Book Bloggers Are As Imaginative as Authors

A romp among book bloggers on their sites reveals a world of wonderful, cool, wicked and imaginative book lovers who report about books.

Names they give their sites jump off the page: Tumbling Books, Pick Me, My Mom Reads My Books, Cabin goddess. They offer excitement, information and more fun than you deserve on sites like Books, Biscuits and Tea, Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Just Another Rabid Reader, My Love Affair with Books, Cabin Goddess.

As an author of two new books seeking reviews, this is an important tool to tell readers about Rusty Springs and Story Cookbook.

So this blog has been researching blogs and I find there are many men among the bloggers. The sites have give-aways, author interviews. and some offer book blog tours. No two alike. Each chose which genres they’ll review: adult, young adult, chick lit, etc. Many only will review the books of traditional publishers.

Because there are so many book blog sites, there are even professionals who offer authors a book blog and charge a fee for a book to be reviewed each day for a week on a different blog, up to $75 per blog.

The rating systems are traditional, l to 5 stars, or very imaginative as I’ll illustrate in another blog.

When I read one of my reviews (Michner never read any of his reviews), I may respond in this way: 5) Wow. thank you. I gave a lot of my life to writing that book; 4) So, it wasn’t as good as I thought; 3) Gee, I hoped for better; 2) Took part of my heart; 1) Piece of crap. But this may be good, because someone may read it just to see if the reviewer was right.

DNA Costs Falling

Will marriageable women sign up for DNA tests before being asked?

What will lower costs of DNA testing mean to a man and woman who want to be married?

According to Professor Armand Leroi of the Imperial College in London during a major science conference in Dublin, cheaper costs of DNA testing means a new era of eugenics.

Within five years, the prediction is that is may be common for young people to pay for a read-out of their entire genetic code and request to see the genetic blueprint of any prospective long-term partner which could apparently weed out any incurable diseases of their baby.

The focus would be on the design of a baby not for eye color or intelligence but to stop genetic diseases. Professor Leroi said that in some ways eugenics are already here as tens of thousands of unborn babies with Down’s syndrome and other illnesses are being aborted and are well established in European countries.

This blog will be watching for the next development world-wide in eugenics now that the cost of genetic sequencing is falling so rapidly and become so accessible to the general public.

We weren’t there during the first part of the 20th century when eugenics was fashionable in a different way around the globe as state governments attempted to better populations by sterilizing those deemed unfit to produce children.

In the l930’s, it all led to better baby contests and agricultural fairs in the Midwest where in addition to the pavilions for judging cattle or other livestock, there were ones to judge humans, too.

And as we all know, the Nazis took eugenics to a new level of deadly medicine. Eugenics may be legally correct but often may be morally wrong. What do you think?

Every mother-to-be wants to bear a healthy child. Do you think marriageable women will volunteer for such tests?

Germany Continues to Pay Survivors

Sixty years ago representatives from Israel, Germany and the newly created conference on Jewish material Claims Against Germany met to hammer out a reparations agreement for the crimes of Nazi Germany when some Holocaust survivors were still living in displaced Persons camps on the continent.

According to a recent report by the Jewish Journal, Germany has paid the equivalent of more than 70 billion to survivors and programs that aid survivors. Israel and Germany have become close allies. Germany has made Holocaust education a centerpiece of its identity, creating school curricula, building Holocaust museums and funding anti-Semitism eradication programs.

This week Germany took the additional step to fund an estimated 80,000 more Nazi victims to those it provides with one–time payments of about $3,150. The change, which is expected to affect mostly survivors in Russia and Ukraine, opens the door to funding for the last major group of Nazi victims who have never received money from Germany.

In addition, Germany has agreed to equalize the monthly pensions it sends to some 60,000 survivors around the world. All survivors will now receive the equivalent of approximately $370 per month.

While the claims conference administers Germany’s restitution programs, it also makes allocations of its own from the so-called Successor Organization, which is the legal beneficiary of money from the sale of Jewish-owned properties in the former East Germany for which no heirs have come forward.

“The Germany government is assuming even greater responsibility than before,” said Werner Gatzer, state secretary of German Finance Ministry, who made these remarks at the 60th anniversary event in Washington, DC. “This is much more than just financial compensation. It’s about the recognition of all these individual, person destinies that need to be heard and preserved.”

Eyeing the next round of negotiations, among the items on Jewish wish list is to consider funding survivors of so-called open ghettos-unfenced areas where Jews were forced to live, and the provision that there even be compensation for those survivors who are well off who suffered at the hands of the Nazis.

The Senators of North Carolina who blocked restitution for persons in their state who were sterilized against their will should note this healing process of Germany and reconsider adding back into the state budget funds to compensate these victims.

Maury Goes to Heaven

The following excerpts of a tribute appeared recently in the Colville, WA. weekly newspaper:

Maury began his journey to heaven under his favorite tree. Loved ones were at his side, tears were shed and amusing stories told. It was a good thing. He no longer has to put on a brave face. He can smile and run free. He can eat everything he desires.

He was born Jan. 29, 1999 to a big hairy dog named George. He never knew his father and was first born of 12 puppies. Diane Friedman adopted him when he was eight weeks old. He was very indulged and had a good life. He loved food, people, especially old people and children, and napping. He also liked a good walk with good smells. He started visiting Pinewood Terrace Nursing Center when he was a puppy and continued until he was too lame to get into the car.

He really loved the Saturday and Wednesday Farmer’s Markets–lots of people and lots of food! He always found a child who would hug him. He was so patient and gentle.

Maury had a good life. He lived it to the fullest. He was happy and content and had a positive impact on almost everyone who knew him. He will be remembered and he will be missed. There are people and animals who departed before him who are anxious to be with him again. Maury will not be alone. He is survived by TaLeese, the cat, and Madelene, the puppy, very aware that Maury is missing. He is survived by all the people who let him into their hearts.

Finally, he is survived by his companion and loving friend, Diane, and will always be with her in her heart and in the eyes of all the dogs she meets.

No memorial service is planned.

Interest in WWII Victims Still High

Annual report of International Tracing Services, Bad Arolsen, Germany, says inquiries remain undiminished as relatives seek contact or other information for family members thought lost.

Perhaps one of the requests is from the stocky, older man who came to my first Lebensborn book talk to ask for help in locating his “true” parents in Germany.

The humanitarian department at ITS last year received over ten thousand inquiries concerning over sixteen thousand people in sixty-nine countries in the most part by the children and grandchildren of Nazi persecution.

The new fifty-page report written in both German and English
says that ITS has now opened its archives and is transferring information to partner organizations and increasing its presence on the Internet to encourage more to make use of the over thirty million items of information. ITS now has a Russian website and has conducted discussion groups in Russia, the Ukraine, Bulgaria and Poland.

The average search by a staff of three hundred persons takes up to eight weeks to clarify individual fates. Each letter reveals a “particularly haunting picture of the past, the complexity of the suffering, and shows the brutality of the Nazi regime, yet also the courage of the survivors.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross is removing itself from active management of ITS but continues its affiliation with this humanitarian organization. This allows ITS be a continuing active center for documentation, information and research.

In January 2013, the German Federal Archives will be the new institution partner of ITS. A German staff member in the foreign office said, “I don’t need to emphasize how important it is for the Federal Republic of Germany to keep alive the memory of the victims fate.”

Microwave Tips

Cheer up by reading directions for your microwave.

Really? Yes, here’s how I learned this important
fact, that viewing directions for an appliance can be downright knee-slapping funny.

It began when the Staples driver came three hours up from Spokane to deliver a new microwave oven. The planets were running amok and nothing was going well this day. Cocktail hour arrived. With a rum and coke, I began reading out loud these incredible directions:

Do not use if there are any dents or holes in the door window. (Did someone actually do this?)

Do not under any circumstances cut or remove the third (ground) prong from the power cord. (They didn’t explain what tool you should not to use to do this.)

Do not attempt to operate this oven with the door open since open-door operation can result in harmful exposure to microwave energy. (How can I write this one without laughing?)

Do not operate the oven empty. The microwave energy will reflect continuously throughout the oven if no food or water is present to absorb energy. (Now there’s a science lesson for you.)

Never use the oven for HOME CANNING. Improperly canned food may spoil and be dangerous to consume. (The manufacturer did put HOME CANNING in capitol letters to insure safety for the consumer.)

Do not boil eggs in their shell. Pressure may build up and the eggs will explode. (Can’t wait to try this one.)

Do not attempt to deep fat fry in your oven. (Would you do this?)

Do not attempt to dry clothes, newspapers or other materials in oven. They may catch on fire. (Wow!)

Saved the best for last:

This may explain how you’ll realize a person is having a bad day: Do not hit or strike the control panel.

These directions actually sound best when read aloud.

Camping: Boutique or Park-like?

Where do you camp? Oh, horrors, maybe you don’t. Maybe you prefer spiffed-up resorts or hotels for a get-away. Just keep reading because there really can be special benefits from surrounding yourself with nature instead of humans by heading off with a tent and sleeping bag.

Food, of course, is important and one of the foremost camping ingredients. Eating outdoors brings the exquisite flavor of the simple eloquence of colors, the sky above, the earth beneath, the stately trees, the sounds of air moving, the whispers of moving animals in the distance, the breath of changing temperatures.

It’s all so lovely, even in the rain; a little messy, but that’s to be expected when you backpack or camp. If you can make it three days without a shower, then grunge becomes acceptable, and
the feeling of being clean becomes so enjoyable in a whole new way.

The Edgewater campground in Washington State is boutique. One double site is linked together in the woods with a cleared area hidden in the woods, with picnic table and camp fire ring between the parallel parking places which are sheltered by the forest. See, there you have unique. And, inexpensive.

The federal campground is across a bridge from the little town of Ione. Hanging on a bluff over the river are the twenty some campsites. The wide river flows by. We liked the sound of the streaming creek nearby rushing below our site. It was boutique camping, meaning that the campground serves a specialized clientele. Others like Alice and Judy would choose hookups and citified amenities. Their choice.

If you want to change your prospective on life, and savor how good it is to be alive, give boutique camping a try.

I’d post a photo but I have to learn how.