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Archive for December, 2016

Book: #100 of 2016 -‘The Return Of A ‘Mad’ Look At Old Movies’ by Dick de Bartolo – December 30th, 2016

by on Dec.30, 2016, under Books

The Return Of A 'Mad' Look At Old MoviesThe Return Of A ‘Mad’ Look At Old Movies by Dick de Bartolo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My goal was to reach 100 books in 2016. Due to the death of my father, my own illness more than twice this past year and trying to produce 4 books, i fell waaaaay behind. As days remained in the year a friend joked i should read a MAD magazine Don Martin collection of cartoons to speed up to 100. I scoffed at first. Then I learned of the death of my friend, MAD magazine’s Duck Edwing on December 27th. Suddenly i realized I could rap up the year with a volume of Duck’s cartoons and a volume of another MAD cartoonist friend, Jack Davis, who died this past August. Maybe an odd catharsis, but very satisfying to revisit the work of two legends in cartooning.

I first had this book more than 40 years ago. As i actually stopped and read it cover to cover, i wonder if I ever actually did that. I have now. I know I’ve flipped through it and read parts of this and the first part of the series. Now i have multiple copies of the book and carry one with me wherever i go. This book and the work of cartoonist Jack Davis really propelled me into cartooning. I should also credit the hilarious writing of Dick deBartolo. The combo inspired me in so much of my early work and whenever i could get away with sequential storytelling like is in this book and MAD magazine.

It is not sentimentality that has me praise this book. It’s the outstanding illustrations and brilliant storytelling and dialogue of deBartolo. de Bartolo perfectly parodies and wide range of films in a hand full of pages. Each short story reflects a number of films in the genre reflected. Lots of details only a movie lover, like me, would pick up.

Younger people might get lost in this for the reason that they don’t know the films and over sensitive types might be offended by what they perceive as being not P.C. Sad so many of the young have censored themselves with a narrow minded approach to life. Their backward viewpoint is why this book is likely never to see reprint. Such is the controls of censorship.

Bottom line: i recommend this book. 10 out of 10 points.

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Book: #99 for 2016: Don Edwing’s MAD Bizarre Bazaar #1 by Duck Edwing – December 29th, 2016

by on Dec.29, 2016, under Books

Don Edwing's MAD Bizarre Bazaar #1Don Edwing’s MAD Bizarre Bazaar #1 by Don Edwing
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My goal was to reach 100 books in 2016. Due to the death of my father, my own illness more than twice this past year and trying to produce 4 books, i fell waaaaay behind. As days remained in the year a friend joked i should read a MAD magazine Don Martin collection of cartoons to speed up to 100. I scoffed at first. Then I learned of the death of my friend, MAD magazine’s Duck Edwing on December 27th. Suddenly i realized I could rap up the year with a volume of Duck’s cartoons and a volume of another MAD cartoonist friend, Jack Davis, who died this past August. Maybe an odd catharsis, but very satisfying to revisit the work of two legends in cartooning.

I’ve had this one for many years, but have never sat down and actually read it. The cartoons written and drawn by Duck are mostly hilarious. The ‘Red Menace’ is my favorite. His cartooning is crude in style and he once told me how frustrating he was working around the monumental legends of Mort Drucker and Jack Davis.

A lot of this collection of cartoons, published in 1980, would not be considered PC. Ridiculously sensitive types might have a problem with some of the cartoons. That should tell those people to read more Duck cartoons to lead to recovery. 😀

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

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Book: ‘Osceola, Seminole Chief – An Unremembered Saga Osceola, Seminole Chief – An Unremembered Saga’ by O.Z. Tyler Jr. – December 29th, 2016

by on Dec.29, 2016, under Books

Osceola, Seminole Chief - An Unremembered SagaOsceola, Seminole Chief – An Unremembered Saga by O.Z. Tyler Jr.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The effort here was to put the Seminole wars and the story of Osceola in Florida to verse. It’s an admirable effort, but, to me, simply ridiculous. Verse is best for emotion not history. Especially a history like the Seminole Wars.

It’s very obvious that the writer struggled to keep the various Seminole names within the count of each line. Then it’s the tangled stores of the wars that is generally evaded to try and keep some simplicity to keep the adjectives pouring in. All in all this just doesn’t work.

A better part of the story to have tackled would have been the Dade massacre only. Unfortunately, the Dade battle is poorly handled in this over long poem, too.

I also wonder about the subtitle, “An Unremembered Saga”. Even when this book came out in 1976, the Seminole indian tribe and wars is the most written about in books than any other part of Florida history.

I admit to laughing at times while reading this.

Bottom line: I don’t recommend this. 3 out of 10 points.

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Book: ‘Osceola – The Story of an American Indian Osceola – The Story of an American Indian’ by Robert Proctor Johnson – December 29th, 2016

by on Dec.29, 2016, under Books

Osceola - The Story of an American IndianOsceola – The Story of an American Indian by Robert Proctor Johnson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

The tragedy of this book, which, I guess, is geared toward older children, is that there is not one note that this is a book of fiction. Or is there mention that the author is writing from Osceola’s perspective. A reader not knowing this, or much else, will believe that “the evil white man” did all wrong and Osceola was an angel. I’d go so far to write this is a book of fantasy.

Johnson’s attempt here is to do, what i call, the Gore Vidal-ization of the story of Osceola. He works up the sketchy story of Osceola and builds to filling in blanks between known events during the life of Osceola. Trouble is he works off of a few errors he’s written and then compounds the errors. Errors include: Communication in English between Seminoles and Americans, Osceola as chief, assumptions not documented involving Micanopy, blacks were also slaves for the Seminoles, etc. I have to wonder just how much research was done to write this book and not to present a political viewpoint.

A huge problem I have is the perspective of the book and the author not pointing out his intent. This was written in the early ’70s when emotion ran high of a view that American indians faced nothing but abuse. Seems Johnson took that emotion to write this book. That would be fine, but some context should be presented. Especially, in that this is presented as a book for younger and less educated people.

The writing is fine involving dialogue, misplaced as it might be. Otherwise Johnson seems to struggle with the narrative involving the stroytelling, maybe due to his sketchy knowledge of the history.

Bottom line: i strongly don’t recommend this book. 2 out of ten points.

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Joe Williams sings ‘Alright Okay You Win’! – December 29th, 2016

by on Dec.29, 2016, under What's New?

Time to Wake Up! – and this’ll do it!

Was over at Twitter Tweeting during #TCMParty & saw “Joe Williams” trending. To me there is only 1 Joe Williams, one of my favorite singers. Posted this there and thought I’d share it here!

This during a Sinatra salute i remember. So many in this clip: Sinatra, Ella, Steve, Eydie, Carol Channing, Sean Connery, etc, etc,

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Book: ‘Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and the Florida Crackers’ by Sandra Sammons – December 28th, 2016

by on Dec.28, 2016, under Books

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and the Florida CrackersMarjorie Kinnan Rawlings and the Florida Crackers by Sandra Wallus Sammons
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a wonderful telling of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ life in a simplistic, but very thorough, way.

The writing is very good and clearly geared toward young people. The book includes a glossary in the back and a focus of various words throughout the pages.

I liked the thoroughness of such a short biography. Nice to see the inclusion of Max Perkins and Zora Neale Hurston. Photographs add even more. Huge points given for including dates AND a chronological history.

Considering the age group this is aimed to, though anyone would learn alot from it….

Bottom line: i recommend the book. 10 of 10 points.

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Book: ‘Presidents in Florida’ by James C. Clark – December 28th, 2016

by on Dec.28, 2016, under Books

Presidents in Florida: How the Presidents Have Shaped Florida and How Florida Has Influenced the PresidentsPresidents in Florida: How the Presidents Have Shaped Florida and How Florida Has Influenced the Presidents by James C. Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a well written book mostly covering presidents and their contributions in Florida. It’s a mosylt an over view with tons left out. For what it is, it is well worth reading and then looking further for more information.

I was bugged that, unless i missed it, nothing was mentioned about the Rod and Gun Club in Everglades City, a popular presidential hangout. Also the cursory run at the ’68 and ’72 Republican and Democrat National Conventions, which, in my opinion, are the biggest impact a presidential election has had on Florida. Besides those two, there’s much that should have been included but, i guess, page count prevented inclusion.

Bottom line: i recommend this book. 7 out of ten points.

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Book: ‘The Golden Serpent’ by Nick Carter – December 28th, 2016

by on Dec.28, 2016, under Books

The Golden Serpent (Killmaster, #20)The Golden Serpent by Nick Carter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There’s a great story here. Too bad it’s so lightly written and and embroiled in so much sexual action.

The writing is fine in telling this story in 150 pages. But there was so much that goes unexplained. The whole Golden Serpent angle is something worthy of treatment by an author to write an epic, than this quick treatment. The characters are good, also. The writer does a great job defining the few characters involved but does little with them, I guess, due to page number restrictions.

I realize sex is such a staple of this version of the Nick Carter stories, but it’s been a few years since i read one, i’d forgotten how much it detracts from the book. I happened to pick up two of these last week and thought I’d wrap up the last ten books of the year with these. Curious about the other one anyway. It was published in UK and curious how it’s layout might change the reading of the book.

Bottom line: I don’t recommend this book. 5 out of ten points.

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Book: ‘The First Fast Draw’ by Louis L’Amour – December 27th, 2016

by on Dec.27, 2016, under Books

The First Fast DrawThe First Fast Draw by Louis L’Amour
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fine tale by L’Amour with the usual unusual layout of a story that most westerns can’t pull off. Also, as usual a lot is covered in a few pages another author would take 50 to write.

This setting is north Texas and the scenery is excellently written as usual. L’Amour covers everywhere from swamp to mansion to town in description that will put the reader there. The characters are also great as always, though there is often too much similarity between various characters from other books. I have to wonder why L’Amour didn’t just do a series of one character instead what is nearly a series of one character with different names.

The ending for some will be somewhat unsatisfying, but that is not unusual of a L’Amour book.

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

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Book: ‘Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen’ by Vicki Delany – December 27th, 2016

by on Dec.27, 2016, under Books

Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen (A Year-Round Christmas Mystery #1)Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen by Vicki Delany
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a very well written book that is full of Christmas everything. Even a character is dressed as Santa through most of the book. though the character is a father of the main character and not Santa. There’s a flimsy mystery involved, but this is a book to read at Christmastime, not in July.

The title is a wee deceiving and i find it interesting that ‘God’ is not part of the title, but not surprising these days. The mayhem is small stuff and threatens the a small town in New York. The hows and why fores of the actions are a bit much and toned down by more Christmas this and that. The conclusion is unsatisfying considering all of the ruminating who did it.

However, the characters are very engaging and the Christmas theme is done far better than other authors, such as Debbie Macomber. The settings are also very well down.

A technicality i have to call involving Delany’s knowledge of government jurisdictional lines. Early on a detective appears, though what jurisdictional office this character works for is never defined. There’s also writing of some kind of transfer done by the detective. Delany writes as not knowing transfers are more complicated and very specific. A city is prominent in the book, but little is referred to involving the county authorities as jurisdictional lines are crossed involving another city and the conclusion of the book. For some reason “State” police are called when the jurisdiction should have been city or county authorities. Technical stuff that is much more involved and something I’ve hardly found in any other book i’ve read.

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

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Book: ‘The Spy Who Came for Christmas’ by David Morrell – December 26th, 2016

by on Dec.26, 2016, under Books

The Spy Who Came for ChristmasThe Spy Who Came for Christmas by David Morrell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a pretty simple spy story with a faswcinating trelling of the story of Jesus as a spy story included. The book is worth reading just for this great effort by author Morrell.

This book would be too simple if not for the flashback story of how all got to be where they are. Those dimensions make the book further worthwhile. Seems to me Morrell works a bit too hard to bridge his spy story with the story of Jesus, but that isn’t enough to pan the book.

The characters are well written, especially the family involved. I was a bit confused with the setting, what little is involved in the book, and believe a knowledge of Santa Fe, New Mexico, would help better imagining the story.

Bottom line: I recommend the book. 7 out of ten points.

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