Book Review: Star of the Sea by Joseph O’Connor

4.0 out of 5 stars Creaks a bit, but still afloat


The start of the novel was splendid, but his obsession with Lord Kingscourt’s sex life definitely detracts from the book. At the center of the story are also love stories, loves which are thwarted, perverted, destroyed by the Kingscourt men. Unfortunately, they all therefore lack depth in a novel of this scope. The famine aspect is covered in blistering detail, then forgotten.


Kingscourt’s character is by far the most compelling in the novel,  yet we learn little about him apart from the surface material until very near the end, by which time it is nearly too late. Mary is a cipher for the most part, as is Laura, his wife. Pius Mulvey becomes increasingly monstrous as the book goes on, to the point of him not even being human any more.


His willingness to do anything to survive which is commented upon by the author in the context of Kingscourt and the doctor Mangan’s conversation in the latter half of the book, does not excuse what he’s done. He blights the woman he claims to love his whole life and still expects her to come back to him.


The book becomes so Dickensian it loses its humanity and appeal. Even the name Pius is used with heavy handed irony.


Still, for its descriptions of Connemara, and the Famine, almost all accurate and very well researched, it is well worth reading. (even if it has been done better elsewhere). For some great books on Ireland and the famine, read Shannon Farrell’s historical romance novels of the period.


Book Review: How to Solve Our Human Problems

How to Solve Our Human Problems: The Four Noble Truths

by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Edition: Paperback


5.0 out of 5 stars

If you have problems with anger, this is the book for you


The book is really divided into two sections, one which illustrates the central points of Buddha’s teachings, highlighting that the source of all human suffering is really all in our minds. That it is our perspective on a person or event or thing, the ‘broken car’, the ‘enemy’ at work, that often stops us from being happy.


The second part of the book contains advice on anger, and how to cultivate patience.


The central argument he puts forward is that anger is a destructive mind, which causes pain to ourselves and to others. And that in the grip of anger, people behave in the most unskillful and even dangerous ways.


In the West we feel anger is a good thing, active, ‘getting things out in the open’ as it were, instead of ‘repressing.’ What it most often does, however, is makes the whole situation worse, because we are letting our often deluded mind, clouded by anger and disappointment, call the shots.

Think of Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers-his constant anger drove people away, and only made his daily life more and more complicated! I kept thinking of the scene where he gets so angry at his car he says, “Right, I’ll show you,” and begins to beat it with a huge tree branch while he tells it all the things that he has always hated about it. It doesn’t benefit him at all-he is still stuck right where he is, beating the same thing up over and over again.


We may not use the tree branch with our loved ones, but verbal lashing out can be even more damaging-we can easily get a new car, but can we easily get a new friend, partner, child?


As Geshe Kelsang Gyatso says, a patient mind is able to step back from the situation to see how best to deal with it without flying off the handle and causing one to do or say something they will definitely regret.


Arguments with loved ones, for example, are supposed to restore harmony and peace, but how often do they really? A whole chapter on reasons not to retaliate is excellent as well.


This is a very clear and concise book for people interested in learning more about Buddhism, based on Buddha’s first teaching, the 4 Noble Truth, which tell us that if we know where suffering comes from, its true causes, we can take steps to end it.


The ideas for managing anger and cultivating patience in order to keep control of even the most difficult situations is one which any reader can benefit from.


Geshe Kelsang is a Tibetan teacher of Mahayana Buddhism (Sutra and Tantra) who lives in England and has spent his career making these teachings clear and applicable to Westerners.


Review: Tassimo Hot Beverage System

4 1/2 out of 5 stars
The Tassimo hot beverage system is really outstanding. I have one at work, and one at home, and they have put up with a lot of heavy wear and tear for over 15 months now.

In the office, we have about 25 people making multiple cups per day and the best of all, here is no wastage. People get exactly the cup they want without getting thrown away because too strong or weak the way they used to do before we got the Tassimo. Or thrown away because it has been sitting anf stewing for hours

I like the fact that we city dwellers, so concerned about tap water, get a water filter built right into the design, and how easy it is to change.

And how easy the machine is to use. We just show our guests to the office where the t dics are, and let them go at it!

I am a bit concerned environmentally with all the little plastic empty discs not being recyclable, and the unit price might be consideres a bit high for some people. These are the only reasons I have not given it 5 out of 5 stars.

But there are a number of inexpensive on line places you can buy from to keep up a regular coffee supply.

The hot chocolate is my favorite, but the cappucino and latte are awesome. In addition, the teas are very good alternatives, especially the green and the chamomile. There is literally somehting for every one in the office no matter what they are in the mood for.

They have even introduced a Starbuck’s line recently which is not much more epensive that the regular disks. Certainly all the beverages are hot tasty, and best of all, cheap by comparison, plus you don’t have to wait on an endless line for to get your drink,”except maybe at 9 am by our water cooler!

For anyone with a serious coffee habit I definitely recommend the Tassimo, and I recommend it above the Keurig which is huge and bulky by comparison and does not have a nice water well with a good capacity like the stylish Tassimo.

Make sure you comparison shop on line. The average list price appears to be about $169, but I managed to get both my machines for under $100, with a rebate as well! The best money I have ever spent, and it has really helped us save on the hot drinks bills. Enjoy.


Book Review: Dear Lover: A Woman’s Guide To Men

Book Review: Dear Lover: A Woman’s Guide To Men, Sex, And Love’s Deepest Bliss
by David Deida

5.0 out of 5 stars
A superb book for any couple who wants to live in true harmony and love

The author’s previous book ‘Superior Man’ is for men, and an excellent guide, but this is the companion volume for women, and gives deep insights into how a true man of integrity is able to and really wants to love the woman in his life. One woman, for this lifetime and even into the next. He writes beautifully and candidly, and each time I read it, I see more and more what I am able to share Tantrically with my partner.

We have created bliss on a daily basis through skill, determination, discipline, and above all, love, and this from a man who is by no means easy to live with or love! And one who never even thought he knew how to love, because all his other relationships had failed so miserably.

Deida’s advice about loving each other open to the divine even when ‘stuff’ gets in the way is one we would all do to remember. After all, what is more sublime than living and being in love-having that 24/7, 365 days a year, always, at every moment, is well worth it. So take the advice offered to heart in this moving book. And read his other books, like Wild nights and Blue Truth, and definitely get Superior Man for your guy. If you train and practice love, and Tantra, and be happy, you really will experience deepst bliss. It really does work! And as good as it sounds in the book, it is even better in real life.
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Book Review: Porn for Women

2008-04-06 17:58:34
Book Review: Porn for Women (Paperback)
by Cambridge Women’s Pornography Cooperative (Author), Susan Anderson (Photographer)

Chronicle Books $12.95

Books Description
Prepare to enter a fantasy world. A world where clothes get folded just so, delicious dinners await, and flatulence is just not that funny. Give the fairer sex what they really want beautiful PG photos of hunky men cooking, listening, asking for directions, accompanied by steamy captions: “I love a clean house!” or “As long as I have two legs to walk on, you’ll never take out the trash.” Now this is porn that will leave women begging for more!

About the Author
The Cambridge Women’s Pornography Cooperative asked women, young, old, rich, and poor, “What really, really gets you hot?” Armed with their findings, they worked day and night to create Porn for Women. Susan Anderson is a Los Angeles-based photographer who believes the future of porn shouldn’t be in the hands of men alone.

This has offended a lot of people at Amazon, most likely because the title is misleading. Chronicle had gone for the SEX SELLS formula of marketing for this book and its spin offs, including calendars, postcards, and other books in the series, including one for new moms.

The book is comprised of PG-rated photos of our supposed hottest fantasies getting fulfilled, mainly of guys doing the housework for us for a change, and saying the perfect thing, like, “I’m so interested in what you’re saying..please tell me more!”

The whole point of porn is that it is just a fantasy. In this book, you’ll get some cute guys, and some sense of “If only my man did that.” Yes, for many women, it would be super to get a fantastic meal at the end of the day that you didn’t cook yourself! I was very blessed with a hubby who WAS able to cook that well, and do the vacuuming plus the ironing too! There ARE men like that out there!

For those who object to it being sexist, old-fashioned, or just plain silly, well, it is supposed to be a joke. Everyone I have shown my gift copy too thoought it was funny. Yes, a guy who puts down the toilet seat, or thinks you are too thin, now THAT is HOT!

This is not EXACTLY my total fantasy, I have to admit, mainly because I don’t fixate on finding fault with my partner.

I do just want to say though, that perhaps women should not take the little things like the toilet seat so seriously, and do we really have to worry so much about ironing?

Not to mention the fact that the only reason we should worry about our weight is for health reasons, not because of body image. We are far too self-conscious about the weight issue, for the wrong reasons. Worry more about being healthy, than HOT.

Finally, every woman knows what a man finds hot,”a woman with a good sense of humor, lot of self-confidence and sexiness. How do you get sexy? By not sweating so much of the small stuff around the house, and focusing on romance instead.

So if you have a good sense of humor, you will probably enjoy this book. It will definitely get a good giggle as a bachelorette party gift.


Iomega Portable Hard Drive

The Iomega Portable Hard Drive has a 120 GB capacity.  For home users and home

business users, this is probably the best external hard drive you can purchase

to ensure you never run out of space on your existing computer.

One of the problems most computer users face is not having enough drive space.

Although you may purchase a computer with the highest hard drive capacity

available, inevitably after a few months a new computer with an even higher

capacity will emerge.

One of the benefits of utilizing an external hard drive is that it is not only

cost-effective but a time saver as well.  Not having to spend hours transferring

stored information from an old computer to a new one is a plus for anyone who

stores large amounts of data on their computer.

The Iomega Portable Hard Drive features include:

* 120GB 2.5-inch black external hard drive with USB 2.0 and FireWire 400


* Support for both USB 2.0 (480 Mbps transfer rate) and FireWire 400 (400 Mbps

transfer rate) for maximum compatibility

* Bus-powered design eliminates need for power supply

* 1-year limited warranty

* Device measures 2.9 x 0.5 x 5 inches (WxHxD)

* Capacity: 120 GB

* Format: FAT32

* Rotational speed: 5400 RPM

* Buffer: 8 MB

* Interface: 1 x Hi-Speed USB 4-pin USB Type B, 1 x IEEE 1394 FireWire400

* System requirements (PC): 300 MHz processor or higher; USB or FireWire

controller; Windows Vista/2000/2000 Professional/XP Home/XP Professional x64;

USB 2.0 host connection or controller for USB 2.0 speeds; 4X CD-ROM drive for

installation; 1 GB hard drive space for installation of supporting software; 256

MB RAM or more as required by operating system

* System requirements (Mac): G3 (blue and white G3 only) or greater or iMac,

MacBook, MacBook Pro, or Mac Mini computer with built-in USB or FireWire400

connection; Mac OS X 10.1 or higher; USB 2.0 or FireWire400 host connection or

controller for USB 2.0 or FireWire400 speeds; CD-ROM drive for installation; 200

MB hard drive space for installation of supporting software; 128 MB RAM or more

as required by operating system

* Power supply: USB power

* Dimensions: 2.9 x 0.5 x 5.1 inches (W x H x D)

* Weight: 0.36 pounds

* Warranty: 1-year limited warranty

* Included in the Box: 33721 portable hard drive,

USB/supplemental power cord,

FireWire400 (1394a) cable, CD-ROM (Touch-Free automated backup and disaster

recovery software, user’s manual and help files), quick install guide

Before you consider upgrading your computer because you need more hard drive

space, consider purchasing the Iomega Portable Hard Drive instead.

Considering it only costs about $89.00, isn’t it worth not having to buy an

expensive computer that offers an operating system you are unfamiliar with and

may take valuable time to navigate.