Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Queequeg's Odyssey - Quen Cultra

MY THOUGHTS: A friend of mine, not long ago, was talking to me about his hero - a man by the name of Quen Cultra - who built a ship and sailed it around the world. He had no sailing experience, but woke up one day and knew that sailing was what he needed to do. Quen Cultra was born in north-eastern Illinois, actually only about 20 miles from where I'm from, and dreamed of the far seas. In the early 1970's, he gathered a plan, some building supplies, and a couple friends and built his trimaran and sailed it around the world. This is his story, written about his high seas adventure - who he met, where he went, and the struggles he endured.


From the back cover:

"Quen Cultra built Queequeg in a barnyard, motored down the Mississippi - and sailed around the world. His previous experience was limited to rowboats. The total cost of his boat, a trimaran, was $6,000. His expenses at sea were less than three dollars a day. The pay-off? Three years of high adventure, fascinating sights, and a communion with nature that no amount of money could buy the conventional traveler.

Cultra sailed with friends and took his time, staying long enough at each port to really sample the local cultures and sights. These ranged from the Small Nambas of Malakula (naked tribesmen who had never before seen a white man) to the socialites at the Cape Town Yacht Club. But there was also danger. Their first storm at sea was a hurricane; they were rammed by a freighter off Madagascar; becalmed and out of fresh water in the doldrums; attacked by sharks inside the Great Barrier Reef; washed up on a deserted coast. The book is must reading for anyone considering such an adventure, or for the adventurous armchair reader."



I was absolutely amazed by this story. And moreso amazed that is was written (and lived) by a man who grew up in a small town right down the road from where I grew up. I would highly recommend this to anyone and everyone. I'm glad to have friends who have read books like this and can recommend them to me.

In late January of this year, Quen Cultra's boat, Queequeg II capsized in the Indian Ocean. Of the three crewmen, only one has been found. Quen Cultra is feared to have been taken by the sea. I'm hoping that he and his fellow crewman have somehow made it to some exotic land and are living their next great adventure. To read more about this story, visit this link.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to grab your current read. Let the book fall open to a random page. Share with us two to three “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

Please avoid spoilers!

From page 39 "Killing Floor" by Lee Child

"Millions of prints in their computer. Prints that get sent in are checked. There's a priority order. You get checked first of all against the top-ten wanted list, then the top hundred, then the top thousand, you understand? If you'd been near the top, you know, active and unsolved, we'd have heard almost right away."

Born in Death - J D Robb


I'll be honest with you, I can't read this book. I made it through the first 30 or so pages and I just can't do it. There are too many questions about terminology that are not explained and the setting is apparently far into the future. It may be that this particular novel is number 23 in a series and certain terminology has been explained in prior novels, but I can't stand to read a book that makes no sense to me. This is a pretty rare occurrence (just see my last post where I stated that I must know how a story ends), but it had to be done.




Based on the first 30 or so pages, 4/10

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dead Wrong - J A Jance


It really took me quite a while to get into this book. At about 75 pages in, I wondered if the book could get any more boring. But at about 100 pages in, I was hooked. For some reason, whenever I'm reading or watching anything, even if it's terrible, I have to finish it. I need to know how things turn out. The same was true with this novel, and it's a good thing. I turned out to quite enjoy it.

After reading this particular novel, I came to find out that it is actually the 12th in a series (The Joanna Brady novels). However, I believe they can all be read as stand-alone, because I never felt lost trying to catch up with characters or anything else.


From page 38:

Jaime looked up from taking notes. "What was he in for?"

"Second degree murder," Ted answered. "He got twenty-five-to-life for killing his wife back in the late seventies. It happened out in Sierra Vista, or maybe it was just near there, I don't remember which."

"I've asked Maggie from Records to get us the file," Joanna said.

"I don't remember his wife's name, but she was pregnant at the time of her death," Ted continued. "He was drunk and evidently functioning in a blackout when it happened. I don't believe her body was ever found."

"They got a conviction with no body?" Jaime asked. "That's pretty unusual."

Ted nodded. "There was enough blood found in Brad's vehicle and on his body to make a pretty good case that she was dead. And with her pregnant, I guess feelings were running pretty high. Even without a body, the county attorney was prepared to go for murder one. Instead, Brad copped a plea to second degree. Like I told Sheriff Brady here, he accepted full responsibility for his actions."



I'm giving this novel an 'average' rating because it really does start off slow. At times there is just too much detail and not enough of anything else. Though detail is very important in a novel, without it we can't paint our mental pictures of what is going on, there needs to be a proper balance. The first 100 pages or so do not provide the reader with this balance. However, as the novel progresses, this levels out a bit.

Though I'm not sure if I'll ever read this author again, it was not a bad choice of a read (I literally went to the library and just picked a book off the shelf). I've always been interested in crime novels and this one didn't sway that interest. If you're ever bored on a winter day, this still could be quite a good read. Just know that it'll take you a while to get into it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Melange's Book Reviews is holding an amazingly awesome contest!

All you have to do is become a follower of her amazingly awesome blog. You could be 1 of the lucky 6 followers who could win one of 50 books! There are 3 spots for those who add themselves to her blog, and 3 spots for those who refer others to it. The contest is open until February 26 so hurry!

And don't forget to tell her I sent you!
TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to grab your current read. Let the book fall open to a random page. Share with us two to three “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

Please avoid spoilers!

From page 71 of Queequeg's Odyssey by Quen Cultra

Within minutes, we heard a faint splashing on both sides of the boat. I beamed a flashlight into the water and to my horror, found it teeming with thousands of sea snakes, each about two feet long, attracted to the light of the lantern. We stuffed rags into the scupper holes and hoped none would crawl aboard.

Judge & Jury - James Patterson


I've read quite a few of James Patterson's novels, including the Womens Murder Club series, and many of the Alex Cross novels. I'm a big fan of crime stories, as it is my career field. However, after reading so many of Patterson's books, I've come to realize that his style may be too predictable. Don't get me wrong, this book is still a good read, but the shock and surprise factors seem to be lacking.


Chapter 41, page 149

It felt as though my heart didn't move a beat. I just stood there listening, praying. Somebody say something back to me. Shout! Scream for help!

All I heard was the crackle of flames, and all I saw was the dark gray smoke mushrooming through the bus. The scene was as still and desolate as a bloody battlefield after the fighting was done.

I covered my face with my hand and pushed my way down the aisle. Madness, but I had to do it. It was impossible to see. Somebody, a small woman, had been hurled against a side window and was twisted into a grotesque position. Others had died right in their seats. Clothing was burned off.



Though much of this book was pretty predictable for anyone who has read Patterson, the novel is still pretty damn good. There are some exciting twists and turns and, as many of his novels go, a little bit of romance in the wake of furor. It's an easy read. I started and finished within half a day and couldn't put the book down. Patterson has a knack of drawing you into the story, even if it is somewhat predictable.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A friend who doesn't get enough credit...

My friend Meggan is an AMAZING woman. And I don't think she gets the credit she deserves. And though I realize she will probably never see this, and that's ok, I feel the need to tell everyone of her story.

Times are tough in this struggling economy. Jobs are scarce and money is tight. Too tight. Families are losing their jobs, their income, and their ability to provide for their families. It is happening far more than we can all imagine. It's hard for some people to not be able to go out to dinner, or to a movie, or to buy that expensive whatever because they just can't spare the extra expense. But for some, it's way more than that. Refridgerators sit empty. Mortgages can't be paid. Creditors start calling. People search for whatever income they can find. That's where this story begins.

Meggan's husband is a carpenter. An out of work carpenter. With no income, the family is pretty much desperate. Meggan takes a night shift working at a bar in town. It's helping, but it's not enough to support a family of four (Meggan has two boys, 8 and 5). Her kids and her husband miss her terribly, because she's gone so much.

Somehow, shortly after taking on the job as a part-time bartender, she lands a full time job during the day. Now Meggan works an 8-430 job and a 6-whenever the bar closes job. As her babysitter, I hear her kids crying because they miss their mommy. She's working all the time and gets to spend no time with her family and her little boys.

Miraculously, her husband finds work. It's only temporary, a few months at best, but it's work. Work from 230 - midnight. But despite her husband's new job, Meggan must keep her two jobs. Now the boys miss their mom and dad because they're always at work.

Where are the economic bailouts for people like this? These are the people who are stuggling to keep their kids fed and the bills paid. The people who would do anything for their families. But yet, they are left to fend for themselves.

Tonight, while babysitting Meggan's kids (who, putting it mildly, can be a handful), I realized just how amazing this woman is. I, myself, am struggling to get by, but my story is nothing like hers. This is an incredible woman. And I hope to one day be more like her.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


So I met this guy in the bar. He was introduced to me as "Beaner." Not really sure why he is so called, but let me inform any of those out there who do not know the definition of this word (keeping in mind that I did NOT write this):

"beaners "
slang for marijuana seeds; usually found in "nigger weed"
Dealer: Yo man u need any bud?
You: Fuck that your shit is grabage and full of beaners.

fuckers seriously STOP BREEDING and GO THE FUCK HOME to YOU OWN COUNTRY you fucking maggots! If you ever stopped fucking maybe you'd have enough fucking resources in your own goddamn country to take care of your own goddamn people.
Fucking fuck artists!

Beaners are dirty, foul subhumans created from God's shit. Due to their insignificantly small brains and lazy lifestyle, they can only take up easy jobs. Beaners are worthless creatures that need to be shot.
There needs to be a limit on how many dirty babes these beaners produce!

To check out even more putrid definitions, click here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cunt: A Declaration of Independence - Inga Muscio

I've never done a public book review before, well, not since grade school when those types of things were required as part of the curriculum, so please excuse the haphazard way for which this may come off.


First off, I would like to make it clear that I am, in no way, shape, or form, a feminist. Though this book was recommended to me by a feminist professor, I took her word as a literary composer herself, that her bias towards feminine novels was not her primary reason for the recommedation.

This novel, however, did make me want to have sex with myself for hours. Just kidding...kinda.

Cunt is not just about girl power. It's about self-love. It's about women embracing women and all things that are sacred to a woman. There are excerpts about abortions, births, sex, coming of age (in a way), and all sorts of tear-jerking and fall-onto-the-floor-laughing moments. The author wants women to embrace the word CUNT and take it back. Not to settle for it as a derogatory term, but as a term of endeament.

Thank you Inga Muscio for teaching me to love my cunt!


One day I came home from third grade and asked my pops, "What's a wetback?"

With resignation and a sigh, Dad elucidated a brief history of "wetback." He concluded, "Don't you ever say it."

A list of words I was similarly not to utter was forthcoming: nigger, beaner, kike, wop, jap, injun, spic. The only formal cuss word included on his roster was "cunt."

Coming as I did from a family where us kids were allowed to strew profanities like rice at a wedding, I was mighty affected by all this. Why, in my father's way of thinking, could I call someone an asshole, but not a wetback nigger cunt?

The foreshadowings of a mystery.


I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It's a great novel. And it's fun to sit on a plane reading this book and laugh at everyone who wonders why "such a nice looking girl would read such filth." It's also pretty damn sweet when the girl sitting next to you, who has ignored you for the first 2 1/2 hours of the flight, decides to ask you as the plane is landing if the book entails all that she thinks it does.

Taxpayer money used for million dollar bonuses?

Last Friday, Sen. Claire McCaskill took to the Senate floor and said what I imagine a lot of us have been thinking about Wall Street lately: "They don't get it. These people are idiots. You can't use taxpayer money to pay out $18 billion in bonuses...What planet are these people on?" Sen. McCaskill was reacting to the $18.4 billion in bonuses that Wall Street bankers took home in 2008. $18.4 billion going to the people who crippled our economy with their recklessness and greed and then took $700 billion of our money. Yesterday, President Obama took an important first step, limiting pay at companies taking bailouts going forward. But Congress is considering going even further, applying the limits retroactively and even taking back some of the most extravagant bonuses at firms that took taxpayer money. A huge public outcry will give them momentum and push them to real action.Can you sign this petition to Congress, urging them to act now to rein in Wall Street greed? Clicking here will add your name: The petition says: "Congress must place enforceable, common-sense limits on salaries at all the banks that have taken taxpayer dollars."Wall Street's defenders make all kinds of excuses about why the bonuses were justified. They say that bonuses are an accepted part ofcompensation packages on Wall Street, that those receiving bonuses weren't the ones who lost their firms billions of dollars, and that they need to pay bonuses to retain top talent. Those arguments are outrageous. If automatic bonuses are a part of Wall Street culture, that culture has to change--a firm that's still afloat only because of huge taxpayer bailouts shouldn't be paying bonuses. And while tens of thousands of Wall Street employees are losing their jobs, it's hard to believe that those still employed will go looking for new positions because they didn't get a bonus. Sen. McCaskill showed courage standing up to the status quo. We've got to show the rest of Congress that this is the kind of leadership we need to get us out of this crisis and make the economy work for all Americans. Limiting pay at companies taking bailouts won't fix our financial system--that will take a lot more hard work--but it's an important first step. Can you tell Congress to rein in Wall Street's excesses now and then pass this petition on to your friends? Clicking here will add your name:

Hot Ass Poem - by Jennifer Knox

One of my fav poems:

Hey check out the ass on that guy he's got a really hot ass
I'd like to see his ass naked with his hot naked ass
Hey check out her hot ass that chick's got a hot ass
she's a red hot ass chick I want to touch it
Hey check out the ass on that old man
that’s one hot old man ass
look at his ass his ass his old man ass
Hey check out that dog's ass
wow that dog's ass is hot
that dog's got a hot dog ass
I want to squeeze that dog's hot dog ass
like a ball but a hot ball a hot ass ball
Hey check out the ass on that bird
how's a bird get a hot ass like that
that's one hot ass bird ass
I want to put that bird's hot ass in my mouth
and swish it around and around and around
Hey check out the ass on that bike
damn that bike's ass it h-o-t
you ever see a bike with an ass that hot
I want to put my hot ass on that bike's hot ass and make a double hot ass bike ass
Hey check out that building
it's got a really really really hot ass
and the doorman and the ladies in the information booth and the guy in the elevator got themselves a butt load of hot ass
I want to wrap my arms around the whole hot ass building and squeeze myself right through its hot ass and out the other side
I want to get me a hot ass piece of all 86 floors of hot hot hot hot ass!