Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Navy Cross, "Extras", other stuff


Extras: the complete first season and Extras: the complete second season starring Ricky Gervais, and a bunch of big, big, big stars. Gervais wants to be a big-time actor but is stuck as a film extra. He approaches various big, big,big actors for advice. Luckily for the viewing audience all the big, big, big actors - playing themselves - are bat crap loony.


Navy Cross: extraordinary heroism in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other conflicts by James E. Wise, Jr. and Scott Baron. Twenty sailors and Marines from Afghanistan and Iraq. Other recipients are from Vietnam, Korea, WW2 and WW1. The Preface says " The word 'hero' has been abused to the point where today anyone might be crowned with the title. In truth, however, a hero is someone who puts his or her life on the line for others."
Later in the preface the authors say how medal disbursement - specifically the Navy Cross - is proportionately lower than in Korea and Vietnam. But I've read many accounts of "medal inflation" in Vietnam where friends would nominate one another to assist in career advancement. I would bet the number of medals also depends on the unit. A group of guys who are in gunfights all the time must constantly be risking themselves for one another and frequent heroism most seem normal. A unit with little enemy contact that gets in a big gunfight, under the same circumstances as the other unit, may seem super heroic.
I'm glad I don't decide on the awards.


Lady Killer by Lisa Scottoline.

Large Print

Stranger in Paradise by Robert B. Parker.

Caroline's Child & Dr. Texas by Debbie Macomber. Volume two of the Heart of Texas series.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Secrets, A. Lee Martinez, Kidnapping, Twin Higgins


Gone Baby Gone starring Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman. Private detective and his female partner are hired to help find a missing girl. The girl isn't missing, she was taken, and the path to find her becomes increasingly dangerous.


Fitness Walking, 2nd Edition by Therese Iknoian. Fitness programs for all levels, speeds, and distances.

A Lifetime of Secrets by Frank Warren. Warren created an interesting mix of post mail and the internet with People create and send their own postcards to Warren and each postcard carries a secret the sender has never before revealed. A sampling (last one is mine and not in the book):
"It sucks having your dad go to jail when you are only in sixth grade. I still hold it against him..."
"When I was in college I made $ writing papers for other people. Now I'm a teacher & I feel like a hypocrite every time I give a 0 for cheating."
"I greatly enjoy listening to Adam and the Ants and still remember most of the lyrics."


Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez. Martinez writes a fun mix of humorous yet serious Science Fiction and Fantasy novels. Automatic has hulking machine Mack Megaton trying to earn citizenship in the Empire. He goes looking for his missing neighbors.

Death of a Gentle Lady by M.C. Beaton. A Hamish Macbeth mystery.

Killing Ground by Jack Higgins. British intelligence officer Sean Dillon decides to help Caspar whose Bedouin father kidnapped Caspar's thirteen-year-old daughter for marriage to an Iraqi terrorist.

Large Print

Killing Ground by Jack Higgins. British intelligence officer Sean Dillon decides to help Caspar whose Bedouin father kidnapped Caspar's thirteen-year-old daughter for marriage to an Iraqi terrorist.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Two DVDs, Steve Earle's Sister-in-Law, and Otis the Banjo Player


W: the history of Wisconsin football. "This action-packed and fascinating DVD explores the famous names, games and plays that formed the great football traditions of this Big Ten favorite." With over twenty interviews.

1 and 0: one record setting season. "The story of the 2006 Wisconsin Badgers." Narrated by Matt Lepay, the "Voice of the Badgers", with game highlights, player commentary, and other extras.


Recapturing the Banjo by Otis Taylor. Remind me, why did I order this? I must have seen it on list somewhere. It sure is good though. The booklet has a short essay on banjo history and it's origins in Africa and the way the instrument was appropriated by different cultures. Otis plays traditional folk tunes and contemporary songs. EDIT, 2-12-08: This is a good album.

Just a Little Lovin' by Shelby Lynne. "Inspired by Dusty Springfield." "Perhaps the first thing to make the listener aware of is that Lynne makes no attempt to sound like her subject. She is a singer with her own phrasing, manner of articulation, and sense of rhythm."

One Book

Smoothies and Juices: simple and delicious easy-to-make recipes by Christine Ambridge.