The Dog and Its Dead Owner

This is a cut&paste of a review which should appear soon on Amazon Kindle.

The Dog And Its Dead Owner    Tanya G. Guleria

Fables re-written into stanza rhyme, 21 of them.

three stars

This is an unusual work and is aimed at an unusual audience. If you are in that audience, your appreciation may be greater than mine. So as always, do not let my star count override your judgement of content. More on the stars, counting, and my rating challenges later.

You will read poems, in rhyming quatrains, containing old stories.

The opening fable, The Lion and the Mouse, is nicely retold. Again in The Fox and the Grapes, with a slightly new moral at the end.

I do not claim to have recognized all of the stories. For example, A Story of Friendship – which has a nice moral.

Spoiler alert: The Tree and the Rock has this ending: “If love is real, /Not just fascination, /It’s not a deal /It is a donation.”

I’m quite sure the version here of The Princess and the Frog is not the one I remember. Again, Guleria has provided an unexpected conclusion.

The book says it is fables for adults. I think it is a nice way to introduce a child to a fable, perhaps reading one at bedtime. Your approach to this work may be different from mine.

Back to my star count boilerplate. My personal guidelines, when doing an ‘official’ KBR review, are as follows: five stars means, roughly equal to best in genre. Rarely given. Four stars means, extremely good. Three stars means, definitely recommendable. I am a tough reviewer. I try hard to be consistent. On literary merit, three stars seems right and is a definite recommendation. If you’re interested in catching up on some fables, your personal rating may well be higher.

Kindle Book Review Team member.

(Note: this reviewer received a free copy of this book for an independent review. He is not associated with the author or Amazon.)

Crash Course

All of this is my opinion. Without prejudice.

There have been two recent and fatal air crashes of a specific model of plane.

Here is what I think is the problem.

The plane was made more efficient (no problem) and similar in cockpit controls to its predecessor (almost no problem.)

So a crew used to the older plane could fly the new one.

Except for one small difference.

When the plane thinks its airspeed is too slow, it dives to avoid a stall.

On the older plane, the pilot (or co-pilot) pulled back on the control and the plane obeyed.

In the newer plane, a switch has to be turned off. Pulling back does not work as the computer overrides the pilot-copilot.

Crash.

Here’s my point: if the planes are Really Similar, train the pilots about the differences.

I gleaned all of the above from open sources on the Internet. It could be true or not. If the airspeed indicator was malfunctioning, that could explain what happened.

Yes, I’m going to fly on one of these planes. No choice in Canada.

Separation? A History Lesson

London, Montreal, Barcelona. What do they have in common?

London England is in the midst of Brexit. Over 200 financial companies have moved over 900 Billion pounds of investment out of the country. And, deals that can be done through EU subsidiaries will probably go there.

Barcelona. In the middle of a region of some autonomy and trying to separate, the Spanish government made it easier for companies to move their headquarters out of the city. Four did so on the first day, and some 130 in the next month.

Montreal. Was once the banking hub of Canada. Now both Royal Bank and The Bank Of Montreal, have, in effect, their headquarters in Toronto.

Barcelona may not be so obvious, but its region was just significantly richer than Spain in average (GDP per person) before this mess.

What’s my point?

If you are benefiting from a strong financial sector and then threaten political upheaval, you will lose business. Generally that loss is permanent.

Now for the dumb questions.

  • Lenin’s Law: who thought they would benefit? Politics in Barcelona, Politics in Quebec, and Politics in Brexit.
  • Who cleaned up the mess? Nobody. Elizabeth May is getting no help. A saner politician would resign, but she is resigned to doing her best with a bag of dog doo-doo she was stuck with. The other messes have become the status quo already.

Have a nice day.

Fads we’ve found and lost

Phosphates in detergent. Years ago, no detergent ad would fail to mention, contains phosphates. Now they are never included as they induce pollution and eutrophication of waterways.

Salt intake limits. Not that long ago, one thousand milligrams (a gram) was considered dangerous. Now it’s OK to have 3000 milligrams – three full grams.

Speed. At one point, forty miles per hour was thought to be fatal, if a train could achieve that.

Pet food that contains no plant matter. This is a misconception. I could not keep Spring Peeper frogs (Hyla crucifer) because I did not know about gut-load. You feed the insects on this gumbo before feeding them to the frog. Many predators ingest a fair bit of plant matter when they consume their prey. Frogs eat bugs who eat leaves, among other things. So why is it so wonderful that there is no plant matter in Rover’s dog food? When a wolf eats a rabbit it gets the stomach too, right?

Thinking. The world is now informed from a Twitter account. Personal attacks are standard; denial and prevarication expected. What do you believe? Why?

Cardinal Pell

Do you remember this YouTube Video? Have a look.

Well, the story continues. Here’s a BBC News item to follow-up on.Pope Francis is finally making a difference.

I have some worse news.

Cardinal Pell went through two potential trials. The result of the first trial was kept secret so as not to influence the second trial. The first trial was for offences a long time ago. The second trial was for covering up abuse in Australia, particularly Ballarat.

The trials were separated. I am not sure why. The second trial was delayed and eventually cancelled.

So, Cardinal Pell will probably NOT have to answer for Minchin’s (and many others) claims that he covered up abuse.

I expect him to challenge this verdict (after a sensible delay) and probably get off.

Sigh.

Continue reading

Bleed Like Me: Azzurra Nox

This is a cut & paste of a review that will appear on Amazon and GoodReads.

Bleed Like Me    Azzurra Nox

Serious personal situations, not for children.

four stars

As always, do not let my star count override your judgement of content. More on the stars, counting, and my rating challenges later.

Star counts are the hardest parts of a review. Here we have 178 poems. I like quite a few of them. Are you patient enough to read through your copy and find the ones you like? If not, your star count will be lower than mine. If yes, you’ll be about even with me, of higher, on your overall star count rating.

There is sex. There is love, longing, frustration, betrayal. There are hints of drug use. The book is not pornographic but the situations can be quite adult. There are hints of suicidal tendencies.

For example, in Zura and Brian we find this: “Zura falls unto the cold desolate bed. /Brian lifts up her skirt. /Zura feels sad as he fucks her. /Brian doesn’t sense anything but lust.”

For an example of unrequited love, turn to The Letter. For an explicit poem, turn to Wet Dream.

For a fun diversion that is actually quite serious, turn to A Haiku for All the Boys I’ve Kissed. Here’s just one sample: “A cozy hotel /is where I dropped my dress, and /my best friend title.”

In a few pieces you won’t be quite sure of the genders (at least I wasn’t) and I think Nox switched viewpoints just to surprise me. This is strong and disturbing writing.

Now for my star count boilerplate. My personal guidelines, when doing an ‘official’ KBR review, are as follows: five stars means, roughly equal to best in genre. Rarely given. Four stars means, extremely good. Three stars means, definitely recommendable. I am a tough reviewer. I try hard to be consistent. I think four stars is right on. Your personal rating may be higher. Highly recommended.

Kindle Book Review Team member.

(Note: this reviewer received a free copy of this book for an independent review. He is not associated with the author or Amazon.)

Unpleasant facts about corporations – above the law, at a price?

SNC Lavalin wanted a DPA – Deferred Prosecution Agreement. Our Prime Minister put ‘no pressure’ on our Attorney General to permit this.’Make your own decision.’

Until he demoted her from being Attorney General. She was an early indigenous example of a cabinet post. She later resigned from her lower cabinet post, apparently in protest.

DPAs are part of the UK legal landscape and they permit large corporations to pay fines – essentially to buy themselves out of legal action – while admitting no guilt. Since there is no guilt, no corporate executive goes to jail either.

DPAs are common in the USA. Corporations rarely admit guilt even when caught red-handed.

DPAs were created in Canada in 2018 by the Trudeau government. Yes, this rabbit hole was created just in time for SNC Lavalin.

The legislation was slid into an omnibus bill that was essentially financial. Some MPs were surprised, including budget ones. (See today’s Toronto Star for this one, I think David Olive.)

I used to like Justin Trudeau, but I think he blew the entire file on this one in three different directions.

SNC did, apparently, a lot of bribing in Libya. The math of this is simple: pay off a government or corporate decider to get the contract, and get the contract at a much higher price. Those paying don’t pay, either their corporations or their Government/taxpayers do;

So, you can be above the law – at a price.Right, Justin?

Matt Nagin: A Feast of Sapphires

This is a cut&paste of a review that will appear on Amazon and possibly GoodReads.

Feast of Sapphires    Matt Nagin

Personal experiences, social commentary, in seventy-eight poems.

four stars

As always, do not let my star count override your judgement of content. More on the stars, counting, and my rating challenges later. I am a tough reviewer, and only one person’s opinion can appear here. Let’s get to the good stuff, Nagin’s work.

For a fun intro to Nagin’s style, turn to Donut Shop. Many images of unwilling participation lead to the final joke at the end.

Nagin is comfortable with social commentary, as in Palace of Lies, which includes this: “How you like my credit card? /Platinum-tier damages— /Ferrari in the garage— /Penthouse on Madison?”

As always, Google anything of which you are not absolutely certain. I learned a few things this way. Back to the book.

Spoiler alert: here is the entire short poem Pregnancy: “I kiss the sunset /and such magic falcons /such dreams unanswered /kick the heavens furiously /like a baby /waiting to be born.”

For a truly scary experience, turn to Vegas Massacre, which begins thus: “He unloaded the bullets /like rain drops /the ominous pitter-patter of death…”   and that’s only the opening.

For a personal and pleasant experience, turn to Birds Singing in my Chest, which includes this: “I woke up /like a new man, /a soul reborn /with intensity; /birds singing in my chest, /squirrels….” That’s not a spoiler; there’s a lot more in the poem where that came from.

For a good laugh, and to see Nagin in prose, turn to Eyebrows, which begins thus: “This manicure place in my hood advertises 3D eyebrows on a day-glo sign and I always pass it in mute wonder—”

Again in prose, Nagin demonstrates his communicative power in Hit by a Car, where we find this: “skull to the cement, glass lodged in the guts of your arm, blood unleashed onto grim shoes—the destitution of spirit.”

I have other favourites here, but that should give you a decent feel for what is on offer in this book. Now for the star count boilerplate.

My personal guidelines, when doing an ‘official’ KBR review, are as follows: five stars means, roughly equal to best in genre. Rarely given. Four stars means, extremely good. Three stars means, definitely recommendable. I am a tough reviewer. I try hard to be consistent. Nagin’s work easily gets four stars from the curmudgeon. Highly recommended.

Kindle Book Review Team member.

(Note: this reviewer received a free copy of this book for an independent review. He is not associated with the author or Amazon.)

The EU should, imho, wake up

Brexit was, imho, a bad idea.

Brexit was, imho, manipulated via Facebook via a Canadian company via a free sports lottery.

Brexit is so f…d up I can’t see straight when I read the news. There is a Lot of fear-mongering.

– Brits will run out of food, medicines, et cetera.

Let’s have a serious look at that claim. The EU will suddenly be able to sell, elsewhere, the fresh food and stale medicines it normally sends to the UK?

Why aren’t those EU corporate interests weighing in on the current Brexit negotiations?

Has all of the EU decided this: it is necessary to punish the first exit-or severely as an example?

Remember, this is the EU that imposed crippling sanctions on countries (Greece, for example) so they borrow at absurd interest rates to pay loans they made at absurd interest rates. Germany should, imho, remember that Greece wrote off a lot of their debts after the war. Apparently gratitude is not something Angela Merkel experiences in her political life.

If Greece had its own currency, it could print that and pay its debts and merely experience inflation. Fewer imports, more exports. Internal prices could be stable.

A painful Brexit will signal many messages. Greece might wake up and decide to bail, as it has less to lose then the UK has already lost.

This is, imho, not theoretical. The EU should wake up and give May a decent deal.

Promises: in Ontario

Guaranteed income experiment: Cancelled by Doug Ford.

University campuses subsidy: Cancelled by Doug Ford.

Impoverished student subsidy: Cancelled by Doug Ford, replaced by a fee cut that benefits everyone, including the rich. The poor get to borrow more, and have less time after graduating to start paying interest. Shafted by Doug Ford.

Ontario Place refreshment: about to be manipulated by Doug Ford. He’ll probably insist on a large ferris wheel. Designed by Doug Ford.

Toronto Council: Shrunk by Doug Ford, just before an election. Result: some of his opponents didn’t make it. Manipulated by Doug Ford.

He promised good government. Is that what this looks like? Promised by Doug Ford.