Archive for May, 2011

More news of Precious Ramotswe from Alexander McCall Smith in the twelfth book in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series.  This time it is The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party; yes, Grace Makutsi finally marries Phuti Radiphuti.  Far be it from me to pass on stories or gossip about Grace, so I will not mention any details about her obsession with shoes, her abuse of Precious’ kind and gentle personality, or her unhealthy dislike of Violet Sephotho.

Precious is called to a difficult case involving cruelty to cattle which she is unable to solve but is able to resolve in a traditional Botswana way.  While on the case, Precious brings new purpose to the life of Charlie, the uncertified mechanical assistant at the Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, although it is far too soon to say Charlie is a changed person.

The really great news is that something precious to Precious is returned to her in far better shape than when she lost it.  I will not be like Grace and immediately speculate as to when it will again list to the driver’s side.

The wedding of you know who to you know whom is over but I fear it will not bring relief to the detective agency.  I have a feeling that who is not going to quit her job.  I may write a letter to the author.  Charles Marlin

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If you love using native plants in your garden and landscaping, mark your calendar June 14th and 15th, 9am-7pm at C & A Trees, 2.5 miles south of Clarion on Rt 68, a great place year round and host for this fund-raiser for the Seneca Rocks Audubon Society.  With 30 perennials, 3 vines, and 25 shrubs/small trees to choose from you will not go home empty-handed.

This our second post of plant images, so please back up and check out Clarion County Native Plant Sale.  Charles Marlin

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Moby-Duck and Piggy-Duck met one Sunday afternoon in front of the pool hall.  Their minds were blank and their pockets empty, so they decided to wander off to circle the globe, thinking such adventure would be interesting.  They were gone a long time before Piggy-Duck reappeared in a gin joint in Newark, New Jersey.  Fortunately Donovan Hohn was sitting at the bar that morning and became the first to hear Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them.

Piggy’s story was thin and in places confusing, so Hohn spent the next three years retracing Moby’s and Piggy’s adventure and filling in details too difficult for Piggy to remember.  Hohn learned a lot of things about our deteriorating environment, the oceans and the people who live off of them, and reread Moby-Dick, all of which have given him new insights into man and water.  During his seafaring years, he admitted to fathering one child, which seems to be a low figure for a sailor but we must take his word.  All sailors should write so beautifully of parenting and father’s love.

This is a rollicking good adventure on the sea, memoir, and a rather late coming-of-age story.  The serious message of his research is the abyss of the oceans is no safer than the land and air in our careless hands.  This is a useful book for the good citizen.  Charles Marlin

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If you love native plants in your garden, landscaping, and roadside, mark your calendar June 14th and 15th, 9am to 7pm at C & A Trees, 2.5 miles south of Clarion on Rt. 68, a great place year round but especially sweet for the 14th & 15th of June.  Think big choice–30 perennials, 3 vines, and 25 shrubs and small trees.

The sale is sponsored by Seneca Rocks Audubon Society as a fund- raiser; and they are hoping to make it an annual event.  This means you will have an opportunity to design and redesign, fill in and expand each year.  Every gardener loves an ongoing  project, so think big and native.  Charles Marlin

More images of native plants to be on sale will be posted soon.

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Cooking your way through the war gorged Middle East and living to write about it turns out to be not only possible but entertaining.  Now that Annia Ciezadlo has done it, it is not recommended for anyone else..  The book is Day of Honey: A Memoir Of Food, Love, And War.  The author is an American journalist who married an American educated Lebanese journalist, and together they shuffled off to Baghdad in 2003, and spend the next six years either in Baghdad or Beirut, sometimes separated but often together.

She survived by learning the foods of both countries, aggressively reaching out to citizens and members of the press community for friendship, and accommodating her very prickly Lebanese in-laws.  This is not to say she was not abused and deeply stressed by the violent conflicts and sectarian hatred.  Even by her own account she came near a breakdown.

So the book is a surprise.  It is a happy account of learning and enjoying national cuisine, and if you want to continue the pleasure, the book ends with recipes, a food bibliography, and a list of food websites.

If one happens to be compiling a list of books with memorable mothers-in-law, this title must be added.  Umm Hassane takes no prisoners.  Charles Marlin

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