Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Whatever You Do, DON'T RUN! The Best Advice a Guide in Africa Can Give

That is one of the first things you learn when you go on an African safari...DON'T RUN! Apparently, to the wildlife, that makes you look like food. I just finished reading a delightful memoir by Peter Allison entitled, Whatever You Do, Don't Run! True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide891224 He regales the reader with numerous tales of near death experiences, stupidity (on his part and the customers)as well as showing us his great appreciation for all wildlife and nature. He categorizes nationalities this way: that you need to get "beyond the arrogance of the French, the volume of the Americans, the snobby, reservedness of the English, the drunkenness of the Australians, and the utter lack of humor of the Germans (the ya ya's)". It's a great book for the armchair traveler as well bringing back found memories for those who have been on safari. As Peter regales you with his stories, I will regale you with one of mine.  For those of us who have been lucky enough to go on safari, we know that there are times when you might accidentally come into contact with a lion or hippo (the most dangerous of all animals in Africa) or leopard. When we were in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, we had the pleasure of a lioness visiting us in our camp. Here's how it went. Most luxury camps have a dining hall separate from the accommodations and next to the dining hall is "bush TV". Read more...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Will There Be Heinous F**kery? Book Review on Christopher Moore Books

Now, now, all you prudes out there. Don't get your panties in a wad. This is a quote from a book from one of my favorite authors, Christopher Moore. Never heard of him? Chances are , if you are not an adventurous reader, you probably haven't. Here is the "Warning" accompanying his latest book, Fool

"This is a bawdy tale. Herein you will find gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity, as well as non-traditional grammar, split infinitives, and the odd wank. If that sort of thing bothers you, then gentle reader pass by, for we endeavor only to entertain, not to offend. That said, if that's the sort of thing you think you might enjoy, then you have happened upon the perfect story!" Read more...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Tribute to My Dad

Today is the 5Th anniversary of the death of my dad. For those of us who have lost a parent, we know that over time the pain lessens. I am not yet an adult "orphan". My husband is. He lost both of his parents 8-10 years ago. My husband often has dreams of his parents, and I always tell him when he dreams of them, that that is their way of keeping in touch and staying in his memory. I don't have dreams of my dad but, then again, I'm not a prolific dreamer like my husband. But there are many other ways that I cherish his memory. I guess you get to a different age from the one where you dread the call in the middle of the night regarding your teenager. No. This dreaded call is the one where one of your parents has fallen and broken a hip or worse, one of them has a devastating illness. My dad had been ill for some time. Somehow he had developed bleeding ulcers which caused a severe loss of blood and really did a number on him. My dad was a big, strong robust guy. 6"1', 185 pounds and a real looker. He had hair like Ronald Reagan. When I went to see him in the hospital, he had shrunk both mentally and physically. He was no longer the outgoing, talkative, argumentative dad I knew and loved. His illness had exacerbated his Alzheimer's and he was now in the 2ND stage. Read more...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Please Don't Tell Me I'm Like My Mother! Mother Daughter Relationships

Have you ever said to yourself, "Oh, please don't let me turn out to be like my mother"! Every once in a while, I catch myself doing or saying something that is typical of my mother. Don't do that, I say to myself. I guess that is negative thinking because I know I inherited from my mother the two very important traits of self reliance and independence. Here's what I mean. In the 1950's my father was in the Air Reserves and was gone 2 weeks out of every month. We lived on a working ranch about 10 miles from town. Our nearest neighbors were an elderly couple who had no phone. On one side of the ranch was a creek called Peach Creek which was a tributary of the Lavaca River. Our house was a big old stone house that sat on a rise in the middle of the ranch. Whenever it rained a great deal, the land around our house would flood. Because we had a septic tank, during or after a flood you had to be careful lifting the seat on the toilet. There may be a water moccasin in there. So, when it flooded, here was my mother alone with my sister and I and with no way to get out or no way for anyone to get in. I guess I was 3 or 4 at the time and my older sister was 5 or 6, when we had a really bad flood. My father was gone. I don't remember the exact circumstances as to why my mother felt we needed to leave, but my mother got one of our horses, Nancy, saddled her up, got my sister and I up behind her and off we went with Nancy swimming part of the way. We went to our neighbors and they put us in their 1940's pick up truck to take us to town. When my mother was in her 40's, she decided to get her GED and go to college and get her degree. She then taught elementary math for 25 years. She has an independence streak and a healthy dose of self reliance. I know I have these traits in me. My husband says it scares him because he knows that I can get along just fine without him. But those same traits also attracted me to him. Read more...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sex, Victorian England and Vampires

"I was afraid to raise my eyelids, but looked out and saw perfectly under the lashes. The fair girl went on her knees, and bent over me, fairly gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I could see in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white sharp teeth. Lower and lower went her head as the lips went below the range of my mouth and chin and seemed to fasten on my throat. I could feel the soft, shivering touch of the lips on the super sensitive skin of my throat, and the hard dents of two sharp teeth, just touching and pausing there. I closed my eyes in a languorous ecstasy and waited - waited with beating heart." (Chapter 3) 

So writes Bram Stoker in the classic horror thriller, Dracula. I first read Dracula when I was in high school and I know it didn't occur to me what Stoker was trying to do. Write a book about sex without actually writing about sex. In other words, Dracula is a metaphor for sexually suppressed Victorian England. Say what? OK, let's do it this way. Victorian England was the time during which Queen Victoria was queen (duh), from 1837-1901. During this period, women had no rights WHATSOEVER. They had no independent legal status, no right to any money, no right to make out a will (why did she need to, she couldn't own anything), and she had no claim to her children. If, when her husband died he wished to leave the kids to someone else, he could. As far as sex, well, the upper and middle class girls, if around men, had to be escorted at all times. Premarital sex was a big no no. All a girl could do was perhaps give a squeeze of the hand or a brief small kiss on the cheek. If the upper and middle class men wanted sex, they either had it with the servants or with a prostitute. So, in this environment, Stoker wrote Dracula. It is generally agreed that the novel is about suppressed sexuality, especially female sexuality. There are 5 women in the novel four of which are vampires. Lucy, a prim, proper girl at the beginning of the novel is turned into a shameless slut once Dracula has her drink his blood from his chest. A strong sexual yearning in a woman during the Victorian age was feared. It would tear the fabric of their society! Anyway, when Dracula has Lucy drink from his chest, many critics ascertain that that is the sexual act, as in sex, exchanging of bodily fluids. OK then. And the staking of a vampire was equivalent to penetration. OK then.

So, flash to modern times. There have been numerous Dracula movies, and in this progression, Dracula just gets sexier and sexier. Enter Ann Rice and her Vampire series. Who can forget the ultimate vampires of Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt? Good enough to eat. Of course, there's the teen sensation of the Twilight series. But, since the books cater to adolescents, there is very little sexuality. I just finished reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlain Harris. HBO created a series based on these books, True Blood. Now the vampires in these Sookie books are uber sexual. The sex scenes between Sookie and her guy, Bill, are hot, hot, hot. Since some vamps (like Bill) are hundreds of years old, they have had PLENTY of sex and have acquired quite a sexual repertoire. Sounds good to me.....If you want some mindless drivel to pass the time or to just have some fun reading to close out the "real" world, read these novels by Harris. You'll be yearning for more True Blood.....

My favorite quote from Dracula? "I never drink.....wine".