hankrules2011

Book reviews, health, hockey, publishing, music

Archive for February, 2013

Guess What? The Debt Everyone Is Freaking Out About Does Not Exist

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 28, 2013

Guess What? The Debt Everyone Is Freaking Out About Does Not Exist | Alternet.

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Pat Summitt reflects on relationship with Geno Auriemma in book

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 26, 2013

Pat Summitt reflects on relationship with Geno Auriemma in book – ESPN.

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Trent Reznor Confirms New Nine Inch Nails Lineup, Tour

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 25, 2013

Trent Reznor Confirms New Nine Inch Nails Lineup, Tour – Yahoo! Music.

Rock on!

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A Review of Humpty Dumpty in Oakland

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 25, 2013

Humpty Dumpty in OaklandHumpty Dumpty in Oakland by Philip K. Dick

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I feel like a total traitor, because I got through the first six chapters — to page 94 — and finally gave up. Philip K. Dick is one of my two favorite writers, the other being Charles Bukowski. I’ve ALWAYS loved his books, even if some are imperfect. This one, though, was simply dull.

It’s a well known fact that Dick hated being considered a sci fi hack and wanted to be considered a mainstream novelist. He wrote three mainstream novels, none of which were ever considered good enough to be published. He stuck with sci fi the rest of his bitter life. Humpty Dumpty in Oakland is one of these three mainstream novels, published after his death. It rambles, it’s unexciting, it doesn’t do much, it’s boring. An old body shop owner named Jim Fergesssen sells his shop to retire. A lot sub-letter who sells used cars named Al Miller is resentful and suspects something wrong is going on when Chris Harmon, a shady business owner gets involved with Jim’s affairs, trying to talk him into a risky real estate venture. Yep, that’s it. I just spent my entire lunch hour reading about Jim driving through northern California to find a housing development to scope it out for possible investment purposes. Quite different from your average Philip K. Dick craziness that ya know and love! I’ve read that if you can make it through the first 150 pages, the ending isn’t too bad, but I’m not willing to go that far. I feel guilty. This reminds me of Bukowski’s last book, Pulp, published around the time he died in 1994. A pulp mystery, it lacks in so many ways and doesn’t do the man justice. Perhaps this is Dick’s Pulp. Well, I’m now going to read another book of Dick’s published after his death — Radio Free Albemuth — a sort of precursor to Valis, apparently. It sounds pretty interesting. I hope I enjoy it infinitely more than this one. I suspect I will.

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“Sanvean” Live

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 25, 2013

Here is a video of Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance singing her mesmerizing “Sanvean” live in Atlanta at the concert I went to last year. The person who filmed it was sitting right beside us in the second row. There are nine DCD videos from that show he uploaded. Check them out!

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A Review of Never Have Your Dog Stuffed

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 25, 2013

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I've LearnedNever Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I’ve Learned by Alan Alda

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As a longtime M*A*S*H fan, I was elated when I found this book. I grew up loving Alan Alda’s character, Hawkeye, on M*A*S*H. He seemed so very cool, and the rest of the cast was awesome. So when I picked up the book, I was hoping for a lively autobiography complete with numerous M*A*S*H stories. BTW, it surprised me to see, while reading through Goodreads reviews, just how many people did NOT want that! It confirmed for me the fact that I’m a very different reader than most people. I like what most don’t, and dislike what most do. In this case, I wanted M*A*S*H stories while most people didn’t.

It’s painful, then, to say that the book barely mentions M*A*S*H. There’s a little over one chapter devoted to it about halfway through the book with barely any mention of cast mates or episodes, aside from one that he directed his father in. That was bitterly disappointing and it’s the reason I’ve knocked this book down from four stars to three. That said, it’s not a bad book. He spends a lot of his time telling us about his childhood, which seemed rather sad to me. He spent time with a mentally ill mother, a distant father, and he got beat up by the neighbor and school kids a lot. It’s amazing he’s as balanced as he is now! He spends a lot of time talking about religion, particularly Catholicism, which played a major role in his life. Indeed, I believe when he married his Jewish wife, it was in his Catholic church so he wouldn’t go to hell. The book discusses his struggles as an aspiring actor and writer and spends a lot of time on various plays he was in, both before fame and after. Strangely, when he gets to M*A*S*H, he basically glosses over it, as I said, and then moves on to Scientific American Frontiers, a show that he seems much more proud of. Isn’t that bizarre? The book basically ends with a harrowing tale of colon obstruction requiring colon re-sectioning while in Chile and his recovery from that with the support of his wife and daughters. It’s a good book, but it feels a little empty, a little hollow, like something major is missing, and it’s M*A*S*H that’s missing, which is a travesty. If you want to learn about Alan Alda, the person and writer, this is the book for you. If you want to learn about Alan Alda, Hawkeye on M*A*S*H, you’ve come to the wrong place.

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Gun loophole makes no sense

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 23, 2013

Mark Kelly: Gun loophole makes no sense – CNN.com.

Read this article written by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ husband. It’s pretty good and it’s good common sense.

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A Review of Camus, A Romance

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 21, 2013

Camus, a RomanceCamus, a Romance by Elizabeth Hawes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t finish this book, no matter how much I love Camus, the author. I got to page 193 and gave up. Hawes is in love with Camus, like literally, and her sentimentality and romantic idealization throw the book off base. Even when she’s talking about his faults, it’s as though she wants to slightly scold a boy child. She takes it pretty easy on him. Now, like I said, I love Camus and have read most of what he’s written. I consider The Plague to be the greatest novel ever written. I even love A Happy Death! But this book simply bored me. And it bothered me a little too. Hawes seems like a stalker in this book. It took me out of my comfort zone. She’s a little too engrossed in her subject. But, boy, could she have written a more scintillating book! It was just flat out boring, and in the end, that’s why I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. Pity. I’m giving it three stars instead of two because of the subject matter.

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A Review of The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 20, 2013

The Autobiography of Malcolm XThe Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I’m sorry I ever picked this book up. And judging by the reviews, apparently I’m the only person in the world who feels this way. I recently finished a biography of MLK Jr and found it very enlightening, and having heard about Malcolm X for years, but not knowing much, I wanted to learn. And I like Alex Haley too. It sounded like a good idea. Well, I’ve made it to page 133 and I can’t take it anymore. I’m quitting. I’m fed up with a narcissistic lying thief who “conks” his hair on every occasion and wears flashy zoot suits that he can’t afford who thinks he’s all that and more, and he’s only a teenager for Pete’s sake! He gets his brother Reginald into doing illegal things with him. He’s a terrible person! I had wanted to read to the part where he becomes a Muslim and turns his life around because I think that would be very interesting, but I can’t read another page of this horseshit! It’s really annoying and I can’t believe Alex Haley wrote this clap trap. I’m disappointed. Malcolm X was really stuck on himself and thought he was outside the rules — bigger than the rules — and he also liked to flaunt his sexual prowess with white women, which I thought was odd. He made a big deal about that. Sex, drugs, and jazz (rock and roll wasn’t around then). I’m shocked that this book is required reading in so many classrooms around the country. I think that’s appalling. And naturally I was appalled at the terrible way he was treated because of his skin color, but my dislike of him as a human being supersedes that. I’m glad to finally be putting this book away. Disappointed….

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A Review of The Survivor

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 20, 2013

The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White HouseThe Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House by John Furby Harris

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I hate this book and I despise the author. I couldn’t believe, when looking through the Goodreads reviews, how many people call this book “balanced.” I think it’s anything but. I think it’s a hatchet job on a great man, Bill Clinton, my favorite president of all time. I admit to being biased, but I’ve read several Clinton books and none were as unflattering as this one. I couldn’t even finish it! I couldn’t even get past the second chapter! Virtually every page is stocked with loaded language designed to make the reader look down on Clinton (and his wife). Examples:

Page X: He talks about Clinton’s “capacity for drama” and his “usual … swirling cloud of last-minute chaos and indecision.”

Page XI: “Hillary Rodham Clinton … hovered over the proceedings with the discerning eye of the corporate lawyer she was.” Harris makes her out to be a Dick Cheney-like character.

Page XII: In discussing Paul Begala’s first meeting with Clinton, Harris writes “In his crush, however, he kept enough detachment to contemplate that the session had been a put-on, and what seemed like a wonderfully guileless performance actually had been a more sophisticated brand of artifice.”

Pages XIV and XV: In describing Clinton’s politics as “defensive” and his knowledge of this a very conscious one, Harris writes “Certainly he understood, with occasional remedial courses required….” Like he’s stupid…. Later, his (Arkansas) opponent “portrayed him, not unfairly, as an arrogant and unseasoned young man who was out of step with his constituents.” Harris goes on to talk some more about Clinton’s alleged “women problem.” It makes me ill.

On page XVI, Clinton is described as “maddeningly noncommittal.”

On page XVII, Harris really goes for it. He plunges right in by writing, “his marriage to Hillary Clinton was said to be in turmoil…. He was a man of vagrant sexual appetites. Every political operative or journalist with even a passing knowledge of Clinton knew it.” What a crock! Even with all of the right wing-founded rumors about Clinton’s alleged infidelities, the only one that ever had any proof associated with in was the Monica scandal. In his book, My Life, Clinton denies any involvement with Flowers or Jones and I believe him. There’s no proof anywhere. This author is stooping to tabloid journalism by bringing it up in the introduction!

On page XVIII, he “bristled over the scrutiny,” while somehow showing “indifference to the rumors.” Contradict yourself much, Harris?

The author then goes on to deride Clinton’s intelligence by writing that Hillary “was his equal or superior in intelligence” and he talks about their marriage as a “partnership” and not one based on love. Does this guy have a bone to pick or what?

On page XX!, Harris writes “Traits that would be regarded as emotionally unhealthy by conventional standards — a desperate need for human contact, or a heedlessness about persona risk — were in Clinton’s case political assets of great utility.” Later, on his intelligence again: “Yes, he was smart, but no smarter than many other politicians of his generation.” Seriously? Every book I’ve ever read about Clinton, right or left, has lauded his intelligence! The man is brilliant. Holy crap — who does this Harris guy think he is? What an asshole!

Harris shows Clinton plotting left and right while being naive at the same time. Honestly, I can’t read this book without getting violently angry. I made it to page 12 and that’s the furthest I’m going. I had high hopes for this book because of good reviews, but I’m sorry I wasted good — and a lot of — money on this stupid book. Definitely not recommended for anyone who admires the Clintons.

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