Tuesday, November 30, 2010

RetroReview Thursday: Kids of Queers




WEB ADDRESS: http://www.kidsofqueers.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: A blog for adult children of GLBT parents. Discussions on growing up with a queer parent, usually from mixed orientation marriages.

MY REVIEW: Straight kids of straight parents have a hard enough time in school and with their peers...I cringe to think how hard it is for gay kids, or for straight kids of GLBT parents, or gay kids of GLBT parents, whatever.

The important thing for them is to know that they are not alone, and so this blog is of importance in that respect.

The blog seems to only be updated once or week or so, and has not been updated since March 20. However, if people actually visit the blog and start making comments, I expect the author will be re-energized and begin writing again. And even if you'd prefer just to receive updates via Kindle, try it for the two-week free trial period, just to see what happens.

(As an aside, I wish "they" wouldn't refer to themselves as queers. Don't "adopt" a derogative term to use about yourself as a form of empowerment - it doesn't work! A derogative term is a derogative term, regardless of who uses it. Just as blacks shouldn't use the "N-word" about themselves, so gays shouldn't use the "q" or "f" word.

Paragraphs from a Sample post
Last night I went to an event in Minneapolis. It was a meet and greet kind of thing for Crave Minneapolis, a chance to meet business women. I met some really interesting women there and am so glad I braved the storm and drove for hours (what would usually take 20 minutes) to go to this event.

I handed out my business card to one of the women I was speaking with. She noticed this blog listed on the back of the card and asked if I was a kid of queers. I said that indeed I was. She then went on to say that some of the most interesting people she knew had been raised by gay parents.

She meant two gay parents who were out of the closet living their life openly and honestly.

I explained that I was not that kind of child, that I had been raised by one straight parent and one gay, closeted parent.

The venue was loud so there wasn’t much discussion on the subject after that. We got to talking about the movie Mighty Ducks since her business was named for the character she played in the movie. She named her business Cake Eater Bakery and if you are ever in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area you must find one of their stores and try their sweets. I sampled one of their brownies (they called them something else but I can’t remember the name) and they were to die for. Better than sex brownies.

But I have gotten off track.

Her comment made me think about a couple of things on my long drive home.

As a child raised by a gay parent I don’t fit the mold. It wasn’t something I spoke about to anyone when I was growing up. I didn’t because I didn’t think I was allowed to. No one ever told me not to say anything but somewhere along the way I learned it was something for which I should be ashamed.

Kids today, who are raised by gay parents, have it so differently than kids in my generation or at least circumstance. They don’t worry about what other kids are going to say. Not that other kids won’t say something but since they aren’t hiding anything they don’t have to grow up trying to keep a secret.

I did.

I kept my dad’s secret just like he kept his secret when he was growing up. I don’t think he meant to drag me, or the rest of my family, into the closet but I don’t think he thought he had any other options.

None of this is here nor there.

I find it interesting that as it becomes hip to be gay or raised gay {(I mean hip as in accepted more and more) I never use the word hip, I usually use the word cool but I use it too often so I’m trying something else, I’m not that old however that I ever used hip in a hip way}. Anyway, my point, and I really do have one, is that I still don’t really fit the mold.

I know there are a lot of people who read this blog but who never comment. If you are a child of a gay parent, or parents please let me know you are here by saying “hi”. You don’t have to use your real name. I just want to know that there are others out there like me.

--Professional Blog Network
--Same Sex Marriage Becomes Legal In Nation’s Capital
--Pennies in Protest
--Famous Gay Parents
--And The Winner Is…
--Open Forum

RetroReview Tuesday: Health Sifter




WEB ADDRESS: http://marydpinkowish.typepad.com

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Health news and misc. medical issues.

MY REVIEW: An in-depth off-beat health blog that looks at things a different way. The posts are interesting and well written, and if nothing else, will get your attention. Who would have thought that beer can prevent osteoporosis, a broken heart can kill you, or that dogs make better walking partners?

Well, this blog will enlighten you on these and many more health tidbits. And, these are serious articles, not just cute ideas to get your attention with sources noted. The posts go into detail explaining the hows and whys of their statements in plain text. And, she posts regularly. You will learn a lot and who knows, you may enjoy getting healthy. Who knew?

--The future for Cardiology according to Wired: Electric Plumr Cardio
--Prevent Osteoporosis: Have a beer.
--When a broken heart can kill.
--Dogs make better walking partners than your neighbors

Ann Currie publishes My Life a Bit South of Normal> and Silver Pieces: The Strange and Peculiar

Friday, November 26, 2010

Lilo Maternity Pregnancy (women interest, parents)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Lilo Maternity and Pregnancy Blog, by Lilo Maternity

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.lilomaternity.com/blog/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Lilo Maternity Blog features stories, articles, advice and more on all topics related to pregnancy, maternity, childbirth and motherhood.

MY REVIEW: This blog is recommended. There's plenty of information on your babies and toddlers, their health and how to care for them. The only flaw in the blog is that there's only one post every other week or so. But for 99 cents it's well worth it.

Sample post
Sometimes moms are not sure if their child is sleeping or putting on some sort of show. Many children in their sleep kick, twitch, moan, rock, or groan, etc.

Why This Occurs: Young children are much lighter sleepers than adults and therefore wake up more frequently. For the brief few seconds or minutes that your child woke up, she may kick, yell out for you, or talk gibberish but it will not last long.

How They Get Back To Themselves: Most children realize right away what happened and they just sooth themselves right back to sleep. Some have other methods, like lifting their legs in the air, hum, or they rub their pacifier and blanket all over their face.

What To Do: If your child is not crying out in hunger or discomfort, give her a few minutes to let it pass. If you go in to try to help her you might wake her up entirely.

When Should I Talk To The Doctor: It is very common for children to bang their head and then go back to sleep. A good idea would be to check this out to rule out an ear infection and some development delays (some kids bang their head to correct their equilibrium). Children snoring is not normal and can be a sign of sleep apnea. Sleepwalking is not so common but can be dangerous.


Reviews published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Computers Without Tears (computer tips, advice and help)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Computers Without Tears, by Volcano Seven

WEB ADDRESS: http://computerswithouttears.blogspot.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: I have worked with computers for 20 years, starting out with the Macintoshes when all they had were the tiny 4 inch screens and a floppy disc drive to run applications, and now have a Sony Vaio laptop running XP, and a Dell Dimension 4600 running XP. I give advice to a guy with a Dell Inspiron running Vista, and an aunt with a Lenovo running Vista and a Macintosh.

In this blog I'll give tips on how to work with various computer applications, such as Word and Excel, Windows Moviemaker, Freecorder, and so on, as well as how to work with your control panel, your add and remove programs, your anti-virus software, and so on. (I also give advice on how to use the Kindle.)

MY REVIEW: This blog is aimed at the newbie, from youngsters who are getting new computers, think they know everything without reading manuals, and screw everything up, to the older generations who are hesitant to touch the mouse for fear they'll erase their hard drive.

If you need help with your computer - if only to find out what you don't know - give this blog a try.

Posts are made every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Sample post:
If you're reading this blog, chances are you've already got your computer up and running, and are only now facing problems - either with the applications on the computer like Word and Excel, or in your journeys around the World Wide Web.

But I'm a chronologist and I'm going to start at the very beginning.

These days, computers are very easy to set up. All the cords come with color-coordinated tips. You just match the appropriate color at the back of the computer tower. These days, for PCs anyway, it seems like everything plugs in at the back of the tower.

Run out of USB ports? You used to be able to buy keyboards that had a USB port in which to plug in your mouse. Now you can purchase "hubs". You stick one end into the USB port on your computer, and you now have five or six more USB receptacles. (The same as all the plug ins on an extension cord.) Depending on what you're using your computer for you might not need all those receptacles, but it's nice to have if you play games, have flash drives, external hard drives or DVD drivers, and so on.

However, that's for the future. Right now I want to talk about your cords. Depending on how old your computer is -and some people have computers that are pretty old and yet work just fine for their purposes, you might not even have USB ports - those are a "relatively" new thing.

If you look at the cord for your keyboard, for example - if you have a PC - chances are the tip of it, color coded purple, is not a USB port (a very small, rectangular plug in) but rather a small, circular plug in. That's the way all peripherals used to plug in to the computer.

There are so many cords - your power cord from the monitor, your power cord from the tower, the power cord from the speakers, and power cord from the printer (if you have one) that you will want to plug them all into a surge protecter.

And nothing is more annoying than bending down into the cubbyhole of your desk, peerig at the surge protector hidden behind the desk, trying to figure out which power cord goes to which piece of equipment.

The solution? Take some white out, or other non-corrosive marking tool, perhaps different colored types of tape. Place a bit of tape at the top of the cord, so you know what color you're looking for, and a piece of color halfway down the cord or at the bottom, to aid you in tracking down the right power cord.

Also, try to keep your cords with a straight shot to the plug in, rather than having them tangled together. Twist ties help with this.

You may need to identify your cords only once a year...but when it comes time to do it, it will sure make things easier if you have them marked appropriately.
--Mark All Your Cords
--I Tell The Computer WHat to Do

Reviews published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Thursday, November 25, 2010

RetroREview Thursday: Girl Scout Guide


MY RECOMMENDATION: Yes, with reservations


WEB ADDRESS: http://www.girlscoutguide.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Girl Scout Guide is a resource for girl scouts, troop leaders, and camp counselors. Resources offered are crafts, badge work tips, songs, and other assorted resources for volunteers.

MY REVIEW: I've subscribed to this blog via Kindle, and at first blush I'd have to say it was unsuitable for the Kindle, since all I see are the entry title, a paragraph, and an ellipsis that is not hotlinked, so I have no way to get to the rest of the article!

However, in checking the blog's Amazon page, I see it's ranked at about #60,000, which means that it has several subscribers. I find it difficult to believe that these subscribers would continue to subscribe to a blog that they can't read.

My Kindle, relatively new, is running operation system 2.3. The latest version is apparenlty 2.3.3, and I'm wondering if that system allows people to see this blog completely. Unfortunately, I can't download the system - whatever USB cable they sent me doesn't allow me to connect my Kindle to my computer! Until I can get the appropriate cable, I will just provide a caveat here - if you're running operating system 2.3 you might not be able to see these entries.

The second question of course is, do you even want to?

I can remember as a kid, my sister and I joined the Girl Scouts. At least, I think I was a Brownie, my sister, two years older, was a Girl Scout. And we both quit because we never did anything fun. No camping, no biking, no hiking, no whittling...instead all we did was sit around and sing songs and make crafts. Boring!

And apparently, that's what Girl Scouts still do today, if this blog is to be believed. (FYI, if you're a Girl Scout who wants to get her Aerospace badge, check out the program at the International Women's Air and Space Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

In any event, the blog hasn't been updated since March 17. That doesn't necessarily mean its inactive, but I'll keep an eye on it.

--Paper-Embellished Luminaire
--JGoode St. Patrick’s Day Coloring Page
--Girl Scouts to Take Action on Energy Awareness and Conservation through Trane Grant Project
--Girl Scout Birthday March 12th!
--Nationwide Study Finds That Teenage Girls Have Mixed Feelings about the Fashion Industry
--Princess Pat (song lyrics)

RetroReview Thursday: Girl Scientist Magazine




WEB ADDRESS: http://girlscientist.com

BLOG DESCRIPTION: This blog will share profiles of women scientists in a variety of disciplines, from electrical engineering to mechanical engineering, from marine biologists to astronauts. We will also share lessons on the various sciences.

MY REVIEW: As the name implies, this blog is designed to encourage girls and teens to become involved in the sciences. This includes any science, from biologist to zoologist. If there's a flaw in the blog, it is that some of the entries are quite obviously geared toward young kids, and others are geared towards their parents. It would be better if the blog were devoted to one or the other, I think.

Having said that, there's plenty of interesting information here. For a girl interestd in "science" who doesnt' quite know what specialty she wants, this blog will introduce her to the entire gamut, and give her ideas which will serve as a springboard to her future career.

Sample Post:
Encyclopedia Brown as an Introduction to Scientific Method
When I was a young kid - over 30 years ago! - I read all the Encyclopedia Brown books (by Donald J. Sobol), and I always tried to solve the mysteries before Encyclopedia Brown did.

What I didn't realize at the time was that these books were giving me an introduction to the scientific method - always listen closely, pay attention to ever little detail, and make deductions based on facts, not on guess work.

Ever since then, I've always been very punctilious (precise, demanding; careful, conscientious) when it comes to believing what people tell me - whether it is friends, acquaintances, strangers, or what I read in the newspapers.

Take the case of Global Warming, for example. For decades the public - around the world- have been told that man-made Global Warming (as opposed to natural global warming) will cause oceans to rise, polar bears to die, and so on. Within the last year, however, evidence has come to light which shows that the global warming data had been falsified, mis-represented, and even suppressed, in order to bring us where we are today - with companies having to spend millions of dollars to "green" themselves.

With what result? The new "spaghetti" light bulbs that are supposed to last longer than our current lightbulbs have dangerous chemicals in them, and have to be disposed of in a hazardous landfill! Electric bikes are propelled by batteries made out of lead, and since batteries only hold a charge for so long, dead batteries have to be thrown away... in hazard landfills because they too have dangerous chemicals in them!

The job as a scientist is to evaluate all the evidence, and come to a conclusion. A real conclusion, not one that fits a theory that you have formed in advance. As time goes on, you will find more evidence. If it fits your theory - it strengthens your theory. If it doesn't fit your theory, it must not be discarded, but rather put in a place of prominence until it can be explained.

--Math Doesn't Suck: How To Survive Middle Schoool M...
--Spelunking, caving and geologists
--Encyclopedia Brown as an Introduction to Scientifi...
--The Search for Atlantis
--Girl Dinosaurologist: Buddy Books for 2nd graders
--Girl Dinosaurologist
--Girl Scientist Sourcebook: Hypatia
--Super Women In Science, by Kelly Di Domenico

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wred Fright's Blog (fiction serial, humor)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Wred Fright's Blog, by Wred Fright

WEB ADDRESS: http://wredfright.blogspot.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: A blog by Wred Fright, author of The Pornographic Flabbergasted Emus, that mainly features poems, rants, and God knows what else. Currently, it's featuring a serialized novel called Blog Love Omega Glee.

MY REVIEW: I've recently become interested in serial fiction blogs...and truth to tell I don't know if the Kindle is suitable for it. I'd always assumed that the Kindle presented all the archives of a blog...but this is not so, they only display 7 pages worth, or sometimes even less. So you sign up to a serial fiction blog and you may not get the very first chapter of it.

But, you can always go to the web to read the initial chapters, and once caught up, continue to read it on your Kindle.

As for Blog Love Omega Glee...I have a prejudice against stories written in the present tense, so I can't fairly review the author's writing. However, I've shared his latest blog post, so you can get a sense of his writing and of the story itself. If you like it...check it out.

Blog Love Omega Glee: Peanut Butter And Women (23 November 2012)

Sitting at a table in Fish Taco King, surrounded by Dashing Delivery Dudes, Jake and the other holiday helpers keep quiet while their drivers insult one another while eating lunch. "Hey, Lonnie," Luke, a driver nearly the size of his van, says, "Your helper hasn't said anything. Did you get another mute again this year?"

"No, he talks. He's probably worn out from all the packages we delivered already. We aren't lazy like you," Lonnie says while putting peanut butter on his tuna burrito, "Don't they have chunky peanut butter? I hate this creamy stuff."

"Luke told me you liked the creamy stuff," Roy, a driver with the kind of tan one gets after falling asleep in a tanning bed whose automatic shutoff is broken, says and laughs, slurping diet pop through his straw.

Lonnie pauses from peanut buttering his burrito and sticks his right index finger in the air like a talisman, "I like my peanut butter chunky and my women creamy."

"Oh, God, here we go again," Siobhan, the only female driver at the table, says.

"I heard it was the reverse," Luke says.

"What's your helper's name?" Roy asks Lonnie.

"Jake," Lonnie says, returning to buttering his burrito.

"Jake, has he made any special stops yet?"

Jake finishes chewing his bite of fish taco, and asks, "Special stops?"

"You know, the ones where he takes a half an hour to deliver a package and a woman walks him out and his overalls are mussed and so's the woman's hair," Siobhan explains.

"Half an hour?" Luke says, "I think five minutes for Lonnie would be a world record."

"Hey!" Lonnie says, index finger rising again, "That was just once and I told your wife to slow down."

Roy claps his hands, "Oh, snap!"

Luke laughs and gets up with his tray of fast food wrappers, "Speaking of her, it's time I stopped in for my daily quickie."

He beckons to his helper, a sleepyeyed midget, "C'mon, Jason, you can sleep in the van while I'm rocking the house."

Goodbyes are exchanged and Luke and Jason leave, sounding at the door the foghorn which thanks the staff for a good meal. "Well, we better get moving too," Siobhan says, nodding at her helper, a young woman with a squirrel like face minus the fur and whiskers, "I don't want an inspector showing up and hassling me for a long lunch."

"That asshole Allen already showed up this morning and was about to yell at me for leaving the back door unlocked. I had Jake in the back looking for a package though, so he couldn't say anything. That fucking guy. He's fucking unbelievable."

"I tell you what's unbelievable. All the shoppers out today and the traffic. I didn't think it could be worse than last year but somehow it is," Roy says, crunching up his empty soda cup.

"I hear ya. These fucking people . . . " Lonnie says, before launching into a tirade about having to work on the day after Thanksgiving, which includes 57 variations of the word "fuck".

By the end, only he and Jake are left at the table, and then they too must be dudes who dash to deliver.

Blog Love Omega Glee is a novel by Wred Fright about two bloggers who fall in love while the world falls apart, which is being serialized on his blog. To start reading from the beginning or read another installment, please visit Blog Love Omega Glee Central on WredFright.Com. If you like what you've read, or you've read all of Blog Love Omega Glee and want more Fright, then please read his first novel.

Reviews published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Check out the following blogs:Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

RetroReview Tuesday: Daily Space




WEB ADDRESS: http://dailyspace.blogspot.com

BLOG DESCRIPTION: The blog of The Thunder Child science fiction and fantsy webzine, which features science fiction in all media.

MY REVIEW: Although the blog is linked to The Thunder Child , the author goes off on tangents ever now and again, but mostly, this blog is concerned with the history of science fiction and fantasy in all media, from radio to TV to movies to games to music.

--Tank Girl is about "girl power"?
--The Original Human Torch
--Fess Parker in excerpts from an episode of Daniel ...
--Institute for the Advancement of Artificial Intell...
--Science Fiction on Radio Spirit's Website
--Definitely visit the virtual Science Fiction museu...
--Time to visit the Science Fiction Museum in Seattl...

RetroReview Tuesday: Volcano Seven




WEB ADDRESS: http://volcnoseven.blogspot.com

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Documents treasure hunters - those searching for lost gems, lost people, lost mines, lost aircraft, lost ships, lost cities, and of course, pirate treasure

MY REVIEW: It is no accident that the Pirates of the Caribbean movies have been so successful (although I must say the first one was the best, and the other two rather disappointing from my point of view!) - everyone is fascinated by pirates and pirate treasure. Well...probably more by pirate treasure than pirates!

Who doesn't dream of walking on white sands, with an azure sea, and coming across a gold coin or two, washed in from a sunken galleon?

There's plenty of treasure out there - not just gold, silver, and jewelry on board sunken ships, but also cultural treasure, and perhaps most important, knowledge. There are lost ships, lost aircraft, lost people (Judge Crater, for example)...and Volcano Seven documents the search for (and sometimes the finding) of them all.

Sample post:
A couple of years ago, I bought shares in Odyssey Marine, hoping the stock would rise and I would become rich beyond the dreams of avarice. It didn't happen. Actually, I have lost half of my investment! (Not that this was a great tragedy....I only bought 100 shares.)

Now, I'm not really dissing Odyssey Marine. They've got a lot to deal with - they've found a ship in international waters and yet Spain is claiming it, and the treasure it contains to be their's, so there are lawsuits and the lawyers are taking away all the money and leaving none for shareholders.

Still, there story is interesting and here it is.

From their website:
Odyssey is the world leader in deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, searching the globe's vast oceans for sunken ships with intriguing stories, extraordinary treasure and precious artifacts spanning centuries of maritime travel. Our important discoveries also uncover priceless new knowledge and history from the depths. As we recover these shipwreck treasures once believed lost forever, we also resurrect lifetimes long forgotten, offering a rare and fascinating window into historic events that would otherwise remain obscure.

Our passion for shipwrecks and the amazing stories they tell is as deep as the oceans we explore.

No one knows shipwrecks better than our world-class team of researchers, scientists, technicians, and archaeologists. We've surveyed and mapped more than 10,000 square miles of seabed and spent more than 9,000 hours diving on shipwreck sites using advanced robotic technology, while more importantly, applying the highest archaeological standards. Our expert team has discovered hundreds of shipwrecks ranging from 3rd century BC Punic sites to U-boats and Colonial warships.

In 2003, we discovered the Civil War-era shipwreck of the SS Republic® and recovered over 51,000 coins and nearly 14,000 artifacts from the 1,700 foot (518 meters) deep site. In May 2007, we announced the recovery of over 500,000 silver and gold coins, weighing 17 tons, from a Colonial-era deep-ocean site code-named "Black Swan." In 2008, Odyssey discovered what is considered one of the most significant shipwrecks in history, HMS Victory, Admiral Sir John Balchin's flagship which perished in 1744. And our expeditions continue to unveil new sites with fascinating stories and cargoes.

--Lost Aircraft
--Odyssey Marine
--Arthur McKee, Jr. Part 2
--Arthur McKee, Jr. - part 1
--The Search for the Guggenheim Treasure
--CSS Texas

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Best laid plans

A few days ago I had driven from my new home in Cheyenne, WY to Sweetwater, TX to attend a function there. Then I visited relatives in Burleson, TX. I'd intended the trip to last only 3 days - but my aunt wanted me to drive her to her sister in Rapid City, SD, then to her other sister (my mom) in Cheyenne.

Long story short, for the last few days I've been driving 8 hours a day, and too tired to review blogs when we get to a hotel.

Om Saturday I should be able to get caught up for next week. YOu'll be getting retro reviews until the end of the month, new reviews will start next Monday.

Now, if you ever drive up Highway 83 North from Texas into Oklahoma (all of 30 minutes) and then into Kansas, you'll see an amazing site on your right hand side, up on a hill...

And if you drive into Liberal, Kansas, make sure you check out Dorothy's house, from the Wizard of Oz. It's a lot of fun.

RetroReview Thursday: Ethan's RV-7A




WEB ADDRESS: http://rv-7construction.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Follow my step by step progress as I build a Van's Aircraft RV-7A.

MY REVIEW: Aviation enthusiasts will enjoy this blog, as it follows the author's progress tobuild his RV-7A.

As the author points out:
My reasons for wanting to build and fly my own airplane are simple and best summed up by the words of one of the true father’s of aviation, Leonardo DaVinci:

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

Even though I’m a low-time pilot, I’ve already figured out that renting an airplane isn’t the best option available. The airplane may not be available when you want it and, at $115 an hour, it’s difficult to do anything more than pattern work and local flights. Of course, there’s a simple solution, buy my own airplane!

OK, maybe it’s not so simple. I started looking at buying a used aircraft and was amazed how airplanes hold their value. An ancient Cessna 172 would still cost me 30-80 thousand. At the 30 thousand end, you get a 40-year-old plane with an engine in need of overhaul. At the 80 thousand end, you get a 20-year-old airplane that is in good shape, but only cruises at 115 knots. Personally, if I own an airplane, I’m going to want to use it to go places and I want to go places fast! Unfortunately, my budget won’t allow this if I purchase a factory built aircraft.

With this in mind, I started looking at kit aircraft. There are hundreds of kits available. Some are not much more than a set of plans and some materials. Others are so advanced that you just match up holes, rivet, hang an engine, and go fly. I’m not an aerospace engineer, but I can follow good directions and I don’t want to have to fabricate a lot of parts. With this in mind, I started to focus on kits from Van’s, Ran’s, Sonex and a few others.

After looking at the specs, performance data, cost, and ease of construction, the hands down winner was the RV line from Van’s Aircraft. In addition, the RV-7A seemed like the best airplane for my mission. For more details on the RV-7A, check out the Van’s website (www.vansaircraft.com) or click on my specs and performance page.

The RV-7A is a low-wing, tri-cycle gear design with great handling characteristics in both slow flight and in high speed cruise. Sure, a lot of airplanes claim this, but how many of them fly as slow as 50 mph and top out at over 200 mph? Not many! On top of that, how many take off and land in less than 500 feet and are capable of minor aerobatics? Again, not many! Furthermore, how many kits are computer designed, precision machined, match punched and under $20,000 for the airframe.

With an RV, you get the complete package, fun, fast, and long-range. As a bonus, the airplane is designed to accept several sizes of engines and has many extra features which can be added both during and after construction. There are a lot of great kits out there and an RV may not be for everyone, but for me, the choice was simple.

The blog gets kind of technical, so those who aren't deeply interested in aviation might not want to spend the time taking a look at it, but aviation enthusiasts certainly will.

--Still More Wing Stand Construction (3/22/10)
--Wing Stand Construction Part 3 (3/17/10)
--More Wing Stand Construction (3/15/10)
--Started Building Wing Stands (3/13/10)
--Elevator Horns Drilled to Center Bearing (3/13/10)
--Fit Elevators to Horizontal Stabilizer (3/7/10)
--Finished Elevator Leading Edges (3/4/10)
--Left Elevator Leading Edge Rolled (3/2/10)
--More Trim Work (3/1/10)
--Finishing the Left Elevator (2/27/10)

RetroReview Thursday: Winged Victory - Women in Aviation



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Winged Victory: Women in Aviation

WEB ADDRESS: http://youflygirl.blogspot.com

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Six percent of all the pilots in the world have been, and are, women. This blog shares news and views about women pilots.

MY REVIEW: On March 10, 2010, women celebrated 100 years of aviation. Just 5 years after the Wright brothers flew the first viable airplane, the Wright Flyer, in 1905, Frenchwoman Raymonde de Laroche earned her pilot's license. She was the first to do so, but within just a few years women from practically every country with an aviation presence had earned their wings - this despite the fact that it was hard to find instructors. The daredevils of the day thought that their heroism was lessened if a woman could fly as well as they could. After all, if a woman could do it, how hard could it be?

The early pioneers faded out once WWI began. A new crop supplanted them after the war, with Amelia Earhart, Nellie Snook, Elinor Smith, Marvel Crosson, Pancho Barnes, and many more taking to the skies. Everyone knows the name of Amelia Earhart, but there were dozens of women pilots who set more records than Earhart ever did. Earhart concentrated on distance, the others on speed, altitude, time, etc.

During WWII, over a thousand women became WASP - women airforce service pilots, ferrying planes across country where men being trained to fly them would then take over. In England, it was the ATA - both men and women flew planes there.

After WWII, many of the women wished to continue flying, but they were not permitted to do so. It was not until 1977 that laws were in place to prevent the discrimination of women (and minorities) in airlines, and in the military.

It was not until a couple of years ago that a woman, Major Nicole Malachowski, became a pilot for the Airforce demo team, the Thunderbirds. The English Red Arrows have a new team member, Lt. Kirsty Moore. Other traditionally male airforces around the world have recently added women pilots...

Keep in touch with all the news at Winged Victory, Women in Aviation.

--Elinor Smith has died
--Flying For Her Country - American and Russian wome...
--F-35 Lightning II makes first vertical landing
--Book overview: Flygirl, and two dates for your cal...
--PR: Feminine-Friendly Gear Brightens Cockpits
--Deanie Parrish, age 80, shows off her legs
--PR: Flying Musicians to Land at Music and Aviation...
--The Lady and the Tiger, Strip #2
--Emily Howell Warner - request to rename an airport...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

RetroReview Tuesday: Daily Plate of Crazy




WEB ADDRESS: http://dailyplateofcrazy.com/, by D. A. Wolf

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Whatever life dishes out, and whatever we can make of it. . .

MY REVIEW: The author of this blog, Big Little Wolf, is "a freelance writer, journalist, marketer, trainer, single parent, art collector, polyglot, traveler, and devotee of exquisite footwear & French lingerie. She believes we are all brimming with glorious contradictions, and capable of living fully, with whatever life dishes out, and whatever we can make of it.

Morning is her clarity and her audacious dreaming, both of which persist, despite encroaching middle age and dirty socks – everywhere."

LBW, if I may so call her, is an excellent writer, articulate and entertaining. She covers her topics in detail, with an insight that can give her readers - both men and women - food for thought.

Sample paragraphs from a sample post
Tweaking the recipe
I love recipes that I can tweak. A little of this, a little of that. I like what evolves, what surprises me, what turns out differently just a little, each time. Perhaps this is in part because I’m never quite the same from one day to the next. Are any of us, really?

I like to tweak my life, my writing, my look. I love to learn. And I enjoy my element of chameleon; it has served me well. And haven’t we all invented or reinvented ourselves at one time or another?

In adolescence, we may call this emerging from the cocoon. As we mature, we shed old skins, trying on new careers and personal lives. We undertake change in ourselves as we gain experience. We adjust following events that insist upon change, whether we want it or not.

Pygmalion, Narcissism, and Evolution
We are adaptable. Some of us more than others, but all of us, more than we realize. Reinvention may be physical, emotional, behavioral, or any of these. It may come suddenly, or gradually, as we ease into our own patchworked pieces of past, present circumstances, and desire.

But what of the man who would reinvent his woman? What of the woman who restyles her man? Is this narcissism, pure and simple? Is there a fine line between “improving the current model” and interfering – or worse – controlling, to the point of damaging another? Does it make a difference if it is with consent, as opposed to subtly achieved, through undermining words and behaviors?

--Terms of endearment (Let me call you sweetheart?)
--Can we ever “set the record straight?”
--The other side of town
--Frankenstein, or Bride of Frankenstein?
--If I close my eyes so I may dream. . .

RetroReview Tuesday: The Portlander




WEB ADDRESS: http://theportlander.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: ThePortlander is a new kind of news organization built for people to discover and share news from anywhere in Oregon.

How do we do this? Everything on ThePortlander - from news to videos to images - is submitted by fellow Oregonians (that would be you).

And it doesn’t stop there. Because ThePortlander is all about sharing and learning, there’s a conversation that happens around the content. We’re here to promote that conversation and provide tools for Oregonians to discuss the topics that they’re passionate about. By looking at information through the lens of the collective community on ThePortlander, you’ll always find something interesting and unique. We’re committed to giving every voice on ThePortlander an equal shot.

MY REVIEW: This blog is an excellent resource for anyone living in the Portland, Oregon area. It has all the news that's fit to print, from local news, politics, living green, business, sports and so on.

The website itself is very cluttered, with about a dozen headlines, a paragraph underneath it, and the necessity to click on a "Read more" button to see the whole article. With the Kindle, the info feeds over in its entirety. All you see are headlines, and you can choose to read what you want based on the headline. (Or, of course, once you click on one article to read, you can then page from article to article, without having to go back to the headline list.)

Highly recommended.

Sample post
WWII Era Navy Aircraft Wreckage Found on Oregon Coast
A World War II-era U.S. Navy aircraft was discovered by a logging company near Rockaway Beach, Ore., March 18. After Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) and Oregon State Police (OSP) learned about the discovery, the Navy was notified for response. Initial responders believe there is a possibility of human remains at the site.

A team of U.S. Navy personnel are working on-scene in coordination with TCSO and OSP to investigate and share information with Joint Prisoner of War / Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC) in Honolulu and Navy Region Northwest for further determination.

Navy personnel and local officials are working together to ensure best possible security and safety measures are taken at the private-property location. Safety and integrity of the aircraft site is paramount to this response. It is important that the Navy team on-scene be allowed to make a thorough, undisturbed investigation at this time.

OSP Bomb Technicians checked the site Wednesday afternoon and found no obvious signs of unexploded ordnance.

Initial responders reported seeing a wing, tail section, landing gear and other debris. The site is in a heavily wooded area where aircraft debris is spread out over an approximately 200 yard area which remains under investigation.

The aircraft’s identity is confirmed as a Curtiss SB2C Helldiver. Naval Air Station Tillamook, decommissioned in 1948, was located within 20 miles southeast of the crash site, but the air station of origin has not been determined.

-Upcoming Oregon Health Plan Drawing will add 8,000 to state to state insurance
-Wilsonville Oregon Again Named "Tree City USA" by Arbor Day Foundation
-Portland Swing Band is a Tribute to Japanese Americans who spent time in internment camps
-Nissan Altima 3.5SR Coupe: An update for a shrinking segment
-Portland wants to be known for volunteerism
-Beaverton to hose "Living Greener" summit on April 10

Friday, November 12, 2010

Miniscule Guide to WW 2 Naval Action (history)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Miniscule Guide to World War II Naval Action

WEB ADDRESS: http://wwiinavalaction.blogspot.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: This blog will chronicle the history of the navies of the varoius countries involved in WWII - both the Axis and Allies. We'll also discuss the shipwrecks that exist today from that time in our history - from those at Pearl Harbor to Palau to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.

MY REVIEW: An absolutely fantastic blog ; ) dedicated to the navies of World War 2, from both the Allies and the Axis point of view. World War II enthusiasts will enjoy this blog.

--A very brief history of hospital ships
--WWII Hospital Ships: Australian
--SPARS recruiting posters
--WAVES Recruiting Posters

Reviews published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Miniscule Guide to Cheyenne (local travel)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Miniscule Guide to Cheyenne

WEB ADDRESS: http://minisculeguidetocheyenne.blogspot.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Photos and detailed information about Cheyenne, capital city of Wyoming, as well as the rest of the state. Historic sites, tourist attractions, politics, and so on.

MY REVIEW: This is my new blog, which I started to document everything about Cheyenne, Wyoming. Lots of photos, lots of info. It's admittedly a bit of a limited audience - anyone who lives in Cheyenne or intends to visit here will find it of interest!

Sample post
(Photos illustrating post not included):
A fund raising activity that a lot of cities in the USA took part in several years ago was to make scultptures - or casts, I suppose - of the town's "signature item", have artists paint them, then auction them off, and place them in areas around town.

Many years ago in St. Paul, MN it was Snoopy...and I remember how sad it was that many of these wonderfully painted statues were later vandalized by young punks with their grafitti cans, or even destroyed - heads ripped off.

In Norfolk, Virginia, it was the mermaid...in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina it was a winged horse, and here in Cheyenne, it was the boot.

There are 18 boots in Cheyenne, and as this blog progresses I'll show each one.

The Library Boot was painted by Max Larkin, and bought by the Laramie County Library [i.e. the taxpayers who fund the library!]. There are four sides to the boot - the left and right sides, the toe, and the... I suppose it's called the spine.

I only took photos of 3 of the 4 sides...forgetting about the spine...I don't actually think the spine was decorated on this one.

The buildings on the boots are old Cheyenne libraries, now superseded by this new one (see photo 1). On the toe are characters from Beatrix Potter, on the shaft of the boot is Alice.

--Two views from the deck of my new house
--The Boots of Cheyenne - Library Boot
--Brief bio of Cheyenne from Wikipedia

Reviews published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Miniscule Guide to the Civil War (history, US CIvil War)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Miniscule Guideot the American Civil War

WEB ADDRESS: http://minisculeguidetothecivilwar.blogspot.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: In this blog I give a chronology of the war on a day-by-day basis, share biographies of soldiers and civil-war era personalities, and share photos of the battlefields.

MY REVIEW: Another of my blogs, which had been hanging fire for a while but to which I am now re-dedicating myself. If you're interested in the American Civil War, you'll find this blog of interest!

--Writers of Civil War History: Shelby Foote
--Writers of Civil War History: Bruce Catton

Reviews published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

RetroReview Thursday: History of the (Whole) World



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: History of the (Whole) World

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.susanwisebauer.com/blog

BLOG DESCRIPTION: My progress in writing, revising, sending to my editor, re-revising, fact-checking, galley-reading, and promoting a four-volume history of the world...along with reflections on life as a writer/parent/amateur farmer.

MY REVIEW: You have to admire someone who takes on the world – writing its history up to the Knights Templar. (I assume she thinks we can take it from there!) The author is a professor at William and Mary, a mother, and has a farm outside Williamsburg. Any one of these four occupations is a fulltime job, juggling four is impressive.

She journals about writing her book and the “birthing” process of getting it published. Oh, and did I mention, she also runs a small printing press (publishing business) of her own on the side? And, she does mention sleeping.

One of her children, a son, is spending his gap year in South Africa, so you have a mother’s pride/fear of a child’s travels to add to all else going on. The author is an excellent writer. In one post, she notes that her book is now listed as #1 on the medieval bestseller list on Amazon. I’m impressed, I just got my blog on Amazon and it doesn’t have a rank. She has an interesting feature once a week where she lists her twitter feeds.

A most interesting blog – well done.

Sample paragraphs
I haven’t posted an update on my reading for a while. Actually I haven’t posted anything lengthy for a while. I’ve been submerged in researching, editing, and keeping up with daily life; tax returns had to be done; I have papers to grade; filling out all of the financial aid forms for my rising college freshman killed untold brain cells; my nine-year-old gave herself a concussion and fractured her clavicle; you get the idea.

But I still read books, no matter what else falls off my to-do list.

First up, Michael Ruhlman’s food trilogy: The Making of a Chef, The Soul of a Chef, The Reach of a Chef.

Grades: A- for the first, A for the other two.

I’ve always enjoyed food writing, and if you find that genre dead boring, you probably won’t like these books. But what I appreciate about Ruhlman is his sense of drama. He can take the preparation of a poulet saute, the reaction of a food critic to a single pasta dish, a not-too busy lunch service, and turn each one into a fully developed narrative with a beginning, middle, and end. He sketches out characters with a few strokes and makes them real. I envy his skill.

Of the three, The Making of a Chef spends the most time on kitchen minutia and the least on characters and story, so that drops it a bit on my grading scale. (Also the font in the new Holt paperback version is way annoying.) The Reach of a Chef is my favorite of the three; in it, Ruhlman traces the inevitable trajectory that afflicts professionals in every profession. Get good enough at what you do, and eventually you’ll find that you’re not doing it anymore. Instead you’re administering your own career, and there’s hardly any time to devote to the activity that created that career in the first place.

Going off the grid for a (silent) family day. #
Trying to answer interview questions by email. Making my brain hurt. #
Inside house: half-sick mom trying to nap. Outside: children w/sticks trying to find object on farm which will make most noise when struck. #
Voice half-returned, is gone again. This is getting boring. #
Need to change time of departing flight to New York. Change fee: $150. New one-way ticket: $59. How does this make sense? #
That's it. NOT watching American Idol after this year. Competition can't sing on pitch, judges apparently listening by satlink from Mars. #
YES, I watch American Idol. YOU spend YOUR working hours submerged in classical rhetoric and see what YOU want to do at the end of the day. #
Heading off the grid to write. Today's agenda: the Sultanate of Cairo and topics for middle-grade writers. (Different projects, obviously) #
Cleaning up DD9's room. How is it POSSIBLE to have this many stuffed animals? Wouldn't it give you the creeps, being so vastly outnumbered? #
Just finished Connie Willis's BLACKOUT. Yelling FOUL. Ends mid-story, conclusion in new book not out til fall. BAD DECISION, angry reader. #
At the W&M library reading. "A New Approach to English Grammar, on Semantic Principles." FUN. #
Clouds + cold + drizzle + church over = nap. #

--Twitter weekly updates
--Quick Photo update on the gap year
--Twitter weekly updates
--Medieval World sightings

Ann Currie publishes My Life a Bit South of Normalwww.abitsouthofnormal.com/
and also,
Silver Pieces: The Strange and Peculiarstrangeandpeculiarsilver.blogspot.com/

RetroReview Thursday: Flyover America




WEB ADDRESS: http://www.readflyoveramerica.com

BLOG DESCRIPTION: We are two writers in love with America. Every diner and prairie and highway of it. The places that many people consider flyover territory—Lincoln, Nebraska; Lubbock Texas; Bayonne, New Jersey, and the like—grab hold of us. Flyover America is as much a state of mind as a place. Flyover America is packed with stories, discoveries and soul. And it’s got some great malls, too.

MY REVIEW: This is a fun blog, and a very informative one. The author(s) write well, in an informal, friendly style. In addition to reviews of travel spots, they talk about movies ("Maine Does Not Sound Like Queens" in which the author comments on the movie Welcome to Mooseport.
The premise is that an outgoing United States president (Hackman) moves to small-town Maine and runs for mayor against a local hardware store owner (Romano).

Fine and dandy, it’s a film of no consequence, but I must ask the filmmakers: Why on Earth would you set a film in Maine and cast no one with a New England accent? Maine!–which has an accent as thick and distinctive as Georgia! And yet , in a lead role we get the distinctively Queens, New York honk of Ray Romano. At least Maura Tierney was born in Boston, so her flatter intonations are not glaringly inappropriate. Most disappointing were the bit characters, the quirky old guys and gals who looked like all sorts of flat vowels and dropped R’s would come out of their mouths. But no, they sounded Midwestern, at best. This did not stop bothering me through the entire film.

Just ‘cause there’s moose in the movie doesn’t mean you’ve captured Maine.

(Sounds like the movie makers could have taken a lesson from the Coen brothers, who did Fargo using several local Minneapolis actors in bit-parts. (On the other hand, the movie took place in Minnesota, and Fargo is, y'know, located in North Dakota... And one of the locations they used for the movie, a small diner right near where I lived, never re-opened after the movie finished filming there. I guess they must have paid its owners so much money to use it, that they closed up shop and headed off to retirement land in less-snowier climes!)

But back to the blog under review. I enjoyed the writing, enjoyed the eclectic types of posts - but all travel related in some way, and I think you'll enjoy this blog as well.

Write a blog for long enough and, at some point, your patterns will start to emerge. You’ll notice the themes you return to time and again, the grooves of the record that are worn deep. I have a thing for the abandoned and the dying: American ruins, Rolley-Hole Marbles, Presbyterians. Psychologists, really, hold your tongues. I don’t care what it means.

So, while doing a bit of web wandering the other day, I got lost in GhostTownGallery.com. It’s a not-necessarily-beautiful-but-pretty-damned-fun travel blog written (and shot) by Daniel and Ligian Ter-Nedden, a couple who live in Zurich, Switzerland. They’ve visited more than 200 ghost towns in nine U.S. states. (Yes, I’m also keen on people who get mildly-to-completely obsessed with…whatever.)

--What’s Left Behind, Again
--Road-trip Rituals
--That’s One Swell Silver Screen
--Cadillac Ranch: You Should Go
--A U.S. Library I Love (or, Sigh, Loved and Lost)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Melomomma (giveaways, coupons, etc)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle



WEB ADDRESS: http://melomomma.blogspot.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: I am a wife and a mother of two amazing boys! Everday is an adventure in our lives. Some days are full of drama, some are just plain hilarious, and some days are just CRAZY. I have always said our lives could be filmed for a reality tv show. Since I have yet to meet up with an MTV producer, I have decided to start this blog. I am so excited to share my crazy journey of life and motherhood with you! Please come along for the ride! I guarantee you will laugh an even be able to relate at times! Giddy Up!

MY REVIEW: This is a rather variegated blog. The author provides crafts directons - such as making items such as turkeys to decorate for Thanksgiving, Santas for Christmas, etc, and also provides links to free giveaways and sweepstakes, such as winning free toaster strudels for a month, free flowers for a year, and so on.

Thus, it's not an acceptable blog for the kindle, but that's alright because it's not on the Kindle. However, if you like to try your chance at winnng free items, check out this blog.

--$15,000 Black Friday
--Birthday Freebie
--Easy Turkey Craft
--Free Flowers For A Year
--Local NW Contest
--Toilet Paper Roll Turkey
--Free Toaster Strudels For A Month
--Dumpster Diving In My Front Yard
--Avon Sweepstakes

Reviews published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

The Road (a multi-sport blog, triathlete training)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: The Road, by Patrick Mahoney

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.theroadmultisport.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: 41 year old husband, father, friend to some, in the midst of unfortunate misunderstandings with others. In 2007 I started a journey to regain my fitness. In 2009 I started participating in triathlons. I have not looked back, not even once. The Road is my daily story and is just as much a part of my training and preparedness as a long bike ride or an interval workout.

MY REVIEW: I'm a bicyclist myself...swimming and jogging aren't my thing. But if you want to get in shape, and stay in shape, dedicating yourself to the triathlon seems to be the way to go.

I'm not going to take it up - I'll stick to my bike, thanks - but the author's posts can certainly be inspirational to those who are looking to get in shape. If a 41-year-old can take up swimmng, running and biking, anyone can. (Indeed, I have read of women and men in their 80s who participate in triathlons.)

The author talks about training, about races, about life in general. Very ineresting. Check it out.

Sample post:
Here I go again, thinking too much.
I've been sent two emails since Chris "Macca" McCormack won the Ironman World Championships on Saturday from a PR firm representing Wheaties breakfast cereal. Saturday night, they sent me a press release saying that Macca will be the first Ironman World Champion to be featured on a Wheaties box. This morning, they sent it to me again suggesting that I should mention it on my blog. So I am. Here is a link to the full press release.

Macca is going to be part of a pretty cool club. I found this list of athletes that have been featured on the Wheaties box. Lance Armstrong has been on the there. So has Red Auerbach. Chris Everett, Jim Thorpe, Darrell Waltrip and Kristi Yamaguchi have been on there too. I wonder if there is collector's market for the boxes?

I'm excited for Macca. He's now part of a long standing tradition, and I'm sure he takes home a bit of cash for the effort. After all, I'm certainly for triathletes moving up the professional athlete pay-scale.

I have to hand it to General Mills as well. Eric Heiden and Shawn White are two more that have been on the box. In fact, I was surprised at the number of non baseball/football/basketball athletes that have been featured over the years. This certainly suggests that progressive thinking has always been the norm in the Wheaties marketing department.

Where I'm not feeling the love is for the World Triathlon Corporation. In May, they announced a licensing deal with Powerbar for the creation of the Ironman Perform sports drink. Powerbar is owned by Nestle, and is thus part of the global food machine. As you know, I am not a big fan of any "global machine". But more importantly, I don't know too many people who actually use Powerbar products. Triathletes are a smart and healthy bunch. We've all done our research. And my guess is that your research has led you to the same conclusions that mine has - that there are better products available made by smaller companies.

Ditto on Wheaties. Does anyone who is reading this actually eat Wheaties? If you do, cool. I actually like them quite a bit. But I've done my research and made what I think are smarter choices.

Maybe I'm way off. But if I'm right and triathletes are generally looking to smaller companies that produce a higher quality product, then this could be the start of a crack of disconnection between triathletes and the holy grail of triathlon - Ironman.

The WTC is a for profit company. I've got no problem with that. But I would hate to see the WTC fall into the same trap that many other industries have by making short term financial gains at the expense of alienating their customers. It happened in the recording industry. MP3's exploded on the scene in a huge and unstoppable way, but what did the record labels do? They redoubled their efforts to shove compact discs down the consumer's throat. Forget the legal arguments about file sharing, the bigger issue was that the gross margins on the sale of a plastic disc is much better than the gross margin on a computer file. The labels wanted their margins, but the consumers wanted MP3's. Guess what? The consumers won, and the recording industry (as we know it) is dead.

Full disclosure, I've never looked at the business model of a for profit triathlon production and marketing company. But if Ironman events work more or less like events that I am familiar with (concerts, movie theaters), then the races work something like this - Participant race fees cover the cost of event production and profit is made from residual income streams like merchandising and commercial tie-ins. But the question is, do you take sponsorship money from the company who will write the biggest check regardless of what your customers actually feel about that company's products or do you identify the right emerging companies (just like your customers are doing) and develop a long term relationship with them?

I get the title sponsorships. Without Ford, Rohto or Foster Grant there would be no Ironman. But I think it would serve the WTC well to be more discerning when it comes to sport specific product endorsements. Especially nutrition - because nutrition is on every triathlete's top 5 list of priorities, is potentially a very polarizing subject and gets a lot of day-in day-out attention.

The WTC is also going to catch a lot of heat for the 5150 Olympic distance race series, and this will be a slippery slope for them. Though the 5150 website is not "co-branded" with an Ironman logo, the word "Ironman" is used a bunch of times in the press release. Is the WTC is throwing "Ironman" around to attract sponsors (e.g. cash) or athletes? Well, I doubt you need to say "Ironman" to attract athletes. I don't think anyone doubts the quality of a WTC produced event and these races will fill up.

The truth is that the WTC and "Ironman" are inseparable at this point. Long course triathletes who have completed an Ironman event obviously feel a huge connection to the Ironman brand. The word "Ironman" and the M-Dot logo are badges of honor to them, and I don't blame them for feeling that way. So I'm not at all surprised to see some resistance to the Olympic races from Ironman long course finishers. There is a huge difference between 51.5 kilometers and 140.6 miles. And it's only going to take one Ironman Olympic distance finisher to think they qualify for the M-Dot tattoo and diminish the brand. Am I being a little snobby? Perhaps I am by proxy, because I've never done a 140.6. But snobby or not, it's true.

How do I wrap this post up? I guess by saying my criticism is coming from a good place because I am still a fan of Ironman. I want to see the sport continue to thrive and prosper. And Ironman is obviously a huge part of the success equation. But the idealist in me would like to see things stay as innocent as possible for as long as possible. Peace, love and leave it all out on the road....

--The Zen of Jellybeans & Secret Files
--Time Capsule
--OktoberFast Wrap Up
--I Did A Weird Thing Too.
--Ironman - My Take
--Meet My Soigneur
--Wow, A Win?!?
--You know what hurts?

Reviews published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel (gardening, travel)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel, by Freda Cameron

WEB ADDRESS: http://definingyourhome.blogspot.com/
BLOG DESCRIPTION: I am a freelance garden and travel writer sharing my experiences, advice and color photos of my garden and my travels. My specialty is deer resistant gardening.

MY REVIEW: We're in the middle of winter here in the USA, but that doesn't mean that gardening has to stop. Depending on where you live, you can cavort outside in the sunshine, or occupy yourself with pots in your greenhouse, garage or basement.

The author of this blog writes authoritatively and well about the art of gardening. Posts on home and travel are few and far between, but really, if you're a gardener...it's the gardening tips you wnat.

Highly recommended.

Sample post:
Parlez-vous Fran├žais?
I must THINK before I speak French.
I have a grand plan to practice and learn more of the French language since France has become our annual vacation location. I have repeated this plan for the last few years, but haven't made sufficient progress.

I really need to improve my command of the language. Seriously. It's time.

With only five months until the next trip, I am setting goals to increase my vocabulary, improve my conjugation of verbs and my ability to converse. I'm also listening to many of the songs of the late Edith Piaf (La Vie En Rose fame) to make this task more enjoyable.

Languages are tedious to learn. I'm easily distracted.

My education included four years of French. Taught by a US Southern lady. Drawl and all! Not so good. Humorous, in fact. Slow and drawn-out syllables.

My pronunciation is an embarrassment when I speak, but I have found that making the effort is truly rewarding. The French appear to forgive me (and probably laugh when I leave) as long as I use these magic words:

Bonjour (madame, mademoiselle or monsieur). Always say hello.
S'il vous plait. Please.
Merci. Thank you.
Au revoir. Goodbye.

Those four years of classes were rather academic and severely lacked conversational training. I read French better than I speak it. I understand it better than I speak it. However, I cannot put answers together very quickly. I have to think about it awhile—too long!

My husband with his four years of the language, doesn't understand the spoken fast-French. But, he is very skilled at constructing sentences rather quickly.

Much to the amusement of the French—our interactions go something like this:

I order our food or ask a question in my pre-planned French.
I mostly understand the French reply.
I translate to my husband in English.
He answers in French.

This causes some confusion about our American culture or maybe our marriage. It seems that, as a woman, I must not be allowed to reply! Honestly, my husband is not a male chauvinist at all.

Separately, we cannot function with the language. Together, we are one! C'est lui pour moi. Moi pour lui. (He's for me. I'm for him.)

--Time to Sow Fall Seeds for Spring Flowers
--Parlez-vous Fran├žais?
--Pink and Purple Prevail
--Geranium 'Rozanne' Update
--Blogging Friends

Reviews published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

RetroReview Tuesday: The Many Faces of Truth




WEB ADDRESS: http://themanyfacesoftruth.wordpress.com

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Exploring Truth in the many people and places that reflect it. Included are essays as well as book, music and movie reviews.

MY REVIEW: This is an excellent blog for anyone who is religious, not religious but interested in the history of religion (that'd be me). The author discusses the Bible, and books about religion, Christian music, and so on, from a Christian standpoint. He writes very well, in a very informed manner.

Highly recommended.

In the "Making Sense of Christianity" series of posts, we have been discussing whether or not the Bible is a reliable source of Truth. In this post, we will examine the Easter Story more specifically.

The Easter Story is the climax to the Old Testament narrative. At the end of the Old Testament, we know that humanity has sinned and that God has promised redemption through the line of David and through the Covenant(s) He has made with Israel. We are waiting for the Messiah, the Anointed One who is to come and bring the Kingdom of God to earth, the One who will finally set things right. Through the first four books of the New Testament, we are told the story of Jesus, the Messiah who has finally come. Jesus indeed starts setting things right, but in ways we do not expect. Jesus takes the place of a servant, washing feet, healing beggars and the sick, eating with adulterers and tax collectors. Then we have the Easter story. Jesus the Messiah dies, most unexpectedly, but then Jesus lives again, ushering in the Kingdom of God.

But for those of us who live so many years after the events supposedly took place, we have a burning question: Did the Easter Story really happen? What evidence do we have to believe that Easter actually happened? Let’s look at the details of the Easter Story and see whether they verify the Easter Story or whether they show that the Easter Story is nothing more than a lie.

In a previous post we looked at women in the New Testament. We saw that women play a pretty important role in the Easter Story. There was a group of women who were at the cross with Jesus. It was a group of women that went with Joseph of Arimathea to the tomb to “embalm” Jesus. It was a group of women who went to the tomb early on Sunday morning. It was Mary Magdalene who first “preached” the Gospel, proclaiming the Good News to the men.

What we didn’t look at in that previous post is what the men were doing during the Easter Story. First, just before Jesus is arrested, he takes a few disciples and prays in Gethsemane. Jesus is greatly disturbed and sorrowful, and he asks the men keep watch as he leaves to pray by himself. When he returns, he finds the men in earnest prayer. Wait. That’s not right. Jesus returns to find the men keeping watch, just like Jesus asked. Wait. That’s not right either. Jesus returns to find the men sleeping. Yep. That’s right. Sleeping. This happens not once, but multiple times. Jesus brought some men along to keep watch while he prayed, and instead of doing as Jesus asked, they fall asleep. Over and over again. (Mark 14:32-42)

Then there is Peter. While Jesus is being questioned by various authorities, Peter is asked whether he is a disciple. He denies ever knowing Jesus. Again, this happens not once but multiple times. (Luke 22:54-62) John describes it very poignantly, “It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.” (John 18:18) Instead of standing with Jesus as he is questioned, Peter is standing with the servants and officials of those who are questioning Jesus.

Peter is by no means the only cowardly one, though. We find out from John that the rest of the men have been locked up in rooms hiding because they fear for their lives. Instead of honoring Jesus at his grave, instead of anything else beneficial they could have been doing, they are locked away, hiding. (John 20:19)

If the Easter Story is a lie, if it is simply made-up, why are the men presented as cowards and the women presented as the brave heroes of the story? Wouldn’t the male authors of the Gospels have preferred to write it the other way around if they were simply making it up?

--Did Easter Really Happen? (Making Sense of Christianity #4)
--Music Review: Sara Groves’ Fireflies and Songs
--Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion (Answering the Critics #2)
--The Gospel of Paul (Making Sense of Christianity #3)
--Artist’s Best: Caedmon’s Call

Monday, November 8, 2010

Living, Breathing, Writing (writing blog)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Living, Breathing, Writing, by Chelle Cordero

WEB ADDRESS: Couldn't find it, but this is the author's personal blog: http://chellecordero.blogspot.com/
BLOG DESCRIPTION: All about writing and being a writer

MY REVIEW: This is an excellet blog for the aspiring writer, and I highly recommend it. The author teaches you the craft of writing, and what to do when you've been published.

There's only a couple of drawbacks. There's only one post a week - but now that all blogs are only 99 cents, it's well worth it to subscribe.

Also, the font is huge. Not quite sure what settings the author has her blog on, but if you've got vision problems it won't matter with this blog!

I'd share a sample post but I was unable to find this particular blog on the web (although the author has her own personal blog there, linked above), so not quite sure where the feed comes from.

Nevertheless, people who want to learn the craft of writing would do well to subscribe to this blog.

--It's all a matter of semantics
--Just the basics
--VBT to go
--All clear ahead

Reviews published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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

Emergency Room Stories (humor)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Emergency Room Stories , by ER Physician Assistant

WEB ADDRESS: (unknown)

BLOG DESCRIPTION: This is a blog the details the stories that I come across in an emergency room just miles outside of a major city.

MY REVIEW: People are alike all over. I've reviewed some blogs about people finding humor in their jobs as office managers, cashiers, and so on. This blog is from a physicians' assistant in an ER, so although there is a lot of humor in many of her (or his) stories, overall it's kind of a sad blog -- as anything set in a hospital must be.

But the stories are interesting, some are humorous, some sad. Some are life lessons - you never know when it's your time to go, so enjoy life while you can. [More importantly, do something with your life. If you're going to die next week, would you rather have spent that week perfecting your skateboarding skills, or writing a book that will live on after you].

The author is not a polished writer, but that's a mere bagatelle. Check it out.

--Its good for my dog
--Drug seekers
--What did ya say
--No grease for you

Reviews published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report