Sunday, March 31, 2013

Defending the Undefendable By:Walter Block

This book was written for logical people.  People who use critical thinking skills.  It is not for the person that allows emotions to cloud their judgement. Walter Block clearly defines the libertarian ethos, although they are not necessarily followed at all times during this book.  Those weak at heart or stomach need not apply.  I am not saying that all the actions in this book are agreeable to my interpretation of morality, but it is just that, 'MY INTERPRETATION' of it and who am I to use force to make you comply with 'MY INTERPRETATION' of morality? 

In some instances, Block exaggerates some of his positions.  I truly believe he does this in order to bring to light the issues with thinking emotionally. The chapter on Advertising was a bit out there. To those willing to read this book, I give you one piece of advice.  Don't get caught up on the details.  Try to open your mind.

All-in-all, the book was good.  Made me think about a few things I had not.  At the end of the day, I believe the purpose of this book is to make people think.  It surely did to me. 

Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1479323985
ISBN-13: 978-1479323982

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Devil's Fire By: Matt Tomerlin

A few years back, I read a book about pirates and was hooked.  I enjoy a good pirate tale.  This book was a free Kindle book from Amazon.  I jumped on it and between historical and political books, started to read it.

I truly enjoyed this book.  It had all the makings of a good novel; adventure, sex, murder, pirates, treasure & love.  The story take place when pirates ruled the seven seas.  Captain Jonathan Griffith of the "Harbinger" ship and his crew seize the cargo of the "Lady Katherine"  including Katherine herself after they kill her husband.  Katherine is a lady in every sense of the word.  She witnesses the slaying of her husband and is furious with the men responsible for it.  She is taking "prisoner" on the Harbinger.


The captain tells her that her diseased husband gave away her hiding place when they board.  He does this to try to make Katherine hate her former husband. Once she becomes acclimated to sea life and after biting off one of the captain's ears, she starts to earn her sea legs by splicing rope.  She makes friends.  And eventually gives in to carnal desires with the captain. 

The characters were developed, the book flowed smoothly and kept me engaged. The book is fool of extremely gorey details of death and dismemberment.  The end of the book was a cliff hanger leading to the second book. 

File Size: 691 KB
Print Length: 262 pages
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned By: Michael J. Fox

This is my third book by Michael J. Fox.  This book is aimed at a person graduating but sheds some light on the average person.  In it, he talks about those people in his life that took a chance on him and were mentors, albeit unwittingly in some cases.

The book is very short but chock-full of great advice and pithy sayings and slogans.  Fox is definitely and remarkable person.  His courage and outlook on life are intoxicating and make we feel charged when I read his books.  The book dabbles on politics insofar as it relates to stem-cell research.  I recommend the book and urge you to give to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research   

Hardcover: 112 pages
Publisher: Hyperion (April 13, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1401323863
ASIN: B0096EO2I2

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Last Jeffersonian By: Ryan S. Walters

A Book I could not finish!!!! 

Unfortunately, there are not many books about Grover Cleveland.  Although the book title is true in the sense that he was a Jeffersonian, this book failed in a big way.

I so wanted to get into this book and read about one of the most interesting Presidents in my opinion.  He was served two terms but not consecutively like all the others that served two terms. 

The problem with this book is how partisan it was. I tried to stick to it, but a book about a President of the late 19th century has no room for talk about Obama, Sara Palin, Jeremiah Wright et al.  It was distracting.  I got to 50% on the Kindle and could no longer stomach it.  I am truly unhappy.  I have per-ordered the John Pafford book, not out for another 3 months.  Will have to wait.  Thankfully, I picked this book up for $3.00.

Unless you are on the ant-Obama bandwagon, I do not recommend. 

Paperback: 236 pages
Publisher: WestBowPress (March 7, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1449740499
ISBN-13: 978-1449740498

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath by: Mimi Alford

Marion "Mimi" Beardsley a young nineteen year old White House intern deflowered by President John F. Kennedy on the bed of his wife, Jackie Kennedy tells all.  This was no one-night stand.  The affair lasted over eighteen months and spread across the nation and even internationally.

Beardsley, later Fahnestock, and ultimately Alford tells the tail of an impressionable young girl and how she was whisked off her feet by an older, extremely powerful and experienced man.  The book covers a whirlwind affair with the President of the United States, the fallout, Mrs. Alford suffered and her phoenix like recovery to find happiness.

It was interesting to see certain incidents that occurred during those months (e.g. Cuban Missile crisis, University of Miss) and from a different perspective; one that until recently was unknown.

The book is a short book , just over 200 pp.  I finished it in a couple of days.  The book however kept me engaged and really enjoyed it.  I saw an interview on The View and saw how those women treated Mimi as if she was denigrating divinity.  Shame on you ladies. 

I recommend this book.

Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Random House; 1St Edition edition (February 8, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400069106
ISBN-13: 978-1400069101

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by: Edmund Morris

Theodore Roosevelt was an amazing personage.  Energetic, charismatic, brave, intelligent, voracious reader and a Freemason.  I once read a book 'River of Doubt" by Candice Millard and almost immediately was addicted to "Teddy" the person.  I disagree with his politics on so many levels though.  With Roosevelt, I was able to see how you can like someone as a person while vehemently disagreeing with him politically.  I was “dee-lighted” with this book.

This book covers the amazing whirlwind rise of Theodore Roosevelt. His work for the United States Civil Service Commission, President of the New York City Police Commissioners, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Governor of New York, historian, author of over 38 books, rancher, Vice President, and ultimately, President of the United States.  

Theodore Roosevelt was truly an amazing man.  I do not want to say that he was a perfect man, but I think when compared to his contemporaries, his light shines a bit brighter.  He was a monogamous man, and man of principles that was not for sale.  His time as Police Commissioner earned him a reputation of an "untouchable".  Although he came from money, he was no sensitive aristocrat by no stretch of the imagination.  While many of his contemporaries were living high on the hog, Roosevelt was knee deep in the Badlands where even seasoned mountain men revered his stamina, courage and fortitude. This however did not detract from him earning the adoration from the very famous and wealthy Astors.  The Astors were not known for allowing just anyone into their sanctum sanatorium. They saw his potential early on. 

Just one example of the person he was; One day, TD, as his family used to call him, was out with some fellow politicians and was  mocked by a man named J.J. Costello  because of his coat.  TD knocked the man down and then repeatedly struck him.  Afterword he told J.J. Costello, "Now you go over there and wash yourself. When you are in the presence of gentlemen, conduct yourself like a gentleman."

Roosevelt battled asthma and Cholera Morbus as a child and throughout his life.  He lost his mother, Martha Bulloch Roosevelt to typhoid and then his wife, Alice Hathaway Lee to Bright's disease hours apart on the same day; February 14th, under the same roof.  He was devastated.  He had one daughter with Alice.  For the first 3 years of Baby Lee's life, Roosevelt was essentially non-existent.  Roosevelt painstakingly removed all writings of her as to remove her existence for posterity.  He married again, ironically with his first love and childhood playmate Edith Kermit Carow. Interesting fact is that she came out supporting Hoover against her cousin-in-law/nephew-in-law Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His home was initially named "Leeholm" for obvious reasons, after his first wife passed away, he renamed it to "Sagamore Hill" taken from the head of an Indian tribe he encountered during his rancher days.
Teddy was known for his "spectacles and teeth", something he eventually learned to embrace.  He used his teeth as a tool of power while speaking to people.  On many occasions, people judge him as weak because of his "spectacles"

Roosevelt’s most celebrated feature—his dazzling teeth. Virtually every published description of the President, including those of provincial reporters who can catch only a quick glimpse of him through the window of a campaign train, celebrates his dental display. Cartoonists across the land have sketched them into American folk-consciousness, so much so that envelopes ornamented only with teeth and spectacles are routinely delivered to the White House.
When Roosevelt became governor, Morris talks about Teddy's "dentificial" sound effects. 

When required to make a formal statement, he spoke with deliberate precision, “punctuating” every phrase with his own dentificial sound effects; the performance was rather like that of an Edison cylinder played at slow speed and maximum volume."

Morris describes the Rough Riders and the challenges they faced in Cuba.  This is where Roosevelt officially became a Colonel.  Morris also tells of the time in Cuba when Teddy decided to inspect a ship wreck. He jumped into the water with Lt. Greenway and started to swim out.  When they yelled shark!!!! Roosevelt did not skip a beat and continued to swim in spite of the shark saying that they would not bite.  In fact they did not bite him and there were sharks as large as 10'.

We weren’t out more than a dozen strokes before Lee, who had clambered up on the parapet of Fort Morro, began to yell.
“Can you make out what he’s trying to say,” the old man asked, punctuating his words with long, overhand strokes.
“Sharks,” says I, wishing I were back on shore.
“Sharks,” says the colonel, blowing out a mouthful of water, “they” stroke “won’t” stroke “bite.” Stroke. “I’ve been” stroke “studying them” stroke “all my life” stroke “and I never” stroke “heard of one” stroke “bothering a swimmer.” Stroke. “It’s all” stroke “poppy cock.”
Just then a big fellow, probably not more than ten or twelve feet long, but looking as big as a battleship to me, showed up alongside us. Then came another, till we had quite a group. The colonel didn’t pay the least attention.…
Meantime the old general was doing a war dance up on the parapet, shouting and standing first on one foot and then on the other, and working his arms like he was doing something on a bet.
Finally we reached the wreck and I felt better. The colonel, of course, got busy looking things over. I had to pretend I was interested, but I was thinking of the sharks and getting back to shore. I didn’t hurry the colonel in his inspection either.
After a while he had seen enough, and we went over the side again. Soon the sharks were all about us again, sort of pacing us in, as they had paced us out, while the old general did the second part of his war dance. He felt a whole lot better when we landed, and so did I

While reading this book, it dawned on me that although we are giving more money to education per capita , we are much dumber than those of yesteryear.  Gone are the days when the families would sit around and read from classic books and have discussions.  Nowadays the families text each other.  I honestly think that although technology-wise we have made great advancements, we have declined on most all other aspects of our humanity. 
I always imagined the word "dude" being a surfer word that someone used.  Come to find out the word "dude" is actually a word and a word used frequently apparently in the circles TD ran.

This was an amazing book about an amazing man by an amazing author.  I HIGHLY recommend it.  Although being almost 1,000 pp, the book flows smoothly and kept me engaged at ALL times.  Not once was I tempted to skip any section or felt bored.  I am considering reading some other Morris books on Roosevelt. 

Hardcover: 960 pages
Publisher: Random House (November 23, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400069653
ISBN-13: 978-1400069651