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Thursday Thirteen #16: Books I Want To Read

Posted by infinitygoods on February 13, 2008

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For more participants visit Thursday Thirteen.

Let me know if you’ve read any of these and how you liked them, or let me know what you would highly recommend as don’t-miss-books. Wishing you all a Happy St. Valentine’s Day Thursday!

1. The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild by Craig Childs (non-fiction) I love adventure, but the best I can do is Adventures in Barbecuing and an occasional camping trip so I live vicariously through books in the comfort and safety of my armchair. Childs will take me to Alaska, Washington, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico to discover beautiful creatures like the Great Blue Heron, ravens, owls, coyotes, mountain lions and jaguars. Some of these animals are in my own backyard and I often watch them through my windows so it won’t take much imagination for me to be transported to the great wildernesses of our American West.

2. Paris Review Interviews edited by Philip Gourevitch (Non-Fiction — the 3rd volume in a series is to be released soon) I’m a journalist and a writer so interviews, authors and writing are always of interest to me. Here writers have interviewed other writers like Steven King, T. S. Eliot, Jorge Luis Borges, John Gardner and Alice Munro.

3. The Folded World by Amity Paige (Fiction) I’m not so much interested in the basic plot, but in the subplot dealing with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, as I once worked for a crisis helpline with more than our fair share of schizophrenics which always made me think that some local doctors must have been giving our phone number to patients. The book is about a young social worker torn between the needs of his clients and of his own family.

4. The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan (Non-Fiction) It has history, travel and according to the reviews I’ve read, superb, award-winning journalistic talent, so how can I possibly resist?

5. My Life In France by Julia Child (Non-Fiction) My husband and I were at the bookstore recently, a favorite pastime of ours, and I became completely engrossed by this book. In this memoir, she recalls her years in “La Belle France” as she calls her adopted home during the 1950s. She describes my native country as only a lover of France and its people could. It is a consummate love affair with everything French and she transports us to a time where she finally finds her self and her calling while in the arms of her other amour, her husband Paul Child. I don’t know how I could possibly have missed this book for the last two years. Julia is my favorite chef because her recipes are well-tested. She is the only chef I would trust enough for me to cook a recipe for the 1st time and serve it to company or even to a stereotypical evil mother-in-law. I know without even the shadow of a doubt that she will guide me right down to the last grain of salt and will not only tell me what to do, but much more importantly, what pitfalls to not fall into. Julia doesn’t just give us recipes, she teaches us how to cook.

6. Reading For Writers: A Guide For People Who Love Books and For Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose (Non-Fiction) In other words, a guide written for yours truly. 😉

7. House Calls: Reflections of a Family Physician by Thomas L. Stern, M.D. (Non-Fiction) Medicine is another field of interest for me. Dr. Stern was the role model and technical adviser for the Marcus Welby, M.D. television show, and in this book he tells us the story of his life. This quote on the back cover particularly caught my eye: “I’ll tell you stories of the warmth of patients’ feelings toward me as their doctor; but especially, I’ll tell you about how I loved each of them, the people who trusted me enough to refer to me as ‘my doctor.'” Having worked with doctors and having had a few doctors I call ‘my doctor,’ I can tell you that the ones who care are the ones who make all the difference in the world.

8. Rumpole And The Primrose Path by John Mortimer (Fiction) I have read all previous Rumpole books — several times — and it is high time I read this one. Rumpole makes me laugh out loud and heartily, and let me tell you, we adults need to laugh a whole lot more often. I also love the Rumpole PBS series with Leo McLeod also of The Prisoner.

9. The Reluctant Tuscan: How I Discovered My Inner Italian by Phil Doran (Non-Fiction) From the writer and producer of The Wonder Years and Who’s The Boss, this travel memoir is reminiscent of A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle and the cover promises another laugh-out-loud adventure.

10. Gerald’s Game by Stephen King (Fiction) I was recently given this book I had never read from the early 1990s. I hope it’s one of King’s really-scary-in-a-great-sort-of-way books and not one of his books describing evil because I don’t like those. But his truly scary ones are the work of a tremendously talented writer

11. Summer of Night by Dan Simmons (Fiction) From the library of the same person who gave me Gerald’s Game. I never read horror except for Stephen King, but since King says “one of those rare must-read books. I am in awe of Dan Simmons,” then I must have been missing something good all these years.

12. The Tomb of Tutankhamen by Howard Carter (Non-Fiction) Another adventure in my armchair to help me experience the greatest archaeological discovery and excavation of all time. Tut has fascinated the world since 1922 and I too have fallen prey to his magical hypnosis from beyond the sarcophagus.

13. The Best Cat Ever by Cleveland Armory (Non-Fiction) If you too have ever been owned by a cat, you might also want to read about Polar Bear and his curmudgeon author.

Don’t forget to leave a comment so we can all visit you too. 😉

    Posted in America, American Cookery, author, Barbecue, blog, blogging, Blogroll, book, books, Britain, British, carnival, Cookbook, Cookbooks, Cooking, culture, england, entertainment, Food, France, history, Home, Infinity Goods, infinitygoods.com, Italy, Kittens, Library, life, nature, Paris, pets, reading, Recipe, television, Thursday 13, Thursday Thirteen, Tips, travel, U.S., Uncategorized, USA, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

    Priest Sees Red Over Sacrilegious Red Bull TV Ad

    Posted by infinitygoods on December 3, 2007

    Why is it the world thinks it’s perfectly OK to bash Christianity? In a world where clerks are no longer allowed to wish us a Merry Christmas for fear we might prefer to be wished a Happy Eid, despite the fact we are Christmas shopping, no one in Red Bull’s advertising agency gave a second thought to blaspheming the Holy Nativity, Christ’s birth, the Wise Men or angels.

    In another example of Christianity being trampled by atheists and other religions, an advertising campaign for the Red Bull energy drink created an animated television commercial with 4 Wise Men, instead of 3, bringing a can of the drink to the Holy Family while angels tout the company slogan, “Red Bull gives you wings.”

    Father Marco Damanti, whose written complaints to the company succeeded in the company promising it would pull the ads from Italian airwaves, told the Corriere dela Sera newspaper, “The image of the sacred family has been represented in a sacrilegious way. Whatever the ironic intentions of Red Bull, the advert pokes fun at the Nativity and at Christian sensitivity.”

    Red Bull et al obviously expect us to always turn the other cheek!

    Posted in Advent, America, Christianity, Christmas, culture, Faith, Family, Food, food products, God, Holidays, Home, infamous, Infinity Goods, infinitygoods.com, Italy, life, man-made chemicals, News, religion, spirituality, U.S., Uncategorized, USA, Vatican | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Pope Names Iraq’s 1st. Cardinal, 22 Others

    Posted by infinitygoods on November 25, 2007

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    Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans was applauded as he knelt before the Pope to receive his gold ring of office making him history’s first Cardinal in Iraq. Delly an Iraqi-born will continue his service as Prince of the Church in Baghdad.

    Pope Benedict XVI named 22 other cardinals from the United States, Italy, France, Ireland, Germany, Spain, India, Argentina, Kenya, Mexico, Poland, Senegal and Brazil.

    The Pope urged the cardinals to pray for world peace, particularly in Iraq and the Holy Land. The Pope stated Delly’s elevation to cardinal was an expression of solidarity and sympathy with Iraq’s Christians.

    Benedict XVI also named Monsignor Sean Brady, the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, now giving Ireland a total of 3 cardinals.

    Pope Benedict XVI stated he hoped this week’s Annapolis Middle East Summit would relaunch negotiations “to find a just and definitive solution to the conflict which for 60 years has bloodied the Holy Land and provoked so many tears and suffering among two peoples.”

    • Don’t know what NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo are? Read all about it here and here.
    • Want to know why I’m participating in both? Click here.

    Posted in 9/11, America, blog, blogging, British, Christianity, culture, Faith, God, Infinity Goods, infinitygoods.com, Iraq, Islam, Italy, Judaism, life, NaBloPoMo, NaNoWriMo, National Blog Post Month, National Novel Writing Month, News, novel, novel in 30 days, politics, religion, spirituality, terrorism, U.S., Uncategorized, USA, Vatican, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Pope Announces U.S. Visit After Saudi King’s Vatican Visit

    Posted by infinitygoods on November 12, 2007

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    Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate his third anniversary as pontiff of the Catholic Church by traveling to the United States, where he will visit the White House and New York’s ground zero site of the 9/11 Muslim terrorist attacks, and will speak at the United Nations during a five-day trip April 15-20.

    Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Vatican ambassador to the United States, told the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops today that “the pope will not travel much, but he will address himself to the people of the United States and the whole Catholic Church.”

    A welcome reception will be held at the White House on April 16.

    Sambi says the pope wants to show “solidarity with those who have died, with their families and with all those who wish an end of violence and in the search of peace.”

    This official announcement comes six days after King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia gave a jeweled sword to the pope, and on the Monday of the Veterans Day federal holiday.

    Pope receives jeweled sword from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

    A sword is a traditional Muslim gift given to heads of state. Is it meant as a symbol of trust or as a warning? That is the double-edged question.

    The meeting between the king and the pope will surely be the hottest topic between the pope and President George Bush.

    Saudi Arabia does not even grant diplomatic relations with the Holy See. As Victor L. Simpson of the Associated Press so aptly said in his article about the visit on Nov. 6, “Islam is the official religion of Saudi Arabia and the kingdom requires all Saudi citizens to be Muslims. Only Muslims can visit the cities of Mecca and Medina.

    “Under the authoritarian rule of the royal family, the kingdom enforces strict sharia, or Islamic law. It follows a severe interpretation of Islam known as Wahhabism which rejects the possibility of diplomatic relations with a Christian entity. This interpretation would prohibit a Vatican embassy in Saudi Arabia on the grounds it would be equivalent to raising the cross inside the site of Islam’s holiest places.

    “It is forbidden to practice Christianity publicly inside Saudi Arabia, and it is illegal to bring symbols from religions other than Islam into the country. Bibles and crosses, for instance, are confiscated at the border.

    “Some Christian worship services are held secretly, but the government has been known to crack down on them, or deport workers from the Philippines if they are known to hold even private services.”

    The pope was also given a small statue of a camel by a palm tree and in return gave King Abdullah a 16th-century engraving of the Vatican and a gold medal of his pontificate.

    • Don’t know what NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo are? Read all about it here and here.
    • Want to know why I’m participating in both? Click here.

    Posted in 9/11, America, art, blog, blogging, Christianity, culture, Faith, George Bush, God, Infinity Goods, infinitygoods.com, Internet, Iraq, Islam, Italy, Judaism, life, NaBloPoMo, NaNoWriMo, National Blog Post Month, National Novel Writing Month, News, novel, novel in 30 days, politics, religion, royal family, royals, royalty, spirituality, terrorism, U.S., UN, Uncategorized, USA, Vatican, war on terror, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Thursday Thirteen #5 — 13 Favorite Cities

    Posted by infinitygoods on November 7, 2007

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    Welcome back to Thursday 13. This week I am sharing 13 favorite cities, why I like them, and a photo for your viewing pleasure whether you’ll be reminicing or discovering a new city. For a list of the other participants, be sure to visit thursdaythirteen.com.  The photos are from Flickr’s public files.  If you right click and select properties, a window listing my caption and giving credit to the photographer will pop up.

    These are in alphabetical order.

    1. Ashland, Oregon Downtown Ashland, Oregon. Photo by WAVE Journey.

    It has lots of charm and a small town atmosphere. It is home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

    2. Atlanta, Georgia Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta with city skyline. Photo by amiko

    I love the history, architecture, contrasts.

    3. Honolulu/Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head, Oahu, Hawaii.  Photo by eobisch.

    The ocean is warm from underwater volcanoes and there is natural beauty everywhere.

    4. Los Gatos, California Los Gatos gate.  Photo by echoes71.

    The cats are at the gate of a private home, but it is a popular landmark, the high school mascot and used for the town logos.

    5. Malibu, California Malibu.  Photo by kla4067

    Malibu is beautiful year round, but always dangerous with fires in summer and fall and mud and rock slides in winter and spring.

    6. Menton, France Menton, the old town and harbor.  Photo by fede gen88

    You can see here the church tower of St. Michael’s. It is full of artwork, but the church is very dark so it is difficult to see. There are stairs everywhere. The ones leading to the church and plaza were handset by the Romans with mosaic-like designs.

    7. Oatman, Arizona Oatman, Arizona.  Photo by escapo

    Named after the Oatman family massacred by the Indians in 1851. Two daughters were taken captive, their faces were tattooed and one died of starvation while she was an Indian slave. The other was sold back to the whites after five years as a slave and reunited with her brother who had been clubbed and left for dead. The ghost town has a few tourist shops and wild burros from the days of the gold rush.

    8. Palo Alto, California Stanford University, CA.  Photo by Swang168

    This is Stanford University with the Memorial Church at the Center.

    9. Paris, France A view of the Eiffel Tower over the Seine River at dusk in Paris, France. Photo by Thomas Cristopher.

    I love it’s beauty, architecture, culture and all the wonderful lights. A view of the Eiffel Tower over the Seine river at dusk.

    10. Rimini, Italy Rimini, Italy.  Photo by beardyp

    These little pedal boats are all over the beach and there are little changing cabins which you can rent. Sandcastles are also quite popular at this beach.

    11. San Francisco, California San Francisco, California.  Photo byBRPhoto.

    I too left my heart in San Francisco. It is surrounded by ocean on three sides and it never freezes, but you will find fog year round. Each neighborhood has its own very distinct character.

    12. Saratoga, California Villa Montalvo, Saratoga, California.  Photo by hhwang19.

    This is Villa Montalvo, originally built as the governor’s mansion, but is now a park and cultural center with artists in residence. It is often used for weddings, concerts and plays. It has great hiking trails through chaparrals.

    13. Sausalito, California Sausalito, California.  Photo by BRPhoto

    Sausalito is across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. Most of the houses sit on the mountainside and some residents live on houseboats. Flowers thrive throughout the town with the beneficial ocean air.

    I hope that you’ve enjoyed my short tour around the world. I am participating in National Blog Post Month so throughout November I will be posting daily and I’m looking forward to your visits.

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    • Don’t know what NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo are? Read all about it here and here.
    • Want to know why I’m participating in both? Click here.

    Posted in America, American History, art, blog, blogging, Christianity, culture, Family, Infinity Goods, infinitygoods.com, Italy, Malibu, NaBloPoMo, NaNoWriMo, National Blog Post Month, National Novel Writing Month, nature, novel, novel in 30 days, Thursday 13, Thursday Thirteen, U.S., Uncategorized, USA, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments »

    Thursday Thirteen #1 — 13 Books On My Bookshelves

    Posted by infinitygoods on October 11, 2007

    Welcome to Thursday Thirteen. The goal here is to find out 13 details about a blogger’s life. Today I am sharing 13 books on my bookshelves because I think it really shows insight into someone’s personality.

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    1. The Bible

    2. The Call to Brilliance by Resa Steindel Brown

    3. Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes

    4. Fatherhood by Bill Cosby

    5. The French Chef Cookbook by Julia Child

    6. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

    7. The Kent Family Chronicles by John Jakes

    8. The Mitford Series by Jan Karon

    9. On Writing by Stephen King

    10. Rules of Civility by George Washington

    11. Teach Me To Pray by Gabe Huck

    12. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

    13. A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

    Hmm … I’m leaving out too many all-time favorites

    Check out other entries at Thursday Thirteen.

    Posted in book, books, Children, Christianity, Cookbook, Cookbooks, Cooking, culture, education, Faith, Family, Food, Infinity Goods, infinitygoods.com, Italy, publishing, religion, U.S., USA | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

    Pavarotti Remembered In His Own Words

    Posted by infinitygoods on September 6, 2007

    Luciano Pavarotti, 71, died at 5 a.m. this morning, Italian time. His latest recording of sacred songs is scheduled for release in early 2008.

    He earned the title of “King of the High C’s” when he hit nine high C’s in quick succession at the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1972 during performances of “Ah! Mes Amis” in Donizetti’s “La Fille du Regiment.”

    In his own words, here are a few memories and thoughts of his life.

    “When I was born, my mother was under 20, my grandmother 38, my great grandmother 56. They had many sisters. I have three daughters with my first wife and one with my wife, Nicoletta. I have had many secretaries in the past, around 10 to 15, all women. I was born with women all around. This is perhaps why you see me so happy. They protect me so that when I am on stage, I only have to think about my singing.”

    “Our family had very little, but I couldn’t imagine one could have any more,” Pavarotti said. He was the son of a baker.

    “In my teens I used to go to Mario Lanza movies and then come home and imitate him in the mirror.”

    “Whenever I went to visit him (Arrigo Pola, his music teacher whom he continued to visit right up to Pola’s death), I took a lesson. He was a very significant teacher for me. I give him the impression that I still need him — and it was true. Not that I need to study with him, but that I need him to hear me and tell me, yes, it’s good like that or not like that. In fact, I’m doing exactly what I did the first day I met my teacher. Nothing has changed, not one comma.”

    “You should ask one of my colleagues if I am lazy. I make them work like pigs.”

    “I always want to be serious, a professional person. And if you ask me what I want to do now, it is the same thing. My goal is to be remembered as a very serious professional singer who has begun his career in the world of the opera; sings, let’s say, 25 years in the opera house; and for the last 15 years of his life, goes a little outside the world of opera to meet other people — especially with the television, who is a great sister in publicizing everything, including music.”

    Speaking of his yo-yo dieting with a reported high of 396 pounds (180 kilograms) in 1978, “Maybe this time I’ll really do it and keep it up.”

    “In act II of Tosca, sitting on a little classic baroque chair during rehearsal, I told the stage director that I couldn’t sit there, it will explode. He said ‘no, don’t worry I will reinforce it with iron.’ During rehearsal Tosca sang close to me while I was sitting on the chair. She put her hand on my leg, it was fine. On the night of the performance, she was more exuberant, and sat on me. They are still looking for the chair. And that was the premiere.”

    “For many years I always dream that I am in my dressing room, in underpants and the orchestra begins to play. And I wake with a jump. Once in the Paris opera, I prepared for an 8 p.m. start, but at 7 p.m., the opera began … and I was in my underpants. It was an incredible night.”

    “I’m a very lucky man. I’m not selling anything but music.”

    “I take it day by day, I never make plans. I do what is demanded of me. … If it comes to me and I like it, I go. I have been singing for 41 years, and for the last 10, I have

    been making music outside opera. Now I’m able to take it to people who never knew this music existed. We had a concert in China and millions got to watch it. We cannot do that in an opera house. Some people are afraid of opera music. But once they know, they are not afraid anymore.”

    “The word commercial is exactly what we want. We’ve reached 1.5 billion people with opera (with the Three Tenors concerts). If you want to use the word commercial, or something more derogatory, we don’t care. Use whatever you want.”

    “First of all, I never sang for legend. I sang for the composer first of all. Secondly, if there is a legend, the Three Tenors concerts make the legend more.”

    “When I go on stage by myself, I try to be good. When I go on stage with the tenors, I try to be better!”

    “Some say the word ‘pop’ is a derogatory word to say ‘not important’ — I do not accept that. If the word ‘classic’ is the word to say ‘boring,’ I do not accept. There is good and bad music.”

    “I want to give something back to the younger generation. Teaching I think is the most difficult thing; teaching is more difficult than singing. Why? Because you have to transfer a thought from your brain to the brain of the other person and the throat of the other person. I want to teach people who really are good.”

    “I won’t give the twins anything more than I gave my three daughters. Of course, back then, my career was in full swing. This time I will have more time to devote to my children.” (A baby boy died during childbirth, the girl, Alice survived.)

    “Alice was born during the making of this record (Ti Adoro). She has inspired me so much. I dedicate this record to her.”

    “Now I only need God’s help — and it really seems to me that he is giving it to me.”

    “I cannot live being thought not a good person.”

    “I was a fortunate and happy man. After that, this blow arrived (pancreatic cancer). And now I am paying the penalty for this fortune and happiness.”

    Pavarotti recordings can be found here.

    Posted in Cancer, celebrities, Classical Music, culture, Italy, King of the High Cs, life, Luciano Pavarotti, Music, News, Obituary, Opera, Pop Music, Three Tenors, Ti Adoro | 2 Comments »