Nemesis

I have read many books by this author and always enjoy them.  I like the fact that there are multiple story lines that usually tie into each other.  In this book I did not see the tie in of the two but that’s ok.

Sherlock and Savitch are once again the main characters.  They make a nice team.  Sherlock is flying home from New York to Washington DC and foils an attempt by a terrorist to blow up the NY airport.  At the same time a bomb is set to go off at St Patrick’s Cathedral.  The Cathedral is crowded because there is a funeral service about to begin and it just so happens that the Vice President of the United States is attending.

Unlike many other suicide bombing scenarios the so called terrorist at the New York airport did not seem hell bent on killing people so Sherlock was able to avoid a horrible outcome by disarming the terrorist.  This set her in the sights of the group behind this bombing and the FBI is concerned that other situations like this may occur and of course it does.

Savitch on the other hand is dealing with a psycho using mind control to get people to kill each other. Like I said I don’t see the relationship between the two story lines but they work alone as well.  I guess it keeps Savitch occupied and away from Sherlock.

Again sadly this book like The Goldfinch and Radiant Angel centers around a weapon of mass destruction which has become an all to come theme in today’s literature.  That being said if you are a Catherine Coulter fan read Nemesis.

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More pumpkin

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I found this pumpkin recipe I just had to share.  I really do think the pumpkin added a great flavor.  Maybe it was the spices. I added just a tiny bit of cloves to the recipe.   I made it several weeks ago when I was vacationing in the beautiful mountains in West Virginia with my wonderful Wine Women of West Virginia.

I thought you all  might like it.  Let me know

Pumpkin French Toast

Yield: About 9 slices

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 9 slices Texas toast (or other white bread such as Challah or French bread)
  • Butter, for griddle

Directions

  • Preheat an electric griddle to 350 degrees (a non-stick skillet set over medium heat also works fine). In a mixing bowl whisk together milk, pumpkin puree, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger until well combined. Pour into a shallow dish.
  • Butter griddle and dip bread into egg mixture (allowing a few seconds for it to absorb mixture. I also squeeze gently to soak the mixture to center), then rotate and coat opposite side. Transfer to griddle and cook until golden brown on bottom, then lift, butter griddle once more and flip french toast to opposite side and cook until golden brown. Serve warm with butter and maple syrup.
  • Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

The Goldfinch

Unfortunately so many books I have read lately start out with a bombing of a well known location.  In this case it is a museum in New York.  There are casualties and one of them is a young boy Theodore Decker Mom. As he crawls out he has a chance encounter with a man who gives him a ring  and ask him to give it to his friend. He also find the painting The Goldfinch.  He and his Mom had just been talking about it.  It was one that had impressed her. This chance meeting and the painting would have a huge impact on his life.

Theo’s Dad is out of the picture so he ends up staying with the family of his friend.  He was traumatized of course who wouldn’t be after crawling out of a bombed building, death everywhere but he was healing very, very slowly.Then his father showed up and when I say father I mean this in a strictly sperm donor way because he was not the greatest human being and could barely take care of himself.  He is a gambler living in Las Vegas with his girlfriend in a community where the builder went bust. They are drug addicts.   It is a desolate community where Theo is isolated and left to basically take care of himself. His life is changed forever.

Since 9/11 life has changed so dramatically.  Growing up I had an occasional death touch my life. One weekend we were playing tennis with a friend and the next weekend she was gone.  Heart issues.  But not once did I think that if I got on the subway or the Amtrak a bomb might go off.  Sure that was happening in the middle east but this was the US.  How truly naive of me.  How sad it is for our children.

This book was on the NY Times 2014 bestseller list and won the Pulitzer prize for fiction.  It is a must read if you have not read it already. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

 

Since When Did Baseball become football?

Image result for the mets

Back in the days when I was growing up on Long Island, I was a Met’s fan.  Lucky for me there were a lot of boys in the neighborhood who  liked baseball and I would tag along with them.  My best friend at the time had two older brothers and once they were able to drive they were nice enough to have her and me tag along.

We would sit in the nose bleed section and I mean at the tippy top of the Shea Stadium with our coke (the beverage) and hot dog and I was really happy to be there and watching the game.  Unlike football, baseball does not translate well on television. You need to be there to truly experience the game.

I realize I was young and saw the world through rose colored glasses but I do not believe there was as much crap going on as what went on at Game two of the National League Division series,  Utley broke Tejada’s leg.  Watching the video you see how brutal the play was and yes the umpire ruled it a fair play but it was brutal and a leg was broken.  In fact it looked like he didn’t even care about  making it on base.  When did baseball become football?  Is this how we really want this game played.

And now Utley is appealing the suspension. Maybe he will say it is done all the time.  Maybe he and his team have been reviewing game tapes to gather evidence showing that this happens all the time.  But honestly enough is enough.  If I was the governing body listening to the appeal I would say to Mr. Utley “You know after carefully considering your argument for appeal I think that a two game suspension is not fair.  In fact, I change the ruling to a suspension of all games in the remainder  of this season and five games in next years season.  Thank you for your appeal.”

Matt Harvey is talking about  getting “revenge” in the next games. That is not the way to go here.  This isn’t a gladiator sport.  This has to be settled by the league and the players.Someone has to say enough is enough and make some changes.  Play nice guys, my kids come to the games with me and I don’t want them to see this kind of play.  You are role models whether you like it or not so act accordinlgy.

ESPN  has an article and a video.  Watch the play yourself.

My Continuing Pumpkin Recipe Quest

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

 

Anybody who knows me, knows how much I love macaroni and cheese.  I also love pumpkin and as I keep saying ’tis the season to eat pumpkin.

So it is my turn to host book club.  Our book club protocol is when you host you are responsible for making the whole dinner.  I really like this because I get to plan the entire meal.  I made grilled chicken and then I thought wouldn’t it be great to make pumpkin macaroni and cheese.  I started with a regular mac and cheese recipe made with velveeta.  Got to make mac and cheese with velveeta.  But to make it a little smoother I added a small cream cheese and some shredded cheddar.  Than I added a can of Libby’s pumpkin puree.  The picture above is what it looked like right before I popped it in the oven.  Let me just say it has a million calories.

To counter act the million calorie mac and cheese, we started out with a veggie platter and cheese and crackers.  After all when you are watching your calories veggies are a good thing right?  Ok a little rationalization here, but it was Friday night, one day off from counting calories every now and then never hurt anyone.  I know more rationalization. I also served a salad that is good.  By the way the book that was discussed was The Goldfinch. Fantastic book.  I will be posting about it next Saturday.

Next week is girl’s weekend at the beach and I am bringing a pumpkin lasagna.  To “reduce” the number of calories I am putting my own spin on the lasagna.  I will get you the recipe after the beach weekend.

Have a great week!

 

veggie tray

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Speak: The Difficulty Some Have Communicating With One Another

What an interesting book. It is all about humans who are trying to communicate with each other but are unable to do this successfully.  It is a bit sad but I think there are many people in the world who have difficulty connecting with other people.  Social interaction is exhausting to them. Smart phones haven’t helped.  I have seen teens sitting on my couch texting one another rather than talking.  How many have used texting to deliver a message they don’t want to say face to face?  Don’t get me wrong I love to text.  It’s quick and easy but it is no substitute for sitting yakking with friends.

In this case several of the characters try very hard to find love and a place where they can belong but sadly they find they are more comfortable with mathematics and algorithms.  Several of the characters turn to computers and artificial intelligence to fill the void.

The author has chosen to use characters that are very different from each other. all from different time periods.  They all bring their own unique voice to the story.Three of the characters are computer wizards writing programs that  ultimately lead to the creation of “bots”. These bots are programmed to learn.

One character is a young girl who had a babybot that was taken away from her and she finds she can’t function without it. She can’t leave her bedroom and ends up talking to Mary3 a bot born from the genius of those computer guys. And just to add depth to the story line the reader hears from a bot itself as it lays dying in some hanger. Has this bot developed feelings or is it just reviewing its memory banks as its power supply dwindles.

The book brings up some very interesting points. Give it a try. Click on the book for more info.

Spice Mixes From Your Kitchen

The holidays are not that far away.  I try to start to make my list early because I like to finish my shopping right after Thanksgiving.  There are some people I have a very hard time deciding what to get.  That is why I found this book so interesting.  It is more of a mini cook book since it is only 34 pages.  Storey Publishers actually calls it a bulletin.

Whatever you want to call it, I liked it because it contains “recipes” for spice mixes such as Pumpkin Pie spice and Italian Spice mix.  During the holiday I bake cookies although my cookie repertoire is extremely limited to drop cookies.  So I thought to make up for my lack of cookie skills I can add a jar of spices.  I even thought I could make a quick bread like pumpkin and add a jar of pumpkin pie spice.

Anyway whether you choose to bake or cook or not there are some interesting mixes that you may want to use in your kitchen.

Click on the book above for more info.