Posted in Giveaways

Giveaways 3/31: Peace Out, March!

Another month in the books. March has been busy, busy. Hopefully, you won TONS of great stuff. I try to get rid of any expiring/expired sweeps. Sorry if I miss any. Good luck in April ( for sweeping and in everything else)!!
Continue reading “Giveaways 3/31: Peace Out, March!”

Posted in Book Reviews

Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert: Patricia Cornwell

London in the 1800s was terrorized by an unknown assailant who stalked & killed his prey. ‘Jack the Ripper’ was what he’d called himself in his numerous letters to the police. Without DNA, computers, or even fingerprinting abilities, the authorities were stumped. Most of their investigations led them to think a low-income, laborer was to blame.

Over the many years since the first Ripper murder, conspiracies and opinions have abounded. Author Patricia Cornwell was lead to and became obsessed with finding the truth. Taking the route of processing the Ripper case with modern technologies, she virtually time traveled to the Ripper’s era. It’s no secret that she has decided she knows his identity.

Walter Sickert is mostly remembered as an angst artist who depended on his wives’ generosity to live. Because he is held in high regard by the art community, her investigation was less than well received. Accusations against her and conflicting theories were tossed about when the first edition of this book was written. Now, with additional pictures, evidence, and information, Cornwell has re-written her case. Within the 570 page, non-fiction work, Patricia Cornwell provides her entire theory on why Walter Sickert was Jack the Ripper.

Whether or not readers agree, and based on the reviews of this book the opinions are mixed, one has to say that her research is impressive and her case is sound. Without a confession or some other such proof, we can never bang the gavel on these murders. Circumstantial evidence, in my opinion, does side with our author. No doubt, this is the most complete, modernized account of the entire case and all the murders involved.

Patricia Cornwell has invested an immense amount of time, energy, and her own money to complete this investigation. No one can argue that she wasn’t all in. That said, it is a one-sided book. Even the title is adamant that Sickert was the Ripper. Although other avenues were briefly mentioned, they all led her directly back to Sickert. Readers won’t find any other plausible Ripper theories in this book.

This specific edition does contain maps & photos to aid in the case. The autopsy photos should make readers grateful that our medical field has advanced! However, there is a lot of repetition in the pages. Many times, Cornwell hammers the point home by reasserting opinion and by providing way too many details about Sickert’s routines. It definitely could have filled less than 570 pages.

I cannot argue her theories and if asked, I’d probably side with her based on the info she’s provided. It’s a compelling case that could be prosecuted in today’s courts. But, there was too much opinion, too many mundane passages and it just lacked a ‘Wow’ factor. If someone chooses to read ‘Ripper’, they must be either very into non-fiction, specifically true  crime, or very into the Ripper in general. It is a time-consuming read that took me much long than usual to finish. I give it 3 stars.

On a separate note, the Kindle edition of this book contained ‘Kindle in Motion’. Basically, this is an interactive feature where pictures and maps move and can be moved. I enjoyed this feature and more Kindle books should utilize it.

Posted in Home, Pets

The End of the Mouse Chase

The night after The Great Mouse Chase occurred, Buster was on high alert. Around 4 AM, he began his pacing & low growling. Most of his attention was centered around the couch in my bedroom.

This time, my husband was already up, as he couldn’t sleep. He’d heard Buster’s insistence and went to look under the couch. Fortunately, he was able to keep Buster from diving under the couch. The couch is low-lying so he had to manually move it to see underneath. With a flashlight handy, he saw our tiny invader crouched, petrified under the back leg of the couch.

He has actual work gloves, not bulky winter ones like mine, and was able to scoop up Mr. Mouse. Buster truly flipped out at the sight of his ‘Dad’ handling the intruder. Plus, being part Whippet, he has an impressible vertical jump. At 5’9, my husband isn’t incredibly tall so Buster can easily jump chest high. All that jumping & barking woke me up.

I was coherent enough to witness the last part of the chase. With cat-like reflexes, slily pun intended, my husband whisked the mousie out the door. From there he was relocated to a secluded, forest, mouse-relocation plan. Hopefully, he’ll seek rehabilitation for his breaking and entering problem. No mice were hurt during this chase. Buster was thwarted in his violent search & destroy mission, but he has moved on to chasing his tail and begging for bacon as usual. The rest of the family is caring on as usual after the ordeal.

Posted in Home, Pets

The Great Mouse Chase

Sounds like a Disney movie, right? But, alas, it was only the title I’ve given to last night!

I have to preface by saying that we live very rural and since our home was purchased in ’96 by my husband, we’ve had our fair share of woodland visitors. We met in ’98 and married in 2000 so we’ll say, for the sake of argument, that in 17 years we’ve had visits from a bat, several wayward birds, a chipmunk (or 2), snakes, and countless field mice. We are humane. We never set out to kill animals for being animals. After all, no bird flies by thinking it would be great fun to become stuck in someone’s kitchen! Catch & release has always been our policy.

Buster, being a non-human, has a more of a catch and eat policy. We’re not sure if he is trying to play or that Whippet side of him wishes to hunt and eat its prey. The bat & birds were pre-Buster and got in during a remodeling of the kitchen. They escaped unscathed. Mice have been casualties of war. Field mice are almost a given in rural areas. Humans encroach on their space. Winter comes. So on and so forth.

My husband is pretty good at catching them without incident when possible. Several have not made it past Buster. R.I.P. Unknown Field Mice. Truthfully, since we did some fixing up several years back, I haven’t seen any mice at all. But, a few weeks ago, Buster began pacing and sniffing around. I thought perhaps he’d caught a scent through the open window or that the Febreeze plug-in was bothering him. Occasionally, he dislikes the scent! I told my youngest son that whatever it was, ‘Bus was on the case!’. We watched him awhile then followed him into the kitchen.

Sure enough, there was a tiny and I do mean tiny, field mouse trapped in a corner under the heater. Safely removed and non-Bustered, we figured that was the end of it. *Sigh* I was wrong. Around midnight, last night, Buster barked. Now, he doesn’t bark unless there is something not right. Usually, it’s an animal outside (deer, a cat, coyote, etc.) When I woke up, and got my glasses, I saw Buster laying in front of my dresser. It has double doors in the front and 3 pull-out drawers on each side. Doing a funky dance, Buster was growling, standing up then laying down.

Being that my husband isn’t the type of man who one wakes up unless they are steps away from Heaven or the house is burning, I crept around Buster to turn on a low-wattage light. I have to admit that I felt a bit like Shaggy following Scooby. I saw the double doors lightly move. Buster was on it! He jumped into action but his lack of opposable thumbs didn’t allow him to open the doors himself. I’m not stupid so I slipped on my tennis shoes and put on ski gloves. Work gloves would’ve been best but it was midnight!

As I bent over to tie a shoe, I heard the doors bump again and Buster jumped. A growl followed and his focus went to a drawer that I saw was ajar. This line of action repeated which just affirmed my thoughts that we did indeed look like Scooby and Shaggy. Somehow, Mr. Mouse was alternating between drawers and as Buster picked up his scent, it drove him bananas! All this commotion awakened my youngest.

He’d crept down the hall and scared the snot out of me when he asked from the dark hallway, ‘Are you ok?’. Thankfully, I stifled the scream. As we watched the uncoordinated Buster dance of jumping between drawers, we decided to go all do or die. Clad in my pajamas, ski gloves and tennis shoes, I grabbed the double doors and threw them open. They revealed- nothing. Drawers were opened one and a time. Finally, with one left, I sent my son to get a shopping bag to snag Mr. or Ms. Mouse. My mistake was turning my head to talk to him while
opening the drawer.

Yes, you guessed it. As the drawer opened, because the mouse HAD to be in the LAST drawer, he/she made her majestic leap to freedom. Buster in his sonic speed mode missed it by a millimeter. Past me, past my son that determined little bugger ran like The Flash. *Sigh #2* We lost him. I swear even Buster groaned at our epic failure. My son, speechless, walked back down the hall and simply closed his door. I had no idea where to look or go and by now, it was 3 AM. How we didn’t wake my husband is well beyond me!

I looked at Buster and told him we should just go to bed. But, he never gave up. When my husband woke, 3 hours later, for work, Buster was still diligently placed in front of the dresser. We will find the little intruder. For his sake, he should hope I find him before Buster does. I must salute him though for outwitting 2 humans and a pit/whippet! Good show, little mouse. Good show!