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Archive for April, 2015

April 19th, 2015 – My Swampy’s Florida at Dunnellon’s Boomtown Days event!

by on Apr.19, 2015, under Cartooning, Swampy's Florida


With my Swampy’s Florida at Dunnellon’s Boomtown yesterday. With me is City Commissioner Penny Fleeger, Jeff Smith and Tessa Noell helping out. Big crowds and lot’s of folks wanting to know about our great state of Florida!

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April 14th, 2015 – Book: ‘Cast, in Order of Disappearance’ by Simon Brett.

by on Apr.14, 2015, under Books

Cast, in Order of Disappearance (Charles Paris, #1)Cast, in Order of Disappearance by Simon Brett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was surprised to learn that this was the first in the Charles Paris series. Reading the book, the narrative seemed to need early knowledge of the character which didn’t exist. There are also many very British notations throughout. For the casual reader, this book is likely to be very confusing. Not helping is that the book is very firmly set in 1975.

The story is very good with a great mystery involved. Pay attention and the answer to the riddle is there. The characters are very well written, which helps carry a more shaky narrative.

Overall, it’s a rather light book. A perfect book for a weekend outing…with a very British setting.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 6 of 10 points.

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April 12th, 2015 – Book: ‘Flamingo Road’ by Robert Wilder

by on Apr.12, 2015, under Books

Flamingo RoadFlamingo Road by Robert Wilder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Robert Wilder’s ‘Flamingo Road’ is fictitious tale of a fictional town, Truro, with fictional characters. However, the political activity that is the foundation of this story was and is very real and happens all the time. The wondrous job Wilder does is plot the political actions taken throughout the book. As someone involved with politics, I can write Wilder does an excellent job.

Where I feel Wilder slips is over writing his narrative. It’s a problem that exists more today. There were many places where an editor should have pulled back Wilder’s reigns.

The characters are very well done. The sadistic depiction of each character is a highlight of Wilder’s work. The setting of Florida is well written. I wish he’d selected an actual location. Even an actual County. I understand the corruption that is involved, but he could have been a bit more specific. The town name of Truro is puzzling, too. The explanation is likely to be found in a Wilder interview of some such.

A bit about the film version. Too bad Shirley MacLaine wasn’t available yet for such a role. She would have been perfect as Lane Ballou. Wilder’s writing fits MacLaine so well, it’s surprising it’s impossinle for him to have known of MacLaine when he wrote the book around 1940, nearly 15 years before MacLaine started film work.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 8 out of 10 points.

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April 7th, 2015 – Book: ‘Walk with Evil’ by Robert Wilder.

by on Apr.07, 2015, under Books

Walk With EvilWalk With Evil by Robert Wilder

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. I like the plot, layout, characters, pace, writing, cover, type, size of paper, binding, whoever binded it, the planet it is on….oh, and, of course, the setting. That might be a bit extreme.

It’s been quite awhile since I poured through any book like this. Characters are usually what get me and the characters in this book are so diversely written and defined that you just have to know what happens to them next. Wilder is constantly raising questions as to who is what and where and why. I just had to get through the book to find out what on earth was going on.

I loved the answers peppered through the book that lead to more questions and more questions.

About Florida: the setting is very well done. It is a fictitious town with a name that chalks up the biggest minus to the book: Redemption City. More than a bit much.

To me, whatever might be a bit much is little to how well this book is constructed.

Here’s the BIG question: Why the heck is this, at this point, the ONLY review of this book in Goodreads. People, hunt this book down and take no prisoners. You’ll have no time for prisoners ’cause you’ll be reading this book!

Bottom line: Guess. 10 out of 10 points.

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April 7th, 2015 – My Stan Freberg Remembrance and Tribute!

by on Apr.07, 2015, under Friends


I LOVE humor and today we lost one of our greatest American humorists, Stan Freberg. Lost today are the genius of Twain, Dorothy Parker, S. J. Perelman, Steve Allen, many others… and, now, Stan Freberg.I was more than tongue tied when I got to meet Mr. Freberg a few years ago at a party during one of our annual The National Cartoonists Society Reuben Weekends. Forever thank yous to my friend Chad Frye for bringing him to the party! “Him” being Chad and Mr. Freberg. I pushed out a pad hoping Mr. Freberg would sign and mumbled something that he wasn’t signing for the cost of the party. I thought of bowing, realizing I was surrounded by fellow cartoonists who would’ve just thought I had dropped a pen. Decided to just use up the years allocation of Thank Yous and clear the way for comedy royalty to meet the next subject.Some of Freberg brilliance:
Little Blue Riding Hood – (With June Foray)
St. George And The Dragonet p
The Lone Psychiatrist –
Terribly Adult Cereal –
and on and on…Was just talking to my old pal Gar Thaddeus Gernstein about Mr. Freberg and promised top send along this photo. Sorry to do it under these circumstances.
2015-0407-StanFreberg-2 2015-0407-StanFreberg-3
By the way, that’s Rob Rogers standing in the background.
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April 5th, 2015 – Book: ‘Coup D’Etat’ by Ben Coes

by on Apr.05, 2015, under Books

Coup d'Etat (Dewey Andreas, #2)Coup d’Etat by Ben Coes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second in the Dewey Andreas series is more the standard of the Super Soldier genre. A big difference is the immense amount of detail covered throughout the book. Obviously Coes or others are checking everything from the outback of Australia to the out back of India. Don’t know about the accuracy, but it sounds good.

The story is vast and covers a lot of territory. As with so many contemporary over sized novels I’ve read, this book could have been three…or even four books.

Though the book is long and could use some editing, the writing is far tighter in Coes book, as I recall it to be in the first in series, ‘Power Down’.

The characters are extremely well developed. Good guys, bad guys and others.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 8 out of 10 points.

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April 5th, 2015 – Happy Easter from me and Swampy’s Florida!!!

by on Apr.05, 2015, under What's New?

Happy Easter, all!
Thought I’d share my Swampy’s Florida wishes!

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April 1st, 2015 – Pie and Cartooning in Lakeland!

by on Apr.01, 2015, under What's New?

Met with my client/critter-sitter friend, Gina, back at Reececliff to go over a project and have your well suggested PIE! Apple, custard and sweet potato! Pie cheers to you, Vicky! Hope you can make it back down to Lakeland some day soon for pie!

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April 1st, 2014 – Book: ‘American Jihad’ by William Johnstone

by on Apr.01, 2015, under Books

Black Ops: American JihadBlack Ops: American Jihad by William W. Johnstone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What I hate most about this book: There has only been one made! Apparently whatever fall out occurred between the mysterious “Fred Austin” mentioned on the cover killed off this series.

First great element of this novel is the continuation of the “Smoke” Jensen legacy to today with “smoke”‘s great grandson. It’s just not a mention of the relation but the weaving of the family connection into the story. It is a bit pretentious, but adds much to the story.

Another great element of the book is the handling of the story in a far more realistic light than the various super soldier novels want to reveal. The conflict of the media and layers are generally entirely absent from the typical espionage story. This book takes it all head-on and lays the ground work for a series that never happened.

The writing is typical of a Johnstone Clan book with great characters and a fun, fast moving story.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 7 of 10 points.

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April 1st, 2015 – Celebrating 5 Years of Swampy’s #Florida Books!

by on Apr.01, 2015, under Swampy's Florida

Celebrating 5 years of Swampy books in Lakeland with the person who first put the gears in action – Terisa Glover, or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

Also thanks to Tim Reynolds and The Knowledge Exchange for keeping the books going!

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