Rob's Blog

December 15th, 2014 – Book: ‘Being George Washington’ by Glenn Beck

by on Dec.15, 2014, under Books

Being George WashingtonBeing George Washington by Glenn Beck

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have many reasons why I should support this book. Glenn Beck and I hold a great deal of the same beliefs involving our government and politics is just one. I’ve been involved with the program involving my editorial cartoons since 2001. I could write much, much more. Despite all this,I really can’t recommend this book.

The intent is noble and a great idea for a book and for people to practice-to be like George Washington. If only the book focused on that goal and not wandered off into so many other directions. Seems the idea of the book was to provide supporting reasons as to why George Washington should be a model to follow. Instead there are Gore Vidal turns of recreating the world around Washington in various snippets of Washington’s life. Seems to me, the historical points were badly selected. Each is more of reflection than of action, thus written more from a viewpoint of opinion than actual historical documentation. If only the reflection could have been better tied to the actions and then results of Washington’s decisions. That would have made the history more thorough and better illustrate not only Washington’s mindsets but also the results.

Worse, the historical vignettes are badly written. Silly melodramatic phrasing really stands out. That can be a trap of interspersing fiction with fact. Bad fiction really stands out. I’d suggest mining the William Johnstone ghost writers. Most are excellent at writing historical action and weave in the reasons why and results.

The layout of the book is very confusing. There’s too much jumping around in time, which further gets in the way of supporting the goal of the book. A real plus is the effort to state the date of occurances. Way too many current histories rarely state the year or place in time.

The best part is the end chapter that works to point by point layout the importance of Washignton’s final address. What’s confounding is that the final address is not even included in the book. What follows the last chapter Is an odd glossary, list of people in Washington’s life and a chronology. Seems to me the last three could have been dropped in favor of the final address.

I believe the bookis a result of having too many cooks in the kitchen, pitching in too many ingredients and forgetting what entrée the team was trying to make.

Bottom line: I do not recommend this book. 4 of 10.

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December 13th, 2014 – Christmas Carticatures in Tallahassee!

by on Dec.13, 2014, under What's New?

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December 10th, 2014 – A Little Clown Music

by on Dec.10, 2014, under Cartooning


Here’s a bit of an editorial cartoon I’m working on. Since I share nothing political here, thought I would share a small part of one.

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December 8th, 2014- Book: ‘Midnight House’ by Alex Berenson

by on Dec.08, 2014, under Books

The Midnight House (John Wells, #4)The Midnight House by Alex Berenson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great book from Berenson. I have yet to be disappointed in a Berenson novel. This one is very well plotted,written and with very well written characters.

This one being a bit different than most books of international thrillers in that the hero is in more of a Philo Vance mode than a terrorist killing machine. The mystery threaded through the book is constructed as if Berenson had been crafting Agatha Christie stories for years.

The last half of the book could have used some editing sections that were overwritten involving the terrorists.

I’ve been reading the books in order, so the next one has me curious as to the direction Berenson takes in the next novel.

Bottom line: 9 out of 10 points.

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December 7th, 2014 – My newest Swampy’s Florida painting

by on Dec.07, 2014, under What's New?


The newest Swampy’s Florida painting I’m working on now just before adding the watercolor. I’ll add more as it comes along.
The original painting will be available through an auction to support Colt Creek State Park. Prints of the painting will also be available.

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December 5th, 2014 – Book: ‘Damon Runyon Favorites’ by Damon Runyon

by on Dec.05, 2014, under Books


Damon Runyon Favorites by Damon Runyon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is just a wonderful collection of stories by the great Damon Runyon. Stories full of dames and mugs and story twists that make each one so much fun. All well written with very distinct characters. Stories take place in New York and two in Miami. These are stories that give you the feel of prohibition and depression amongst the not-so-honest in the wild and wacky world of Damon Runyon.

Bottom Line: I highly recommend this book. 10 of 10 points.

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December 3rd, 2014- My annual Christmas card artwork!

by on Dec.03, 2014, under Illusration


My annual Christmas‬ card of ‪‎Florida‬ native critters inside The Ivy House in Ocala, Florida. Used lots of reference for the interior of the 1890 house/restaurant and had to skew things a bit to make the image more readable. Also,used more reference than years past for the critters. I tried to limit the animals a bit so that the interior of the building could be better felt and understood. I finished inking this Monday.

The Dorris Bobber Memorial Palmetto Bug is hidden somewhere. You’d need to see the actual card to find him, though.  This is the first year Swampy, Trilby and Zuber of Swampy’s Florida appear as part of the illustration.

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November 30th, 2014 – Book: ‘Tier One Wild’ by “Dalton Fury”

by on Dec.01, 2014, under Books

Tier One Wild (Delta Force, #2)Tier One Wild by Dalton Fury

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book by “Dalton Fury” is simple in it’s general plot, with complications. The complications are the best parts of the book. It’s the rest that is harder to get through.

The rest of the book follows various characters and what they are doing with asides of background and motivations. The writing of all this is standard with lots of military jargon. The jargon is interesting, but trivial to the story. The plot slows considerably due to the excess.

This book does get the complaint I give almost all novels written in the past 25 years- It needs editing. Some of the military details are good to include, but all that is included,including routine tasks are a bit much. This book should have been whittled into three books. Three books that would have been better than this whole one. It seems obvious to me that the “Fury” fellow brought into the publisher hundreds of pages of story and it all got cut to these two books.

I add an extra star only for a few elements of the story not usually found in espionage thrillers.

Bottom line; I do not recommend this book. 5 of 10.

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November 30th, 2014- Christmas card 2014 on the way!

by on Nov.30, 2014, under Cartooning, Illusration


I’m working on this years Christmas card. Here are pencils.

The location is The Ivy House in Ocala, Florida. It’s an 1890 house that has this wonderful Southern restaurant in it. Great food for a reasonable price.

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November 26th,2014- Book: ‘Black Site’ by “Dalton Fury”

by on Nov.26, 2014, under Books

Black Site (Delta Force, #1)Black Site by Dalton Fury

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

‘Black Site’ strives to cover every aspect of the military mission(s) that the main character endeavors upon and does so impressively. Seems little there is left out, despite the knowledge that not all can be revealed without veering into the reality of American military operations that the author claims to know. Despite the complexity of all that happens int the book, it is written in a clear fashion making so much easier to digest.

This is still another entry in the overflowing literary area of espionage by former military-turned authors. This one is much like the others, especially the recent variety that deal with middle east issues. In fact, the writing is much like many of them.Possible too many of them. Turns out Mark Greaney was involved with writing this. Greaney is also writing his own series along with continuing Clancy’s Jack Ryan series. Is Greaney also writing this series? It’s known that Dalton Fury is a pen name and this book reminds me of Greaney’s The Gray Man.

However, ‘Black Site’ reminds me of many of the other new espionage novels being spit out today. All written well and full of action. I’m not finding a real writing style in the majority of these books. So many read as if all were written by the same person. If not for different publishers, I’d wonder if this genre wasn’t the opposite of the William Johnstone Clan set of books all being handled by ghost writers. In this case are many being handle by a few writers using different names and lots of assistants? I’ll stop these ponderings.

Despite all the above, this is a very good book, though it also lacks style. Very readable, exciting and well worth the expense.

Bottom line: I recommend this book.

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November 26th,2014 – 1 of my newest watercolor paintings: Christmas at Silver Springs, Florida.

by on Nov.26, 2014, under Illusration


Christmas at Silver Springs! Meant to post this final version of the artwork earlier. Took me a while to get back to. Made especially for a group I’m with, the Marion County Springs Festival. This will also be available as cards and prints.

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