Saturday, April 23, 2016

Eat Healthy: A Process of Elimination

Good and Simple: Recipes to Eat Well and Thrive – Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley (Clarkson Potter)

The old saying is a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach…well it doesn’t hurt when the ones doing the cooking happen to be two beautiful ladies who just happen to be sister’s and they knock out some great looking food that tastes great and oh by the way is healthy for you.

The London-based duo of Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley are the go to choice for celebs looking for great food for their gatherings and they are out with their new effort Good and Simple: Recipes to Eat Well and Thrive.

The sister’s hit on a healthy cooking alternative that started as a process of elimination; along the way they’ve dropped gluten, grains and refined sugars and focused on upping the ante on nutrition in all of their recipes. In Good and Simple, they cover the gamut from breakfast to lunch, kicked up salads and main dishes, and delicious desserts.

They even offering up twists on classics like guacamole, putting on their own spin by adding broccoli to the mix in brocamole. This is a total makeover for what you eat that focuses on killer flavor profiles that will make this not seem like a diet or not feel like you’re missing out on something. With 140 recipes, it will make this lifestyle transition a whole lot more pleasing to your palate.  

Friday, April 15, 2016

All Politics is Local

Going Red: The Two Million Voters Who Will Elect the Next President – and How Conservatives Can Win Them – Ed Morrissey (Crown Forum)

Comedian Darrel Hammond used to do a bit on Saturday Night Live playing former President Bill Clinton, usually in a bar, trying to come to grips with something and uttering the line “what the hell happened?!” It was that familiar refrain that sadly became the catch phrase of Republicans following the 2012 Presidential election as they tried to understand exactly what the hell happened!

Conservative blogger, writer and radio host Ed Morrissey reminds us of the painful details of what was clearly a White House ripe for the taking following a 2010 Republican mid-term blowout, President Barack Obama mired in the controversy of Benghazi, and the mess that is Obamacare. And yet it didn’t take long to see the Election Day handwriting on the wall for Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory with his lack of testicular fortitude and inability to close the deal to send Obama packing.

Well now Morrissey not only dissects what went wrong, but how serves up a roadmap for how to fix the problem in 2016 and take politics down to a granular level in his new book, Going Red: The Two Million Voters Who Will Elect the Next President – and How Conservatives Can Win Them. Morrissey spent time on the ground researching and investigating not only the so-called battleground states, but those pivotal counties within those all-important states.

There are a handful of political prognosticators that have the ability to drill down into the ground game that has become part and parcel of winning national elections and in many cases even statewide races. Morrissey is one of those folks. His deep dive into politics at the micro-level really proves that all politics is local and that successful candidates will have to custom craft their messaging to target these microcosms of voters. This is truly an intriguing proposal for victory, it will interesting to see if the Republicans are will to take up the mantle.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Renaissance Man of Round Ball

Back From the Dead – Bill Walton – (Simon and Schuster)

Named one of the NBA’s Fifty greatest players of all time, large in size and ability to match contrasted against a personality that highlights him a true child of the Sixties, legendary player, commentator and overall renaissance man of round ball, Bill Walton is out with Back From the Dead a very entertaining memoir that delves into his life in an out of basketball.

I was intrigued by Walton writing about his interactions with his legendary college coach John Wooden and equally legendary professional coach Dr. Jack Ramsay. The impact and influence Wooden, who is known almost as much for his post-coaching leadership training as he is for being one of the winningest basketball coaches of all time, had on Walton is striking.

While Walton was a free spirit, Wooden was a straight laced, firm and guiding mentor. Walton writes of his nearly daily phone interactions over the course of decades, through times of tension, conflict and friendship, right up to the coaches passing at the age of 99.

It was amazing to remember that Walton’s entire NBA career amounted to just five and half seasons; cut short by an accumulation of traumatic injuries. He details the clear, physical sacrifice he endured in pursuit of greatness, the cost coming to a head in 2008 with what he describes as a catastrophic spinal collapse. The details of the fight for recovery through immense pain and suffering, pioneering surgery and lengthy rehab will leave you marveling and Walton’s true grit and determination.

This is not a story with interest limited to sports fans or Grateful Deadheads, of which Walton is a card carrying member; this is a story of sacrifice and the willingness to overcome that should inspire anyone. And you got to love a book that receives endorsements from not only NBA legends, but also Dead drummers and political heavyweights.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Art of Super Heroes

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: The Art of the Film – Peter Aperlo (Titan Books)

Los Angeles based writer Peter Aperlo, whose wide-ranging credits including video game narration scripts, role playing game books and a handful of other Art from the Film books, is out with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: The Art of the Film, which features and interesting mix of movie stills, sketches and storyboards from the film.

Covering 192 pages, the book serves up the full gamut of heroes and villains, insider looks at what went into various scenes from the film and its range of vehicles and weapons. While some Art of the Film book aficionados might be put off by the number of movie stills that make up the bulk of the book, I felt that it brought to life the scene storyboards and action sketches.

The bulk of the pages are rightly dedicated to the title characters and the range of not only the gear they utilize, but also the locales and backdrops in which they appear. Wonder Women, as portrayed by Israeli beauty Gal Godot gets some play as does Amy Adams in the role of Lois Lane. The only quibble I can offer is the shortage of images for Doomsday, limited to just a couple of pages…heck even Lex Luthor garnered a half dozen pages.

While am admittedly a fan of the behind the scenes sketches and storyboards; my take is that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: The Art of the Film, may actually be better than the movie that spawned it.


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Searching for the Storyline

The Searcher – Christopher Morgan Jones

Christopher Morgan Jones is out with his third novel of international corporate intrigue and spying, The Searcher, which shifts focus away from the hero/main character of his two initial entries Ben Webster, to Webster’s boss, Ike Hammer.

The Searcher, starts out with the Webster and Hammer going their separate ways and in the process setting the table for all that follows, in what has the making of an international thriller against a back drop of Hammer being the target of a criminal investigation spawned by Webster’s actions. Therein lies the problem; in an effort to track down answers, Hammer is thrust back into the field and quickly flounders, like a fish out of water.

While I am a veteran Tom Clancy thrillers and other complex story narratives, I quickly found myself lost in a sea of seemingly disconnected characters and far flung locales. Has a found myself struggling to grasp who was who and where they fit into the story my interest began to wane.

I continued to muddle along in the hope that the storyline would come back to me and the finish would get stronger. Unfortunately, that never happened. It reached the point where I could even determine if I had a compelling reason to care about the characters or the story and I found myself throwing my hands up in submission.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Dale Carnegie Redux

The Art of People – 11 Simple People Skills That Will Get You Everything You Want – Dave Kerpen

80 years ago a poor farm boy from Missouri released one of the bestselling books of all time, one that remains a perennial bestseller to this day; Dale Carnegie, How To Win Friends and Influence People. Millions of people seeking self-improvement, sales and improved interpersonal skills folk to Carnegie’s books for advice, which still stands the test of time.

Now, New York Times bestselling author Dave Kerpen offers up what some have dubbed as a book similar to the Carnegie classic, only “better suited for today’s world” with, The Art of People – 11 Simple People Skills That Will Get You Everything You Want.
Kerpen offers up over fifty puzzle pieces, short chapter length essays that fit nicely in the eleven categories the title describes. Those eleven include things like Understanding Yourself and Understanding People, Reading People, Leading People and Inspiring People among others.

Kerpen makes good on the titles promise of keeping things simple as he offers up personal anecdotes and advice for putting this guidance into play. He also adds a personal exercise, FAST – First Action Steps, a few simple steps/questions/exercises that you can quickly put into action to put what he is teaching into play.

Anyone who has spent any time working to improve themselves or their work/personal life, including Mr. Carnegies work, will find a lot of familiar themes here. While Kerpen isn’t really plowing a lot of new ground here, he has pulled together a very useful, very workable collection of things that will contribute to the positive outcome you are seeking.