Sunday, October 11, 2015

Dreaming of France -- Outside Our Hotel

Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

Today, can I take you to a hotel room in Paris?
The room was included as part of our airfare, so we weren't going to complain about the size.
But Earl can demonstrate how tiny it was.

He couldn't extend both arms across the width of the room.
The bathroom was well done, but also scrunched.

But you know why we didn't care?
Because of what was outside the window, on the rue Mouffetarde. We heard music outside our tiny hotel room.

The windows of our room opened to reveal real-life Paris buildings and people. 
And one evening, we even had a serenade. 

If you don't love Paris the way we do, you might not be charmed by the tiny room and the apartments that line the streets or even the musicians wheeling along their backup music. But if you went down and walked along Rue Mouffetarde, if you stopped in one of the chocolate shops, or the bakeries, or watched the couples dancing at the end of the street on Sunday afternoons, I'm pretty sure you'd love Paris too. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Gun Control Lessons From Miss Manners

I don't know if Miss Manners, an etiquette columnist, ever wrote about gun control, but the lessons she taught us can still be applied.
One letter to Miss Manners from a boat owner explained that he had invited several friends to come for a day of boating and fishing. One of the guests got terribly ill with seasickness. The friends continued to enjoy their day while the ill guest threw up and finally slept.
Miss Manners, also known as Judith Martin, explained:  "It is wrong to prolong one person's suffering for the sake of recreation...."
And that is the lesson I would like to apply to gun control.
Many hunters insist that their pleasure in shooting guns is more important than the massacre of thousands of people throughout the country each year. Not the world, our country, the United States.
When the founding fathers wrote the constitution, they included a right to bear arms, and people needed them to survive in many places on the frontier.
Today, most people who use guns use them for fun, because they enjoy shooting -- whether skeets or animals.
I know hunters will argue that they hunt for food. They fill their freezer with deer meat, but when most people add up the cost to buy firearms, ammunition, a hunting license, travel to the hunting grounds, perhaps camping supplies, the cost of a freezer to hold the meat, processing for the animals they shoot -- they could have purchased meat for the same price or less.
For most hunters, it's about the enjoyment of the experience. Does their enjoyment hunting trump the rights of all the people who have been killed with guns this year? Not according to Miss Manners who says, "It is wrong to prolong one person's suffering for the sake of recreation...."
Here's my son at age 8 at an FBI shooting range. The Tommy gun, which
is illegal for civilians to own, had not clip in it. 
I have a friend, Dan, who really enjoys shooting fast guns at a shooting range. It gives him a rush of adrenaline and buoys his mood. Sorry, Dan. "It is wrong to prolong one person's suffering for the sake of recreation...." Giving you the right to shoot, allows all the mass shooters to get their hands on guns and ammunition.

I'm not saying we  need to get rid of all guns.
Some people need guns for protection. I have never been in a situation where I felt a gun would help make me safer, but perhaps we could compromise on the kinds of guns people have for safety.
We could safely ban semiautomatic weapons for all civilians. I'm no gun expert, but the way I understand it, semiautomatic weapons self load and the shooter can release a bullet as quickly as his finger pulls back and lets go -- no need to stop and cock a shotgun or pull back the hammer on a pistol. This is what allows mass shooters to kill so many people so quickly. A semiautomatic comes in handgun and rifle form.
If in your life you need to own a semiautomatic weapon, sell the weapon and rethink your life choices.

Of course, there are other good ideas to restrict the free-flow -- the overflow -- of guns that are killing thousands of people.
Each gun should be registered and licensed like a car. And people should have insurance on their guns, so if it's stolen, they report it to the police. If it's used to kill people, the gun owners' insurance is going to spike up high. Maybe people would begin putting their guns in safes, places they can't easily be used against innocent students at elementary schools or colleges.

It's time in this country that we put the rights of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" for all the children, college students, moviegoers, and other innocents above the rights of those who have guns, simply because they enjoy shooting them.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Book Review -- The Trouble With Words.

It's hard to imagine that a romantic comedy can feature a young widow who has a date with her husband's grave every week, and a young man who has just found out his mother is dying, but somehow, Suzie Tullett pulls it off in The Trouble with Words, her most recent novel published by Safkhet Publishing.
The main character, Annabel, decides she wants to have a baby since she and her husband didn't get around to it before he was killed by a hit and run driver. So Annabel goes out on the town to find the perfect sperm donor, and she meets Ben. Ben agrees to deliver the goods just before he makes a promise to his mom that he will settle down before she dies, with  no idea that day might be coming sooner than he knows.
The turkey baster efforts bring Annabel and Ben closer together, but no closer to their goals.
The two main characters both tell the story from their viewpoints, and they're surrounded by a cast of well-meaning family and friends who only help botch up their impending relationship.

Here's an excerpt from Annabel's Sunday morning visit to her husband's grave:
 Opening out the deckchair, she plonked herself down in it. “So how’s your week been?” she asked. She paused, not that she really expected a reply, but it was nice to know he was listening if nothing else. “Mine’s not been too bad,” she continued. “The shop’s still doing okay. Oh, and your mum called round the other day.” Remembering the visit all too well, Annabel tried not to scowl. “She said to say hello.”
She reached down and dipped her hand into her bag again, this time pulling out a flask of coffee. “Caffeine, just what I need after the hassle of getting here,” she said. “As usual the traffic was horrendous.” Pouring herself a drink, she knew her ramblings were an attempt at stalling the inevitable; that she was worried about Tom’s reaction once she’d told him what she was up to. While her plans for the future might be a positive move on her part, she certainly wasn’t daft enough to think everyone would understand. If anything most people wouldn’t, especially if his mother’s reaction had been anything to go by.
This novel was a sweet escape with likable characters and plenty of laughter. Give it a try.

Amazon UK: 
Amazon US: 
Amazon EU:

More about the author:

Safkhet Publishing:

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Tuesday Intros -- Falling For You

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.
I know this book will not catch the interest of Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea who sponsors Tuesday Intros each week, but sometimes, I need a fun read that lets me escape to the British seaside where young women make mistakes before they fall in love. Technically, that could be the description for a Jane Austen novel, but instead it's Jill Mansell's latest book Falling For You.
Jill Mansell always manages to pull me into the current of her books. With all the papers I have to grade this week, I need an escape.
Here's the intro:
If she jumped high enough into the air, Maddy Harvey could see the party carrying on without her, blissfully unaware of her absence. Well, she could see in a blurry, abstract kind of way -- the lights in the house, the trees surrounding it, and the outlines of other partygoers either drifting from room to room or dancing manically along to Kylie Minogue (truly a girl for all age groups). 

The intro may not hook you, but it turns out that Maddy had jumped over a wall looking for a place to pee, but she ripped open the book of her jeans and couldn't get back over the wall. She's saved by a man who comes out in the dark, and since she doesn't have her glasses or contacts, she can't tell that he's from the family of the man who killed her sister in a car accident.

Hope you're reading something you enjoy.