he makes his posts, I actually don't find the jokes he shares amusing, but then I never have cared for jokes) and he articulates his reviews well. He's a friendly guy, I think you'll like sharing time with him in the Taproom.

Following up on my post of a few days back, we did end up seeing Shutter Island over the past weekend. Despite my fears, the movie was not an overblown special effects extravaganza (as the trailer seem to indicate), but a well-crafted, moody, slow-burn psychological drama that keeps viewers involved from beginning to end. I should have trusted Mr. Scorsese more. The big special effects scenes in the trailer, by the way, are mostly associated with hallucinatory scenes in the movie, scenes that are used sparingly and effectiviely.

There are definitely big, lurid moments and instances of underlined melodrama in the film, accompanied by disturbing blasts from the none-to-subtle musical score, but it all serves Scorsese's aim to emulate the psychological dramas of the 50's, which were at the same time overstated and artfully done. Kind of like those old 50's paperbacks, which sported lurid covers of violence and heaving bosoms, but very often subtle, well-done stories once you got past the covers.

In any event, the lurid (I love that word) and more subtle aspects of Shutter Island work together to deliver a decent movie, one that we both liked a lot.

-Pretty Good King (review of Stephen King's Blaze) (Feb 24, 2010)
-At the movies (review of Shutter Island) (Feb 23, 2010)
-Spirited try falls short (review of The Spirit movie) (Feb 22, 2010)
-One fine Sunday in the local pub (a joke) (Feb 21, 2001)