Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Mysterious Trixie Belden

As some of you may know, I am a reader. I frequent the local library so much so that most of the librarians know me by name. I nearly always have multiple books checked out. One of the services of the library is the inter-library loan. An inter-library loan is when the local library system doesn't have a book in its possession that you would like to read. They send a request to other libraries to borrow the book.

Back in June, I wanted to check out some books in the "Trixie Belden" series. I had read a few of them when I was a teenager. The local library only owned two of the books in the series of thirty-nine, so I requested the rest of the books in the series. A few at a time, the books came in, some from as far away as New York state. The book series is about a group of teenagers, centered on Trixie Belden, an amateur detective, and her best friend, Honey. They are an easy read, intended for young teens.

The first book, "The Secret Of The Mansion," came out in 1948, long before I was born (the year my mother was born!), so the early books can be a bit hokey, and very innocent. Some of the later books were written in the 1980s. But they are sweet and the characters are kind people who continually do good things for others, including raising money for UNICEF.

At the beginning of January, I received the last two books in the series. You would think that would be a good thing. You would be wrong. While I love the series as a whole, and most of the books in it, the final two books were a big disappointment. All of the books after the first six were written by staff writers under a pseudonym. The author of the final two had obviously never read any of the books in the series, and boy, does it show. He/she included many inaccurate details, including the names of the horses the kids ride. Trixie's brother, Mart, likes to use big words, and in the final two, his fun banter is noticeably absent.

In book #38, one of the key characters (Jim) was off at a summer camp, while the rest of the main characters were all included. Since Jim is Trixie's love interest, it was so disappointing that he was excluded. In #39, the final book, Trixie and Honey are on vacation without any of their brothers or friends, so the finale was disappointing, not getting to "say goodbye" to the friends we've grown to love. I realize they probably didn't know at the time that no more books would be written, but the fact that the author apparently didn't care anything about the books or series and integrity of the series is just disappointing.

If you are, or have, a teenage girl, I recommend borrowing a book from the library and starting to read the series. But I wouldn't blame you if you chose not to read the final two.

List of Trixie Belden Books

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Liberal Atheist

Please visit my Facebook group
The Liberal Atheist

Faith vs. Science

As is often the case, I've been having an argument with religious relatives. Seriously, does it ever end? The crux of the issue is religion and politics.  I am, of course, an Atheist Democrat, where they are religious Republicans. I am not afraid of a fight, but the thing is, ignorance abounds. When asked a direct question, they can't give a real answer, because they don't know the truth of the matter, and have no interest in learning it. One even said to me, "You must not watch Fox News." Of course I don't. Fox News isn't a news company. It's an entertainment company. And they admit they lie to their followers, and they are under no legal obligation to tell the truth. I didn't make that up. Fox actually said that.

I know I should be above it, but it just really irks me when people (relative or not) troll my page and can't put up a reasonable argument, then give each other verbal "high fives" for (apparently) putting me in my place. But they didn't actually win the argument. They think they did because they don't know the difference between fact and fiction. And I sit here, shaking my head, because it's so frustrating arguing with someone who ignores fact and chooses ignorance. I mean, come on, at least TRY to learn something new. JUST TRY. You can't actually be that stupid.

Here is a lesson about fact and fiction:

Faith:  firm belief in something for which there is no proof

Science:  a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

Fact:  a thing that is indisputably the case.

Fiction:  a belief or statement that is false, but that is often held to be true because it is expedient to do so.

Just because you believe in something, does NOT make it true. Facts and science are truths that can be proven. Just because you don't understand science, doesn't mean it is wrong. The facts are the facts that can't be changed. Science challenges what we believe and either proves it to be true or false. Science and Faith have nothing to do with each other. (This was a point one of them made, wrongly.)

Believe it or not, I'm trying to help them learn. I know it's in vain, but I must try.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Facebook Groups or Fascist Groups?

I'm getting really fed up with a lot of things lately. Facebook groups are one of my big pet-peeves at the moment. I was a member of a group where people share ideas and help each other (not going to give them publicity by giving the name). I really enjoyed the interaction with the other members and I was quite active. Then one night, a discussion started, about hot dogs, of all things. Which ones are the best, etc. There was a lot of discussion, more than you'd think, and it got a little heated. One person said Bar-S were the best. I disagreed, stating they are the garbage of hot dogs (they sell for less than $1, so you know they aren't a quality product, for Pete's sake). The woman just kept on about it, so I posted a ranking of hot dogs done by some organization, showing that Bar-S are literally at the bottom. I said you can love the garbage, but it's still garbage. The next morning I went to see what new comments had been posted overnight. The post was gone. I posted a question asking what happened to the post. So I got banned from the group permanently. Nothing was ever said to me, I was simply blocked. I suspect the woman who was complaining must have been a good friend to the moderator, but I'll never know.

I am a member of another group, where free items are offered. I posted some items (to give away free) and soon after, I realized I couldn't post anything. I had gotten blocked for 24 hours.

I am getting really fed up with arbitrary rules and how do you know when you've broken one? Most are up to interpretation. I understand they need rules, but unless someone is abusing them, wouldn't a warning be sufficient, especially for a new member and a first offense? Now I am soured on this group, and as soon as I've given away my items (that I've already posted), I plan to leave.