Review of Bloodfeud by Ben Galley

There is nothing like the culmination of a trilogy. As a reader you are always wondering if things will end as you expect them to end, or will there be a twist at the end that will shock you.  In Bloodfeud, the final book of the Scarlet Star Trilogy, the author (Ben Galley) does a good job of managing the readers expectations while making sure there are some surprises at the end of the book. (Here is a review I wrote about the second book. Sadly the review for the first book is MIA)

The location is this book switches to London and only London where Tonmerion begins to execute his plan for revenge against Dizali. We see a lot of growth in both Tonmerion and his partner in crime Calliade as they need to deal with the obstacles they face in getting their revenge.

The twists at the end are good and they were both things I did not expect and in different ways.

I greatly enjoyed this book and although the author was kind enough to give me a review copy of Bloodfeud I went ahead and bought a copy on my own (like I have done with all of his books) because I believe you need to support your independent book authors.

Bye Bye John McLaughlin

I just saw the news on Twitter that John McLaughlin passed away. His show “The McLaughlin Group” was something that ESPN tried to copy with “The Sports Reporters” but were never fully successful.

His show was my first entry into politics and it got me to hear opposing points of view and make up my own mind.

Here is a sample of what the show was like; and yes there was a lot of cross talking that went on.

Here is a parody from SNL:


George Washington on Political Parties

However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

How to fix the presidential debates

It doesn’t matter if you are a conservative or liberal, republican or democrat I think you would agree that the debates are broken and need to be fixed. The question is how to go about doing that?  The good folks at Intelligence Squared US have an idea, get back to what the debates are supposed to be about, the issues and seeing if the candidates know them.

This isn’t about the sound bites you hear the candidate make time and again. This is the candidates knowing about a specific issue and being able to talk about it in depth.

I’ve been a big fan of the debates they put on and as I have mentioned before they are always respectful and thought provoking, no matter what opinion you have. If you have not listened to them, I highly recommend you give at least one a listen.

To that end the people at Intelligence Squared have created a a petition to have at least one Oxford style debate this election cycle. With our help they can get some civility back into political discourse.

Switching from Evernote to Onenote

Note: This was originally posted in 2014 when I made the switch. It’s reposted now because of the news last week about Evernote’s change in pricing.

I have been a big fan of Evernote for a long time. The ability to keep your notes one place and have them automatically sync to any device is really what “the cloud” is all about. For a long time Evernote was my goto place for storing information. The fact it was the only cross-platform service of its kind helped me like it as well.

Earlier this year a competitor became cross-platform and I have found it works better for me how I like to organize my data. Microsoft’s OneNote is that competitor. At the root both services allow you to set up different notebooks for your various needs. However, where OneNote excels for me its use of the notebook metaphor and each notebook is allowed to have an unlimited number of tabs. Within those tabs you are able to have pages. This is opposed to the tagging Evernote does. A good example of this would be a cookbook. You can have tabs for your deserts, main dishes and appetizers and when you are on that tab you can see them automatically. As I said before the metaphor really works for me and how I prefer to set up my things. I suppose you can kind of do the same with subnotebooks in Evernote but it just doesn’t do it for me. As they say, your mileage may vary.

OneNote does have its faults. The biggest one I have seen is the ability to get data into OneNote. Specifically getting data out of Evernote and into OneNote. There is no import function on the Mac client. Another oversight is not having the ability to do handwriting. This is something Evernote does allow on their mobile devices with the Penultimate app. I believe these are a major oversights and ones Microsoft hopefully will address in their next release.

If you are on multiple devices and like to have your notes organized you can’t go wrong with either of these two services. However for my money OneNote is which works best for me.

Why we need someone like John Adams – again

Happy Independence Day everyone (the original #Brexit you guys). If John Adams had his way we would be celebrating on the second of July instead of the fourth because the second was the day congress approved a resolution declaring independence from Britain.

With the popularity of the musical of Hamiltion I’ve started revisiting the biographies that I have of some of our founding fathers. Heck even my daughter has gotten into the act and is reading American Sphinx, Ellis’ book on Jefferson. Ever since I read Founding Brothers I have been interested in John Adams. Then I read David McCullough’s book and I became an Adams man for life.

Considering the two candidates we have for president this election cycle and how how things have going down hill with the office of the President we can really use someone like Adams again. Yes there were some problems, namely the the Alien and Sedition Acts, but the man did things strictly because he cared for the country. The main example of this is continuing to remain neutral in the face of Federalist demands for America to go to war against the French following the XYZ Affair.

We need someone who can disagree with a point of view but will argue the merits of their case and not start with the ad homonym attacks.  Additionally we need someone who will be able to stand up to their party and tell them “Even though you’re my party this different path is what need to do. It’s the best for America”.

It seems that the politicians these days care more about their party’s politics than about doing what is right for the party. It seems we have become more and more polarized with everything seeing things in terms of black and white with very little gray in between.

Let’s get back to having civil discourse but let’s always keep in mind to do what is right for the country regardless of political affiliation.

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