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Ghost On the Throne (Alexander)

A/H-greatest love story
Title: Ghost On the Throne
Fandom: Alexander (2004)
Rating/warnings: NC17
Pairing: Alexander/Hephaestion
Word Count: 1,958
Summary: Not everything lasts forever.

Also at AO3

Inspired by the book of the same name, written by James Romm. Written for the motion picture's 10th anniversary.

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On The Day Carl Sagan Died

Twenty years on, and we miss him still.

Books-Glasses on books
All the Truth is Out

Yahoo's national political columnist and the former chief political correspondent for The New York Times Magazine brilliantly revisits the Gary Hart affair and looks at how it changed forever the intersection of American media and politics.

In 1987, Gary Hart-articulate, dashing, refreshingly progressive-seemed a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination for president and led George H. W. Bush comfortably in the polls. And then: rumors of marital infidelity, an indelible photo of Hart and a model snapped near a fatefully named yacht (Monkey Business), and it all came crashing down in a blaze of flashbulbs, the birth of 24-hour news cycles, tabloid speculation, and late-night farce. Matt Bai shows how the Hart affair marked a crucial turning point in the ethos of political media-and, by extension, politics itself-when candidates' "character" began to draw more fixation than their political experience. Bai offers a poignant, highly original, and news-making reappraisal of Hart's fall from grace (and overlooked political legacy) as he makes the compelling case that this was the moment when the paradigm shifted-private lives became public, news became entertainment, and politics became the stuff of Page Six.

I remember little of that campaign, even less of Gary Hart. This is probably why. As the media focused in on his private life, his message was lost. Unfortunately, so was everyone else's. Since that time, we rarely hear where the candidates stand on matters that count. Political campaigns have become free-for-alls, where the person with the most money, and often the least character, can trash his opponents' integrity, honesty, and truthfully without being held accountable. It's true because you heard it on television, and too much of the public is unwilling to research any further.

Gary Hart has become a small footnote in history, no matter that, even someone who has thoroughly researched his life, can say this about the man:

"Because he harbored a fierce conviction that private affairs had no place in the public arena, and he was going to hold fast to that conviction until his dying breath, no matter how anachronistic it seemed to others.

There's a way to describe a man who holds that tightly to principle, whatever the cost. The word is character."

An in depth look at what has become of our political system, and why, it's an insightful book that's well worth reading.


C&H-in the Snow
It's continuing to dump snow on us, but this is how it looked yesterday.


The back deck. I am so glad we got the Deckover applied.



The front porch is slowly being snowed in. The wind created the overhang, which has since been knocked down.


And the backyard. Oh, well, at least the boys are having fun.

Snow! from Gilda Felt on Vimeo.


A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel

A Deadly Wandering

In this book, Richtel examines the impact of technology on our lives through the story of Utah college student Reggie Shaw, who killed two scientists while texting and driving. Richtel follows Reggie through the tragedy, the police investigation, his prosecution, and ultimately his redemption.

In the wake of his experience, Reggie has become a leading advocate against “distracted driving.” Richtel interweaves Reggie’s story with cutting-edge scientific findings regarding human attention and the impact of technology on our brains, proposing solid, practical, and actionable solutions to help manage this crisis individually and as a society.

A propulsive read, A Deadly Wandering explores one of the biggest questions of our time--what is all of our technology doing to us?--and provides unsettling and important answers and information we all need.

The book wasn't exactly what I thought it would be, not entirely. I expected the retelling of the investigation, and how the deaths of the two men affected their families, not to mention the young man who caused those deaths. But it expands to take in the lives of those who pushed through that investigation, going so far as to retell the harrowing childhood of one of those people.

The science covered, the studies being done regarding how the brain works, or doesn't work when distracted, is especially intriguing. It's disconcerting to learn just how much we all fool ourselves when it comes to how many things we think we can do at the same time.

But the book has a flaw, at least for me. The writing. I really don't need to know what color shirt a person is wearing, or a detailed description of someone's living room. The book appears to be padded, or maybe could have used better editing. I ran across one place where the same paragraph is printed twice.

I was also taken somewhat aback by the redemption angle, especially when it practically turned into preaching, the author putting forward his own brand of religiosity. It was a small distraction, but one that loomed larger because of the book's other problem.

Still, all in all, it's a book worth reading. It delves into an issue that affects all of us. Too easily I could see something like this happening to myself or to someone I care for. And with car makers adding even more distractions to the "cockpit" that used to be a dashboard, It's an alarming thought that's not outside the realm of possibility.


Misc-Over the Edge
In the Kingdom of Ice

In the late nineteenth century, people were obsessed by one of the last unmapped areas of the globe: the North Pole. No one knew what existed beyond the fortress of ice rimming the northern oceans, although theories abounded. The foremost cartographer in the world, a German named August Petermann, believed that warm currents sustained a verdant island at the top of the world. National glory would fall to whoever could plant his flag upon its shores.

James Gordon Bennett, the eccentric and stupendously wealthy owner of The New York Herald, funded an official U.S. naval expedition to reach the Pole, choosing as its captain a young officer named George Washington De Long, who had gained fame for a rescue operation off the coast of Greenland. De Long led a team of 32 men deep into uncharted Arctic waters, carrying the aspirations of a young country burning to become a world power. On July 8, 1879, the USS Jeannette set sail from San Francisco to cheering crowds in the grip of "Arctic Fever."

The ship sailed into uncharted seas, but soon was trapped in pack ice. Two years into the harrowing voyage, the hull was breached. Amid the rush of water and the shrieks of breaking wooden boards, the crew abandoned the ship. Less than an hour later, the Jeannette sank to the bottom,and the men found themselves marooned a thousand miles north of Siberia with only the barest supplies. Thus began their long march across the endless ice-a frozen hell in the most lonesome corner of the world. Facing everything from snow blindness and polar bears to ferocious storms and frosty labyrinths, the expedition battled madness and starvation as they desperately strove for survival.

With twists and turns worthy of a thriller, In The Kingdom of Ice is a spellbinding tale of heroism and determination in the most unforgiving territory on Earth.

I've read quite a few books relating the adventures of the polar explorers of the nineteenth century. Most of them dealt with men from either (usually,) England or Europe who attempted to find the north pole, or, at least, the Northwest Passage, by journeying along Greenland through Baffin Bay. There was at least one attempt to find the passage from the Pacific side, but that didn't seem to be a truly viable alternative. That someone had tried to find the North Pole through that same route was something I'd never heard about.

The book does a fantastic job of telling the harrowing journey these men took. At the start, it's all about the preparations made, major and minor, to make the trip a reality: the refit of the ship, the tons of food and supplies that were needed, and the precise selection of who would man that ship.

Once prepared, they leave San Francisco, sailing north through the Bering Strait and beyond into the Arctic Ocean where they would run head-on into the pack ice. This is where the story truly begins.

First, during their approximately two years trapped in the ice, and then when they're finally forced to try for distant Siberia, you come to know the men of the ship, especially Captain De Long and his engineer, and true right hand, George Melville. I think much of the power of book comes from the connection the reader makes to these men. What they went through is almost unimaginable, and the "grand and terrible voyage," did not end well. But, as with Captain Francis Crozier, of The Terror, and many other adventurers of that age, both men would face adversity and not be found wanting.


History of Halloween - Halloween History

There seems to be some different understandings on my flist regarding Halloween (especially overseas,) to the point where I wasn't even sure, myself, anymore! *g* So I looked around and found this.

History of Halloween - Halloween History


Happy Halloween!

Look out for Trick-or-Treaters. They might bite! *g*

Trick or Treat

In The End by Demitria Lunette

Books-When In Doubt
In the After

It's been three months since Amy escaped New Hope. And she's been surviving on her own, like she did before she was "rescued" and taken to what she thought was a safe haven. Then, in the midst of foraging for supplies, her former fellow Guardian's voice rings out in her earpiece. And in a desperate tone, Kay utters the four words Any had hoped she would never hear:

Dr. Reynolds has Baby.

Now it's a race against time, for Baby is in imminent danger, her life threatened by the malevolent doctor who had helped start the end of the world. In order to save Baby, Amy will have to make her way to Fort Black, a former prison-turned-survivor colony.

But before she can do any of this, she'll have to endure the darkest places—and people—of the prison. And one small slip-up could not only cost Baby and Amy their lives, but threaten the survival of he people in the After.

Boy, was I ever disappointed in this book. Given how much I enjoyed the first, I was looking forward to Amy's exile and how she would deal with it, and her loss of Baby.

The short answer would be "not well."

I understand that Amy is young, but even the young can learn from their mistakes. If I had had to read one more time of Amy rushing into danger after explicitly being told to stay where she is! I would have... well, I don't know what I would have done. It got so that the reader knew exactly what was going to happen next. There would be danger, Amy would run right into it, someone else would have to rescue her, and then the same thing would happen all over again.

Add to this the rushed ending, and you have a very unsatisfying read. The first book had its faults, I'm assuming the author is new to writing, but I never would have imagined that the second would have so many more.


Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Books-Books are Magic
Station Eleven

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor's early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains-this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

This is a truly lovely book. I know that's an odd thing to say about a post-apocalyptic book, but it's true. The writing is superb, the story-line compelling, and the characters fully drawn. It was hard to put down.

Though there is a lethal virus which brings down civilization, there are no monsters, other than the human variety, no supernatural baddies. Nothing to fight against except each other. And even that is kept to a minimum. What is central to the story is the interaction of the characters, what their lives were before and what they've become. The jumping back and forth through time, and from character to character, oddly enough, adds to the suspense. Because it's not so much as to who will live and who will die, but what each does with what they've been left with.

A roaming Shakespearean company, a mysterious comic book, and a city built into the remains of a huge airport, are but a few of the strange and wonderful building blocks of this intriguing book.



Gilda Elise

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