Friday, December 29, 2006

Our Christmas Village

This is Donna's Christmas Village up in our living room. There were a couple of other buildings, plus the 'skating ring' set which couldn't fit. Maybe next year.
If you go over to Parting Shots you'll see pictures of the Chiara & Chaput pets enjoying the holidays.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Some Christmas photos

Pictures of Kristina & Marissa's tree with and without presents. Also the whole Christmas group around the table, minus me taking the picture.
Starting from the left you have Donna, Marissa, Kristina, Marissa's grandmother Marion, her sister Dana, and Marissa's parents Lynn & Jerry, with Michael (Kristina's father) last but not least.
The cat on the couch is Kristina's Wilber.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The usual rambling....

I think I may be watching those old B&W movies from the Thirties on Encore Western a bit too much. I actually caught myself saying "Dag nabbit!" when I dropped something the other day. I've lost the Gabby Hayes whiskers, but still find myself channeling him.

Damn, but it seems like there's nothing else going on around the world since the 'war' between Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump is the top story on just about every entertainment program. I guess we should be thankful that that has pushed Anna Nicole and Britney's bad behavior from the headlines. One more segment with an obviously drugged up Anna Nicole or digitized Britney crotch shot would have had me tossing heavy objects at the Sony. Remember when all the newscasters were saying something along the lines that "after the events of 9/11 everything will be different"? Television and popular entertainment seems pretty much like it did in August of 2001 to me!

Maybe I'm not watching TV at the right time, or not checking the schedule, but I have only seen a single showing any version of "A Christmas Carol" so far this season. This was the made-for-television one featuring Patrick Stewart as Scrooge, hardly one of the best. Don't get me wrong, I was lucky enough to seen Stewart's one-man show version of the Dicken's story in New York and he was absolutely brilliant. Sadly, he just doesn't seem to bring the same level to this particular telling. He almost seems bored with the whole thing. Give me George C. Scott or Alastair Sim anytime!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Review: No Time to Hide by Rob Palmer

Here's the last Joe Bob Briggs review I'll be doing for the near future, at least. They haven't posted a new review over on the Joe Bob site for over a year now, and I haven't received new books for more than half that time. I'm sorry to see it end.

No Time to Hide by Rob Palmer
Published by Leisure Fiction/Dorchester Pub.
ISBN: 0-8439-5667-4

I actually wanted to like this book better than I did, but I don’t blame writer Rob Palmer for that in the end. It just seems that of the last four books I’ve reviewed this is the third one featuring political turmoil in Cuba as the backdrop. Also, considering the current events taking place on that island the stuff here seems dated.

Psychologist Ben Tennant works for the U.S. Marshals Service as specialist in the Witness Protection Program. It’s his job to see if candidates for the program are psychologically prepared for the types of emotional changes necessary in successfully completing the change to a whole other way of life. If Ben feels the person will simply return to criminal or anti-social behavior they are rejected.

Ben also has a kind of side business, which is known to only a few associates and pretty much ignored by those of his fellow Marshals Service agents who know of it. Under the code name The Laundry Man, Tenant will help people who don’t qualify for the ‘official’ program disappear into another identity safe from those who may be hunting them. Patrice Callan, a con artist is one of those unofficial clients, with whom Ben had spent several months creating a new identity. Unfortunately for Ben, he also found he was falling in love with her. When Patrice disappears Ben realizes that he was also one of Patrice’s cons and she has taken files which reveal the identities and locations of all of his other clients.

When elements of the CIA begin pressuring Ben to turn over Patrice, he finds that several other people including anti-Castro Cubans are seeking Patrice for their own reasons. It’s up to The Laundry Man to help Patrice, despite what she did, and stop what could be an international incident which would take hundreds if not thousands of innocent lives.

Palmer does a good job making Ben someone you like, and even allows some of those on the other side moments of humanity. Sadly, for me, it was Patrice who is the weakest character, so you don’t have as much sympathy for her as you should given the events. Even at the book’s end you get the feeling that things aren’t going to remain quite as sunny as they are. Whether this is setting up a sequel or not, remains to be seen.

I think Palmer has created a very interesting character with Ben Tennant, but I think I’d like to see him in action either before or after Patrice is part of his life.

Two and a half stars