FIRE FLOWERS By Ben Byrne

FIRE FLOWERS: A lovely novel of postwar Japan.

FIRE FLOWERS: A lovely novel of postwar Japan.

Here’s a treat of a book for anyone who likes the World War II time period: FIRE FLOWERS by Ben Byrne.

Satsuko is a young woman living in Tokyo.  Her father dies in battle, her mother during the firebombing of her city.  She gets separated from her brother on the night her mother dies and Tokyo burns.  As if this wasn’t enough for a young girl to contend with, the man Satsuko loves, she’s told by his jealous mother, died in battle – but actually he didn’t.  Add an American photographer with a conscience into the mix of this trio of separated Japanese, one who wants to report of the mysterious “A Bomb Disease” that is afflicting those exposed to the atomic bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki but is being prevented from doing so by his superiors at the armed forces newspaper Stars & Stripes, and it makes for very intriguing reading.

It was fascinating to find out more about the Japanese civilian perspective in the wake of the war they didn’t win.  I could not put this book down!

 

Splendiferous Artwork by Sheila Smith

TWO UMBRELLAS by Artist Sheila Smith

TWO UMBRELLAS by Artist Sheila Smith

If you want to see some very cool digital artwork, have I got an artist for you!

Sheila Smith’s first camera was a Brownie.  She’s still taking photographs, but now she digitally enhances them, with the subjects becoming hauntingly magical.  The one above is called TWO UMBRELLAS.  Sheila is a native New Yorker, and that one was taken in Union Square.

Here’s another New York City beauty:

NEW YORK CITY SNOW by Sheila Smith

NEW YORK CITY SNOW from the SNOW SERIES by Sheila Smith

This year we’ve had plenty of snow in New York City for Sheila to use as creative material!  Note the subway entrance.

And here is yet one more, TRAIN APPROACHING, from the Subway Series that she’s working on:

TRAIN APPROACHING by Sheila Smith

TRAIN APPROACHING by Sheila Smith

Every one of these enhanced images is not only visually gorgeous but, to New Yorkers, they can immediately invoke the feeling of our city.  The lights reflecting on the rain-soaked streets, the feel of the wind during the snow, and the steely palette of our gritty subway system are all instantly recognizable to those of us who live here – and would also easily speak to anyone who’s a New Yorker at heart.

Sheila has plenty of other subjects in addition to her photos of the city.  Her work has been exhibited in numerous galleries, most recently at Viridian and National Artists Club.  You can find Sheila, and more examples of her work, at www.sheilasmithimages.com, take a look, and enjoy!  

Stores, Stop Rushing the Seasons!

My street tonight after the latest snowstorm.

My street tonight after the latest snowstorm.

It has been a record-breaking cold New York City winter.

I know this blog is called Splendiferous Everything, but let me tell you, it’s a little tough to try and put a nice positive spin on a winter like this.  It’s been too long, too cold, too snowy, and too relentless.

I started wearing my snow boots in December and have been in them, daily, since January.

Yesterday, one of them fell apart.  Both of them wound up in the trash can.  This was probably inevitable, since those boots weren’t meant to be worn for so many months.

I have a spare pair that I never wear and can’t remember where they came from.  They were probably given to me by someone as a present.  They’re too big, and get this: the tops of them are made of black knitted material.  Now, try as I might, I cannot see the wisdom of this.  Knitted material, used to make snow boots?  Hello?  What’s wrong with this picture?  I can wear them for one day, though, I thought this morning – and then I can pick up some new boots tonight at one of the stores near work.

You’d think I could pick up some new boots at the store, wouldn’t you?  Ha!  Try it!  Payless Shoes was clear out of boots.  My next target was a Target.  They were also out of boots.  DSW had a few rather okay pairs of boots left, if not the kind I really wanted – but when I tried some of those on, I found they were created for taller women.  The tops of the boots were so high I couldn’t even take get them on me, let alone take little steps around the shoe mirror in the store or buy the things.

All three shoe departments may not have had boots, but they were loaded with springtime shoes that no one can even think about wearing yet, sandals and flip-flops.  It’s one of the coldest winters on record, but they can’t keep selling snow boots – and it’s only early March?  To me, this means their official buyers must be chock full of nuts!  It’s wild and crazy enough that so many stores put up their Christmas and Hanukkah displays before Halloween, but it certainly shouldn’t be this hard for a gal to get some boots.  Winter sure isn’t over.  Take a look at the photo on here.  That’s my street.  All day we’ve been having snow – more snow.  It’s the kind of snow that flies sideways, right into your eyes, practically a blizzard condition.

I want new boots.

Payless, Target and DSW: this town of ours is Brooklyn, not Honolulu!  Why are you selling flip-flops here in March?

THINGS HALF IN SHADOW by Alan Finn

THINGS HALF IN SHADOW by Alan Finn

THINGS HALF IN SHADOW by Alan Finn

With wars come casualties; with casualties come grief-stricken family members; and where there are grief-stricken family members, the charlatans pop out of the woodwork.

It’s right after the Civil War in Philadelphia in Alan Finn’s book, THINGS HALF IN SHADOW, and Spiritualism has risen in the wake of so many lost soldiers.  His protagonist, who calls himself “Edward Clark,” even though that’s not his real name, is a reporter tasked with exposing the fakes who are preying on the desperate relatives of those lost too early.  He goes “undercover,” posing as a man looking to make contact with The Other Side.  When a medium dies in his presence, though, he finds himself a murder suspect…and the fun begins!

This is a very different sort of mystery novel with a lot of twists, turns and surprises.  I’ll say no more so I don’t spoil the ride for anyone else who wants to take it.  I recommend this book whole-heartedly.  Here’s the trailer.  Take a look, and enjoy!

A Very Cool Internet Business Opportunity

Want to be a Consultant and get your friends a break on their energy bills?  You can sign up right here with me!  If you’re already on the Internet reading blog posts like this one, wouldn’t it be more fun to make money on the Internet while you’re at it?

Take a look and give me a shout if you’d like to join this team:

http://bluetopazocean.myambit.com/start-a-business/energy-526

The Best Tweet of the Oscars

Sean Penn at the Oscars.

Sean Penn at the Oscars.

If there was an Oscar Award for Biggest Jerk at the Academy Awards Ceremony, Sean Penn would win it, hands down.

In case you haven’t heard, since it’s all over the media today, Penn was the presenter who announced the nominees for Best Director.  When Alejandro Inarritu, who hails from Mexico, won for BIRDMAN, Penn said, with staggering inappropriateness, “Who gave this son of a bitch a Green Card?”

Son of a bitch?  First and foremost, how could anybody say that to the winner of an Academy Award?

Second, what a vile reference that Green Card remark was to the fact that Inarritu is originally from Mexico!  If Penn believed saying such a thing would raise awareness on illegal aliens, it was too vile a comment to be taken seriously.  What kind of actor doesn’t know that presentation is everything?

Apparently Penn and Inarritu are “friends” and make jokes like these to one another quite a lot.  If that is truly the case, unless Penn lives under a rock, which I’m beginning to think may indeed be the case, surely he must have realized these kinds of private jokes wouldn’t fly in front of a general public that had no previous knowledge of them.  Beyond that, with a “friend” like Penn, Inarritu will never need enemies.

The Twitterverse lit up with Tweets in response to the insensitive Sean Penn remark, of course. Way to go, Twitter!  One of the best comments came from a fellow Brooklynite, Jermaine Spradley.  He expressed a sentiment that I’ve long felt.  Jermaine said:

“That ‘Green Card’ quip was microcosmic of everything everyone hates about privileged folk who adopt the struggles of underprivileged folk.”

If Oscar nominations were given for Best Tweet, I’d vote for Jermaine Spradley’s!  BRAVO!

 

Download a Book on Internet Moneymaking – for Free!

Take a look.  Here is a book on making money on the Internet.  It was ten years in the making, I’m told, and it’s a totally free download!  It’s called THE CIRCLE OF PROFIT.

Here it is – enjoy!

https://jp126.isrefer.com/go/pa-book/bluetopazocean/