Sunday, June 26, 2016

Love Wins in St. George!

June is Pride month, a time to celebrate diversity and embrace members of the LGBT Community.  In St. George, a Pride Festival was staged at Vernon Worthen Park.

I was happy to meet up with so many loving friends and neighbors who came out for unity.

Despite the warm temperatures, festival goers found plenty of ways to stay cool.

Josh Warburton, owner of the Independent Newspaper and a candidate for Washington County Commissioner, used the event as a way to spread a message of diversity.

Dorothy Engelman, a candidate for Utah Senate Seat 29 and Executive Director at the Erin Kimball Memorial Foundation, talks about her inclusive platform with St. George News Online.

I'm so proud of all the Utah residents who use their voice to speak out for equality.  Love Wins!

Friday, June 24, 2016

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion

They say you should never judge a book by it's cover, but that's exactly what I did when it came to The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg. And why not? The cover was done up in bright colors featuring a pleasant, old time drawing of cute girls on roller skates pumping gas. And with Fannie Flagg as the author, what could possibly go wrong?

Things started well enough with this novel which opened with Mrs. Sookie Poole trying to deal with her insufferable, domineering mother. Nicked named “The Winged Victory,” Sookie's mother, Lenore, should have been hysterical. Unfortunately, that's where the good times ended for me. Lenore turned out to be more annoying than funny, so I was happy when the story revealed that Sookie had secretly been adopted.

The plot then shifts back to 1939 when the Jurdabralinski family opened Wink's Phillip's 66 in Pulaski, Wisconsin. When the U.S. Enters World War 11 after the bombing at Pearl Harbor, Wink, the only eligible male in the Jurdabralinski family, goes off to serve as a pilot. His sister, Fritzi, has also learned to fly, but she stays behind to help her sisters run the gas station.

Fritzi goes on to join the WASP program which involves female pilots who are not commissioned in the Armed Services, but who work ferrying planes from the factory to the army bases for the men to fly. Fritzi's other sisters eventually join her in the WASP program and the reader gets a behind-the-scenes look at a system which paved the way for future female pilots.

I enjoyed the history lesson, but not the story itself. It seemed disjointed as it ping-ponged back and forth between the Jurdabralinkski family's history and Sookie's desire to know who her real mother was. I won't spoil the outcome, but that too was a bit disappointing, even though it did feature an unexpected twist.

I have no doubt that Fannie Flagg is a truly gifted author. In fact, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-stop Cafe was one of my favorite books. I can remembers laughing out loud as I read this novel, so I was sadly disappointed by The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion.

I awarded two stars to The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion on my Goodreads page

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Review of A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I've long been familiar with the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his infamous character, Sherlock Holmes. What caught me off guard is learning this British author had penned a mystery called A Study in Scarlet which made numerous references to the LDS Church and Brigham Young

I did a little research and learned this short story was the first Sherlock Holmes mystery. My initial interest was related to the author's references to the Salt Lake Valley and the LDS Church. I was astounded to discover that Brigham Young was named in this story, and portrayed as a bit of a dictator who would smite any opponent or apostate who he viewed as a threat to the community he established in Utah.

The actual plot of A Study in Scarlet involved a man who was seeking revenge against the LDS Church for forcing a young woman into a marriage against her will, and murdering the man who raised her when he tried to object. The killers eventually left the LDS Church and wound up in England. This is where the killer takes his revenge.

Although this story is very old, it still retained my interest, and not just due to the historical ties to Utah. I rewarded A Study in Scarlet three out of five stars on my Goodreads Page

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review of Proof of Heaven

What happens when you die? Perhaps you've heard stories about people “walking towards the light.” Others report feelings of extreme well being. But how much stock can one put into these reports? A lot, if you ask me, especially when the report is coming from a neurosurgeon. Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander is the most detailed account of a near death experience that I have ever been made aware of*Version*=1&*entries*=0

After suffering from a rare illness, Dr. Alexander went into a coma that essentially shut down the part of the brain that makes us human. During that period, Dr. Alexander had some very vivid encounters which seem to support the stories told by others who had near death experiences

What made this account especially unique is that Dr. Alexander explains his encounters with the Divine in scientific terms. Originally a doubter of many near death accounts, Dr. Alexander explains that we really do have a soul which lives on after our physical body has perished. The best news is, Dr. Alexander's account seems to confirm there really is a loving God who cares very deeply for each person.

Dr. Alexander's take away from his experience reveals some very comforting thoughts such as there is a God who truly loves us, and we can do no wrong. His tale was told in very practical terms with a lot of science to back up what was happening in the physical realm while Dr. Alexander was in the spiritual domain.

I listened to Proof of Heaven as an audiobook. Typically, most authors aren't very skilled when it comes to narration, but Dr. Alexander is a happy exception. In fact, this story was made all the better by having the account come directly from the source.

Due to the interesting story written and outstanding narration, I am awarding Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander a rare five out of five stars on my Goodreads Page