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Thursday, March 27

Ads on Inferno

Dan Brown's Inferno is noted for product placement in a review. Examples are cited like nos. 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 12 and 13. I researched the rest.  Links to the photos, which are obviously not mine, are provided. Some of these you may recognize at first glance. See which ones.  The brands are provided below.  Let's have fun:
1. iPhone

2. Sweatpants (The Glamorous Housewife)

3. Book (

 4. Warren Buffet has a time-share in this company (Blogs WSJ)

5. Storage bag (Serenity Through Simplicity)

6. "Glasses for scientists" (Best Image Optical)

7. Ladies in Lavender were given choices of jackets for their guest (Le Chocolat)

8. Cruiser (Charterworld)

10. Wheels (Wiki Commons)

11. Speak softly love (Old Films on blu-ray)

12. His Holiness is on board (The Rat Zinger Forum)

13. You may have stayed here. (Stelle Firenze)

2. Juicy / 3. Paul Ehrlich's The population bomb / 4. NetJets / 5. Ziploc / 6. Plume Paris / 7. Harris Tweed / 8. Dubois SR52 Blackbird / 9. Brioni / 10. Fiat / 11. The Godfather / 12. Frecciargento /  13. Grand Hotel Baglioni

Thursday, March 20

So that's him!

"May you always have walls for the winds, a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire, laughter to cheer you, those you love near you and all your heart might desire." - IRISH BLESSING

For St Patrick's Day this week I have 13 male Irish writers from as far back as sources provide, their claim to fame, one of their works and a quote by each them. Funny how I thought Samuel Beckett was 18th century. See which ones you may recognize at first glance as the author of a novel, play or a quote familiar to you. In my case I recognized mainly the work first (except nos. 5 & 6) and had several so-that's-him moments. Here's hoping you have fun with the list as I enjoyed putting them together.

1. Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797) known for his aesthetic treatise "A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful

"Our patience will achieve more than our force."

2. Oliver Goldsmith (1730 - 1774) known for his play She Stoops to Conquer and novel The Vicar of Wakefield

"I love everything that's old - old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine."

3. John O'Keefe (1747 - 1833) known for Wild Oats

"A glass is good, and a lass is good, and a pipe to smoke in cold weather; The world is good, and the people are good, and we 're all good fellows together."

4. Jonathan Swift (1667 - 1745) best known for Gulliver's Travels

"A man should never be afraid to own that he has been in the wrong which is but saying that he is wiser today than yesterday."

5. Bram Stoker (1847 - 1912) best known for Dracula

"Despair has its own calms."

6. Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900) remembered for his epigrams, only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, play The Importance of Being Ernest

"When I was young, I thought that money was the most important thing in life.  Now that I am old, I know that it is."

7. George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950) awarded the 1925 Nobel Prize in Literature

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."

8. William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) awarded the 1923 Nobel Prize for Literature

"In dreams begins responsibility"

9. James Joyce (1882 - 1941) best known for Ulysees

"Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives. The English reading public explains the reason why."

10.  Clive Staples or C.S. Lewis (1898 - 1963) best known for The Chronicles of Narnia

"There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, 'Alright then have it your way.'"
11. Samuel Beckett (1906 - 1989) awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature (gave away all of the prize money)

"In the language of extinction, precision is next to godliness."

12. Frank McCourt (1930 - 2009) best known for Angela's Ashes and won a Pulitzer Prize for it
"The master says it’s a glorious thing to die for the Faith, and Dad says it’s a glorious thing to die for Ireland and I wonder if there’s anyone in the world who would like us to live.”

13. Seamus Henney (1939 - 2013) awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature
Fellow poet Paul Muldoon said, “He was the only poet I can think of who was recognized worldwide as having moral as well as literary authority.”

“I can't think of a case where poems changed the world, but what they do is they change people's understanding of what's going on in the world.”

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Tuesday, March 11

Inferno: two cents on reviews and comments

The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. ~ Dante Alighieri

Hello, it's Miss Scatterbrain 'talking back' to reviews and comments on Dan Brown's latest book Inferno. Telegraph crime fiction reviewer Jack Kerridge observes that 'Dan Brown's take on Dante's Inferno is the thriller-writer's most ambitious novel yet – and his worst.' Kerridge then presents a review which to me sounds fair enough.

1. Brilliant reviews offer something to learn or in my case propels me to recognize who exactly has the authority to call a worldwide pandemic and be aware of what impact that could have on the planet, eg. how it takes only one person's advice and recommendations for drug industries to either hemorrhage profits or revise operational tactics. 

2. WHO ate chicken everyday during the 2003 avian outbreak and told everyone not to panic? That's right. The top guy of the WHO who is a she. Yes, girl power!

3. Do you wonder if those who give bad reviews ever wrote anything themselves other than their own reviews?

4. I sometimes scan reviewers' background or review repertoire; particularly those who give interestingly mean reviews and say why.

5. If it's Stephen King, well, I still think some bushel is left for analysis on his view that Stephenie Meyer could not write.

6. V.S. Naipaul slams women writers, singling out the very Jane Austen. My Jane Austen! Just where did he get his guts? From being described as the "greatest living writer of English prose"? I don't care. At least Henry Wadsworth Longfellow sounds kind despite writing to Newman that "Miss Austen has no romance."

7. Inferno entertains beside pointing readers to places they may want to visit in Italy. To me that's where I get my money's worth. Plus, the bit on the World Health Organization was quite amusing when you think of how it is not "just fantasy, but impossible," in the real world. So asserts a Special to CNN.

8. As an English major, my ears jut out on an aleteia review which questions the use of the word "enormity." I have yet to read this part. The Oxford Dictionary defines enormity as 'monstrous wickedness' or 'dreadful crime.' So you don't use it to describe an edifice or a statue, eg. Michelangelo's David.

9. Did Brown possibly have 'enormous,' which means 'vast, immense, tremendous,' in mind when he penned "the staggering force of the cathedral's enormity'"?

10. Some comments are a riot: "Da Vinci Code was a masterpiece / Digital Fortress was appalling..."  I'm going to buy a hard-cover Da Vinci and forgive a niece who stole my Digital Fortress.

11. It pays to go over comments for chances that another book may be mentioned which could make another read: "Jonathon Holt's Abomination is a real find. Clever, cultured, exciting and beautifully written."

12. "I don't understand it. I write at least as badly as Brown, and yet my novel isn't selling! How did he find an agent?" A cute joke perhaps.

13. Here's a no-holds-barred piece of someone's mind - "I think that it is very important to take the piss out of the not even semi-literate, nonsense disseminated by the incompetent Dan Brown, Tom Clancy and all who sail in them. It is not a matter of envy..."  Is it not? Don't we sound like specimens headed for the psychology lab?

Did you like Inferno? Have you read it or would you consider reading it? I will appreciate your thoughts.

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Monday, March 3

Boys will be boys

It was a weekend night. And so because it was I allowed the kiddo to choose who to sleep with: me or Grandma or a friend's kids who were spending the night with us. Obviously he's gone creative with the grocery carton as his head board, homework notebook as his pillow, skateboard as his bed, Grandma's scarf as his blanket and with Snoopy his sleeping buddy, he nearly gave me a heart attack.

The Grandma woke up to go to the bathroom and to check on him, as she always does. Well, thanks to her instincts. The entire house was in muffled commotion at midnight before we all breathed back normally at finding this handful under the dining table.  Morning found him on my bed, and me - semi-conscious on a nearby swivel chair.

When you're a mom of a handful, you never get bored. If you are like me or know someone in similar shoes, here's a list of books I thought would help keep things sane.


How to be a happy mum: children behaving badly
Siobhan Freeguard
Netmums guide to stress-free family life

"Do you ever look at your children and wonder where you are going wrong? Do you sometimes feel if you're doing this parenting thing all wrong, and that just when you think you've got it all under control they press those buttons and it all comes tumbling down around you?" Netmum

Young gentleman's handbook(x): boys behaving badly
Jeremy Daldry
A book I may read for when Mr. Handful is a teenager.

"At the heart of this book is a simple, humane message: youth can be blissful and it can be nightmarish...." Books for Keeps
Also known as Harper
Ann Haywood Leal
A book to help explain the economy

"...Jacki is able to maintain her sense of humor though she is forced to learn some harsh realities about the economy when the recession begins to affect her own family and lifestyle." Scholastic


Hour of the Olmpics
Mary Pope Osborne
A kid's book about the Olympics

"Their magic tree house takes Jack and Annie back to retrieve a lost story in ancient Greece, where they witness the original Olympic games and are surprised to find what girls of the time were not allowed to do. Scholastic 

Big dog...little dog
P.D. Eastman
A book about friendship

"This delightful book chronicles a day in the life of Ted and Fred-two dogs who are different in every way, but also the best of friends." Scholastic

Tuck Everlasting
Natalie Babbitt
A book with a female lead which is also perfect for boys

"History passes the Tuck family by... but though they live outside the rules of time, they never live beyond the rules of human compassion and feeling. Scholastica

Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good very bad day
Judith Viorst
A book for dealing with tough issues

 "a kid with an unruly crop of hair, who gets out of bed to face a day that seems to grow increasingly worse with each passing minute" Scholastic
Gus and grandpa at basketball
Claudia Mills
A book celebrating grandparents

A great intergenerational team.... They're lucky to have each other. Readers are lucky to have them." Scholastic

The giving tree
Shel Silverstein
A book about gratitude

 "Once there was a tree...and she loved a little boy." Scholastic

The view from Saturday
E.L. Konisburg
A book for building confidence to face academic and social challenges

"Four students... develop a special bond and attract the attention of their teacher, who chooses them to represent their sixth-grade class in the Academic Bowl competition." Scholastic

When is a planet... not a planet?
Elaine Scott
A book for learning about life in space and reading about fun space adventures

"Because of the history-making reassignment of Pluto from "planet" to "dwarf planet" on August 24, 2006, all books on the solar system are now out of date." Scholastic

Weather whys
Mike Artell
A nonfiction book that will help expand your child's knowledge of the weather

"Why can't we see through fog? Why do I see lightning before I hear thunder? Why do some places have hurricanes?" Scholastic

If I ran for president
Catherine Steir
A book to help a child explore the drama of campaigning, voting, and competition

"The entertaining yet informative text is a good conversation starter for discussions on the election process." Scholastic

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