The ungrateful

I don´t usually have much to say on current events, especially not on my blog, my mother always told me that if I want to keep my friends never to discuss religion, politics and football. But lately it seems that every second news article is related to Greece and after reading plenty of them I decided to voice my opinion.

Reading about Greece is depressing, but what is truly annoying is that Germany has a very short memory considering that after World War II their debt was forgiven by many countries (including Greece) to help get them get back on their feet. Isn´t it sad that they are not capable of showing the same kindness?
“The 1953 agreement, in which Greece and about 20 other countries effectively wrote off a large chunk of Germany’s loans and restructured the rest, is a landmark case that shows how effective debt relief can be. It helped spark what became known as the German economic miracle.

So it’s perhaps ironic that Germany is now among the countries resisting Greece’s requests to have part of its debts written off.”

Let´s just hope that that is all that they have forgotten.

The spark is back with The Veil, The Devil´s Isle Book 1 by Chloe Neill

Sadly for quite a while I haven´t felt truly excited with a new book, don´t get me wrong, I like plenty of authors and am happy to buy their books but there are a two exceptions: Ilona Andrews that has yet to publish something that I didn´t like and even after years of following Kate Daniels and Curran I have yet to become bored with this series. When they published the first book in the Hidden Legacy, Burn for Me, I was excited. The same can be said for Elizabeth Hunter, Elemental Mysteries was a delicious series to read so when she announced the new series, The Irin Chronicles I was excited to read it, and was not disappointed.

Then there are authors that I like but am not overly excited to read their new books simply because at some point I became bored with the series or the characters. Not the authors fault, I simply lost interest so maybe a year after the book has been published I will buy it, maybe. One of these really awsome authors is Chloe Neill, I followed Merit and Ethan Sullivan for a while and was entertained by them but about three books ago I lost interest, I have purchased all the books but the last one in the series is still sitting in my kindle waiting to be read. But as I said I like the author so like the other authors that I like I subscribed to her newsletter years ago and always take the time to read it. Earlier this week Chloe Neill posted the first three chapters of a new book in a new series, The Veil, The Devil´s Isle Book 1, I went over to her website to read the first three chapters and I am really excited and looking forward to this book.

If the first three chapters are anything to go by this is going to be one amazing book to read, Chloe Neill has outdone herself with this book if she keeps the same pace and the same vibe that you get in the first three chapters. So yes, I have preordered the book that will only be available on the 4th of August and I am very excited to read it, so thank you Chloe Neill for bringing back that little spark that ignites the love of a book as soon as you read the first page, on August 4th I will be unavailable as I will be reading The Veil.

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Elizabeth Hunter: http://elizabethhunterwrites.com

Chloe Neill: http://www.chloeneill.com/?page_id=769#devil8217s-isle-nal

Ilona Andrews: http://www.ilona-andrews.com/books/

20 Words You’re Probably Misusing

source: http://mentalfloss.com/article/65217/20-words-youre-probably-misusing

English vocabulary is full of pitfalls that you might not be aware of. Don’t let them trip you up.

1. INVARIABLY

If something happens invariably, it always happens. To be invariable is to never vary. The word is sometimes used to mean frequently, which has more leeway.

2. COMPRISE/COMPOSE

A whole comprises its parts. The alphabet comprises 26 letters. The U.S. comprises 50 states. But people tend to say is comprised of when they mean comprise. If your instinct is to use the is … of version, then substitute composed. The whole is composed of its parts.

3. FREE REIN

The words rein and reign are commonly confused. Reign is a period of power or authority—kings and queens reign—and a good way to remember it is to note that the g relates it to royal words like regent and regal. A rein is a strap used to control a horse. The confusion comes in when the control of a horse is used as a metaphor for limits on power or authority. Free reincomes from such a metaphor. If you have free rein you can do what you want because no one is tightening the reins.

4. JUST DESERTS

There is only one s in the desert of just deserts. It is not the dessert of after-dinner treats nor the dry and sandy desert. It comes from an old noun form of the verb deserve. A desert is a thing which is deserved.

5. TORTUOUS/TORTUROUS

Tortuous is not the same as torturous. Something that is tortuous has many twists and turns, like a winding road or a complicated argument. It’s just a description. It makes no judgment on what the experience of following that road or argument is like. Torturous, on the other hand, is a harsh judgment—“It was torture!”

6. EFFECT/AFFECT

When you want to talk about the influence of one thing on another, effect is the noun and affect is the verb. Weather affects crop yields. Weather has an effect on crop yields. Basically, if you can put a the or an in front of it, use effect.

7. EXCEPT/ACCEPT

People rarely use accept when they mean except, but often put except where they shouldn’t. To accept something is to receive, admit, or take on. To except is to exclude or leave out—“I’ll take all the flavors except orange.” The x in except is a good clue to whether you’ve got it right. Are you xing something out with the word? No? Then consider changing it.

8. DISCREET/DISCRETE

Discreet means hush-hush or private. Discrete means separate, divided, or distinct. In discreet, the two Es are huddled together, telling secrets. In discrete, they are separated and distinguished from each other by the intervening t.

9. I.E./E.G.

When you add information to a sentence with parentheses, you’re more likely to need e.g., which means “for example,” than i.e., which means “in other words” or “which is to say …” An easy way to remember them is that e.g. is eg-zample and i.e. is “in effect.”

10. CITE/SITE

People didn’t have as much trouble with these two before websites came along and everyone started talking about sites a lot more than they used to. A site is a location or place. Cite, on the other hand, is a verb meaning to quote or reference something else. You can cite a website, but not the other way around. If you’re using site as a verb, it’s probably wrong.

11. DISINTERESTED/UNINTERESTED

People sometimes use disinterested when they really mean uninterested. To be uninterested is to be bored or indifferent to something; this is the sense most everyday matters call for. Disinterested means impartial or having no personal stake in the matter. You want a judge or referee to be disinterested, but not necessarily uninterested.

12. FLOUT/FLAUNT

Are you talking about showing off? Then you don’t mean flout, you mean flaunt. To flout is to ignore the rules. You can think of flaunt as the longer showier one, with that extra letter it goes around flaunting. You can flout a law, agreement, or convention, but you can flaunt almost anything.

13. PHASE/FAZE

Phase is the more common word and usually the right choice, except in those situations where it means “to bother.” If something doesn’t bother you, it doesn’t faze you. Faze is almost always used after a negative, so be on alert if there is an isn’t/wasn’t/doesn’t nearby.

14. LOATH/LOATHE

Loath is reluctant or unwilling, while to loathe is to hate. You are loath to do the things you loathe, which makes it confusing, but you can keep them clear by noting whether the word has a “to be” verb on one side and a to on the other (he is loath to, I would be loath to), in which case loath is correct, or it can be substituted by hate (I loathe mosquitoes), in which case you need the e on the end.

15. WAVE/WAIVE

The word wave is far more frequent than waive and has a more concrete meaning of undulating motion. It’s often used for waive, “to give something up,” perhaps because it fits well with the image of someone waving something away. But when you waive your rights, or salary, or contract terms, you surrender them. You can think of the extra i in waive as a little surrender flag in the middle of the word.

16. INTENSIVE PURPOSES

Intensive is a word that means strong or extreme, but that’s not what’s called for in this phrase.  To say “practically speaking” or “in all important ways” the phrase you want is “for all intents and purposes.”

17. GAUNTLET/GAMUT

Run the gauntlet and run the gamut are both correct, but mean different things. Running the gauntlet was an old type of punishment where a person was struck and beaten while running between two rows of people. A gamut is a range or spectrum. When something runs the gamut, it covers the whole range of possibilities.

18. PEEK/PEAK

This pair causes the most trouble in the phrase sneak peek where the spelling from sneakbleeds over to peek, causing it to switch meaning from “a quick look” to “a high point.” If you imagine the two Es as a pair of eyes, it can help you remember to use peek for the looking sense.

19. FORTUITOUS

Fortuitous means by chance or accident. Because of its similarity to fortunate, it is commonly used to refer to a lucky accident, but it need not be. Having lightening strike your house and burn it down is not a lucky event, but according to your insurance company it will be covered because it is fortuitous, or unforeseen.

20. REFUTE

To refute a claim or an argument doesn’t just mean to offer counterclaims and opposing arguments. That would be to respond or rebut. To refute is to prove that a claim is false. If you refute, the disagreement should be over because you’ve won. If someone accuses you of not having paid for something, you refute the accusation by producing the receipt.

What I´m currently reading

The Scarlet Deep (Elemental World #3) by Elizabeth Hunter 
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00068]
On the waves of the North Atlantic, a poison spreads, sapping the life from humans and striking madness into immortals.

Patrick Murphy, the immortal leader of Dublin, has been trying to stem the tide of Elixir washing into his territory, but nothing seems to stop the vampire drug. While others in the immortal world work to cure the creeping insanity that Elixir threatens, Murphy has been invited to London to join a summit of leaders hoping to discover who is shipping the drug. If Murphy and his allies can cut off the supply, they might be able to halt the spread long enough for a treatment to be found for the humans and vampires infected.

Anne O’Dea, Murphy’s former lover, retreated from public life over one hundred years ago to help immortals in need… and to heal her own broken heart. Though powerful connections keep her insulated from the violence of vampire politics, even Anne is starting to feel the effects of Elixir on her isolated world. The human blood supply has been tainted, and with Anne’s unique needs, even those closest to her might be in danger. Not just from infection, but Anne’s escalating bloodlust.

When Anne and Murphy are both called to London, they’re forced to confront a connection as immortal as they are. As they search for a traitor among allies, they must also come to terms with their past. Behind the safe facade of politics, old hungers still burn, even as an ancient power threatens the fate of the Elemental World.

The most difficult words to pronounce in the English language

I read this article today about difficult pronunciations, don´t know how accurate it is but to non English speakers learning the language I can imagine it can be a painful process.

source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/weird-news/the-most-difficult-words-to-pronounce-in-the-english-language-revealed–as-well-as-the-worlds-favourite-english-tonguetwisters-10159516.html?cmpid=facebook-post

“Worcestershire”. “Choir”. “Sixth”. For some, these words may seem relatively normal and everyday – but to others, they represent an unrivalled linguistic challenge.

For almost two weeks, users of the online social platform reddit have been submitting what they consider to be “the hardest English word to pronounce”.

After more than 5,000 submissions, the message thread has become a fount of difficult vocabulary, with users from across the world sharing their favourites and personal experiences.

There are references to popular culture, some very creative tongue-twisters – and because of reddit’s points system, a rough consensus has emerged as to which are the hardest.

Here are the top 10:

10 – Rural

Submitted by user ‘mattythedog’, rural appears to cause problem particularly when repeated or put next a word with similar “r” sounds.

One user says: “I cannot say Rural Juror – comes out rurrrerr jerrrerr and sounds like I’m growling.”

A self-confessed Australian user says: “An aussie would pronounce it ‘ruhral jurah.”

“This one is entirely impossible for me as a German,” says another. “’Squirrel’ I can manage, but ‘rural’ can f*** right off.”

Best tongue-twister: “I want to be a juror on a rural brewery robbery case.”

9 – Otorhinolaryngologist

One user, going for a word largely on the basis of its length, suggests this medical term for an ear-, nose- and throat-doctor.

But, as another points out, “that one looks like a beast, but once you break it down, it’s pretty easy to say”.

User THLycanthrope says: “Once you know what it is, it’s much easier. “oto-rhino-laryng-ologist” is literally “ear-nose-throat-scientist”.

8 – Colonel

Submitted by a user who explains: “If you know that it’s pronounced “kernel”, it’s easy to pronounce. But if you were new to the English language and didn’t know that, you would never pronounce it correctly.”

Another offers the “fun fact” that: “We took the French spelling (spelled and pronounced with r) and the Italian pronunciation (also spelled with an l).”

7 – Penguin

An overt reference to Benedict Cumberbatch, one user offered this popular submission presumably as an excuse to re-watch this video of the actor voicing a BBC documentary on the South Pacific.

Other users, presumably sticking up for penguin-kind, then try to pronounce Cumberbatch’s name: “Barelyspeaks Cantpronounce”, “Bumpercar Clutchisburnt” and “Buffalo Custardbath” are among the offerings.

6 – Sixth

Coincidentally sixth in our list, this word is rather explicitly criticised as: “What kind of word is that with an S and xth sound? F*** that noise.”

Best tongue-twister: “The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick.”

One user responds: “English is my only language but f*** you this is impossible.”

Another says: “Imagine what ‘eighth’ is like to a non-English speaker. Not one letter is pronounced the way it should be.”

5 – Isthmus

Submitted presumably due to the difficulty of the “s” and “th” sounds together, it means a narrow strip of land with sea on either side that connects two larger landmasses.

“Ithmuth,” is one reddit user’s attempt.

4 – Anemone

Entered for consideration by one user who couldn’t even spell it, writing: “Annemm… amennome… annemmoneme… f***.”

Best tongue-twister: “In me, many an enemy anemone enema.”

Helpful advice provided by one user suggested: “I’d break it down like ‘Uh – Nem – Uh – Knee’.”

3 – Squirrel

One user says that: “From a foreign perspective, ‘Squirrel’ messes with German exchange students like you wouldn’t believe. To be fair though I can’t pronounce their word for it either.”

User ‘Torvaun’ provides the interesting (unverified) fact that during the Second World War, both sides apparently used each-other’s word for this small rodent as a test for spies.

“Interestingly,” Torvaun says, “in WWII ‘squirrel’ was used as a shibboleth by the English to detect Germans, and ‘Eichhörnchen’, the German word for squirrel, was used as a shibboleth to detect non-Germans.”

2 – Choir

User Kaktu submits: “As a foreign speaker: Choir. Seriously. Why?

Someone suggests helpfully that “it’s like ‘enquire’ but without the ‘en’”.

And bright spark ‘Gnat27’ says, to much popular acclaim: “I read that as ‘Enrique’ and was confused for a solid 5 minutes.”

1 – Worcestershire

The top submission, as one user puts it, “To the USA, anyway”.

“I’ve heard a few funny pronunciations,” says user ‘hornytoad69’. “Wor-kester-shire. Whats-dis-here. Wooster-shire”

One user suggests: “It’s that ‘-cest-’ in the middle that messes people up. If you break it up like worce-ster-shire, the pronunciation makes sense.”

Others suggest similar British place names that aren’t pronounced as they are written, developing a theme, with “Leicester/Leicestershire”, “Edinburgh” and “Derby” all getting a mention.

Ultraviolet light reveals hidden text in ancient book of Arthurian stories

source: http://www.ancient-origins.net

Ancient book of Arthurian stories

Scholars in Wales have discovered that parts of one of the most important books in Welsh history was erased and some of the texts on its animal-skin pages overwritten. The book is titled The Black Book of Camarthen and includes Arthurian stories, Christian prayers and poetry.

A page from the Black Book of Camarthen

A page from the Black Book of Camarthen (National Library of Wales photo)

Merlin, Arthur, Cuchulainn, Uther Pendragon, the hero Gereint, the poet Taliesin, Cyridwen, Fairy King Gwyn ap Nudd and other figures of Dark Ages legend, myth and tall tale make appearances in the 750-year-old, 54-page book. It is the oldest known surviving book entirely in the Welsh language and has some of the earliest references to Myrddin (Merlin) and Arthur.

In Henry Gilbert’s King Arthur’s Knights: The Tales Retold for Boys and Girls, Arthur and Merlin appeal to the Lady of the Lake.

In Henry Gilbert’s King Arthur’s Knights: The Tales Retold for Boys and Girls, Arthur and Merlin appeal to the Lady of the Lake. (Wikimedia Commons)

The verse portrays Arthur and Myrddin (Merlin) before they were king and wise counselor to kings, respectively. In one poem, Arthur is a supplicant to enter the court of a king. Myrddin is a wild man driven mad in battle and extolling the virtues of trees.

Professor Paul Russell and Myriah Williams of the Cambridge Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic told Past Horizons that a man who owned the book in the 16th century, probably Jaspar Gryffyth, erased verse, doodles and marginalia that had been added to the manuscript over the centuries as it changed hands.

Using photo-editing software and ultraviolet light to examine the vellum pages, the scholars revealed poetry that is unknown in the Welsh canon. The poems are fragmentary, but they hope with further analysis they can read the text, which they think is the ending of a poem on a preceding page and a new poem at the bottom of the page.

Past Horizons quotes Williams as saying:

The margins of manuscripts often contain medieval and early modern reactions to the text, and these can cast light on what our ancestors thought about what they were reading. The Black Book was particularly heavily annotated before the end of the 16th century, and the recovery of erasure has much to tell us about what was already there and can change our understanding of it.

In the oldest known poem about Arthur, he seems to be the leader of a band of warriors seeking entrance to the court of a king. He tries to persuade a king to allow him to enter by extolling the virtues of his heroes:

Arthur distributed gifts,
The blood trickled down.
In the hail of Awarnach,
Fighting with a hag,
He cleft the head of Paiach.
In the fastnesses of Dissethach,
In Mynyd Eiddyn,
He contended with Cynvyn;
By the hundred there they fell,
There they fell by the hundred,
Before the accomplished Bedwyr.
On the strands of Trywruid,
Contending with Garwlwyd,
Brave was his disposition,
With sword and shield;
Vanity were the foremost men
Compared with Cai in the battle.
The sword in the battle
Was unerring in his hand.
They were stanch commanders
Of a legion for the benefit of the country- Bedwyr and Bridlaw;
Nine hundred would to them listen;
Six hundred gasping for breath
Would be the cost of attacking them.
Servants I have had,
Better it was when they were.

This is a translation of Old Welsh into modern English. The book can be read, except for a few chapters, at the Celtic Literature Collective. “Currently housed at the National Library in Wales, the Black Book of Carmarthen (Peniarth MS 1) is a manuscript dating to the middle of the thirteenth century. It is believed to have been the work of a single scribe at the Priory of St. John in Carmarthen,” says the Celtic Literature Collective introduction to the book.

The most treasured book in Welsh history

The most treasured book in Welsh history (National Library of Wales image)

In the prayer “A Skillful Composition,” the writer expresses how impossible it is to convey in language the power of God. An excerpt:

A skillful composition, the pattern being from God,
A composition, the language, beautiful and pleasant, from Christ.
And should there be a language all complete around the sun,
On as many pivots as there are under the seat,
On as many winged ones as the Almighty made,
And should every one have thrice three hundred tongues,
They could not relate the power of the Trinity.

The Celtic Literature Collection says of two poems attributed to Merlin, “The poems are often attributed to Myrddin, as one of his ‘prophetic’ poems made during his madness in Celydon.” Merlin had a “wild man” phase before he became the wise counselor of four British kings, though it’s possible Scottish stories of Lailoken were attached to Myrddin in the Middle Ages.

As a source for Myrddin as a wild man of the woods, the webpage Arthuriana: Myrddin/Merlin names several poems, including “The Apple Trees” and “The Dialogue of Myrddin and Taliesen” from the Black Book of Carmarthen. The webpage states:

“In most of these poems the subject – who is either named as Myrddin or is generally assumed to be him – is portrayed as a Wild Man of the Woods living in Coed Celyddon (the ‘Caledonian Forest’), where he has fled to after losing his reason (‘wandering with madness and madmen’) in the northern battle of Arfderydd, fought between rival chieftains c. 573 A.D.; with this lapse into madness Myrddin is said to have acquired the gift of prophecy. The antiquity of these traditions is however suspect, at least in their attachment to Myrddin. In Scottish sources there is a virtually identical tale of a Wild Man to that summarized above, but in these he is named Lailoken rather than Myrddin.”

Past Horizons calls the book a labor of love and says, “Despite its value today, the Black Book of Carmarthen (so called because of the color of its binding) was not an elaborate production, but rather the work of a single scribe who was probably collecting and recording over a long period of his life.”

Featured image: Under UV light, verse and images show up (National Library of Wales photo)

By Mark Miller

33 Of The Weirdest Children’s Books EVER!

source: EARTH PORM