All posts by Robin.

A Tale For The Time Being – by Ruth Ozeki

A Tale for the Time Being - Ruth Oseki
Viking Adult; First Printing edition (March 12, 2013)

From the author’s website:

“A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be.”

In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine.

Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.

Full of Ozeki’s signature humor and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize


My Review

Zen Buddhism, Japanese culture, WWI, suicide, and the meaning of honor arrive in a Hello Kitty lunch box containing a diary, some letters, and an old watch. Ruth, an author who is struggling with writing her memoir and haunted by the recent death of her mother, finds herself drawn into the lives of a Japanese family through the contents of the lunch box that has washed up on the shoreline of the very rustic and remote island where she lives.

Moving from the present to the past; from the east to the west, from philosophy to quantum physics; Oseki takes her readers on a somewhat mysterious and mystical journey. This book made me laugh and it made me cry. The characters are so strongly written; I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in the stories of their lives.

Overall, the story is very complex and a bit difficult to describe.  Sometimes, it is very harsh, brutal and heartbreaking. The book gives you a lot to think about as you move through its pages. One of the ideas that spoke to me is that of perspective; how you believe something is true, only to learn that you were looking at it all wrong. This is where the book shines some light through otherwise dark topics.

4 1/2 Stars

© Robin Tjernagel 2013


A Note: With a limited amount of time for reading these days, I feel I must choose my books carefully. Sometimes, I get it right and sometimes I get it wrong. There are at least three books I have started in the past two months and never finished, whose reviews won’t make it here. I have decided to only write reviews for books I like and would recommend.

Family Law and A Tale for the Time Being

I’m afraid I do not have any new crime or literature posts, although there has been so much to write about. Missing children. The Navy Yard shooting. The terrorist attack of a mall in Nairobi, Kenya. So sorry I am not on top of all of this. I am in school, currently taking Family Law, and sometimes it interferes with blogging.

I am reading a great book: A Tale for the Time Being – by Ruth Ozeki. It is a great read. It makes me think. It is thoughtful. I am still at the beginning of the book, but I am inspired by the writing. One of the author’s strengths is her use of vocabulary (warning – lots of endnotes). But, overall, it is her insight into emotions and how they are expressed culturally that make the book so compelling. I still have a long way to go, but so far, I love this book.

A Tale for the Time Being

Jodi Arias Hearing – Monday, August 26, 2013

Jodi AriasOn Monday, August 26, 2013, there will be a hearing to decide when the penalty phase of the Jodi Arias trial will be held.  The Prosecutor’s office wants to go to trial in September, while the Defense has been trying to delay the case until January of 2014.

After a five month trial, the original jury in Arias’s case was unable to decide between a death sentence or life in prison.  Having been hung, a new jury must be selected to decide the penalty.  This will mean that a lot of the case must be rehashed before the new jury.  Hopefully, they will see their way clear to giving Arias the sentence she deserves for the brutal killing of Travis Alexander.  (For information about the case, you can look type Arias in the search bar for prior posts.  Also, HLN TV has extensive coverage of the trial.  I am sure there is plenty to be found on YouTube, as well.)

I am going to miss the hearing :(

Andrea Sneiderman Sentenced to Five Years

Our move is almost here – 6 more days.  Busy, busy, busy packing! So, I have been very short on time for blogging and reading blogs.

 Andrea Sneiderman ( (AP Photo/DeKalb County Sheriff))

Andrea Sneiderman has been under house arrest for the past year awaiting trial for the murder of her husband, Rusty, who was gunned down by Hemy Neuman, Andrea’s boss at GE, in front of the Sneiderman’s son’s preschool. Neuman is now serving life in prison without parole, having been found guilty, but mentally ill.   If you are confused about the relationships:

Married:  Rusty (now deceased) and Andrea; children – Sophie and Ian

General Electric:  Neuman, boss to Andrea.  Neuman was married with three children.

There were allegations that Neuman and Sneiderman were having an affair, and she manipulated Neuman into killing Rusty, which Sneiderman denies. She stands to inherit millions of dollars in life insurance, plus the family home and a lake house.

There was a change in the Prosecutor’s office and murder charges were dropped against Sneiderman.  However, she was charged with thirteen counts of interfering with an investigation and perjury, all felonies.  She was found guilty on nine of the charges.

The judge sentenced Andrea Sneiderman to five years on each count, but they are to run concurrently.  She receives credit for time served, so her actual sentence will be four years.  Her family and attorneys indicated that they will appeal.


Castro House Demolished!

I saw, on the news this morning, that Ariel Castro’s house was being demolished. The companies that tore down the home and are cleaning up the lot have donated their time and effort to this cause. By the end of the day, grass will be planted on the lot.

Hopefully, this will help in the healing process for the victims who were held captive in that house for ten years.

‘I am the shooter,’ Fort Hood suspect says

By Staff

updated 2:27 PM EDT, Tue August 06, 2013
  • Maj. Nidal Hasan is facing 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder
  • He is representing himself in his court-martial
Maj. Nidal Hasan goes on trial for Fort Hood, Texas massacre.

The man accused of killing 13 comrades and wounding more than 30 others at Fort Hood, Texas, told the the court, “I am the shooter” during opening statements in his trial on Tuesday.

Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is representing himself in his court-martial, delivered his own opening statement to the panel that will decide his fate. The court-martial panel comprises 13 senior Army officers, including nine colonels, three lieutenant colonels and one major.

“The evidence will clearly show that I am the shooter,” Hasan said. “The evidence presented with this trial will show one side. The evidence will also show that I was on the wrong side. I then switched sides.”

Hasan is an Army psychiatrist who has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder in the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood, Texas.

Hasan, a U.S.-born citizen of Palestinian descent, had been scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan before the killings. He is accused of opening fire on fellow soldiers in a processing center where they were preparing to ship out for Afghanistan and Iraq.

Prosecutors hope to show that the devout Muslim had undergone a “progressive radicalization,” giving presentations in defense of suicide bombings and about soldiers conflicted between military service and their religion.

“We mujahedeen are trying to establish the perfect religion,” Hasan said on Tuesday to the panel. “I apologize for the mistakes I made in this endeavor.”

A military judge ruled last week that prosecutors can introduce Hasan’s Internet searches on jihad and the Taliban, which were made in the days and hours before the massacre.

Hasan’s trial was originally scheduled to begin in March 2012. It was delayed repeatedly, however, after a judge unsuccessfully tried to have Hasan’s beard, which he grew while in custody, forcibly shaved.

Hasan faces a possible death sentence if convicted. He refused to enter a plea so the judge entered one of “not guilty” on his behalf.



Ariel Castro Sentenced and Blog News

Ariel Castro received “Life plus 1000 years” for the crimes he committed against Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus. Only Michelle Knight spoke in court, offering forgiveness. Castro, a true psychopath, never said he was sorry or showed remorse. He claimed his only crime was that he did not let his victims leave. He claimed that sex was consensual, and he has an addiction. Most definitely, he seemed to deny raping and torturing his victims; not to mention killing three of his unborn children. Thankfully, Castro will never see the outside of a prison again.

Blog News:
Sorry; I realize this post is old news. Once I move, I am going to decide what to do about this blog. I might continue to write and see how it goes. I might look for other writers, who would like to contribute to the blog. Lastly, I might have to give up the blog.

If you are seriously interested in crime, what’s going on in the courts, and writing book reviews, please contact me at: A little bio and a sample of your writing would be helpful. Remember, I am only considering this idea. I have never co-authored a blog, and I will need to know I am working with someone who is trustworthy, capable, and reliable. The writing must be your own, and anything you quote should be given proper citation or attribution.

P.S. No pay involved.

Crime and Blogging in August

There is so much going on in crime – Boston Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez murder charges, the three new murder victims found in Cleveland, Ohio – allegedly victims of Michael Madison, updates on the Ariel Castro case getting ready for trial (kidnapped and tortured three women in Cleveland, Ohio for ten years), and the Andrea Sneiderman case (murder charges have been dropped).

August is going to be a busy month for me, because our daughter is having a baby, I am babysitting our grandson ten days, and we are moving; so, I am not sure how much I will be able to follow and keep up with in the world of crime and law.  Usually, I follow trials live, so I can comment on what I watch, and not just repeat other news outlets – although they can be valuable resources – especially for video.

I have given up book reviews for an indefinite period of time, but not forever.  It is just too much to keep up with right now.

Please keep checking in.  I will keep up with as much crime news as I can!

Reaction to the Zimmerman “Not Guilty” Verdict

Protests arose across many American cities this weekend in response to last week’s “not guilty” verdict in the case of: Florida v George Zimmerman.  Many of the protest rallies took place at federal court houses, and protesters are looking to the federal government to prosecute George Zimmerman under Civil Rights charges.

Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sabrina Fulton, spoke to supporters in New York, and his father, Tracy Martin spoke in Miami, making a promise:

“I vowed to Trayvon, when he was lying in his casket, that I would use every ounce of energy in my body to seek justice for him. I will fight for Trayvon until the day I die. Not only will I fight for Trayvon, I will fight for your child as well,” Martin said.” [i]

“At the White House on Friday, President Barack Obama cautioned against violence, as he urged all Americans to try to understand the Martin case from the perspective of African-Americans.

There is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws,” Obama said. “A lot of African-American boys are painted with a broad brush. If a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario … both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.” [ii]

I saw the Governor of Florida speaking about the Stand Your Ground Law in Florida, and he stands behind it.  He sees no reason for change.  Florida passed its version of the law in 2005. It allows people who feel threatened to use deadly force in self-defense. And it says they have no duty to retreat. Similar provisions have since been adopted by some 30 other states. [iii]

A verdict was reached by the jury in Florida v Zimmerman, but I don’t think we have heard the last of this case.


©Rob Tjernagel 2013
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Jodi Arias Update

Escorted into the courtroom by three armed guards (one with a shotgun) wearing protective vests, Jodi Arias showed up wearing her prison stripes and shackles.

The Judge had a meeting in chambers with Arias and her attorneys. When they came out into the courtroom. Judge Stevens decided that all parties would reconvene in court on August 26 for a pretrial conference.

Judge Stevens wants to start the trial at the end of September. This will be the penalty or sentencing phase. For a new jury to make such a decision, they will need to hear a lot of this difficult and graphic trial.

The last trial took five months. I doubt the judge will allow that, but I don’t think this is going to be an especially short trial. Hopefully, the Defense will not put Arias on the stand for eighteen days.