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Monarchy Monday: Royal Ascot News Links

The Royal Meeting at Ascot Racecourse has ended for the year, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t discuss the wonderful fashion and royalty sightings from this year’s Royal Ascot.  Despite the Duke of Edinburgh being hospitalized, the meeting was full of lovely clothes and exciting racing.

Tons of pictures can be found here.

None of Her Majesty’s horses won this year, but the Queen seems to have enjoyed herself even so.

Much like the Kentucky Derby in the US, Royal Ascot is known for fashion and crazy hats.  Here are some photos of the royal family in their Ascot best (including the Duchess of Cambridge, beautiful as always in white lace).  For wacky hats, click here.

Figure Skating Friday: Yuzuru Hanyu, or How to Break Records

While Medvedeva dominates the Ladies’ event, Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu rules the Men’s discipline.  The 2014 surprise Olympic champ found himself tasked with proving that he is not a one hit wonder, and he is proving it quite well.  Now he’s 22-years-old and poised to become the first 2-time Men’s Olympic champ since Dick Button in 1948 and 1952.

A lot of fans struggle to fully understand how the scores breakdown in the “new” judging system.  This video does the job, pointing out each and every piece of Hanyu’s tech score at the World Championships.

Weekly Wednesday: Episode 14


Reading: Still finishing up White Shanghai because I needed to read some library and book club books that were due.  Mark Twain’s novel about the life of Joan of Arc was very interesting, however, and I highly recommend it.  I hope to get to Rich People Problems later this week.

Watching:  The Handmaid’s Tale just ended for the season.  I hate to say it, but, having recently re-read the book, I do think that the show is better.  The show certainly goes into more detail when it comes to the world of Gilead and the characters besides Offred. I’m interested to see where Season 2 takes us.

Listening:  Not much this week, due to E3.

Doing: Stalking E3 news.

Planning:  Looking for more agents to query, etc.

Writing: I’ve sent out all of the queries that agents requested during PitMad, and I also rewrote my synopsis to be stronger.  I’m making a few more tweaks to On Thin Ice and I continue to bring The Lion and the Eagle to my critique group.

Obsessing Over: The news out of E3.  Soooo many good games coming out, both for Nintendo Switch and Playstation 4.  Super Mario Odyssey for the win!  And, of course, I can’t wait for Kingdom Hearts III.

Monarchy Monday: Japan’s Emperor Given Permission to Abdicate

The Japanese Parliament decided last week to allow the aging Emperor to abdicate.  He is 83, and requested abdication because of his age and health.

The current (and soon to be former) Emperor, Akihito,  is the son of Hirohito, who was Emperor of Japan during the Second World War.

This bill applies only to Akihito, and only for three years.  Rumor has it that he will abdicate in late 2018, but no date has been set.  His son, Naruhito, will inherit the throne.  It will be interesting to see how active Naruhito’s wife, Masako, will be as Empress.  She has struggled with her mental health for quite some time, and rarely appears in public.   However, she has been making a few more appearances in the last few years.



Figure Skating Friday: All Eyes on Medvedeva

To kick off the traditional off-season speculating about who is going to dominate in the upcoming Olympic season, I will be featuring various skaters (across all disciplines, in no particular order) who have a good shot at Olympic gold.

With World Record high scores reaching into the stratosphere, there is no question that Evgenia Medvedeva is the favorite to win the Olympics.

This amazing young skater is truly competing with herself — a female Michael Phelps of figure skating, just without the drug use.  😉

Love her style (like I do) or hate it, Medvedeva is a force to be reckoned with, and it’s a pity that she doesn’t get more media coverage in the US.

No Weekly Wednesday Today

I had too much to do!

Pit Mad is tomorrow, plus all the usual things I have to get done.

Monarchy Monday: This Post is Unspeakable in Thailand

Ananda Mahidol, also known as King Rama VIII, is a controversial and mysterious figure in Thailand, even now, over 70 years after his death.  He became King as a young boy, living in Switzerland to study, and did not come to live in Thailand until after World War II.  In June of 1946, his death by gunshot wound shocked everyone — even to this day, it has not been determined who fired the fatal shot.

Initially, it was thought that the King shot himself by accident, perhaps when cleaning his gun.  However, it was later determined that his death was either murder or suicide.  It appears that suicide is unlikely — the gun was found in the King’s non-dominant hand.  However, there are many theories as to who may have murdered the 20-year-old monarch.  Even the possibility that the King was accidentally — or deliberately — shot by his younger brother has been put forward.

I don’t know what I believe to be true.

However, what we do know is that even 70+ years later, it is not something that can be openly discussed in Thailand, even after so many years — and after three men were executed (perhaps unjustly) for the murder.



Fort Ross Friday: An Exciting Announcement!

My Alternate History short story, entitled “Zolota: Another Gold Rush” is being published in an anthology this autumn.  California: It’s All About the Story will feature stories with a California theme, including various genres.

“Zolota” is about Fort Ross and what would have happened if the Russian settlers had discovered gold in 1838.

Weekly Wednesday: Episode 13


Reading: Finishing up White Shanghai before I read Rich People Problems, the final book in the Crazy Rich Asians series by Kevin Kwan.  White Shanghai is very good — it’s the story of Russian emigres in Shanghai in the 1920’s.  The style is very Russian, which is great, but there are a few small translation errors (like using Ms. when they should, historically speaking, use Miss — it’s almost like the translator thinks Ms. is an abbreviation for Miss).  I find this whole period in history very interesting and I would love to read more about it.

Watching:  The Handmaid’s Tale and The Wall and Victorian Slum House.  I also found Mommy Dead and Dearest very interesting and I want to start watching The Keepers on Netflix.  I really like having documentaries (usually historical or true crime) on in the background while I write.

Listening:  Enjoying the Beatles station.  It’s awesome.

Doing: Attending all kinds of family events…graduations, anniversary celebrations…so, so busy.  (That’s why this post is short.)

Planning:  An exciting announcement here on the blog!

Writing:  The Lion and the Eagle is my main project at the moment.  It started out as a NaNoWriMo manuscript but is now getting an entirely new voice and style.

Obsessing Over: The tracking updates for my new Kindle Manga Edition, shipped from Japan.

Monarchy Monday: Why Japan’s Princess Mako is Giving Up Her Title

Princess Mako of Japan will be giving up her title when she marries a commoner.  That much, the media has correct.  But what the Western media hasn’t covered, and probably isn’t even aware of, is that there is virtually no way for a Japanese princess to marry and retain her title.

Prior to the end of WWII and the Imperial Household Law of 1947, the Japanese Imperial Family was much larger.  They, like the British royals, had a large extended family who could inherit the throne and also a large aristocracy.  Back then, if a princess were to marry a nobleman, she would remain a princess.  However, after the war, the nobility was abolished and the Imperial Household streamlined.  Now, there are no nobles to marry, and no way for a princess to retain her title.

In Princess Mako’s case, however, her fiance is not part of the former nobility, and she would have lost her title either way.