Thursday, July 20, 2017

Direct from Martha's Vineyard, Adolfo Caso Presents Weston Bucolic 2




Weston Bucolic 2

Adolph Caso



I
Spring,
More than the other seasons,
Is a season of birth and re-births
Of one generation to another.
    Leaves of green enfold the branches;
Colors of flowers embellish their leaves,
While,
Seeds transform into sprouts--
Now,
As they did
From beyond
The time Virgil.


II
No comparison
Between my plush Weston backyard
And of Nonno Gabriele’s
Nineteen century patch
Next to the stone wall of his well,
Covered with effusive branches
Of odorous leaves,
Which he rubbed
Over my forehead and hands—
   Now, an octo,
Getting near to his 92nd,
I automatically bring my hands to my nose.
Though the scent has gone,
Those sweet memories keep persisting.
   I am a boy again!


III
A single coyote silently strolls
Across my plush green lawn—
I wish
I had
A gun:
   Three little boys live next door to me!

Comfortably, and almost invisibly,             
I sit in my swivel chair.
   From one corner,
I survey the whole horizon
And the activities encompassed within:
The red oak in its majestic silhouette,
Scrub oaks offering shade,
My sister’s dogwoods laden with flowers
Reflecting a canopy of pulsing stars,
The Delicata tree
With its unique apples created
By my late friend, Ned:
Their images wander in my eyes.
   I sit there, silently.
How does it all happen!




IV
Noiselessly, two Robins scamper onto the lawn;
They turn, leap, dive, and jump into the soft grass.
Neither makes one sound or noise.
   In a new phase:
First the mother, then the father,
With beaks full of dry grass,
Begin to fly into the cornered Japanese maple.
In a few days, the flights stop:
Well ensconced within the tree,
They complete their nest.
   Having delivered three grayish eggs,
The mother reduces her flight;
Her concentration is to gather food.
At the same time,
The father flies around
As if he was in charge of military vigilance.
   Their efforts paying off,
Three featherless baby Robins appear,
As prescribed by destiny.
With their egg shells,
Dropped to the fertile soil below,
Mother and Father resume their flights--
Their beaks filled with food.

V
The nest,
Overflowing with feathers,
The adult Robins fly from every direction.
   Their wings, creating concurrent whirls,
Reflect anxieties on a feeding pace,
As they await their chicks’ first flight.
   Suddenly, and, expectedly,
A consternating raucous blare
Causes me to rush out the kitchen door:
Mother and father are repeatedly diving
Into the tree,
Their deafening screeches
Of the otherwise silent birds
Sound an ominous doom.
   My head peering into the tree line,
It startles the raiding squirrel into fright.
Stunned,
It fearfully runs toward the oak tree,
Chased
By the raucous Robins in deathly pursuit;
Their screeches piercing my ears,
They dive
With their beaks aimed at the feared squirrel.
   Having driven the quadruped out of sight,
They return to continue scampering on the lawn
Intent on bring nutrients to their brood.
   Unexpectedly,
A baby chick peers out the nest.
Seeing no rhythm to its wings,
The father quickly approaches from behind
And cautiously leads the baby to a nearby oak.
Before long, a second appears.
This time,
The mother repeats the flight.
With the five of them secure in the new tree,
They finally disappear beyond the backyard--
Never to be seen again!
   The loss is impacting my heart.



VI
Meanwhile,
The un-aware squirrel reappears,
Jumping flawlessly and gracefully
Among the branches—
Its shimmering tail guiding with confidence--
As if,
Neither the Robins,
Nor I, were ever living testaments,
Let alone be the co-inhabitants of its own world.
   I am glad
  Not to have had
                                           The need
To own
 A gun!
~~~







Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Come on! We're Visiting Cuba with Tour Guide Carole P. Roman



  

If you were me and lived in Cuba, you would live on an island located in the northern Caribbean in the western hemisphere. It is known as the Republic of Cuba and is the biggest island in the Caribbean and the second most populated in the area. You would live in the capital and largest city Havana. You would love the energy of this busy port. It is an important business and banking center for the whole island.




I'm not totally uptodate on the present relationship with the United States, given some fairly recent comments by our president; however, it is obvious as you turn the pages of the latest Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World by Carole P. Roman that Cuba is beautiful and offers a wealth of enjoyment for vacationers and sightseers. I found pictures for our children in the above video but do like to learn about the names given in the various countries we visit.

Veronica, Zamira or Aymee are sometimes chosen for girls while Ernesto, Jose, and Luis are often given to boys... Coming home in this case involves arriving at a pleasant house with architectural design similar to ours while town buildings may represent an older time period, and also, when we visit, we would go to see the Castillo del Morrow, a Spanish form built in the 17th Century.




I was impressed with the quality of the architectural works, such as with the Castillo, and give kudos to Illustrator Kelsea Wierenga for her contribution to the wonderful book.

Of course we got to have lunch with the family! I love to be able to at least taste food in different countries, but with my sweet tooth seeing the tres leches waiting there on the buffet, I was already looking forward to dessert even as I was enjoying arroz con pollo, which is chicken and rice...I also tasted twice-fried plantains...which I had never tried before, although I've seen them in grocery stores--they look like bananas (actually I didn't get to taste them, but I would have if I'd really been there in Cuba!)...

Do you know what I was most impressed with! The importance placed on a healthy body, with the parents early teaching children about sports as an essential part of life...Parents began exercising with you when you were only 45 days old! Wow! I sure wish America had that as a guiding principle for our youth...I doubt many of us would be in the shape we are when our parents automatically began to indoctrinate all of us early to exercise massage of arms and legs...Especially when they added it to games so it would be fun!

And you know what? It's July 18th and it's a special time...it is when Carnival at Santiago de Cuba is held! You'd have a week-long week to enjoy if you were there right now! And then stay to watch the annual Fire Festival, Fiesta del Fuego, which highlights a culture from the country each year.




You know this collection is a wonderful set of books for your child's library, but, well, I'm not a child anymore and I must add that, for me, I have learned more about the culture of the countries I've visited through these books, than I would ever had done through travel books... These books are created to entice you to visit, giving sufficient information about the country and culture there, as well as events and tourist places, that you have a short overview that gives you enough to become quite acquainted with countries where you may never visit. 

So, let's just say this book and the series are highly recommended for children...and their families! Find out Why if you haven't already...


GABixlerReviews




Monday, July 17, 2017

Blood Moon - Second in Fantastic Series by Alexandra Sokoloff


After not much sleep on his delayed plane, Roarke walked out of the Civic Center BART station into a gorgeous day... And he pretended he wasn't expecting to see Cara Lindstrom at every intersection, standing across the street from him as she had done the day he'd first seen her, the day his hunt for her had begun...
He was spared further memory of that vision for the moment as the concrete and glass monolity of the Federal Building loomed up in front of him...On the fifteenth floor he walked down gleaming halls with white walls decorated with framed sepia-toned newspaper accounts of famous busts and images of the history of the Bureau, toward the conference room the team had taken over for their manhunt. Manhunt being an ironic word for the investigation into Cara Lindstrom. There were no words for what she was, for what he had done, the Huntress...
Roarke's eyes went immediately to the case board behind them, a seven-foot long white board on a standing metal frame taped with clusters of photos, documents, Post-its--everything they knew about Cara Lindstrom. The police sketch that was their only image of her looked down on him: blond and fine-featured, eyes concealed behind big dark sunglasses.
He forced his gaze away and looked around at his waiting team. "So, where are we?"
He saw a flicker of anger on Epps' face, and Roarke knew why. He'd been uncharacteristically late, which for him meant he stepped into the briefing at their meeting time of nine on the dot, to avoid being cornered by Epps. It was the same reason he'd taken a different flight back from L.A. Roarke didn't want to talk to Epps alone, and Epps knowing that made him even more determined to talk to Roarke, and they had been doing this dance for days.
It would come to a head any moment now, Roarke knew. But he was not about to talk about that night, two weeks ago, the night he had helped Cara Lindstrom kill ten people...
~~~



Nearly all of the FBI agents who were hunting Cara Lindstrom knew her only by a police sketch with blond hair and wearing large glasses... But everybody knew her background. Her entire family had been killed; only Cara survived... She was out for revenge and it didn't matter whether the criminals she killed were guilty of her family's deaths... They were evil; they had to go... And she had taken the time to learn all she needed to know in order to do what he needed to do and then immediately escape... Only one agent had seen her and his internal emotions were always in play. She was his target... She was a victim and needed to be protected... How would it end, especially since he was heading up the team who had been given her capture as their top priority.

Every time I'm reading one of the books, I think of the movie, Laura, where a detective falls in love with a painting...

As we watch Roarke caught in emotions that tells him one thing while his brain tells him another, it is poignant to realize how some people can fall in love, even realizing that it is the worst thing that could happen to them... Still, many of us are caught in those moments, knowing that their love could never be, and yet... hoping...

The twist in this book is significant, explosive, and totally surprising... While the Team is gearing up and moving on their investigation for Cara, a series of family murders begin at various locations...

The murders send both Roarke and Cara back 25 years and they both relive what happened. Roarke could still hear the voice of the 5-year-old and even then he had wanted to help her...

Now, Roarke wants to move on to work on these new family death cases, but he is told to stick with the Cara Lindstrom search... That didn't stop him...and it didn't stop Cara from searching for a new monster...or, even, perhaps the monster she saw so many years ago...

Many of you have already read this book. But if you haven't, I highly recommend it. It's a series you just don't want to miss if you enjoy FBI Thrillers and a fascinating victim/villain!


GABixlerReviews


June, 2017 - I will no longer be accepting new requests for reviews, effective this month. Among those I already have, many submitted as ebooks before I've accepted them, I will review as I am able and select those I wish to read. Book Readers Heaven will continue at my own pace, decreasing reading time to meet my personal needs... Thank you for your continued support of Book Readers Heaven...

Coming up! Major author spotlight in August for The David Chronicles by Uvi Poznansky!



Friday, July 14, 2017

The Empty Chair of China - A Sonnet for Liu Xiaobo by Konrad Tademar


The Empty Chair of China - a sonnet for Liu Xiaobo by Konrad Tademar
The Empty Chair of China
  • "If you want to enter hell, don't complain of the dark…”


You shall not perish if you dream the empty hand
For the ashes cannot hold you, they are but lines--
--to be found painted with a silent love in the sand…
of an empty chair screaming at the neon signs…

The throne of thoughts dissolves, a castle of parchment
In the conflagration of oppression and fear
Pen wielded as blade in a book-lined apartment
Wheels of the bicycle spin, with words left to steer

Hold on… I need both hands to embrace the world whole
Across space that defines the liberty to speak
At Tiananmen Square where the Goddess bared her soul
Across time that binds all men who conscience may seek

I place a sword on an empty chair to mark--
--the passage of freedom’s Knight beyond the dark.
~~~

July 13, 2017 -
Sonnet Used With Permission





A Winner in Spite of Beijing's Threats

On Friday, Oct. 8, 2010, the Norwegian Nobel Institute awarded the 2010 Peace
Prize to the imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, the first Chinese citizen to
receive the award. The news was received coldly by Beijing...--http://content.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2024319,00.htm
On the death of Liú Xiǎobō (刘晓波) - born in the city of Chángchūn (镸春), in Jilin (吉林) province of China in the year of the wood Goat on December 28, 1955 - died in the city of Shenyang (沈阳), in Liaoning (辽宁) province in Shenyang's First Hospital of China Medical University in China in the year of the fire Rooster on July 13, 2017. He received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2010 while he was serving an 11 year sentence as a political prisoner for crimes against the Communist State. Neither he, nor his wife Liu Xia (刘霞) who was immediately placed under house arrest, nor any representative from China was allowed to receive the Nobel Prize in his name. The Nobel prize committee left an empty chair for him.




Konrad Tademar is an American poet living in Los Angeles. His works range from single sonnets to epic poems on themes including current events, myth, and philosophy. In addition to American subjects, his
work is strongly informed by international events and history, especially those of freedom and oppression..
 
The Galaxy Children's Choir of Beijing joins the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square on the February 28, 2010 weekly broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word.

May we all strive to follow in Liu Xiaobo's steps toward Peace...
His work will live on...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Case of the Frozen Horse: A Sam Cloudstone Novella by Jimmy Martin



I like weird, the unusual, something that is new and allows you to experience more than what you're likely to find in another book. Take for instance, The Case of the Frozen Horse, begins your questioning of what the book is about. Readers will almost surely guess that it is not a real horse, and indeed the author immediately identifies the victim of the murder Sam has been asked to work on... But even then, Martin does not present the usual PI investigation story...you just never know what the storyline from this relatively new author will cover! In fact, solving the case is not the primary goal...rather it is the setting, the characters, and the subplots that become intriguing and pull readers into the book...

Sam and Brew Ha Ha were barreling down Texas Highway 35. This highway parallels the coast, occasionally a fishing town on a bay or on the Gulf coast. Under normal circumstances they would have stopped in Palacios or Port Lavaca or even detoured down to Port O'Connor for some fishing or at least a good seafood lunch. But these weren't normal circumstances.
The drive was scenic, particularly to people partial to Texas coast fishing hamlets. They were soon in the vicinity of Corpus Christi, crossing the John F. Kennedy Memorial Causeway to get to North Padre Island with Snoopy's
Pier. They pulled up to Doc's Seafood and Steaks, went in and headed straight to the bar. They wondered if Horse's lady friend was on the day shift. Luckily, she was.
When she recognized Brew Ha Ha, she ran up to them and asked where Horse was. However, being the intuitive woman that she was, she immediately sensed that something was wrong from the look in Brew Ha Ha's eyes.
Sam broke the silence. "When you get a break we need to talk to you." That was all she needed to hear and she said she could take a break at one thirty, after the lunch rush. Sam and Brew Ha each got a beer and went to a booth to wait for her.
"I didn't expect to choke up! I barely held it together!" Brew Ha admitted. His eyes were unexpectedly misty.
"I know," Sam said. "That's why I jumped in there."
They sat at the booth and discussed what they planned to tell her. A couple of beers later she showed up and sat down with them.
Sam was surprised, and a little amused that she even referred to him as Horse. Brew Ha got up his nerve and finally said, "I have some bad news for you Miss, ah, Dammit! I don't even know your name!"
"It's Gracie, Gracie Lynn Bicchieri. Bicchieri means 'drinking glasses' in Italian. I come from a long line of people who have made their living from handing out glasses filled with beer, wine, and spirits!"
Sam noted that Italian seemed to fit her, although he never thought about it before, of course the only times he had ever seen her was the short periods between arriving at the bar and her and Horse ducking out the back. That was only a handful of times.
Brew Ha continued, "Gracie Lynn, I have bad news. Horse was murdered back in Galveston a few days ago. I don't know of any family that he had and the only person he ever seemed to have any long-term relationship with was you. We came here to tell you because we figured you would want to know. Also, we were hoping you could shed a little light on why anybody would do this. As long as I knew him. I really didn't know that much about his past."
While visibly shaken, Gracie was able to keep somewhat composed. "Do you know what happened?" she asked.
"It's strange. He was shot and we presume that's what killed him. But then he was frozen solid and left in a hotel ice machine on the Seawall in Galveston."
Sam looked at her and noticed that she shuddered at the description. She cleared her throat and begin to fill them both in on the mysterious history of Brew Ha Ha's first mate, Horse.
"His name was
Richard Cappello, Italian, like me. We had a thing for each other from the time we were teenagers. I waned him to marry me long ago, and he even knocked me up once when we were young. I thought I had him then, but I lost our baby." She let out a stifled laugh between tears. "He never would have married me because of what he did for a living..."
~~~


Sam and Brew Ha Ha had come to meet with the only individual who they knew Horse had been involved with for a lengthy time. They discovered Gracie and Horse had been an item since high school days, even that was a surprise, wondering why they had never married. What they learned was shocking and more than they could have imagined...

Horse had been a mob hit man and his last assignment involved a Vietnamese gangster! Horse had decided after that he no longer wanted to continue killing for a living... And somehow, though there was lots of trouble, Horse had succeeded in leaving the mob behind and starting his job with Brew Ha Ha...

So, where do you go to investigate how the previous life of Horse may have led to his death?! At least it did explain to some extent, the strange decision to murder than freeze him... Maybe... Soooo, Sam went out looking for help from Cyber Harry, who among other interesting activities, was obsessed with Vladimir Putin and paranoid about what he was involved with... I had to laugh that one website had explained that Stalin's brain had been saved and when science had figured out how to transfer it, they had given it to Putin... Just goes to show there really is fake conspiracy news out there...right?   right?

One thing you will discover that there is a lot of extraneous humorous storytelling and dialogue in Martin's books...but all are geared toward the storyline and adds a level of depth, but also frivolity rarely seen in PI cases... Or it might be said, that there is really no hurry to solve the case since the guy is already dead and the investigation will take us how ever long it takes...

I enjoyed the activities of Sandra (Sam's ex) and Melissa (Sam's present lover). Sandra works at a small clinic which is very important to the area...but when Sandra must be absent, Melissa is standing in...as long as they have telephone contact to discuss what to do for each case! LOL

Sam and Brew Ha Ha arrived at Harry's office around 9:00. After building Harry up all the way from Corpus Christie, Sam was somewhat worried that he might have gone too far. He was afraid that Harry wouldn't live up to the billing he had made for him. Those fears were quite unfounded.
They knocked on the office door, but let themselves in in spite of the formality. The door was one of those with frosted glass that you would expect to find in an old Sam Spade movie. On the glass window was written the words 'Harry Kohlmyer, Ethical Hacker and Cyber Security Specialist." As they walked into the office they were greeted with Harry's oft worn impudent grin. His demeanor and general appearance gave him a forty something year old Dennis the Menace kind of vibe...
~~~

Meeting Cyber Harry was a fun experience...First Sam and Brew Ha were introduced to various women (pictures on the Internet) from Russia who he was trying to bring over as a mate...but was clogged with the bureaucracy... and frustrated...

Finally they got down to business...all of them felt the police knew more than they were willing to share...and specifically, Harry reported that there had been six separate murders up and down the Gulf Coast using the same M.O. When Sam mentioned the Vietnamese gangster, Harry first admitted that they scared him more than Putin... He then went on to say that a printed card had been left at each murder scene with "Courtesy of Dr. Freeze-Kill!"

Readers are taken back to 1989 when Horse was caught in something that would result in his major life change. Then moving forward into the investigation, soon getting into a place from which they needed to leave...soon! Somehow Sam always solves the case and somehow stays alive, many times due to a little help from his friends...Great Characters!
And, of course, a stop at casinos allows for more drinking and storytelling. This time Sam, with Jimmy Buffett songs playing in the background tells his friends about meeting Buffett when he was doing his "Buffett's Brother" act to gain an image... and how he was caught by Buffett himself! More traveling, drinking and meeting up with friends...and one of those places was the Jazz Preservation Hall, with a group I've enjoyed through the years... and then on to Pat O'Brien's to see the Flaming Fountain!



Sam and and Brew Ha are giving the police detective trouble just by looking at his case...but nothing, not anybody, could have given them more trouble than the...Dragon Lady...! I'm thinking you're really going to enjoy this third novella in the services... Do check out my reviews on the first two books as well...you just may want to start right from the beginning and get in at the first of series of a truly enjoyable and quite extraordinary private investigator by the name of Sam Cloudstone! Enjoy!


GABixlerReviews



I was born in the 50's and therefore was a child of the 70's. Born and raised in Houston, I have lived in or around the Houston area all of my life. Like my main character Sam Cloudstone, I am a graduate Mechanical Engineer from Texas A&M University. Having attended there in the late 70's, I experienced an early adulthood much different than kids do today. We had no technology like what exists today, so we were much more dependent on our own insanity for our entertainment. I made many crazy friends, and I am proud to say that I still keep up with most of them.

I became an avid reader as soon as there wasn't some professor forcing me to read. It has always been a goal of mine to become a writer. My earliest heroes were the likes of Hunter S. Thompson, Douglas Adams, and Tom Clancy, but over the years I have read everything I could get from Hemingway to Kinky Friedman. 

I've always liked adventure novels, but I have always been a sucker for a good joke. Many of the characters in my first book, and hopefully subsequent books to come, are inspired by real friends and acquaintances.