Don’t believe the movies.

A friend of mine introduced me to the British TV series “Horrible Histories”.  The show is designed for youth but offers a lot to be learned for adults as well, especially if one thinks history is boring.

In Eleanor Herman’s The Royal Art of Poison, Herman takes “Horrible Histories” one step further.  People defecating anywhere they could find in royal palaces, sewage up to people’s heads in basements, poor medical treatment, murder most foul, no antibiotics.  

How did humanity survive? How did we get here? Why was the movie Amadeus so wrong?

Herman goes through the lives, final days and hours, and the post mortems of many of history’s big names: Henry VII, Napoleon, many mistresses, Caravaggio, and many more.

Cosmetics haven’t changed much either.

Having a bad day? Read this book and you’ll feel much better.


Review: The Splendid Outcast

I don’t know if I’ve ever read West With the Night.  I know I’ve read Out of Africa.

I wish I had had the opportunity to meet Beryl Markham.  She seems like my type of person.

This is a collection of her short stories, a quick biography, and her recollections of life with horses.

If you have a horse lover in your life, this is a book for them.  This is also a book for badass women, flying, and people who love adventure and the continent of Africa.

Beryl had many advantages and landed in a unique place at a unique time.  This collection is a must.

Review of “The Curious Incident…”

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

This book was published a while ago but I always see it circulating and after having finally read it, I know why.

Christopher Boone is the narrator in this slice-of-life story about his life.  This book makes me think of the series The Life of Fred books.  The story is raw, open, and the narrator one wants to hug and there are no angels in this book.  Every character in the story is a real person with their flaws, even the police officer who is on a train with Christopher.

A great read for the beach for summer.


This is one word I see in print more than I hear people using it.  When spoken, it is often confused with “calm”.  People don’t round their lips enough for the “qu” pronunciation. English pronunciation and phonology is fun.

These words always seem to pop up in relation to something in my day.  I lost an opportunity I wanted but to get it I had a big qualm at one point.  Life goes on. Something else always comes along or I may be glad things didn’t work out in the end.

The municipality I live in is having a very difficult time passing the budget.  This is a huge qualm, quagmire, and quandary.  People are up in arms about it.  The council is divided and people are sniping at each other left and right.  And yes, I have been in on the fray myself.

I want to live my life with as few qualms as possible.  I don’t want to focus on them.  I want to focus on the positives, the blessings, and what I have.

A qualm can only be a noun, a thing.  It has no verb, no adverb, no adjective form.  The word simply exists as a thing.



The word itself makes me shirk.  I’ve had no regular bedtime since high school, if that, and that was only because I had to be at school for 7:35.  Ah, memories.

I have come to accept that I am a night owl.  My best time is after 5 p.m., usually.  I’ll sleep all day if you let me.  I just need about one hour of sunshine and fresh air and I am good to go.

Right now I work evenings: paid, volunteer, my own business here, and I enjoy it.  It is my time of day.

Being an EMT (emergency medical technician), I started watching the show “Nightwatch.” I love that shift of 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.  Those are my perfect hours and I want a job with those hours.

This morning I woke up early and was thrilled to hear the birds singing outside and catch the first glimpses of sunshine.  Yet I crawled back into bed for a couple of more hours until life called.


I do have my routines and I try to read before going to sleep.  I also found a video on YouTube recently of Dr. Wayne Dyer about “setting” your brain for the next day before you go to sleep.  I totally understand this and try to do this every day.



Will anyone ever remember what a newspaper is?  Will they still exist?

I get the local town newspaper once a week.  I even delivered newspapers as a child with my Mom.  We walked.  Then the routes were consolidated and people drove all over.

There is nothing like sitting down and opening a newspaper.  The smell of the ink, the pictures flipping by.  I feel like with a newspaper that I won’t miss anything tucked away on the Internet.  I can go through at my own pace.

I enjoy the puzzles.

Newspapers are history, a record.  We say hello, congratulations, and good-bye to people.

Newspapers are permanent unless tossed into an Orwellian pit.

Newspapers are a connection to the community.  I hope they never completely go away.


Review: The Secret Life of the American Musical by Jack Viertel

This is the book to read if you want a great introduction to Broadway and how and why musicals are written.  This book will open your eyes to a lot of things you may have never thought of before and has some interesting tidbits about the history of Broadway.  It will also save you the tuition money for NYU.

Mr. Viertel breaks down the structure of musicals, the songs, and why there is an order to the musical.  Basically, the formula.

I believe even Broadway fans will enjoy this book.  He even has a list of recommended soundtracks.

This is interesting from the first word.  Enjoy!