Friday, October 20, 2017

Closed Captioned BDSM Content Available from Wasteland.com

(Note: Press Release)

Seminal site to expand inclusivity by meeting hearing impaired member needs

October 16, 2017 (Cyberspace) -- Wasteland.com is pleased to announce closed captioning for the hearing impaired on their BDSM content. The seminal site recently made two captioned titles available -- “The Interrogation of Delirious Hunter” and “Vyxen Steel - BDSM Test Pilot” -- and is working steadily to increase the number of captioned titles available in its library.  



Wasteland founder and CEO Colin Rowntree explained, “So much of what makes a BDSM scene erotic and intense is the dialogue between performers. We want all our Wasteland.com members to be able to enjoy the full experience of our content, so making captioning available only makes sense.”

 
“The Interrogation of Delirious Hunter” and “Vyxen Steel -- BDSM Test Pilot” are two of Wasteland’s most popular and dialogue-intensive recent releases, which prompted Rowntree to make these among the first captioned titles available.

 
In “The Interrogation of Delirious Hunter,” Master Joseph has caught Delirious Hunter snooping around his estate, obviously up to no good. He takes her to his interrogation room and proceeds to question her with a series of psychological games, intense impact, and sensation play culminating in orgasm denial. “Vyxen Steel - Test Pilot” takes place inside a secret subterranean experimentation facility located just outside London. Thanks to a beautiful volunteer from France (Vyxen Steel), Q and his men will be testing some new and interesting equipment guaranteed to make their subject show if she is qualified to be an agent.

 
“The manual workflow to add captioning to plot-heavy titles like ‘The Interrogation’ and “BDSM Test Pilot’ is pretty intense,” Rowntree added. “We feel very strongly about making our films accessible though, so it’s worth the effort!”  

 
Wasteland is also in the process of adding audio versions of all their fiction and how-to articles, specifically for the vision impaired.

 
Cutting-edge since the 1990s, Wasteland is committed first and foremost to member experiences via safe, sane, ethical, and authentic BDSM content. Closed captioning content to better meet members’ needs is a natural extension of this wider commitment.

 
About Wasteland.com

Founded and launched in 1994, Wasteland.com is the Internet's oldest and most esteemed BDSM, Fetish and alternative sexuality site. Priding itself on the quality of its authentic bdsm movies, Wasteland has produced over 1400 original bdsm films featuring lifestyle kinky folks performing a vast array of bondage, fetish, and sex acts that appeal to bondage aficionados around the world.

 
Image: Delirious Hunter and Joseph D. Copyright 2017 Wasteland.com

Thursday, October 19, 2017

J.K. Rowling's 'Very Good Lives'

Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of ImaginationVery Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This should be required reading for everyone. J.K. Rowling doesn't just donate a portion of her wealth to Amnesty International -- she used to work for Amnesty International, taking testimonies of African victims of torture. She's seen the absolute worst humanity can do, so when she writes about evil, she knows of which she speaks.

This deeply wise woman addressed her remarks to Harvard's graduating class of 2008, but her words apply to every human life on this planet.

The illustrations are also delightful. I read this as a library e-book on my phone, but some day I'll purchase the hardcover book so I can enjoy the illustrations properly.



View all my reviews on Goodreads

Monday, October 9, 2017

What Would These Harry Potter Characters Do in Real Life?

What might our favorite Harry Potter characters do for a living if they lived in the Muggle world? Based on their magical careers and personalities, these occupations might suit these Harry Potter main characters in the real world.

Please note that some of the character information used in this post is derived from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. If you haven’t read that book or seen the play yet, be aware that you may be reading spoilers.

Harry Potter


We know that in the magical world, Harry James Potter became an Auror, a magical law enforcement officer. He rose through the ranks and by the time he was forty he became head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.

In real life, Harry would be a police officer or a detective. He would most likely be a detective, responsible for gathering evidence and assembling the facts of criminal cases in preparation to go to trial with them.

Harry might be a criminal investigator for a territorial police force, or he might work for one of the United Kingdom’s national investigation agencies such as the National Crime Agency, the Ministry of Defence Police, the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, or the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. His experience with Voldemort’s terrorism would make him a good candidate for the National Counter Terrorism Security Office.

Author: Bagui

Ron Weasley


Ronald Bilius Weasley worked with Harry as an auror for a time, but his law enforcement career didn’t last long. He left the Ministry of Magic to work with his older brother George at George’s retail store, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, the joke shop located at Number 93 Diagon Alley.

As the manager of a store selling props for magic tricks, novelties, candy, and fireworks, Ron would be classified in the real world as a "first-line supervisor of retail sales workers" (in the language of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). If he lived in the U.S., he might run a seasonal pop-up store that sold Halloween costumes and decorations. Given his wife’s more high-paying career, it’s also likely Ron would take some time off from retail sales to be a stay-at-home dad to his daughter Rose and son Hugo.

Hermione Granger

Hermione Jean Granger, despite being the daughter of two dentists, grew up to work her way through the Ministry of Magic and rise to the rank of Minister for Magic.

In the real world, Hermione Granger would work her way up from local politics to be elected to the House of Commons. After years of dedicated service to the people, her party, and the Crown, Hermione would be appointed Prime Minister. We’d refer to her as The Right Honourable Hermione Granger (or, internationally, Her Excellency).

Ginny Weasley


Ginevra Molly “Ginny” Weasley is a former professional athlete, sports reporter, and sports editor for the wizarding newspaper The Daily Prophet. Her sport is Quidditch; she played chaser for the Holyhead Harpies.

In the real world, Ginny’s sport might be football (soccer to U.S. sports fans). While real Quidditch teams do exist (minus the magic, of course), women in England have been playing football for over 100 years.

Ginny would likely be a midfielder in the Football Association Women’s Premier League. With her football experience and, perhaps, a degree in communications, her career path of player to reporter to editor makes as much sense in the real world as it does in the magical one.

Neville Longbottom


Neville Longbottom, like Harry and Ron, started out as an Auror. Then he switched career paths and went on to teach Herbology at Hogwarts.

Since Herbology is not a subject taught at postsecondary institutions in the U.K., real-world Neville might be a professor of biology specializing in plant science. His students might be working toward degrees such as Plant and Soil Science or Molecular Biology (or Cellular Biology) with a concentration in Plant Science.

Luna Lovegood


Notoriously eccentric, Luna Lovegood became a magizoologist, specializing in the study and care of magical creatures. This career choice was, no doubt, influenced by her marriage to Rolf Scamander, the grandson of Newton “Newt” Scamander, the author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

In the real world, Luna Lovegood might be an eccentric blogger, perhaps specializing in the field of cryptozoology. As a Ravenclaw, she would naturally be drawn to seek out knowledge and the field of writing. Writing about cryptids such as the Loch Ness Monster would allow her to express her creativity and exercise her curiosity. Her careful attention to SEO (seach engine optimization) would help her find a wider audience and display her Ravenclaw erudition.

Since Neville would work in a hard science field related to biology, he and Luna would have a lot of interesting discussions. He would probably try to explain to her why cryptozoology is classified as a pseudoscience. She would probably remind him of the Dingiso and other cryptids that turned out to be real and encourage him to keep an open mind.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Giorgio de Chirico Artist Biography

(Note: This is a piece I wrote for a freelance client that didn't end up getting used.) 

Born July 10, 1888 in Volos, Greece - Died November 20, 1978 in Rome, Italy


Giorgio de Chirico is an Italian painter whose metaphysical painting style was greatly influential to the Surrealism movement. His pre-World War I work differs greatly in style and philosophy from his post-World War I work. Salvador Dalí, Rene Magritte, and other Surrealist painters cited de Chirico as influential on their work.

Public domain image by Carl Van Vechten, 1936

Artistic Activity


Giorgio de Chirico was born in Greece to two Italian parents. He first studied art in Florence, then moved to Germany. In Munich, he studied under the German artist Max Klinger and read the works of German philosophers.

Prior to the First World War, de Chirico is credited with creating the Scuola metafisica movement along with Carlo Carrà. These “metaphysical” paintings are characterized by images of cluttered, darkened interiors and mannequin-like human figures as well as a “haunted” or introspective mood.

In 1919, de Chirico published an article promoting a return to craftsmanship, or traditional painting methods. After its publication, his works exhibited a neoclassical style, influenced by Raphael and other past masters.

During the 1920s, Surrealist painter André Breton discovered de Chirico’s work. While critical of de Chirico’s traditionalist work, the Surrealist movement found de Chirico’s metaphysical paintings highly influential. De Chirico was highly critical of modern art.

After 1939, de Chirico painted in a neo-Baroque style. He remained a prolific painter until his death at age 90.

Giorgio de Chirico’s Most Important Works


• “The Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon” (1910) is the first painting in de Chirico’s metaphysical painting series.
• “The Child’s Brain” (1914) is the painting that won de Chirico the attention of André Breton.
• “The Disquieting Muses” (1916) is exemplary of a recurring theme in de Chirico’s work (the Muses of Classical mythology) and inspired a Sylvia Plath poem of the same name.
• “Self Portrait” (1924) exemplifies de Chirico’s work of the 1920s, with its return to traditionalist techniques and Renaissance inspiration.

Related Artists


Georgios Roilos
Georgios Jakobides
Max Klinger
Carlo Carrà
André Breton
Salvador Dalí

Terms Associated with Artist


Neo-Baroque
Neoclassical
Scuola metafisica
Surrealism

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

My Favorite Songs From the 'Ready Player One' Book Soundtrack

You can find the playlist on Spotify. 


I've finished listening to the audio book of Ready Player One, but I haven't gotten Ernest Cline's follow-up novel, Armada, out of the library yet. So, to tide me over, I've been listening to the Spotify playlist of all the songs mentioned in the book.

These are my personal favorites. As you may recall from this post, I was born in 1977 (as were Orlando Bloom, Ludacris, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and other ridiculously hot hotties). I grew up in the 1980s and will always have a special place in my heart for '80s music.

Among my favorites has always been Duran Duran. My all-time favorite DD song that I never seem to get tired of is "Hungry Like the Wolf." I even used it in the book trailer for "Oliver's Good Night Kiss."

Two Duran Duran songs show up in RP1. Both have incredibly weird videos. Here is one of them, "Wild Boys."


I own many Duran Duran albums on CD. One song that I like without knowing much of anything about the group that produced it is "Blue Monday" by New Order. I know they were British; that's about it.



"Blue Monday" is one I don't actually remember from the '80s, but discovered during the '90s. Pat Benatar, on the other hand, I have always been well aware of. The book Dead Is a Battlefield kept reminding me of her. Her song mentioned in RP1 is "Invincible."


Lastly from the Spotify list, I enjoy the Cline mention "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel and Youssou N’Dour. I know it reminds a lot of people of a scene in the John Hughes movie Say Anything, but honestly, I've never been very interested in John Hughes. It's just a beautiful song.


The playlist has other artists I like, but not my preferred songs from them. I like Cyndi Lauper, but not necessarily for "Time After Time." I'll listen to some Blondie songs if they're on the radio, but I don't know "Atomic." When I was a kid I thought Billy Idol was pretty cool, but I wouldn't necessarily enjoy listening to "Rebel Yell" now. The fictional James Halliday's playlist is a bit testosterone-heavy for my rather feminine tastes. 

If I were to make a playlist inspired by RP1, I would add "Rock Me Amadeus" by Falco. The song isn't mentioned by name in the book, but Falco is. Parzival's asteroid home base in the Oasis is named after him.


Parzival/Wade, having studied The Simpsons, would be aware of the "Dr. Zaius"/Planet of the Apes parody of the song.


"Amadeus" is mostly in German -- Falco was Austrian -- but I don't care and never have cared. I have loved this song since it was a brand-new hit in 1986 when I was nine. And that was probably before my music teacher made us watch the Milos Forman movie that inspired it, Amadeus, in school.

I guess I've always been a sucker for 18th-century period costume, even before I discovered Jane Austen. (Which was 1996 when I saw Gwyneth Paltrow in Emma.)

What are your favorite tracks from the book soundtrack?

Saturday, September 2, 2017

'Ready Player One' as Read by Wil Wheaton - SPOILERS

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My cousin's husband told me several years ago that I should listen to the audio book version of this, read by Wil Wheaton.


I finally got to it since the movie is coming out and, well, because I was walking down the audio book aisle at my local public library and my gaze happened to fall upon it. I'm glad I took the time to listen to Wil Wheaton's performance, which has the perfect amount of deadpan snark, like a Charles Dickens novel.

Having grown up in the '80s, I'm familiar with many of the pop culture references, although not all of them. I never played Dungeons and Dragons, for example - much of my knowledge of D+D comes secondhand through Futurama. But like any American person who didn't live in a cave in the '80s, I watched Devo videos on MTV, played Pac-Man (at the arcade and on my dad's Atari console, which I can still recall him bringing home from Target), and ate my fair share of Cap'n Crunch cereal.

(I'm not sure I ever ate the Pac-Man cereal, but I know I ate many of those Pac-Man ghost ice pops with the gumball eyes that the ice cream truck used to peddle AND many a can of Pac-Man chicken-flavored pasta. That has to count for something.)

The point being, I connected with many of the pop culture references, but I did not feel that they got in the way of the storytelling. Wade/Parizal was a character I cared about. I wanted him to succeed and achieve his goal. I wanted his feelings for Art3mis to be returned.

XXX SPOILER AHEAD XXX

I wanted Daito to be alive, but alas, we can't have everything we want.

Despite a few tears shed, I genuinely enjoyed listening to the audio book performance of this novel.



View all my reviews on Goodreads

Thursday, August 31, 2017

'I Almost Forgot About You' by Terry McMillan

I Almost Forgot About YouI Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the Publisher's Website: The #1 New York Times bestselling author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Waiting To Exhale is back with the inspiring story of a woman who shakes things up in her life to find greater meaning

In I Almost Forgot About You, Dr. Georgia Young’s wonderful life–great friends, family, and successful career–aren’t enough to keep her from feeling stuck and restless. When she decides to make some major changes in her life, including quitting her job as an optometrist and moving house, she finds herself on a wild journey that may or may not include a second chance at love. Georgia’s bravery reminds us that it’s never too late to become the person you want to be, and that taking chances, with your life and your heart, are always worthwhile.

Big-hearted, genuine, and universal, I Almost Forgot About You shows what can happen when you face your fears, take a chance, and open yourself up to life, love, and the possibility of a new direction. It’s everything you’ve always loved about Terry McMillan.

— Library Journal – Best Books of the Year, African American Fiction


My Review: This is the first book I've ever read by Terry McMillan and now that I know how spectacularly talented she is, I'm a little sad about that. She's a writer with the magical gift of making me believe that she's writing about people, not characters. This isn't a straightforward romance novel but it is written in a really clever way that makes it more realistic but just as much fun. Of all the characters, I felt that Wanda was the most like me, but it was impossible not to love the protagonist, Georgia. And when Georgia fell in love, I fell in love with her beau, too.

McMillan's main characters are African-American women, but if you're not African-American and/or not female, please don't let that stop you from reading this wonderful writer. Honestly, she could be writing about fictional Japanese businessmen and she'd make them seem real and fascinating.

I received a copy of this book from BloggingForBooks.com in exchange for this review.


View all my reviews on Goodreads

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

'A Discovery of Witches' Is Coming to TV (and Other Reasons I'm Happy Today)

One of my favorite books in the history of time, A Discovery of Witches, is becoming a TV series, as reported by Entertainment Weekly


Matthew Goode, who appeared in The Imitation Game* with Benedict Cumberbatch, will play my fictional boyfriend, vampire-scientist Matthew Clairmont. 

Badass witch heroine and mother of dragon (technically, firedrake) Diana Bishop is to be played by Teresa Palmer, the Australian actress I thought was very good in Warm Bodies

Quite nice. Another favorite getting a TV adaptation is Robert Galbraith's (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling's) The Cuckoo's Calling


It looks like Cormoran Strike - another of my fictional boyfriends, although I truly want him and Robin to get together - got a bit of an adaptational attractiveness upgrade, but no matter. Holliday Grainger looks like she'll be an absolutely perfect Robin Ellacot. 

Elarica Johnson, who made a brief but notable appearance in the film version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, is playing Lula Landry. I still like to imagine that Lula is dating Fred Weasley in the afterlife. 

Grainger is also set to play the lover of Anna Paquin's character in Tell It to the Bees, a novel written by Fiona Shaw. Shaw did a stint on True Blood with Paquin, playing the lead witch of a coven, but is perhaps more famous for playing Harry Potter's witchcraft-phobic Aunt Petunia. 

"Telling the bees" is an ancient folkloric custom. 

Also adapted for TV was Charlaine Harris's Midnight, Texas series. I'm missing it because I don't have cable, but my parents are watching it. Maybe some day they'll put it on Netflix. 


*Which I never finished watching because sad LGBT+ history makes me sad. 

Recently Watched: Much Ado About Nothing at Notre Dame on Sunday, then my second viewing of Twelfth Night, with my niece this time, also at Notre Dame but on Monday. 

Currently Listening To: Wil Wheaton reading the audio book of Ready Player One.
 
Currently Reading

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood #BookReview

The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an amazing book, hard to read but hard to put down. The narrator, Offred (her real name may be June, as semi-confirmed by the author), could be almost any woman in American society, and with the flaming crap show of a presidency we have going on right now and the unholy alliance between the ultra-corporatist Republicans and the gullible, ultra-religious conservative Republicans, the United States turning into Gilead seems more realistic than at any other time in my life.

Edgar Allan Poe's Raven was correct: Nevermore will there be a balm in Gilead. The Christian theocracy is murderous and reduces women to their bodies in a horrifying but realistic way. In the introduction, Atwood explains that everything that happens in the book has been done by a human society in the past - they've just never been synthesized like this.

Although Offred is the most relatable and likeable of protagonists, trapped in a situation in which she is only minimally complicit, and that by necessity, the best part of the book may be the "historical notes" at the end. In the coda, a team of academics who seem to be mainly Canadian First Nations folks in Nunavit are looking back on Gileadean society and analyzing how this division of Caucasian/Western civilization went so badly. (Hint: religious fundamentalism, racism, abuse of power, environmental abuse. Sound like anyone we know?)

I am a white people (as is the author), but I still like the idea that in the future, South Asians and First Nations people will have put white people in our place and will be studying us like we're extinct in the way that white Americans condescendingly refer to indigenous Americans in the present. Turnabout is fair play, as they say.

What happens to Offred is left deliberately ambiguous, but I'm an optimist and I would like to think that she made it to England and successfully gave birth to a healthy child, thanks to Nick helping her get to the Underground Femaleroad. I'd like to think that Nick and Luke are alive, too.

But I think Moira may actually be my favorite character. I haven't watched the TV show yet but I hope Moira is the character Ms. Samira Wiley (formerly of Orange is the New Black) is portraying. (But for some reason I keep picturing her looking like Ilana Glazer.) I respect Moira's defiance and refusal to accept her non-personhood.

Keep reading. Keep resisting. Keep playing Scrabble and knowing the meaning of obscure and difficult words. Knowledge is power. If you understood the messages of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World, read this book and remember it.

I borrowed this book from a family member and was not obligated in any way to review it.



View all my reviews on Goodreads

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Nonfiction: 'Waiting for the Punch' by Marc Maron

Waiting for the Punch: Words to Live by from the WTF PodcastWaiting for the Punch: Words to Live by from the WTF Podcast by Marc Maron

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d never heard Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, but I read parts of this book because I was interested in a lot of the people he interviewed on his show about universal topics like relationships, mental health, and sexuality.

I skipped some of the interview subjects whose names I didn’t know or whom I didn’t think were quite as interesting, but the ones I read had a lot of good, insightful things to say. Some of the interviewees whose wisdom I gleaned from this book included:

Ali Wong
Anna Kendrick
Barack Obama
Carl Reiner
Carrie Brownstein
Chelsea Peretti
Dan Savage
Dave Foley
Elizabeth Banks
Judy Greer
Kevin Hart
Leslie Jones
Margaret Cho
Mel Brooks
Melissa Etheridge
Michael Keaton (talking about Tim Burton, Batman, and Beetlejuice)
Natasha Lyonne
Penn Jillette
Robin Williams
RuPaul Charles
Sarah Silverman
Sir Ian McKellen
Sir Patrick Stewart
Wanda Sykes

Some of these folks are real gems of human beings. They have a lot of worthwhile things to say. Some of these things are very funny, some are poignant, some are both. All of these people are smart people capable of articulating a coherent thought, which is shockingly refreshing in this era of idiocracy.

P.S. Congratulations, Chelsea Peretti, on the healthy birth of your son Beaumont Peele.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

'Hag-Seed' by Margaret Atwood

Hag-SeedHag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is the first Margaret Atwood book I've ever read; I know she's enjoying a bit of a resurgence in popularity because her novel The Handmaid's Tale was made into a miniseries. I need to get around to reading that soon, too.

But in the meantime, it happens that I read Shakespeare's The Tempest last summer in anticipation of seeing the play performed at the University of Notre Dame. I was thus familiar enough with the play to make reading this a worthwhile experience. (I'm a big Shakespeare nerd anyway, and I love retellings.)

The novel itself is briskly paced and humorous with a lovable protagonist. Felix has suffered the tragic early death of his own little Miranda, but he imagines her so clearly she appears as a spirit-like character, a combination Miranda/Ariel in his own personal tempest.

Much of the novel is set in a prison. In her acknowledgments, Atwood mentions Orange Is the New Black as part of the long tradition of prison literature. I've been watching the series based on Piper Kerman's book (I just finished Season 5), and I appreciate how the Kerman, the book, and subsequently the series have brought attention to the abuse of prison inmates and the good work it's done in helping to humanize non-violent convicted persons. With that background, it's easy to get inside the heads of the prison characters in the novel. Some of the products of their imaginations are very rough around the edges, but Atwood is careful to root the grittiness in their experiences.

Atwood includes a summary of The Tempest in the book, so even if you haven't seen the play staged you can brush up before diving into the novel. But all the allusions - including the chapter headings - will make more sense if you've at least seen a movie version. (The acknowledgments also mention Julie Taymor's movie, which I highly recommend seeing. I still consider Russell Brand the ultimate Trinculo.)

I received this book from BloggingForBooks.com in exchange for a fair and honest review.



View all my reviews on Goodreads

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

5 Corporate Scandals

Oops! I accidentally got carried away while working on a freelance writing project and wrote way over my projected word count about corporate scandals. So please, enjoy this short list of awful things done in the name of capitalism.

If you are horrified and fascinated by these events, perhaps you would like to browse this blog's history tag.

1. Ford Pinto (1978). Ford made its Pinto models between 1971 and 1980. In 1971, Ford recalled 20,000 of its Pintos because of reports of vapors from the fuel tank leaking into the back of the car through the carburetor. In two legal cases, Ford was accused of producing a car it knew was unsafe, particularly in low-speed rear-end collisions. Three deaths and four incidents of serious injury were reported 1971-1974.

https://www.amazon.com/Was-Ford-Pinto-Death-Trap-ebook/dp/B017OFMRQI/
In 1978, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration ruled that the design of Ford’s fuel tank was defective. In 1980 the state of Indiana charged the Ford corporation with murder after three teenage girls were killed in one accident involving a Pinto, but the company was found not guilty.

2. Union Carbide (1984). The chemical manufacturer’s pesticide plant in Bhopal, India was so poorly maintained it caused the largest industrial disaster in history. The accidental release of methyl isocyanate caused the immediate suffocation deaths of more than 2,000 people, injuries in more than 50,000 people, and an additional gas-related death toll of perhaps another 8,000 people. Although the Indian government charged Union Carbide executives with homicide, the company claimed it was not under Indian jurisdiction and these officials did not appear in court to face these charges.

https://www.amazon.com/Five-Past-Midnight-Bhopal-Industrial/dp/0446530883/
3. Lincoln Savings and Loan (1989). The Lincoln S&L had been a respected financial institution since it was opened in Los Angeles in 1925. Its management ran the institution conservatively and made a modest profit.

When Charles Keating purchased Lincoln S&L in February 1984, Keating increased the company’s profits five-fold by taking on riskier and riskier investments. As a result, the parent company was forced to declare bankruptcy and 21,000 investors, many of them elderly, lost their savings.

4. Firestone Natural Rubber Company (1990). Firestone Tire and Rubber Company opened this natural rubber plantation in Liberia in 1926. Leased from the Liberian government, the plantation was the largest of its kind in the world. Human rights groups have documented numerous worker complaints about conditions in the plantation, ranging from accusations of child labor violations to modern-day slavery.

Civil war broke out in Liberia in 1990, and a resistance group took over the Firestone plantation. Although all the details of the what happened on the plantation at that time are unclear, what is known is that warlord Charles Taylor made Firestone Natural Rubber Company his base of operations and that Taylor was convicted in international criminal court for war crimes.

5. Halliburton (2010). Founded in 1919, the Halliburton Company is among the world’s largest oil field service companies. It has been involved in numerous scandals over the years, from accusations of illegal trading with the enemy when a subsidiary opened an office in Tehran to charges of obstructing an investigation by deleting data related to the Deep Water Horizon oil rig explosion of 2010. Halliburton was found to be jointly responsible, along with BP and another oil company, of negligent practices that caused the deaths of 11 employees and the discharge of 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

'Geekerella' by Ashley Poston Book Review

GeekerellaGeekerella by Ashley Poston

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Geekerella' is a sweet, fun, charming retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale. Its heroine, Elle, bonded with her late father through the sci-fi television series 'Starfield.' Its prince is Darien Freeman, an actor on a soapish evening drama series recently cast as 'Starfield's Prince Carmindor in a movie reboot.

Elle is not initially happy with this casting decision. A nice twist is that part of the book is written from her point of view and part is written from Darien's. I don't think I've ever read a "Cinderella" version that gives us the prince's POV before.

Darien and Elle correspond via text without knowing who the other person is in real life. They fall in love through each other's words and their shared love of 'Starfield.' In a way, they become Carmindor and the fictional TV series' heroine, Princess Amara. There's a wicked stepmother and a lost shoe, but this retelling is contemporary and fresh enough to make it all seem new.

An important detail about this book is that it has a Cosplay Ball, and at that ball, a Dean Winchester and a Castiel are a dancing couple. (Okay, maybe that's only an important detail if you're a Destiel shipper.)

I'm more of a fanfiction writer than a cosplayer, so I didn't quite identify with Elle as much as I did with Cath Avery in Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl. Still, this is in 'Fangirl's wheelhouse, and fans of Rowell's geeky romance should enjoy this romantic geeky retelling.

I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and was not obligated in any way to review it.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Friday, May 12, 2017

'Democracy In Black' #Nonfiction #Politics

Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American SoulDemocracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is excellent at describing what the problem is, but a bit lacking in practical solutions on how to solve the problem. Professor Glaude isn't responsible for single-handedly solving the race problems in the U.S.A., of course, but I did think that at the beginning of the book he said that he would focus on what could be done other than more preaching to the choir.

The #1 problem, as summed up in this book, is that white Americans fundamentally need to change the way we view African-Americans before anything will truly change. Professor Glaude then goes on to describe how contemporary African-American politics, including the presidency of Former President Obama, exacerbate rather than deal with the problem. Namely, the Black Left is too worried about placating and catering to white ideas of what an African-American politician should be to be considered "acceptable."

The result is that the Democratic Party counts on the support of the African-American voting block without actually creating policies that do anything to make Black life in America any better. It's a huge frustration, quite disheartening, and a problem that grass-roots activism is going to have to work really, REALLY hard to make a dent in.

I received a paperback copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair, honest review.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Sunday, April 23, 2017

'When God Made You' #childrensbook by Matthew Paul Turner and David Catrow

When God Made YouWhen God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a beautifully written and beautifully illustrated picture book with words by Matthew Paul Turner and images by David Catrow. The star of the book is an unnamed little girl who appears to be about four years old. She's a girl of African descent with an adorable little face and beautiful natural hair in braids.

I knew I was going to love the illustrations when I opened the cover and saw the abstract, rainbow-hued "squiggle" artwork on the inside. On the first story page, a cat of perhaps Siamese persuasion is making a very cat-like face on one side of our heroine, and a fluffy little dog is looking very curiously at her story book on her other side. Her baby sister plays contentedly on the floor. It's a charming illustration in watercolors and a few lines of black ink.

The story introduces children to the concept of being created as a unique creation in God's image. It would be a nice lesson for a young children's Sunday school class, for a religious or home-school kindergarten or preschool class, or for a bedtime story. The illustrations get increasingly whimsical.

Overall, this book is an absolute joy.

I received a copy of this book from BloggingForBooks.com in exchange for writing this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Buy my copy on eBay



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

4 Great Travel Books for 2017



4. Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

Colin Dickey’s haunted travelogue Ghostland roams New York, New England, the Midwest, the South, the Southeast, the Rocky Mountains, and the Pacific Coast in search for ghost-ridden homes, businesses, cemeteries, asylums, and prisons. Whether or not you believe in life after death, Dickey explains, the folklore connected to certain geographical locations often tells us more about the anxieties of the living than it does about the concerns of the dead. I'm fascinated by Dickey’s analysis and by his conclusion that the public’s interest in ghost stories is keeping alive the important work of historical preservation.

3. Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton

Starting with the premise that with identical chains of store franchises in every village and hamlet across the land, America is no longer a place that holds any mystery, the authors of Atlas Obscura began by wondering what they could do to reclaim some of the world’s lost wonder, starting in their Manhattan backyards. They were amazed to find more weird, obscure, bizarre and - well, amazing places had been right under their noses. Around the world, the authors found wherever you go, something weird is going on just out of the public eye.

2. Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London by Lauren Elkin

Virginia Woolf called it “Street Haunting,” and the French poet Charles Baudelaire termed it flânerie: the art of inhabiting the crowd of a city street. In Flâneuse, Lauren Elkin writes specifically of what it means to inhabit the street crowd, a traditionally male-dominated public space, while inhabiting a female body. With keen and often cutting powers of observation that would have made Woolf proud, Elkin shares with us the kind of woman-on-the-street experiences men might miss.

1. The Joys of Travel: And Stories That Illuminate Them by Thomas Swick

Thomas Swick is a seasoned travel writer who’s seen more than 60 countries, and in The Joys of Travels he names the seven joys of travel by name. Like a modern-day Canterbury Tales, each joy has a corresponding tale full of humor and insight.

Monday, March 13, 2017

8 Great Quotes From Literature

[Guest Post] It is not uncommon for some phrase to be memorized out of the whole book of our favorites. It was so catchy, so memorable or simply was in the fullness of time. Users of a popular social network gathered together just some out of those, which are the most popular ones. Here are the eight quotes on the top of the list:

“That's the wonderful thing about man; he never gets so discouraged or disgusted that he gives up doing it all over again, because he knows very well it is important and WORTH the doing.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451


“No”, he said quickly. “Never. Stay friends? Try to grow a small rose garden on the ashes of broken feelings? No, this will never work for you and me. It happens only after small affairs and it looks fake. Love should not be spoiled by friendship. The end is the end.”
― Erich Maria Remarque, Arch of Triumph


“I don`t care what you think about me. I don`t think about you at all.”
― Henri Gidel, Coco Chanel


“I suppose it comes from the fact that none of us can stand other people having the same faults as ourselves...”
― Oscar Wilde, Picture of Dorian Grey


“I won`t think of it now. I will think of it tomorrow.”
― Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind


“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.”
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye


“I don`t ask you to love me always like this, but I ask you to remember.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender In The Night


“That is the most difficult thing of all. It is far more difficult to judge oneself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself correctly, then you are truly a man of wisdom.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince


About the Author: Melisa Marzett is a young lady who nevertheless has gone through many books, met lots of people, and can come up with an opinion on anything, really. Working for bigpaperwriter.com at this time, she is eager to write more and more. She has passion for writing and it would be delightful to her to get to know more. She is never tired of what she does and will gladly accept a challenge to write a guest post whatever the topic would be.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

EBook Discounts and Specials for #ReadAnEBookWeek 2017 - March 5-11

FREE for Read an Ebook Week 2017


Use code RAE75 to get The Erotica Anthology free through March 11, 2017 at Smashwords.


"Josephine Baker in Berlin" is also FREE through March 11th.

50% Off Through March 11



You Add the Rainbow Adult Coloring Book is only $1.37. Download and print your favorite coloring sheets as many times as you like! So easy and fun!


Cut is down to $1.50 with discount code RAE50.


Beltane, the first novel in the Pagan Spirits romance trilogy, is also down to just $1.50.


"Oliver's Good Night Kiss" is on sale for only $1.50 this week. 


75% Off


Eminent Domain is actually 75% off - down to just one dollar!


Sunday, March 5, 2017

In a Different Key: The Story of #Autism by John Donvan and Caren Zucker

In a Different Key: The Story of AutismIn a Different Key: The Story of Autism by John Donvan and Caren Zucker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoy good writing about science topics, and I'm especially interested in books that explore the scientific and social history of medical conditions. This book hit all the right notes with me. It explored the topic of autism from the first modern diagnosis onward, then went back and looked at what could be historical examples of individuals with undiagnosed autism.

Lest you think this book is nothing but dry scientific facts, however, please note that the authors have done an excellent job of humanizing the condition of autism. In the final analysis, this is the story of people, from young Donald Triplett (actually he's going to turn 84 this year, but when we meet him in the book, his mother is pregnant with him) to the famous Temple Grandin.


We meet parents of children with autism, the good, the bad, and the ugly. (And I do mean ugly - there's a case of a parent who murdered his autistic child in a misguided act of "mercy killing.")

This is a fascinating read, and more importantly, it's a reminder that autistic and "neurotypical" people alike can work together to improve education and quality of life for children and adults with autism.



View all my reviews on Goodreads

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

'Toys For Boys' by K.D. Grace - Release Blitz! @KD_Grace


Out Now! - Toys for Boys by K D Grace (@kd_grace)

When I wrote Toys for Boys, I had already been playing around with placing myself in the story as writer, as scribe. Because I’d walked the Wainwright Coast to Coast, and because I remembered those days when all I wanted at the end of the day was to be warm and dry and asleep in my bed, I already had common ground with Doc and Will and their trials. Writers are always voyeurs to some extent. Certainly we’re always people watchers. And quite often we feel like we’re doing little more than reporting our characters’ stories as they whisper them in our ear. When that happens, it’s always amazing, the unexpected directions a story can take. 

I wanted to bring that experience of the characters telling their story to the forefront of Toys for Boys and make it a literal part of the story – sort of share with the reader what we writers experience with our characters on a daily basis. I was very lucky because Will and Doc were more than happy to share. 



High tech meets low tech in a wilderness adventure that sizzles.

Toys for Boys Blurb:

Alpha nerd Will Charles teams up with Caridoc ‘Doc’ Jones in a coast to coast walk across England reviewing outdoor gift suggestions for the Christmas edition of Toys for Boys—an online magazine dedicated to the latest gadgets to tickle a man’s fancy. Will is recording their adventures with the latest smart phone technology. Doc is reviewing the latest outdoor gear. The two quickly discover the great outdoors provides even better toys for boys, toys best shared al fresco, toys that, in spite of Will’s great camera work, will never be reviewed in Toys for Boys.

Note: Toys for Boys has been previously published as part of the Brit Boys: With Toys boxed set.


Buy Toys for Boys Here:

Universal Amazon link: http://mybook.to/toysforboys
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2jPjrN2 
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2kmFbRg 

 Toys for Boys – Hard Going -- Excerpt:

After the traditional dipping of their boots in the Irish Sea and choosing a stone to toss into the North Sea at walk’s end—all of which Will fucking Charles insisted on videoing, all of which Doc would have skipped in favour of a quick start, they were finally on their way. Doc was more than pleasantly surprised at Will’s pace, long, sure strides in well-used walking boots convinced him that Will should take the lead. It didn’t take him long to doubt the wisdom of that choice. The mist had closed in enough to limit the view over the red cliffs out to sea, but the view of Will’s arse in the well-worn walking shorts only scant steps in front of Doc on a steep incline more than made up for it. 

For an instant Doc fought an overwhelming urge to reach out and grab a handful. His cock twitched, his foot slipped, and suddenly the groping fantasy became a reality as his outstretched hand landed on a tightly contracted buttock in his flailing efforts to balance himself. A glancing touch became more of a grope just as Will lost his footing and slid back against him. 

“Whoa, mate! You all right?” In a lightning-fast move, Will turned and grabbed Doc by the arm to keep him from going down. “Mud’s a bitch,” he said, then turned and walked on, leaving Doc breathless and on the verge of a stiffy, struggling not to contemplate the movement of muscle beneath thin shorts and the certainty that there was nothing beneath those but... well, muscle. Yup, no matter what the weather, this was going to be a very hard walk. 

In spite of the late start they’d set a good pace, but as the day wore on, the rain worsened and an icy breeze blew in from the north. When Doc suggested they not stop for lunch, but press on to Ennerdale Bridge, Will had offered a nod and a smile. Then he reached into his jacket, pulled out two energy bars, handed one to Doc, and they slogged on. Two energy bars and an eternity later, the weather had worsened to the point that standing up was becoming a problem, let alone walking, and still they pressed on. 

About K D Grace/Grace Marshall

Voted ETO Best Erotic Author of 2014, and a proud member of The Brit Babes, K D Grace believes Freud was right. In the end, it really IS all about sex, well sex and love. And nobody’s happier about that than she is, otherwise, what would she write about? 

When she’s not writing, K D is veg gardening. When she’s not gardening, she’s walking. She walks her stories, and she’s serious about it. She and her husband have walked Coast to Coast across England, along with several other long-distance routes. For her, inspiration is directly proportionate to how quickly she wears out a pair of walking boots. She loves mythology. She enjoys spending time in the gym – right now she’s having a mad affair with a pair of kettle bells. She loves to read, watch birds and do anything that gets her outdoors.

KD has erotica published with Totally Bound, SourceBooks, Xcite Books, Harper Collins Mischief Books, Mammoth, Cleis Press, Black Lace, Sweetmeats Press, and others.

K D’s critically acclaimed erotic romance novels include, The Initiation of Ms Holly, Fulfilling the Contract, To Rome with Lust, and The Pet Shop. Her paranormal erotic novel, Body Temperature and Rising, the first book of her Lakeland Witches trilogy, was listed as honorable mention on Violet Blue’s Top 12 Sex Books for 2011. Books two and three, Riding the Ether, and Elemental Fire, are now also available. 

K D Grace also writes hot romance as Grace Marshall. An Executive Decision, Identity Crisis, The Exhibition, Interviewing Wade are all available. 

Find K D Here:

Release blitz hosted by Writer Marketing Services.