Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Thursday, June 23, 2022

Picture perfect

 

Ok its another golden oldie and one of my favorite authors Jodi picoult.

one of my favorite all-time authors . The title is picture perfect.

 Jodi often describes human interrelationships involving difficult moral or societal choices. Like any good mystery they are usually resolved at the end.  and most of the events in the this story actually reflected the headlines recently  practically word for word. It was all there and I found that amazing to say the least. The book was written some years ago. The headlines are current  In that they focused around a famous  celebrity  husband who may have been physically abusing a less famous Woman He charged the woman with slander and his reputation. According to some reports woman didn’t fit the image of a helpless woman and he the celebrity  star was very popular he won a slander lawsuit apparently based on his popularity on television. Jodi’s book was published in its paperback form which  in 1995. Her story was centered around a super famous handsome movie star who abused his wife Cassie who he loved beyond all boundaries.

Cassie the protagonist is a lower ranking teacher in the graduate school at UCLA. As the story begins she awakens in a Los Angeles graveyard her hair crusted with blood and suffering from amnesia. A Sioux Indian policeman from a reservation in the Black Hills of South Dakota has fled that reservation and obtained a job as a policeman in the Los Angeles. William Flying Horse, a new  to the city  and about to start a job with the LAPD, finds her and takes her in. Days later, when her husband comes to claim her at the police station, no one is more stunned than Cassie Barrett to learn that not only is she a renowned anthropologist, but she is married to Hollywood’s leading man, Alex Rivers.

Perhaps it might all seem like one of those Harlequin books with a Studly  looking man and scantily covered women on the cover men on the cover and women but it’s not both Cassie and Alex had  very traumatic childhood’s with flawed parents and this leads to difficulties for  both of them. When she makes a mistake he loses his temper and beats her and she loves him as he does her and doesn’t know how to handle it. Like any good mystery writer write does the author draws you into the plot. It all seems like the perfect marriage each one has their good points. Cassie seems to have it all: a romantic Bel-Air mansion, a husband nominated for a long list of Academy Awards, and a celebrated career of her own. It’s the picture of a perfect marriage. But as Cassie regains her memory and settles back into her glamorous life, after   recovering most of her memory she learned some frightening things.  A frightening pattern of hurt, denial, and broken promises. Torn between fear and love. Cassie wrestles with the he loves her he he loves her not, but he really does love her but over the top. Really does he loves her not she loves him too much and I couldn’t wait to see how this low worked out at and ultimate questions: How can she leave? Then again, how can she stay? I don’t usually do this but I stayed up till three in the morning to see how this mess turned out.     Alex with   baby whose life was threatened when she was pregnant  beat her again. Cassie fled to finally but feared that her husband would with all his money would be able to find her. She finds a safe place in South Dakota the Indian reservation of the Sioux nation where an Indian massacre took place in my lifetime’and the story continues from there. Picture-perfect Some of you may remember being a history teacher I prefer straight chronology in stories. Picture-perfect jumps around a bit but there are not a ton of characters and the call always makes them stand out and are memorable. It’s perhaps one of America’s best mystery writers best novels and it would be worth your time to go to your library and see if they still have it some years after it was published.

 

Friday, May 27, 2022

North West Angle

 Visiting Rochester Minnesota for my anual physical at W.FM.C. (World famous Mayo Clinic  And was informed at age Eighty my "vitals" were all very good, I decided to head to  the nearby Goodwill store and find some bargain books . If it were tapes or even sheet music they  would be "golden oldies". Now I would be look for famous Authors  of best sellers I may have missed in the past. Hard covers for 2 dollars per, Paperbacks  at a buck, "bodice rippers A.K.A Harlequin. Fifty cents. 

    Putting my glasses on as if walked along the hard cover novel shelves I spotted the Wiliam Kent Krueger. Perhaps Minnesota most revered best selling mystery writers. I had met him severa years previously when he  was touring small town rural libraries  giving book talks. I was quite sure I had read all of the series of books featuring sheriff Cork'OConner but not judging a book by its cover I turn to a random page and rea it not recognizing a single thing.....oops Mrs. Troutbirder MY English TEACHER WIFE AND FORMER EDITOR now residing HEAVEN  WOULD NOT APPROVE.

     Cork O'CONNER obviously Irish but also native American  has retired from his job as county  Sheriff  in the wildernesses of far northern Minnesota's canoe country including its  lakes, the Canadian border, and gigantic lake Superior. as a PI now he an and his grown daughter, Jenny, get stranded by a gale on an island in Minnesota's Northwest Angle, an area of the state cut off from the U.S. by 60 miles of Canadian wilderness and the vast Lake of the Woods. 

Having left the rest of his extended family on their rented houseboat, Cork andJenny are exploring one of the islands in the Lake of the Woods along the US/Canada border when a derecho — a weather phenomenon that packs hurricane-force winds — suddenly strikes them. Seeking shelter, they discover a cabin in which a young woman has been brutally tortured and murdered. Once the storm passes, they hear the weak cries of a baby outside, apparently the dead woman's son, now abandoned. But before they can be rescued, a man with a rifle circles the island in a cigarette boat. Cork implicitly understands this is not a friendly visit, and arranges to move Jenny and the boy to a nearby island for their safety. They are eventually reunited with their family, but it's clear the baby boy is important to someone — and that someone won't hesitate to kill to get him back. All the while Jenny bonds with the baby and does everything  she can to try and keep him  safe. This part is basically a survival story with the likely murderer stalking them with a rifle . I know this area very well taking my sons there many times on canoe fishing adventures adventures 

 

Northwest Angle is, simply  a great  novel of suspense. There is some mystery of course as we[[ since a rather strange ultra right wing religious group is up to something suspicious s in ther barricaded fortress like church. The characters, the setting, the danger — real and imagined — are in perfect order here. This is not a whodunit in the traditional sense, but a "how is it going to play out"-type of mystery. par that was a bvit teioud was Jenny ponder her relationship with her boyfriend  and her potential for beina a moe.  one were to find fault here, it might be in the pacing, which at times tends to be overly introspective — in particular, Jenny pondering her relationship with her boyfriend and her potential for being a mother — 

The wisdom of Henry Meloux is on display in several exceptionally well-written scenes, and is one of the hallmarks of this series. 

This fine series just keeps getting better. Inspired I think I might head back up there this summer after seeing if my new girlfriend wants to go walleye fishing with me :)

For some great reviews click on the follow lin to my friend Barry Sumy first Weds of the month  BOOK CLUBS, SHE EVE PUTS MY REVES UP AS WE IN SPITE OF MY BAD GRAMAR YOU KNOW i MISS BARBS EDITINT FOR ME............




Friday, April 29, 2022

Ukraine exchange student

 Anna cam to the high school where I taught for 25  years in 217.  She stayed with our friends John and Joanne  who had dairy farm/ Often on Saturday morning Mrs. T and I would meet them for breakfast at a cafĂ© in a nearby small town. Anna smart beautiful and articulate in English charmed everyone.

  When the unprovoked attack by the Russians against the Ukraine first happened  Anna was in the Univerity at the capitol of  Kyiv. As the bombs grew closer she and many other students sheltered in the basement finally making Molotov cocktail bombs to hold off the Russian tanks. Finally after several weeks as her volunteer father fought as a soldier in the bombs grew closer and closer on I made a decision to leave Ukraine with her mother and younger brother. By train. They fled to the Czech Republic. There she once again she ended up living as a refugee in a farmstead much like her experience in Minnesota. They are now in a small town north of Bratislava, Slovakia Anna and her family have their own space, living on the second floor of the farmhouse and it's really quite wonderful she says there is also now a large population of displaced Ukrainians in the nearby village she noted that they had all gotten together to make Ukrainian Easter eggs and thought it was good for them all to connect talk and do something positive together

   Anna knows that one set of her grand parents lives in a village overrun by the Russians apparently according to her father their apartment is still standing, others are rubble.

Anna asked to say a big thank you to those dear people of Minnesota  who remembered her, and were praying and thinking of her, and her country she noted it. She noted it is an awesome thing to be cared for by people on the other side of the world an!!!Anna's final semester of college has started and will be entirely online. Her classmates are literally her classmates are literally scattered across Europe/ she never seems discouraged in spite of the Russians deliberately bombing civilians she wrote it's always been that way we have always been invaded, or to keep Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun. That goes back a long time ago. We do have something everybody needs, the capacity to grow food Stalin said it, can be no Russia, without the food of the Ukraine. And why now? And now Putin wants   to the country of Russia into the Empire of Russia. And he turns the terrible methods of his idol, Stalin, from mass civilian murder, to the forced relocation of people to the north of Russia. Ukrainians have been through this all before.

One of the many things that I have learned and the word has learned is that nothing comes out of Moscow that should ever be believed. Words just by time for what is a really happening underneath was One again Anna reported  "everyone I met in America so kind that is why I do not despair. As to her future plans Anna said our next move will be back to Kyiv brave young brave brave young college student returns to her school hometown and country where men and women young and old are standing together to defend a nation and its democracy against authoritarianism 'because of the war in a faraway Ukraine has become personal because of Anna. But............There is something else in my own  country different in detail but very similar in potential   consequences A political party whose base cult like believes a lie that the recent presidential election was stolen. There was a attack on our national capitol     instigated and  the cult leader of former president. Policemen were murdered and a vice president and leader of the house were threatened to be killed. Democracy came very close to being over throat by a Dr. Goebbels Hitler's Minister of propaganda showed repeatedly that a bald live repeated often enough and loud enough can work to create a fascist totalitarian system










    

Monday, April 18, 2022

The investigator

 


Well it seems my two favorite Minnesota best-selling mystery writers have finally crossed paths on the issue of migrants crossing southern American borders illegally. First some years ago William Kent Krueger wrote about that controversial issue in… Sulfur Springs ………... and more recently there is a introductory letty Davenport novel titled the investigator. By John Sanford

 This time around Sanford wrote a spinoff series featuring Lucas Davenport's adopted daughter, Letty. She's been working for Senator Christopher Colles (R-Florida) but is getting bored and resigns. As the chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Office, Colles decides to enlist her as an investigator for the Homeland Inspector Inspector General and sends her to Texas, along with DHS agent John Kaiser, to look into the suspicion that crude oil thefts in Texas may be a fundraising effort on the part of far right militia groups solve so-called border problem in a manner far more violent manner than building the wall that Mexico would pay for according to one of Trump lying fantasies.

As a long time fan of all of Sanford's protagonist be they detectives Lucas Davenport, Virgil flowers, Letty various phase is a chip off the old block of all of them. Sanford's writing is always well plotted, funny and sharp sometimes over the top in like William Kent Krueger he can draw you into the character often so you'll wonder whether he or she the protagonists will even survive. Of course all of his characters show up and most of his stories even if only briefly but once addicted as I have been it's almost as if they have become family yes talk between cops and their kind is often gritty and even profane but but it seems very real and like me you may stay up far too late at night to see how it all turns out in the end

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

My First Computer Remembered

The following story is true. Only the names have been changed to protect both the guilty and the oblivious. The math department, under my classroom neighbor Creps, was the first to have a computer (an Apple) in the classroom. I soon borrowed the manual wanting to keep up with the times. It seems you had to "program" it yourself. Whatever that meant. I managed to accomplish the feat and showed some of my economics students how to use the machine. I plowed ahead requesting the second classroom computer to arrive in our high school. I had reported that my senior economics students were making graphs to show the linkage between certain demographic data and levels of economic development. The situation cried out for a computer solution as a more efficient means of producing a correlation co-efficient. I thought I might finally get some use for the knowledge gained in my college "Statistical Analysis" class. I finally got the computer for classroom use and a leave to attend a two day "Computer In The Classroom" seminar in Rochester, Minnesota.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Carrying the spanking new Apple II to the class, as required, I arrived at the site of the meeting early in the morning. It was the Holiday Inn. I knew where the meeting room was as we often had our regional union meetings there. Parking was a problem in the front , so I settled in on a residential street behind the motel rather than carry the computer all the way around to the front entrance, I opted to check a back door. Fortunately, it was unlocked and I entered a large very dimly lighted room. It was then that I saw a red exit sign across a large space.Pausing to look carefully about, it was then that I realized I was in the swimming pool area. Walking slowly, in the dim light, I proceeded to skirt the pool by a wide margin. And stepped blindly into an unnoticed kiddie pool, plunging head first, computer in hand, into about two feet of water. On my knees I lifted the computer out of the water and stood up. I was soaked from the knees down but otherwise remarkably dry. I then entered the a vacant hallway to the restaurant and found myself a bathroom. With about fifteen minutes to go, before the class was scheduled, the hand blow dryer was put to use on my pants and the dripping machine. "Mr Troutbirder?" I heard when I finally entered the meeting room. "Present", I said quietly, trying to be as unobtrusive as possible. I took the last empty chair available next to a fellow teacher, who appeared to be the motherly elementary school type. Setting the schools precious and no longer dripping computer on the table in front of me, I mumbled something about hoping it would work. "Mine too," the kindly lady said smiling. "This computer business is totally new to me," she added. To that, I tried to nod as sagely as possible and pointed to myself. Then for some strange reason my computer failed to "boot up." Upon raising my hand for help from the instructor, he was unable to determine the cause of the malfuntion. We were all puzzled! It turned out that the third grade teacher was willing to share her computer with me. She caught on quickly to the mechanics of computer operations and nurtured me thru the entire class. I thanked her profusely I returned to my high school later the next day computer in hand.  With as straight a face as I could manage  our high school principal Mr. Landover was informed that he had saddled me with a faulty piece of equipment. A new and improved model arrived shortly thereafter in my classroom and thus I was well on my way to becoming the "computer guru" of the History Department. I've also been avoiding kiddie pools ever since....

Friday, April 1, 2022

Mark Twain autobiography

 


The new Autobiography of Mark Twain is a whopper. It weighs a ton. All 800 pages..... but in any case the subject was known for telling whoppers. And a wonderfully skewed and satirical sense of humor.
As you may know, Twain wanted his writings on his own life to be unpublished for a hundred years after his death. The team of "friends," that published this monster, took numerous pages to explain Twains complicated reasoning for his 'don't publish till death wish." Then, on top of all this, Twain did not believe a chronological life story was the way to go. Another fifty pages by the editors, were required to unravel this convoluted reasoning . Then there were the several authors whose previous biographies of Twain violated his wishes on this subject and using his voluminous notes and discarded autobiographical attempts published anyway. The editors of the current biography required much tut tuting and footnotes to show why the previous authors had screwed up. I figure about half the book is comprised of this kind of editorial gobbledegook. All of that might possibly appeal to those in depth literary experts and analysts who make a career of deciphering hieroglyphics and the like. Not for me though. I ended up skipping thru most of it.
https://barriesummy.blogspot.com/index.html

Now as to what Twain actually wrote himself, it's as you might expect wonderfully interesting. I had to laugh out loud (lol) many times and then read it to my spouse who kept on giving me that "so what’s so funny look." There is much here in the way of little anecdotes and short sketches of people, famous and not so famous, that the author knew. Is the book worth purchasing? For the average reader, like myself, probably not. The parts that I read and really enjoyed I got from the book which was obtained at the public library. I reasons why I skipped about half of this book , I’ve already explained. I think Mark Twain might have chuckled at that.....


Sunday, March 27, 2022

Ukraine

 On Saturday Mornings Barb & I met friends for breakfast for years at the Gateway in Wykoff . I continue that tradition . On past Saturday John and Joanne Glady had some really good news. ANNA  their former exchange student from the Ukraine had managed to flee from Kiev the capitol with her mom, little  brother and Grandma to Czechoslovakia.  Her Dad and older brother in college remained behind to fight the Russians.  I met ANNA MANY TIMES both as a teacher in our high school and for  breakfast on Saturday mornings.  We often  TALKED  ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL EVENTS,  HER COUNTRY AND HER PLANS FOR THE FUTURE. What a sweetie she was and is. It is clear the U.S.   and the democracies of Europe will stand with Ukraine But for me now this god-awful war Russian aggression  has become personal for me. I prayed last night for ANNA and her families' safety .

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Minnesota politics

 

BREAKING: It was just leaked that GOP candidate for MN Attorney General Doug Wardlow is planning to host a private fundraising event with Mike “The MyPillow Guy” Lindell this month.

Raymond, Mike Lindell has done more than almost any American to push Donald Trump’s Big Lie and undermine faith in American democracy. His reckless false claims about the 2020 election have even earned him a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit. But apparently, for Republicans in 2022, that’s an asset, not a liability.

The fact that Wardlow would host a fundraising event alongside Lindell, an honest-to-goodness traitor to American democracy, should completely disqualify him from serving as Attorney General. 

Before we are Republicans or Democrats, we are Americans, and the sanctity of our democracy must be above partisan politics. If you agree, pitch in right now to help us make sure Wardlow never comes anywhere near the Attorney General’s