Friday, September 30, 2011

Reading Clive Cussler (annotations)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle




BLOG DESCRIPTION: Clive Cussler is the author of dozens of action/adventure/techno thriller books. One series features the famous Dirk Pitt, another the Oregon Files, another the NUMA files, another features treasure hunters Sam and Remi Fargo, and so on.

Most of these books feature prologues from the past, and the future adventure ties in artifacts from those past prologues to the present day.

How much of those historical events are fiction and how much fact?

For that matter, can a submarine really go 125 knots submerged? Did Napoleon really have a horse named Sytrie? Just how does an echo sounder work?

In this blog, I go through all of Cussler's books --in chronological order --and annotate them.

Blog is updated two or three times a week.

MY REVIEW: There's a saying - guys won't read books written for women (chick lit) but women will read books written for men and women. Such it is with Clive Cussler. I've read some of his stuff myself. I find his treatment of female characters rather annoying in the Dirk Pitt series, but I enjoy the books overall because of the formula - the historic artifacts from the past having importance in the present day.

But these are techno-thrillers, and what do most women know about types of airplanes, types of weapons, not to mention military history. But really, in these weak, piping times, how many guys know that stuff, either?

Instead of just glossing over these things, now readers can know exactly what these weapons are (if they really exist) and so on, thanks to the annotations being made in this blog.

The author has started out chronologically with two sereies - the first Dirk Pitt written (though not the first one published) and the first Sam and Remi Fargo book.

Only a couple of pages are annotated in each entry, so it's going to take a long time to get through each book, nevertheless the info is fascinating and I highly recommend this blog.

--Spartan Gold: Grand St. Bernard Pass and more
--Pacific Vortex: Maiden trial and more
--Spartan Gold: Napoleon's Reserve Army and more
--Pacific Vortex: Nuclear marine Starbuck and more
--Spartan Gold: Horse known as Styrie and more
--Pacific Vortex: Mutiny on the Bounty and more
Reviews published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Check out my kindle BOOKS!:
Whose Body, by Dorothy Sayers (the Annotated Edition)
The Coldest Equations (science fiction)
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
The Lady and the Tiger...Moth

African American Books on the Kindle

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: African American Books on the Kindle, by VaLinda Miller


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Sure there are many African American Books on the Kindle, but you want to cut your search time in half and some of you want urban, street and erotic and laugh until you mess on yourself! That's my job to give you what you want at a cheap price!

MY REVIEW: As the title states, this blog reviews, or mentions, books targeted towards African Americans. That doesn't mean anybody else can't read them. Indeed, it's interesting to read books targeted towards particular groups, to see all sides of the spectrum.

The author starts out each blog entry with a little bit about her personal life, giving us a connection with her, before going on to either review a book or to provide book titles and summaries (and links to Amazon.)

Check it out.

Sample post:
We Need Some Comedy
Hey, we got a day off of work today. That’s only for government and Bank employees. I think the Post Office is closed too but don’t remember who else is off. I’m just glad to have a day off. We should celebrate, but who is in the mood. With so many people without a job and I’m blessed to have two jobs and it still amazes me that many people cannot find a job. I know, I know, there are lines every where you see on TV or the news and I feel for them. I know what it is like to be without a job. I also know that you take what every job you can until you find the job you want. I also know that making minimum wage, I think it's $7.25 (that's what I'm getting at the part time job) is not enough to fee and clothed one parent and one kid. It's just awful how hard it is to buy the necessities on such low salary. I just know.

I left a good government job when I got married the first time (Oh, yeah, I did forget to mention that I was married before, he died and no I did not kill him!!!) and left to live in Spokane, Washington. Why you ask? I had a best friend who was station out there and my husband at the time was not able to find a good job. So we packed up and drove from Washington, DC to Spokane, we took his nephew who was, can you believe it, 5 years older than him. It was a long ass drive, but we figure we were not in a hurry so we took two weeks to get there. It was fun at times and a few times I knew I saw some KKK in Montana and Idaho. Got to a small town in Idaho to stop for some food. We entered the “diner” and noticed that we were the only black people there. I got scared, but hubby and nephew said we needed to eat. Didn't see a got damn McDonald's for miles. We sat at the counter and ordered, hoping like hell that we would not be hung or food thrown at us or something worse. The waitress and a few other “white” people surrounded us and I knew we were going to be killed. The time was 1984 and even though there may have, I mean “may have” been some racial harmony, I was not going to take or feel any chances. The first young white guy asked where were we heading and my hubby told him Spokane. Remember, this is Idaho, not country talk, but it sounded like country talk with a twang. The waitress asked, hold on now, if we were the “Cosby” family because I looked like Claire. I'm not kidding. I told her no and she was a bit disappointed, but told me, “We don’t get many people like you guys here,” maybe a truck drive now and then, but no black people.” “You kinda of friendly so what would you like.” Jesus!! I just knew I was in some crazy horror movie, but knew I was awake too!. We ordered and they (more white folks surrounded us) continued to ask us questions about DC and our travels. It was completely surreal and if you can believe it, the food was good and they would not let us pay for it. They told us they enjoyed out company. In the back of my mind I'm thinking we will leave the "Psycho Dinner" and end up in some slaughter house waiting to be cooked. We “haul assed” out to the car and I took over the driving this time and left Idaho. That placed scared me and after I looked back when we left, it appeared to be some “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” diner with a big old, fat, slimy and greasy white man staring at me. Too weird, just too weird that I remembered it. Ding Dong!!, I won't be having any dreams tonight.

Lets get to some books, I need to laugh and so do you.

ERIC JEROME DICKEY - SISTER, SISTER - $7.99 - - - It takes guts for a male writer to tackle the trials and tribulations of upwardly mobile African American women. So, let’s see how he does. Southern California sisters Valerie and Inda are close. Fair-skinned Valerie is the younger of the two and takes after their white mother in appearance. After six years of a lousy marriage to Walter, she knows she's miserable but doesn't know any role other than that of a satellite eternally in orbit around her husband. Inda, who inherited their father's dark skin and features, has a stable career, but a divorce from her white husband has made her pessimistic about men of any color, a situation exacerbated by flagrant evidence of her current lover's infidelities. Inda meets Chiquita, a young flight attendant, whom she instinctively likes, and their friendship is cast when they discover they both have been simultaneously deceived by Raymond, who is engaged to a third woman. Chiquita is drawn into the girls' tight-knit family as she falls for their brother, Brown, and learns something from them about courage and love. In recovering from their individual disappointments, Valerie, Inda and Chiquita risk new relationships, strengthened by one another's humor, candor and understanding. I enjoyed this book due to it’s humor and the relationships, bad and good, of Valerie, Inda and Chiquita. It’s made me a laugh too!

ERIC JEROME DICKEY - FRIENDS AND LOVERS - $7.99 Paperback - - - Tyrel, whose twin sister MyeGYN nurse, have fallen for each other big-time. It takes Tyrel and the outspoken, harder-edged Shelby, a flight attendant (who hates being called a ``stewardess''), a little longer, but after a rocky start they too find in each other what they've been searching for. Los Angeles seems at first a paradise for the foursome as they enthusiastically hit the beaches, comedy clubs, restaurants, and discos. Then a massive misunderstanding destroys Tyrel and Shelby's romance, leading them to move to San Francisco and San Diego, respectively; by this time, Leonard and Debra are happily married and frustrated with their best friends' inability to resolve their differences. It takes tragedy on a grand scale to reunite lovers destined for each other and to teach both couples that friendship is perhaps the most valuable gift they've been given. With four characters taking turns offering snippets of the story, it's sometimes hard to keep track of who's talking, but stick with the story, Dickey does know how to keep it real and funny.
Friends and Lovers

LURMA RACKLEY - LAUGH IF YOU LIKE, AIN’T A DAMN THING FUNNY: THE LIFE STORY OF RALPH “PETEY” GREENE AS TOLD TO LURMA RACKLEY - $31.99 Hardback - - - I know the price of the book is high, but if you were born and raised in Washington, DC and a bit older, over 35 I suspect, then you may or may not remember listening to the radio station WOL’s show Moonman. Petey green was the only black man, at that time, who could say what we wanted to say and everyone listen. I remembered my mother, while working at Walter Reed Hospital with my grandmother and great aunt, coming home and talking about the black men in the hospital just arriving from Vietnam, the Korean War and how they got hooked on drugs and alcohol. They also talked about their youth growing up in Georgetown (it’s now all white), Howard University Hospital, which was called, Freedman’s Hospital in the 1800s, which served freed, disabled and aged blacks and their love of Petey Green. I did not listen to him, but I know about him from them. It was our black history living in DC with GoGo music and funk. Petey Greene died before the book was completed and his funeral was the largest in the history of DC for anyone who was not elected to office, but I’m sure Lurma has done a great job. If you never heard him you can see a movie on his life with Don Cheadle called, “TALK TO ME” which was directed by an African American woman, Kasi Lemmons. Who also directed “EVE’S BAYOU” with that crazy ass Samuel L.Jackson, Jurnee Smollett and my girl Lynn Whitfield (Do you remember her in “Madea’s Family Reunion” and “A Thin Line Between Love and Hate with Martin Lawrence). I can go on forever about connections to books and movies, but you need to get this book and those movies. Halluyah!!


CARL WEBER - THE CHOIR DIRECTOR - $8.99 (It went down a $1.00) - - - I’m here to tell you, that man knows how to tell a story. I read the second in this series, THE FIRST LADY - $4.47 The First Lady, just to get a better knowledge of Bishop T.K. Wilson, who I think is one of the best characters in novels around. He has the looks and intelligent of a man of the cloth, but still a man with some serious needs in the bedroom just like any other man. Second book is about his wife coming back from the dead to help him find a new wife. The women in this book, scared the living day lights out of me. It has been a long time since I’ve read about so many evil-minded and venomous bitches to get a man and his church. Then I read his newest one. Took the woman’s hair our by mixing the woman’s hair shampoo with Neet hair removal. Taking a sister down by accusing her, maybe a new boyfriend, of being a rapist. Stealing money from the church, yes I said it, stealing money from the church, even though that’s not really unusual in today’s society. Damn, are we woman that desperate for a man? Wo-cheggin!!!

I laughed so hard, my dog fell out of the bed and gave me a, “what the hell is wrong with you look,” and one of the best lines, let me set it up for you first. Mackie is getting it on with Sandra. Knock at door, Mackie hides Sandra in bedroom. The two men at the door are Bishop T. K. Wilson and Reverend Jenkins,. Bishop is offering Mackie a job and Reverend is a mentor to Mackie and his boss at their church. Mackie turns down the job offer and both men leave. Mackie goes back to finish “getting it on” with Sandra, but there’s another knock at the door, this time its just the Reverend. Mackie is thinking the Reverend is coming back to thank him for not taking the job, but my boy the Reverend pulls out a gun and accuses him of having an affair with his wife. Mackie lies and says no, but the Reverend knows he is lying because when he was there earlier with the Bishop, he saw his wife’s hat pushed into the sofa. Tells Mackie to show him where the wife is and they find her naked on the bed, she is shock and trying to cover her self with clothes and an excuse. The Reverend tells Mackie to take the job and leave town or he’s going to shoot him. Reverend smacks wife and knocks her off the bed, then says, “She may be a ho, but she’s my ho, bought and paid for.” Damn!!!

You have got to read to this book. If you want to laugh, take my word for it, Carl Weber can make you laugh. I’m glad I got a chance to meet him at Books A Million in Charleston and saw him again in Atlanta. He was funny and he still wants to own a McDonald's.” Side joke.

WANDA SYKES - YEAH, I SAID IT! - $10.99 - - - I’m not a big fan of hers, but some of the comments received about her book tells me I may need to get it. Let me know if you have read it or know someone who has. They say it’s hard to write comedy than do it on TV or a movie, that is probably why I would not buy the book because I rather see them in concert or on TV, but who knows, I'm not the expert.

CHRIS ROCK - ROCK THIS! - $10.00 Hardback - - - According to my sources, these are his routines and it’s funny.

CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER - GROWN-A$$ MAN - $6.50 Hardback - - -
I’m going to get this book because I did not know he had a book out. I love me some Cedric. Can’t go wrong with this guy!! Word!!!

Got to stick on one for Black History Year.
BERNIE MAC - I AIN’T SCARED OF YOU: BERNIE MAC ON HOW LIFE IS - $11.99 - - - I’m sorry that he passed away. I always thought he was one of those actors who could play anyone. He just had the gift of talking you into anything, especially with those big eyes.

I Ain't Scared of You: Bernie Mac on How Life Is
--National Book Festival In DC!!!
--Oh, art thy Book Fairs!!! Where have you been!!!
--Boy! There's just too many books!!!
--We Need some Comedy!!

New Reviews published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Check out my kindle BOOKS!:
Whose Body, by Dorothy Sayers (the Annotated Edition)
The Coldest Equations (science fiction)
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
The Lady and the Tiger...Moth

Retro Review #1: Gun Nuts Media





BLOG DESCRIPTION: Gun Nuts Media is one of the premier online sources for information on the shooting sports, new guns, gear, events. We also provide up to date coverage of political issues surrounding the right to keep and bear arms.

MY REVIEW: Gun Nuts Media is a blog that is newly available for subscription by Kindle, but has been around on the web since 2006 (at It’s found in the Sports section (where I found it) and also in News, Politics and Opinion.

The blog is for gun enthusiasts who like to target shoot, in various events, and secondarily about protecting people’s rights to bear arms. They also have a radio program.

The blog entries talk about everything gun related, from the laws about gun ownership to the individuals involved in the sport.

PERSONAL NOTE: I would love to take up target shooting as a hobby... if only ammunition weren’t so expensive! In any event, for those are in to target shooting and collecting guns and so on, this is an excellent blog.

  • Glock Sponsores USPSA Area 6. (2010 pistol shooting championship season, sponsored by the US Practical Shooting Association). Area 6 region includes states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee...
  • Indiana Residents: Contact Your State Senators: news of interest to gun owners who don’t want conceal laws messed with, nor give the government the right to confiscate their guns in the case of a national emergency...
  • FBI purchases AR-15s in .40 S&W (Smith & Wesson). From my buddy at the Firearm Blog; apparently the FBI has decided that hey, pistol caliber carbines are kind of a neat idea.  According to the procurement document, the FBI wants these carbines for training and as option to the 5.56 AR15 rifles that they currently issue.  The caliber makes sense as well, as the FBI’s standard issue firearms for Special Agents is usually a Glock 22 in .40 S&W.  The FBI document actually mentions “easily sourced ammo” as a reason for going with the .40 S&W AR...
  • Revolver Boot Camp: Shooter Julia Golob has sent her S&W 627 V-Comp off to revolver boot camp at Apex Tactical to get slimmed and trimmed down for the upcoming ICORE season...

Kindle Navigation: How to go Back to A Book's First PAge

For those who read books on your Kindle - and who doesn't?

To go to a book's first page:
Press the menu button. That's the one where you Turn Wireless Off or On (supposedly if you keep it turned off except while you're downloading books, it saves the battery), and can shop in the Kindle store.

On the MENU, you'll see:
Turn Wireless On
Shop In Kindle Store
Go To...

[If you're not in a book and you press the MENU button, there will be no "Go To..." choice. You have to be in a book for that option to appear.]

Choose "Go To" and you'll get another dialog box that will enable you to choose (using your 5 way controller) Cover, Table of Contents, Beginning, Location.

Toggle over to Beginning, press the 5-way controller down, and there ya go.

What's "location"? Note the numbers at the bottom right hand corner of a book. That's the "page number". If you want to skip ahead til nearly the end, say for example of a mystery book, just type in a number about 300 less than the last page, and that'll take you to near the end.)

Now, another couple of plus. ; )

I'm a writer of science fiction - check out my novella, The Coldest Equations: The Labyrinth Makers, and the novel, The Coldest Equations: The People Out There. Fun stuff!

And what blogs should you subscribe to?

Well, improve your mind, try my science blogs.

Go to the Kindle Store and search on:
Volcano Seven (sunken treasure)
Seaborn (oceanography)
Star Trek Report (space exploration)
Miniscule Guide to the American Civil War

or just do a search on Volcano Seven and you'll see *all* my blogs!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Retro Review: Fully Booked (New York Travel)





BLOG'S DESCRIPTION: Events with an edge! In New York. Parties, press events, launches, shopping events and more! Trends in the party scene. And lifestyle tips. For those who are not invited. Get invited for free!

MY REVIEW: Bored in New York? No idea what to do? Where to go. . . here's your answer. This blog gives a daily post with a description of the event, the location, the time, and any other relevant information, often including a picture. Frequently web sites are listed and, although you cannot access them from the Kindle, you do have them for later reference. The events are interesting and run the gamut from the Fancy Food Show, a book signing at Williams Sonoma, Food & Wine from North Carolina, gallery openings, and happenings at Whole Foods just to name a few.

  • Wedding Salon and Dylans Candy Bar
  • Pistachio Hot Chocolate
  • Back Stage at New York's Fashion Week - Designer's Andy and Deb
  • Beard on Books

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chittle Chattle (general interest, parenting)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle




BLOG DESCRIPTION: Calling a blog ‘Chittle Chattle’ gives me permission to talk about anything! No theme, just words and pictures. If you have time to leave a comment I’d love to hear from you.

MY REVIEW: A fun little blog about this, that and the other thing. If you like crafts, photography, and stories about parenting, you'll enjoy this blog. Check it out.

Sample post (photos used not included below):
The (im)perfect answer
Yesterday I told you that I was looking forward to some crafty time with my little grandson. Well, we did have fun, and here’s a bad photograph to show you how we got started.

This poor quality snap was taken without him realising, and it would have been impossible to do so later on in the session, so this is all you will get. The page is about a quarter of the way through, and he painstakingly completed it and then two more. Such concentration! He learnt the important difference between firm and gentle too, and I was amazed at how he continued with that during the whole exercise.

So, he now has a new journal – and proof that he can make purple, green and orange. He was delighted to see them transform before his eyes, and couldn’t wait to pass on the information to his little sister. She was more interested in his wellington boots, however, but did show some interest when told they were made from blue and yellow! (Again, apologies for the bad picture)

The comments on yesterday’s post posed an interesting point, and I’ll endeavour to throw some light on it.

Mike10613 said ‘I’m confused now. First I thought how does a television do all the colours when it relies on RGB (red-green-blue) as it’s primary colours. then I thought red and yellow make orange, but your red look pink to me. then I thought. Am I colour blind?’

Yes, television does use RGB, but we weren’t using technology. We were using pigments, and the primary pigments are red, yellow and blue. If you think about the inks printer use (which are used to produce colours on paper and not on a screen) – you will see magenta, cyan and yellow, magenta is a type of red, cyan a type of blue, and yellow – well, that’s yellow! LOL. So these are the types of colour we used. All these pigments can be combined to make the colours of the rainbow and more. They can be mixed to make the secondary colours, green, blue and purple (that’s by just mixing one with one of the others) or further mixed with both in varying quantities. Hopefully this helps with the question. If you need further clarification, just ask.

Incidently, every monitor interprets colour differently, so the colours that you see on the screen may not exactly match the colours we used.

--The (im)perfect answer
--The perfect question
--Open Wide
--Weekly photo challenge - faces

Reviews published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Check out my kindle BOOKS!:
Whose Body, by Dorothy Sayers (the Annotated Edition)
The Coldest Equations (science fiction)
The Lady and the Tiger...Moth

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stories of My Wandering Feet & Mind (travel)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle




BLOG DESCRIPTION: My name is Sonyboy Fugaban – a proud Filipino, an accidental stenographer, a student, an adventurer/backpacker, a health buff, an educator, a parent, a blabbermouth, and a struggling servant of Mother Nature.

I appreciate and respect the Aura up in the sky, bodies of water, mountains, stars, and the creatures of kingdom animalia and plantae.

I gave rise to this blog to share the stories of my wandering FEET & mind and photos by point(ing)-&-shoot(ing) that gives air to the the many “hats” I wear and to promote the pulchritude of the Philippines, with whoever stumbles upon it.

When I set foot in the academe (as an instructor in college), I’ve noticed how important communication skill is that I needed to optimize it. Thanks to WordPress for giving me the excellent place to do that. I didn’t have formal lessons in writing so I am only trying to learn it by simply putting down my stories under the sun, from travels primarily to other stuff, that may also come in the form of notes, recollections, insights, or commentaries. I believe that doing so will help me develop better writing habits, improve my health, embrace my idiolect more and, of course, to become an effective communicator. The more my feet and mind wanders, the more I write; the more I learn to articulate the universal language.

After more than a year of blogging (since January 2010), the encouraging words from few readers gave me that extra challenge to do better. Moreover, now that one of my blog posts was featured on Freshly Pressed last 02 September 2011 to 05 September 2011.


Let me impart my favorite travel quotes:

1. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

2. “Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.” – Anatole France

3. “What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road. ” – William Least Heat Moon, Blue Highways

4. “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

5. “Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins

MY REVIEW: I just discovered this blog and I love it. Although I traveled a bit when I was younger, my traveling days are over and its all Armchair Adventuring for me from now on.

This blog satisfies the wanderlust.

--Weekly Photo Challenge: Faces
--I Touched The Sun — Literally!
--Weekly Photo Challenge: Textured
--Sinarapan, The World’s Smallest Commercial Extant Fish For My Favorite Breakfast
--Early Birthday Gift: Getting Featured on Freshly Pressed
--Weekly Photo Challenge: Path
--Chasing Skink
--The Wandering Feet and Mind On Post A Day/Week Question
--Weekly Photo Challenge: Up
--Weekly Photo Challenge: Flowers
--Neglected Simple Rules for Riding the Metro Rail Transit (MRT)
--Weekly Photo Challenge: Entrance
--Eyeballing Mr. Sunset at Bangued, Abra
--The Pristine Water Around Capones Island

Check out my kindle BOOKS!:
Whose Body, by Dorothy Sayers (the Annotated Edition)
The Coldest Equations (science fiction)
The Lady and the Tiger...Moth

3 Star Trek blogs

None of t hese blogs are on the Kindle, but they're all focused on Star Trek, Star Trek recently celebrated its 45th anniversary (on Sept 8, 2011) so I thought I'd share a few of these blogs today.

Soul of Star Trek:
Welcome to Soul of Star Trek. Craig of Craig's List names it one of the top ten Star Trek blogs, Film Fresh names it as one of the top five. It's on the Guardian's top 10,'s top 10, and at least one other top ten list. The Trek Movie site recommends it.

There are posts here about other science fiction, from 50s classic movies to Doctor Who and Firefly, H.G. Wells and Olaf Stapledon to Kim Stanley Robinson. Most wind up relating to what I feel is the soul of Star Trek in some way.

As for Trek itself, you might start with Star Trek origins posted for the 40th anniversary, or the Trekalog essays on the Star Trek feature films, or on one of the more popular TNG episodes, The Inner Light (with a comment by one of its writers.) I'm also partial to the posts on Encounter at Farpoint.

I've tried to make the labels useful, so I hope they can serve as good guides on your explorations. The Captain's Logs are generally newsier and more random. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy your orbits.

Star Trek Sci Fi Blog:
Welcome to Star Trek Sci fi Blog. Star Trek is merged with real science and futuristic adventures which unites trekkie minds with hope for the future. Its not all going to end tomorrow with a big bang and a ka-boom.

Get warped with Star Trek within the galactic dimensions of Star Trek - Sci Fi Blog and you'll soon get wise to Star Trek worship.

Star Trek Prop, Costume & Auction Blog:
The Internet's premier source for information on collecting Star Trek props and costumes, as well as coverage of all major Star Trek auctions from the famous 2006 Christie's Star Trek auction, through the It's A Wrap Star Trek auctions on eBay and the Propworx Star Trek auctions.

Check out my kindle BOOKS!:
Whose Body, by Dorothy Sayers (the Annotated Edition)
The Coldest Equations (science fiction)
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
The Lady and the Tiger...Moth

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Letters of Note (arts and entertainment)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle




BLOG DESCRIPTION: Letters of Note is an attempt to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos. Scans/photos where possible. Fakes will be sneered at. Updated every weekday. Edited by Shaun Usher.

MY REVIEW: This is an excellent blog if you're interested in a glimpse of the private lives of actors, directors, politicians or other people of note. Today's post provided a jpg of a letter Audrey Hepburn had sent to Henry Mancini, praising him for his work on the soundtrack for Breakfast at Tiffany's.

It's a lot of fun, check it out.

Sample post:

Star Trek castingIt could have been so different. From the archives of Paramount we have a memo - written in April of 1987 to the studio's Head of Network TV - detailing the acting talent then being considered for various roles in Star Trek: The Next Generation; a programme that would begin to grace the small screen just five months later. A few observations: at this juncture, Patrick Stewart was already a favourite for Picard, alongside Patrick Bauchau; Brent Spiner wasn't even being considered for the role he eventually took, as Data; a young man by the name of Wesley Snipes was in the running for the part of Geordi, a role ultimately filled by LeVar Burton but seemingly close to being taken by Reggie Jackson; Jenny Agutter at least read for the part of Beverly, and there was, as of yet, no sign of a certain Wil Wheaton, the youngster who eventually played her son, Wesley Crusher.

Transcript follows. Memo found at Slice of SciFi.

Recommended reading: Making of Star Trek, by Stephen E. Whitfield and Gene Roddenberry.

DATE: APRIL 13, 1987

Per your request, following is a list of actors who are being considered for their respective roles in STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION.

Patrick Stewart
Mitch Ryan
Roy Thinnes
Yaphet Kotto
Patrick Bauchau

Lianne Langland
Julia Nickson
Rosalind Chao
Leah Ayers
Bunty Bailey

Mark Lindsay Chapman
Eric Menyuk
Kevin Peter Hall (also for Geordi)
Kelvin Han Yee

Michael O'Gorman
Gregg Marx
Jonathan Frakes
Ben Murphy

LeVar Burton
Reggie Jackson
Tim Russ
Wesley Snipes
Victor Love
Chip McCallister
Clarence Gilyard Jr.
Kevin Peter Hall

Anne Twomey
Jenny Augutter
Cheryl McFadden

Denise Crosby

J.D. Roth

The above actors will be brought in to read for Gene Roddenberry starting next week. However, Patrick Bauchau did come in to read for Gene today for the role of "Picard." His reading was well received; he and Patrick Stewart seem to be the favorites for the role of "Picard."

For the role of "Ryker," Michael O'Gorman seems to be a favorite. He's sort of an atypical choice for the role, however, a good one.

Denise Crosby seems to be the only possibility for the role of "Troi" at this point; the same for J.D. Roth for the role of "Wesley."

There are several contenders for "Tasha," "Geordi," and "Data." However, Rosalind Chao seems to be a favorite for "Tasha"; Reggie Jackson for "Geordi"; and Mark Lindsay Chapman for "Data."

For the role of "Beverly," Cheryl McFadden is the favorite. However, her schedule may pose a problem. She's currently performing in a play in San Diego.

General reading sessions are continuing; our next one is on April 14.

cc: Jeff Hayes

+ Your pal, John K
+ Your friend, Conan
+ Pixar don't finish films
+ Most beautiful death
+ The Tiger Oil Memos
+ Slaughterhouse Five
+ My outstanding experience
+ Dear 8yr old Teresa
+ Okay, you lazy bitch
+ Idiot of the 33rd Degree
+ Favourite memo ever
+ Hang on, my love
+ A Personal Letter
+ Message from another world
+ STAR TREK/Casting

Reviews published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Check out my kindle BOOKS!:
Whose Body, by Dorothy Sayers (the Annotated Edition)
The Coldest Equations (science fiction)
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
The Lady and the Tiger...Moth

Monday, September 12, 2011

Will be back on track soon

Missed a few days due to the Sept 11 events, but will get my girdle in gear and get the reviews back on track starting tomorrow...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Annoyed LIbrarian (arts and entertainment, literature)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle




BLOG DESCRIPTION: The Annoyed Librarian is possibly the most successful, respected, and desirable librarian of her generation. She has no other interest than to bring her wit and wisdom to the huddled librarian masses yearning to breathe free. The Annoyed Librarian is a free spirit and you are lucky to have her.

I love the sense of humor that the Annoyed Librarian displays, and I love her writing. I also love the insight she gives into reading and public libraries, for all that sometimes her news is pretty damn depressing. (The percentage of folk who read is dropping every year....)

Highly recommended.

Sample post:

Reading is Hip
The AL often depends on the kindness of strangers, whether it’s obsessive stalkers who drive up blog traffic or kind readers who send great stories.

From one kind reader comes this delightful story from Chicago: Chicago Public Library’s ‘Library Lounge’ Nights Aim To Make Libraries Cool Again. Chicago, as you might know, is a toddlin’ town, the kind that Billy Sunday couldn’t shut down, and the Chicago Public Library wants to take advantage of that.

As part of a “Not What You Think” campaign (and by god you had better not think of books!), the CPL is heading to local bars to hand out library cards and tell “young, professional urbanites” all about the library. I think it would be better to host parties in the library itself, but maybe there’s a rule against that.

Having been a young, professional urbanite myself once upon a time – at least if you count librarianship as a profession – I can only applaud and approve. It’s a great idea to associate libraries with alcohol and good times.

I myself frequently sit on my balcony sipping wine and reading an improving book. Not today, of course, since the weather where I am is much too wet, but frequently.

However, while Lounge Nights might be a great idea, this story promoting them is pretty bad from beginning to end.

The title is just weird. When were libraries ever cool? If they were never cool, they certainly can’t be cool “again.” Isn’t the writer familiar with library stereotypes?

Sadly, I don’t think the writer is familiar with library anything, and as usual we have a news story promoting libraries written by someone who hasn’t set foot in one for decades.

For example, it begins, “If the last time you saw your library card was senior year of high school, then there’s a good chance it’s still tucked away in your “East of Eden” paperback.”

Huh? Maybe if the “young, professional urbanites” went to high school in the fifties or sixties, but which of them is likely to have read “East of Eden”?

We also find out that “In addition to having the opportunity to sign up for a library card, Chicago residents can also learn about the valuable resources available to them at CPL. Hint: it’s much more than the microfilm we all sifted through for term papers in the ‘90s.”

Again, huh? Did we all sift through microfilm for term papers in the ‘90s? Something tells me the writer’s experience with libraries is very limited.

To be fair, she’s most likely prompted by the CPL’s Director of Marketing, who tells us about the public library collection: “We get to show off the fact that we have popular music; you know, our music is not all classical, our movies aren’t all black and white from 1945.”

That’s pretty much been the case in libraries for decades, so this is hardly news to anyone who has used one. It also seems to imply that classical music and classic movies are somehow bad, or maybe just stuffy. Classical music is great, and classic films are way hipper than any library.

The marketing director naturally enough has to give out the standard promotional line for libraries these days: “we are kind of not what people originally thought; we are very relevant, we are hip.” We wouldn’t want people to think that libraries weren’t hip. That would be a tragedy.

Librarians have been saying that for decades, and nobody seems to be listening. Millions of people use public libraries, and even they probably don’t think libraries are hip.

The problem with a lot of library marketing (if marketing is really the word for it) is that it’s hard to market an incoherent brand, and librarians are doing all they can to confuse what used to be the most coherent brand of all.

What are libraries for? Reading. That’s why the ALA has those goofy posters with celebrities that say READ. The posters don’t say, WATCH, or LISTEN. Reading. Literacy. Books. Magazines. More books and magazines than you could ever afford, and a wider selection than you would likely see elsewhere. Everything else libraries do is secondary.

And reading is hip. Think about the huge public discussion of books everywhere from Amazon reviews to Library Thing to book blogs. Books are hip. Reading is hip.

You won’t hear that from librarians very often these days, though. Libraries are apparently relevant and hip because of all the stuff they do that has nothing to do with books or reading. Unfortunately, “a whole bunch of stuff that isn’t about reading” isn’t a very catchy slogan.

I suggest instead a new slogan. Instead of “libraries are hip because they have a mishmash of things unrelated to reading,” libraries could market the one thing they do very well and that everyone already knows about.

--How Does Your Library Promote Fake Celebrations?
--Death of the Author
--Reading is Hip
--Books, No Books
--The Last Perk of Librarianship
--Libraries and Class
--Libraries and Riots
--Outsourcing and the ALA
--Busy Isn’t Enough
--Celebrate Banned Sites Day!

Reviews published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Check out my kindle BOOKS!:
Whose Body, by Dorothy Sayers (the Annotated Edition)
The Coldest Equations (science fiction)
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
The Lady and the Tiger...Moth

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

BloominThyme (Gardening and relationships)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle




BLOG DESCRIPTION: A mother of two young children in Central Florida, gardening is one of the LAST things I have time to do, but what started as a “victory garden” has become a favorite pastime. No longer working outside the home, I spend my days driving through school drop-off and pick-up lanes, running errands, washing clothes, volunteering in the community and managing a household – visits to the garden have become my personal reprieve!

Unless of course, it’s summertime. Heat and humidity don’t do any favors for the vegetables, let alone my appearance, but then again, summers are for vacations. Fall through late spring… Now these are wonderful times to be outdoors, and the harvest from a productive garden is simply a bonus. Not to mention it makes a great addition to the dinner plate. While my kids may change their appetites on a daily basis, the two agree: a bean never tasted so good as the one they grew themselves!

MY REVIEW: This is a fun blog, all about gardening, and family relationships. The author illustrates her posts with copious photos.

If you're a gardener, and/or someone with children, small or otherwise, I think you'll enjoy this blog.

Sample post:
Want to extend a BIG thank you to Ashley for signing on to volunteer in the school garden! So inspired was she by her own adventure this spring, she has eagerly joined the school garden and the kids love her. The more the merrier, right?

And what’s more merry than these garden boots? I mean, these are fashion and function all rolled up into one flirty package!

I love creative gardeners who can manage to not only grow some mean veggies but look good while doing it! Remember: when you have a garden, expect visitors. They will come in droves. They will watch with wonder and amazement. They will talk your ear off (if given the chance) and they will run home and want to start their very own garden. But they won’t give you notice so be prepared and look great — like our volunteer-extraordinaire, Miss Ashley!

Thanks for showing up with a smile. The kids appreciate it

--Flirty and Fun Volunteer
--Building Our Bean Fort
--Fiddling with Floating Row Covers
--Weeds, Seeds, Sunflowers and Wildlife
--If kids were vegetables/fruits, mine would be a…

Reviews published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Check out my kindle BOOKS!:
Whose Body, by Dorothy Sayers (the Annotated Edition)
The Coldest Equations (science fiction)
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
The Lady and the Tiger...Moth

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Retro Review: Eyes for Lies: The Blog of the Human Lie Detector



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: Eyes for Lies: The Blog of the Human Lie Detector.


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Scientists have identified 50 individuals who are able to spot deception with great accuracy after testing. More than 15,000 people. Eyes for Lies is one of the 50 people.

MY REVIEW: This one caught my eye. In one post she reviews the video of Josh Powell concerning the disappearance of his wife. She uses her special "skills" to determine if he is guilty by watching his video. Then she dissects the interview piece by piece and describes what she sees and how she interprets it. Each post deals with a prominent criminal case in the news.

Some of the posts can get almost a little sensational, but that is the nature of the beast. The blog is interesting (I have always loved mysteries). She posts everyday.

  • Sam Thompson
  • Diena Thompson talks to Chris Cuomo
  • Alex Martin is Nick Francisco
  • LA Times: Edwards is Engaged
  • Perhaps its not Jarred Harrell

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Men Reading Books (arts and entertainment)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle




BLOG DESCRIPTION: Book summaries and opinions written by guys about books that other guys might consider reading.

MY REVIEW: An excellent blog for anyone who likes techno or action adventure thrillers - not just for guys! However, it is aimed toward guys alone who like that type of literature.

Highly recommended.

Sample post
Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
Imagine if HAL (from 2001) and SkyNet (from Terminator) had a love child and called it Archos.

Or, ever thought about all those computer geeks trying to develop artificial intelligence? Ever wanted to ask them, "What happens if you are successful?"

It's an unknown number of years in our future, but close enough for the military to still be in Afghanistan where robotic devices search out IEDs, enemy combatants, and make friends with the locals. Domestic and factory robots do the mundane. Cars have avoidance sensors that minimize MVAs. And there is that one geek working in a backroom lab at a university who actually manages to achieve what was thought impossible - actual artificial intelligence. The device, Archos, is not only intelligent, but also becomes self aware and reaches out to all levels of robotic 'life'. And he starts to plot the elimination of those unpredictable and emotional humans.

All those little seemingly insignificant gadgets have some form of networked chip and that's how Archos gets to them. Then they realize they need to adapt and manage to manufacture even more lethal robots that have one goal: to do what Archos asks - eliminate humans.

The story is told by a Cormac Wallace, a soldier in the Gray Horse Army that serves Gray Horse Nation in Oklahoma. It is 2 years into the New War and he has come across some form of a storage robot (a Rob) where much of the archives of the New War are stored. With the information in its memory, he manages to trace early isolated incidents, zero hour when the Robs make their worldwide move on humans, how the surviving humans form smalls bands to fight in spite of no ability to communicate and coordinate attacks, the awakening of small groups of self aware Robs that realize Archos must be defeated, and the final retaliation of the humans.

Cormac tells all this as individual short stories by introducing us to that geek, a Japanese robot repairman who manages to sort of disconnect his Robs from Archos, internal fights within Gray Horse Nation, the destruction of New York, Boston and more, Robs in the Afghan mountains, an English hacker whose change of heart helps break into the Archos network, and the daughter of a Congresswoman who is subjected to a robot version of Joseph Mengele whose surgery actually ends up being able to help, not destroy, the humans. The story jumps across vignettes neatly tying the stories up to the point of the final confrontation with Archos.

Science fiction is not high on the list of MRB, but I wouldn't label this that way, more like Twilight Zone on steroids. Reviewers have compared Wilson to Michael Crichton for his ability to weave obscure scientific subjects with human frailties (BTW, I never liked Crichton all that much. The bulk of his books ended with the stars just leaving the scene. Remember the end of Jurassic Park? Most ended like that). Thank goodness Wilson is far better at bringing his story to a satisfying close.

Looking for a diversion from the usual crime mystery or international thriller? You should seriously consider this one. Seriously.
by East Coast Don

P.S. Dreamworks SKG has optioned this book for the screen with none other than the boss, Spielberg, slated to direct. 2013 is the anticipated release year. Think of it as War of the Worlds with a far better plot and a few million dollars of CGI.

--Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
--Villa Incognito by Tom Robbins
--Savage Run by C. J. Box
--Open Season by C. J. Box
--The Glass Rainbow by James Lee Burke
--Access to Power by Robert Ellis
--Sixkill by Robert B Parker
--The Guards by Ken Bruen
--The Lost Witness by Robert Ellis
--The Delta Solution by Patrick Robinson
--Down River by John Hart
--One Rough Man by Brad Taylor
--City of Fire by Robert Ellis
--Dirty White Boys by Stephen Hunter
--The King of Lies by John Hart

Check out my kindle BOOKS!:
Whose Body, by Dorothy Sayers (the Annotated Edition)
The Coldest Equations (science fiction)
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
The Lady and the Tiger...Moth