Sunday, December 29, 2013

Green Lies: DEBUNKED!

The Little Green Book of Eco-Fascism: The Left’s Plan to Frighten Your Kids, Drive Up Energy Costs, and Hike Your Taxes – James Delingpole (Regnery Books)

If you’ve spent anytime pondering what can laughingly be called “climate science” then you know that lunatic left who lay claim to this “expertise” have made it a moving target over the past couple of decades. What started out as global warming shifted to man-made global warming which then became twisted into global climate change and now is apparently dubbed anthropogenic global warming.

Along this twisting path lay scattered literally hundreds of predictions of global scale gloom and doom and nearly has many debunked reports and theories posited by so-called “experts” on climate science that have proven to be made up, false or more often flat out lies! Yet to this day, the mainstream press, AKA “the lazy media”, liberal politicians and brain dead celebrities continue to tout this load of crap a serious science and a serious issue or as they often refer to it in hashed tones; a crisis!

So how does one fight back against this rising tide of stupidity? By arming yourself with a veritable encyclopedia of responses to the ever shifting climate change doctrine, in the form of; The Little Green Book of Eco-Fascism: The Left’s Plan to Frighten Your Kids, Drive Up Energy Costs, and Hike Your Taxes by James Delingpole. This handy little book is a compendium of the players, the scandals, the lies and the outright B.S. that is global climate science.

Laid out in alphabetical order, Delingpole serves up bite size recaps and handy retorts for all of the stupid arguments your liberal brother-in-law makes about global warming. What the heck was your sister thinking?! With entries ranging from Hansen, James to Gore, Albert to polar bears, the hockey stick and everything in between, Delingpole arms you to the teeth for Manbearpig!

Keep in mind, Liberals and climate change scientists never let facts get in the way of a good story; so at the very least, The Little Green Book of Eco-Fascism delivers enough humor to keep you laughing.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sweet Soul Music

Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion – Robert Gordon (Bloomsbury Publishing)

Literally hundreds of books have been written about the about the Civil Rights movement in the United States; much of it misconception about political posturing and what it was that moved the debate to its eventual, dramatic conclusion.

While many books and movies have included passing mention or included scenes about the impact of race relations on the music industry and musical acts of that era, I don’t think that to overall impact of music and the music industry on race relations has ever really been given its full due in having a major impact on civil rights.

While it is certainly not the sole focus of Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion by long time Memphis based music journalist Robert Gordon, race and civil rights clearly plays a major role in the story line.

The story of the brother and sister team of Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton, the founders of the seminal soul music record label, Stax Records is astounding on many fronts, not the least of which is the impact that these two southern whites had on sparking the explosion of soul music hits that that quite literally was a catalyst in the evolution of race relations in this country.

For years we have seen and heard stories about record labels and music executives that put the screws to music artists, notably black songwriters and performers, but the hose job that the brain trust of Atlantic Records Pulled on Stax records could be the high watermark a musical screwing.

In the end, Respect Yourself is about the music and the laundry list of amazing talent that called Stax Records home. The remarkable list includes; Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Booker T. and the M.G.s, Isaac Hayes and The Staple Singers among many more. The way Gordon weaves the story of the tragic death of Otis Redding leaves a palpable sadness as you read the reactions to the news of the passing of a superstar whose career trajectory was rising quickly.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Childlike Mind of a Liberal

The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America – And What We Can do to Stop It – Thom Hartmann (Twelve Books)

They say you “can’t judge a book by the cover” but you may be able to take a stab at it based on the blurbs. It is a time-honored tradition for publisher to seek “independent” opinions about the author’s work from high profile, recognizable folks. The fact that Thom Hartmann’s latest is blurbed by a disgraced former member of the Obama inner circle and self-avowed communist (Van Jones), a thug union president (Richard Trumpka, AFL-CIO), a Sixties radical and domestic terrorist organization member (Tom Hayden), the only Socialist member of the U.S. Senate (Bernie Sanders), and an actor/environmentalist wing nut (Leonardo DiCaprio) should at the very least speak volumes.
There is an almost childlike quality to the liberal thought process; and Hartmann is a classic purveyor of the boogieman under the bed approach to trying to scare people with an imagined right wing cabal out to get the American people and to destroy the country. In The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America – And What We Can do to Stop It, Hartmann certainly doesn’t break any new ground; instead choosing to trod on familiar liberal territory, laughably trying to blame the likes of Ronald Reagan, the mythological Koch Brothers and “Economic Royalists” for engaging in this secret plot.

In a simpleminded fashion, Hartmann would have you believe that this cabal of wealthy right-wingers secretly control power. Certainly money plays a huge role in the pursuit of power, but Hartmann seems to forget the staggering wealth that is controlled by liberals! Hartmann’s prescriptions for fixing the problem revolve around classic liberal thought; increase the power, size and scope of government in all of our lives.
You don’t have to look far to see how far off the mark that idea is! Aside from the obvious failings of the economic policies of the Obama administration and the genius of Democrats in Washington who believe that food stamps and extended unemployment benefits are an economic stimulator; simply look at the state of big cities in this country. The top ten cities that are in dire economic states, if not outright bankrupt, all have one thing in common; decades of Democrat control. And these are the folks and the policies that Mr. Hartmann would have you believe are the answer for fixing our economic woes…I have to wonder what it is that Hartmann is drinking? Perhaps some grape Kool-Aid?
I think my favorite simpleminded section of the book is Hartmann’s plan to eliminate billionaires in the No Billionaires chapter. Apparently Hartmann has answered the age old question, “how much do you need?” The answer is $1 Billion and no more! Little Thommie would have you believe that because a billionaire’s wealth is soooo many multiples more than the average persons and that they can’t buy and equal number of multiples worth of stuff then billionaires are not job creators. Like I said, childlike. On just the consumer side, Hartmann would have you believe that billionaires can’t buy enough to create jobs. While Warren Buffet is certainly the exception to the rule, living in his Omaha ranch house, Hartmann believes that the average billionaire doesn’t own multiple homes, cars, and just mounds of high end stuff.
The point he completely misses is that most billionaires create stuff; not just ordinary stuff, but stuff that people want and that they buy, which is why they are billionaires! It’s not like those billionaires make the stuff they sell all by themselves; they hire people to make the stuff and those people take their paychecks and go buy more stuff from other people who make stuff! This isn’t brain surgery, its trickledown economics as envisioned by the evil, vile Reagan administration. By artificially limiting the amounts of money someone can make you stifle the desire to innovate and create. Apparently Hartmann is deluded enough to think that innovation will happen out of the clear blue sky.
Hartmann believes that by limiting freedoms and stifling innovation, the cornerstone things that make this country great, we can somehow magically fix our economic problems and live happily ever after. That’s the way fairytales end and that is the way liberals think.

Friday, December 13, 2013

One More for the Groupies

Dirty Rocker Boys: Love and Lust on the Sunset Strip– Bobbie Brown (Gallery Books)

Back in the late 1980s Pamela Des Barres caused quite a stir in both the music and literary worlds when she released her groupie magna carta, I’m With the Band where she gave the world the lowdown on the backstage antics of the ladies who try anything to get some rocker satisfaction; the groupie.

It was during that same period that the next generation of rocker seeking chicks came of age; with the birth of MTV and the seemingly non-stop need for a steady stream of rock video chicks that came with it, came the rise of the video vixen. Front and center in this parade of big haired, big boobed, babes was Bobbie Brown; who is out with her new bio, Dirty Rocker Boys: Love and Lust on the Sunset Strip.

Made famous by her appearance in LA hair metal favorites Warrant’s ode to….a…um…lady bits, Cherry Pie, complete with leering front man, and Brown’s future husband, Jani Lane and quite naturally big, juicy, slices of cherry pie. Brown recounts many of the videos she graced and the rockers she chased. The tale of the former pageant princess rings very familiar to many bios of the rockers she loved and lusted after featuring plenty of body fluid swapping and a healthy dose of name dropping.

Like so many of those rocker tales, Brown also features many of the same kinds of missteps, addictions and downfalls. The bit players along the way include a cavalcade of infamous celebs including; Lane, Motely Crue’s Tommy Lee, who was engaged to Brown right up until his Oceanside beach wedding to Baywatch’s Pamela Anderson, and a young, quick on the draw, Leonardo DiCaprio.

If you’re looking for Mensa-like insight, you’ll need to look elsewhere; if you want heaping helping of cheesecake and cheese, this will be right up your alley.   

Real History: More than Just Dates and Dead Guys

Miracles and Massacres – True and Untold Stories of America – Glenn Beck (Threshold Editions)

History. The mere mention of the word can send shivers of dread up the average person’s spine. Anyone who ever has ever suffered through the average public school teacher’s history class can attest to just how boring the subject of history, in this case U. S. history, can truly be.

So what was it that made history sooooo boring? If you think about it, it’s what’s missing…great stories! Think about it…if history was delivered in a fashion that was more than just dates and dead guys and actually delivered so color and context; told real stories then maybe, just maybe history would be more entertaining.


Well the proof of that thought is in the pudding…the pudding in this case is Miracles and Massacres – True and Untold Stories of America from Glenn Beck. Beck and his team have taken a series of seminal American stories, warts and all, and illustrated with a injection of drama and insight and gotten the history side of the story through in an interesting and dare I say, entertaining fashion.

If you think you know the story of the My Lai Massacre, or Tokyo Rose or even more recent events like the so-called ‘20th highjacker” of 9/11, I would bet that you will learn something new to the story. Perhaps the most intriguing story in the lot is that of industrial titans Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse. Edison has been heralded as a heroic inventor that had a profound impact on all of our lives. In truth, Edison was a villainous, treacherous, nasty guy.

While Beck and company cop to taking some poetic license with broad brushstrokes in the stories, but not with the facts. Bottom line the facts stand and the tale sells the story. Let’s hope that this will lead to other pieces of our history being touched on in future editions of what will become a series of books.



Santa’s Bookshelf

Books have always been one of my favorite holiday gifts to both give and receive. Here are a small selection some books on Santa’s bookshelf that could find their way under your Christmas tree.

Silent Night – A Spenser Holiday Novel – Robert B. Parker with Helen Brann (Putnam Publishing)

At the time of his unexpected passing 2010, author Robert B. Parker was hard at work on writing his first Christmas themed book in the form of a Spenser holiday novel, Silent Night.


It’s December in Boston and Parker’s original hero, Spenser is doing what he does second best; carefully crafting the menu for a holiday celebration, when his turducken plans are interrupted by a young visitor that sets the story in motion.

Parker’s long time literary agent, Helen Brann was well equipped after working side by side with the author for 32 years to pick up the reins and finish the tale. Like many holiday themed novels, the story line is light and makes for easy reading; if you’re looking for deep thinking, you’ll have to look elsewhere. This one is all about fun and adventure Spenser style.

White Fire – Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Grand Central Publishing)

I’ve been writing for over 30 years and I have always been intrigued by what the dynamic is between writing teams. One of the most successful duos in fiction writing, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child is out with another Pendergast story, White Fire.


Eccentric, intriguing, and intelligent; Pendergast could be one of the most entertaining, quirky characters in fiction. As controlled and meticulous as Pendergast is, the wildcard that is Corrie Swanson seems to be the perfect fictional foil. Their interactions often serve to ratchet up the tension of the story.

Add to this winning mix a legendary tale featuring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde, a historical serial killer and a current psychotic killer and the story is bound to take some interesting twists and turns before reaching it’s exciting conclusion.

King and Maxwell – David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing)

From the time he took the literary world by storm with his debut novel Absolute Power, author David Baldacci has become one of the most reliably entertaining writers out there. He has literally created a shelf chock full of memorable characters over a span of great book series.

The list includes; John Puller, Will Robie, The Camel Club and of course King and Maxwell. The last duo, is the name sake of Baldacci’s latest book, King and Maxwell. Former Secret Service agents turned private investigators, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are thrust into an investigation involving a teenager who’s Dad was killed in Afghanistan…in true Baldacci style…or was he?


In receipt of a carefully crafted, coded email, sent after his father supposedly died, Tyler Wingo turns to King and Maxwell for a helping hand and from there the story is off to the races.

Adding to the storyline is the built in tension, often between the lines, between King and Maxwell. The whole male, female partner tension thing certainly isn’t new, but Baldacci does a masterful job of balancing it in the mix without overwhelming the story.

Identical – Scott Turow (Grand Central Publishing)

Long before Kindle became the e-reader of choice for millions, it was better known for being the county that was home to attorney/bestselling author Scott Turow’s collection of colorful denizens of an equally colorful community.

With Identical Turow once again posits an intriguing concept and develops a story that will most likely keeping you guessing right to the end. I pride myself on more often than not being able to figure out where the story will wind up, but this one left me scratching my head.


While Turow has often displayed the ability to weave intricate, character laden plot lines, at times in Identical the reader may be left flapping their arms to keep their head above the character waterline. While he tries mightily to pull all of the loose strings together, Turow may have bitten off more than the average reader can chew.

With a bit of patience, this one is still worth the read, it may just take a bit of extra focus to keep things straight.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Double Dose of Suspense

Poison Pill – Glenn Kaplan (Forge Books)

Whether you are putting together a perfect business deal or concocting the chemical compounds to make pharmaceuticals; it takes just the right balance to get the results you are looking for. Both the art of the deal and the art of chemistry can have a poison pill in the mix and author Glenn Kaplan follows up his 2007 novel Evil Inc. with another dose of business based suspense with Poison Pill.

Kaplan clearly understands the wheeling and dealing side of business having not only penned a non-fiction first book The Big Time which was based on some 350 interviews with business executives, but also prowled the corridors of Fortune 500 power as an advertising executive.

He utilizes that knowledge and proximity to movers and shakers to capture the machinations of those high pressure, high powered types in Poison Pill. The suspense gets ratcheted up a notch or two when the not so straight dealing Russian mobster, who has his own set of deals in mind, get involved with a hostile takeover artist who’s not all that he appears to be.
Kaplan creates an interesting mix of storylines that intersect nicely to keep the book on pace; deftly thwarting the chance that the complex web of stories might slide of the rails. He also manages to drop enough hints along the way to keep the reader guessing, but also driving the story in the process.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

From Zero to Genius

Starting at Zero: His Own Story – Jimi Hendrix (Bloomsbury Press)

Mix an unnaturally short life with a legendary musical genius and an insatiable desire to cash in on that genius and you are bound to end up with mountains of material that is half baked and certainly not well done. Thus is the afterlife of Jimi Hendrix musical, documentary and written output; a never ending search for ways to ruthlessly repackage and sell this musical icon. It has lead to some amazing battles both legal and personal for those trying to control the Hendrix empire and has often left his fans holding the short end of the stick.

I have to give the folks who put together Starting at Zero: His Own Story by Jimi Hendrix some credit for a bit of high concept. Alan Douglas, who met Hendrix backstage at Woodstock and went on to become his producer and documentary filmmaker Peter Neal crafted this book using Henrix’ own words from countless interviews collected over the course of all-too-brief career; in a sense, giving us Hendrix story in his own words.

There is a jigsaw puzzle quality to the book as Neal, the film maker responsible for the 1967 30 minute documentary Experience, is charged with piecing together and editing the story which follows Hendrix from his early life through his time in the military and then on to musical heights.

Undoubtedly there will be cries of exploitation and cashing in from some corners but there is a sense that this carefully crafted book is a true labor of love for Douglas and Neal. While some parts will be a rehash for Hendrix diehards, overall I get the sense that they tread very lightly on the editing of things and truly left the sense and spirit of Hendrix in his own words and story.