Friday, February 06, 2009

Boring Things: Chick Movie and Chick Books


Secret Life of Bees starring [A bunch of girl singers] and Dakota Fanning. 14-year-old Lily moves in with her nanny and her family to get away from her father and learn more about her dead mother.


Flame and the Shadow by Denise Rossetti. The usual: a Fire Witch, Duke of Ombra the sorcerer, kidnapping, "death of her precious daughter", desire, love, betrayal.

Would-Be Witch by Kimberly Frost. "Nothing's more embarrassing than malfunctioning magic." Tammy has not inherited her family's magical gifts so when her locket that holds the family ghost, Edie, is stolen she needs some help.


Mrs. Lincoln: a life by Catherine Clinton. "Authoritative and utterly engrossing" biography of Mary Todd Lincoln.

Urban Italian: simple recipes and true stories from a life in cooking by Andrew Carmellini and Gwen Hyman.

Neat Things: Bruce Campbell and Bernard Cornwell


My Name is Bruce starring Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi. Guan-di, Chinese protector of the dead, is awakened in the mining town of Gold Lick. Deadbeat actor Bruce Campbell (played by Bruce Campbell) is recruited to save the town.


Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell. Fictional tale of the battle of Agincourt by Cornwell. Cornwell writes great action novels. Cornwell also loves to write about the English killing Frenchmen; so, Agincourt is a natural topic for him.


Guerrilla Daughter by Virginia Hansen Holmes. Virginia was just shy of her seventh birthday when Pearl Harbor was bombed. From the Spring of 1942 to September '45 she and her family lived on the run on Mindanao Island in the Philippines as her father and teenaged brothers fought the ruthless and murderous Japanese Army.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Five DVDs: Hipsters, James Brown, Appaloosa.


Appaloosa starring Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris, Renee Zellweger, Jeremy Irons. Western tale adapted from the Robert B. Parker novel. Supposed to be very good.

James Brown Live at the Boston Garden, April 5, 1968 starring James Brown. Filmed the day after Martin Luther King's murder and broadcast live to Boston. Brown's performance is credited with helping prevent the violence and rioting that erupted elsewhere around the country.
James Earl Ray was a real scumbag.

Zack and Miri starring Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Katie Morgan, Traci Lords. Two broke roommates decide to film a pornographic movie as a money making venture. Hilarity ensues.
This is alternatively named Zack and Miri and Zack and Miri Make a Porno. The DVD is sold under either title. Maybe some stores would not retail the DVD if the word porno was in the title.

RocknRolla starring Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton. Competing London gangsters clash with would-be music moguls, an accountant, and a rocker playing dead to boost sales.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings. Guy in a band gets dumped by girlfriend and ends up having to spend the night with girlfriend's best friend. Love ensues.
I do not know who Jay Baruchel is but his name is familiar and listed in the credits. I'll have to look him up.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Bible, Templars, Reagan, An Idiot, MMA


Bible and the People by Lori Anne Ferrell. History of the printed Bible from hand-copied manuscripts to mass produced printing. "The story of what happened to ancient set of writings we call the Bible during those thousand years."

The Templars: the secret history revealed by Barbara Frale. "An explosive new history of the medieval world's most powerful military order." Wielding economic and military might behind a cloak of secrecy. Revealing the history of the trial of the Templars' leadership bu the Inquisition and their secret initiation ceremonies.

Tear Down This Myth: how the Reagan legacy has distorted our politics and haunts our future by Will Bunch. Bunch writes that today's politicians claim to carry Reagan's mantle "no matter preposterous the fit." Reagan's popularity while in office was never very high, his tax cuts did not fuel the economy, his "waste-ridden build-up" did not win the Cold War, ignore his willingness to speak to adversaries and desire to eliminate nukes, Bush I and Clinton's rollback of Reaganomics "spurred a decade of peace and prosperity."

Scratch Beginnings: me, $25, and the search for the American Dream by Adam Shepard. Recent college grad starts out with the clothes on his back and $25. After 12 months he plans to have $2500, a working car, and a furnished apartment.
This sounds like an interesting concept but the guy sounds like an arrogant dipstick.

Blood in the Cage: mixed martial arts, Pat Miletech, and the furious rise of the UFC by L. Jon Wertheim. Author decides to blow the lid off a brutal competition. Then, he finds out it is a real sport, with real athletes, and really interesting. Told with the tale of Pat Miletech who runs one of the most famous mixed martial arts training schools.
* The picture section contains lots of tattoos and cauliflower ear.
* We have a couple UFC fight DVDs if you want. UFC 67 and 68.

Where Did All These Dang Novels Come From?


The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston. Another fine entry from Huston. Webster takes a job with Clean Team cleaning up the remains of suicides, murders, and train wrecks. When the grieving daughter of a Malibu suicide asks for Webster's assistance he knows he should say no. But, he doesn't.
Positive review by writer Stephen Blackmoore. In fact, I think Blackmoore may be in love with Huston.

Run For Your Life by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. It says on the rear flyleaf that Patterson does some sort website promoting children's books. So, I won't make fun of him like I usually do.

Nemesis: the final case of Eliot Ness by William Bernhardt. Eliot Ness has taken work in 1935 Cleveland when the "Torso Killer" starts terrorizing the population.

A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny. Another fine mystery novel featuring Chief Inspector Gamache of the Quebec Provincial Police. Gamache and his wife are summer vacationing at a small inn when a murder happens. Gamache follows the trail back to Penny's familar setting of Three Pines, Quebec.

Leopard's Prey by Suzanne Arruda. Jade del Cameron is has taken a job for a business that is in Africa to capture wild animals to sell to zoos. When Jade's best friends find a murdered man on the coffee plantation Jade's boyfriend is the main suspect. "Once again, an Africa of a bygone era comes alive as plucky, resilient, outspoken Jade del Cameron pits her strengths against man and beast in another top-notch novel of mystery and suspense."

Mr. Monk is Miserable by Lee Goldberg. Goldberg's Monbk novels are recommended by Crider. Monk travels to Paris with his assistant Natalie. Monk wants to tour the sewers because they "are famous making the City of Light admirably sanitary." Monk finds a new skull in a catacombs and Goldberg contrives a way for Captain Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher to fly to Paris and help.

Fantasy and Science Fiction

Fast Ships, Black Sails edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. Swashbuckling tales of past and present pirates with a fantastical bent. If you get excited by pirates you can check out Pirate Primer: mastering the language of swashbucklers and rogues by George Choundas.


Six Seconds by Rick Mofina. "Three strangers entangled in a plot to change the world in only six seconds..." This had a nice review.

True Colors by Kristin Hannah. Chick book with three sisters. Save yourself and read Charlie Huston's book.

Kiwi Wars by Garry Douglas Kilworth. Captain 'Fancy Jack' Crossman of the British Army is sent to New Zealand to fight in the Maori Wars of the 1850s. The Maori are a dangerous and honorable enemy but there are 'nefarious Europeans at work, enriching themselves at land agents.'
Good action novels by Kilworth. I've two others in this series.

Drood by Dan Simmons. 771 pages about the five mysterious years at the end of Charles Dickens life. Dickens survives a horrifying train wreck to become obsessed with "crypts, cemetaries, and the precise length of time it would take for a corpse to dissolve in a lime pit."
Simmons last historical novel, The Terror, was fantastic so I'm betting this is pretty dang good as well.

Fire Gospel by Michael Faber. Down and out linguist Theo visits Iraq to search for surviving historical treasures. After a bombing Theo finds a papyrus scroll that was sealed inside a statue. Theo smuggles the document home, translates it, finds it is a fifth Gospel and tries to make some dough off it. Theo is unprepared for the religious fervor and trouble he stokes up.

Large Print

A Dangerous Place by Jack Higgins.

Monday, February 02, 2009

New Music and DVD From" Springsteen, George Jones, the British, Woody Allen, others

Music CDs

Music from the Land of Hope and Glory by the United States Marine Band. The Marine band sends out free CDs. We received a CD from them before and it was pretty good. So I kept this one. Pieces from Gordon Jacob (William Byrd Suite), Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Sir Edward Elgar.

Working on a Dream by Bruce Springsteen. Latest album.

The Essential George Jones by George Jones. Two discs with 40 songs. I read the other day that Jones wasn't going to record (or maybe he wouldn't release) He Stopped Loving Her Today because the song was so dang sad. Jones did put the single out and it ended up being his signature song.

Live Evil by Black Sabbath. Reprint of the classic metal album.
Maybe I should try to listen to this. But, I'm pretty sure I would hate it.

Christmas Oratorio by John S. Bach and performed by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge and Academy of St. Martin of the Fields.


Vicky Christina Barcelona starring Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem. Two Americans vacationing in Barcelona and meet a charming Spaniard and his crazy ex-wife. Humorous romantic entanglements ensue.

Fireproof starring Kirk Cameron. Firefighter dedicated to his work has a failing marriage. "This gripping story follows one man's desire to transform his life and marriage through the healing power of faith."

The Express: the Ernie Davis story starring Dennis Quaid, Rob Brown, Clancy Brown. College football player Ernie Davis overcomes the odds and becomes the first black recipient of the Heisman Trophy. Quaid plays his scowling coach.
Oof! Davis died of leukemia at 23 years old. That's a bummer.
Clancy Brown? Neat, I don't see that guy very often. He played a nutty acting coach in Chump Change. Chump Change had Traci Lords and ends up being a neat tour of the Milwaukee area as Lords's character and the lead character are shown walking to all sorts of different places and bars.

Skins: volume 1 starring [teenage actors and actors playing teenagers]. British teenagers drink, get high, pop pills, have sex, go to school and "manage parent with the finesse only teenagers can."