Author Archives: george

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS VS. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (3:05 P.M. EST CBS); MINNESOTA VIKINGS VS. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (6:40 P.M. EST FOX)



The surprising Jacksonville Jaguars ousted the favored Pittsburgh Steelers to set up this game in New England with the Patriots. The Patriots are favored by 8 1/2 points. Bills fans are rooting for all teams EXCEPT for the New England Patriots. More shocking was the last second play in Minnesota where the New Orleans Saints snatched Defeat from the Jaws of Victory. The Vikings are 3-point favorites against the Eagles. Who do you think will win today?

EVERY GRAIN OF SAND: BARB JUNGR SINGS BOB DYLAN


One of my Favorite Books of 2017 was Will Friedwald’s The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums. You can read my review here. One of Friedwald’s selections was Every Grain of Sand: Barb Jungr Sings Bob Dylan from 2002. I had never heard of Every Grain of Sand so I ordered it from AMAZON. I’ve listen to it a couple times and enjoy the sound of Barb Jungr’s voice. Jungr is a British cabaret singer who clearly loves Bob Dylan songs. If you’re used to the Dylan version of these songs, you’re in for a treat when you listen to Barb Jungr “interpret” them in a stripped-down fashion. Will Friedwald called Every Grain of Sand “a revelation.” I agree. Check out the sample below. GRADE: A
TRACK LIST:
“I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” (Bob Dylan) – 4:06
Originally from the Bob Dylan album John Wesley Harding (1967)
“If Not For You” (Dylan) – 3:09
Originally from the Bob Dylan album New Morning (1970)
“Things Have Changed” (Dylan) – 4:57
Originally from the soundtrack to the film Wonder Boys (dir Curtis Hanson) (2000), and from the Bob Dylan album The Essential Bob Dylan (2000)
“Ring Them Bells” (Dylan) – 3:14
Originally from the Bob Dylan album Oh Mercy (1989)
“Not Dark Yet” (Dylan) – 4:36
Originally from the Bob Dylan album Time Out of Mind (1997)
“Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” (Dylan) – 4:37
Originally from the Bob Dylan album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963)
“Is Your Love in Vain?” (Dylan) – 3:29
Originally from the Bob Dylan album Street Legal (1978)
“It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” (Dylan) – 4:10
Originally from the Bob Dylan album Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
“I Want You” (Dylan) – 3:13
Originally from the Bob Dylan album Blonde on Blonde (1966)
“Sugar Baby” (Dylan) – 7:40
Originally from the Bob Dylan album Love and Theft (2001)
“Born in Time” (Dylan) – 3:10
Originally from the Bob Dylan album Under the Red Sky (1990)
“What Good Am I?” (Dylan) – 3:58
Originally from the Bob Dylan album Oh Mercy (1989)
“Tangled Up in Blue” (Dylan) – 5:33
Originally from the Bob Dylan album Blood on the Tracks (1975)
“Forever Young” (Dylan) – 2:57
Originally from the Bob Dylan album Planet Waves (1974)
“Every Grain of Sand” (Dylan) – 4:22
Originally from the Bob Dylan album Shot of Love (1981)

FORGOTTEN BOOKS #458: THE AMERICAN FANTASY TRADITION Edited by Brian M. Thomsen


Back in 2002, TOR Books published this Big Fat volume of American Fantasy stories. I completely missed it. But John O’Neill of BLACK GATE reviewed The American Fantasy Tradition here and I immediately picked up a copy. Over 600 pages of wonderful stories! Yes, you could quibble about including Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” which has been reprinted countless times. The same for Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” and Henry James’s “The Jolly Corner.” But Brian Thomsen does include plenty of contemporary fantasy stories like Manly Wade Wellman’s “The Valley Was Still” and L. Frank Baum’s “The Enchanted Buffalo.” There’s a lot of value between these covers! Inexpensive copies can be found online. Highly recommended! GRADE: A
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
this changed everything, poem by Gerald Blair
Foreword by Brian M. Thomsen
Introduction: An Approach to an American Fantasy Tradition, by Brian M. Thomsen
“Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving (The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent, June 23, 1819)
“Feathertop: A Moralized Legend,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne (The International Magazine, February and March 1852)
“Uncle Remus,” (excerpts) by Joel Chandler Harris (1880)
“The Saga of Pecos Bill,” by Edward O’Reilly (Century Magazine, October, 1923)
“Rosy’s Journey,” by Louisa May Alcott (1886)
“The Yellow Sign,” by Robert W. Chambers (The King in Yellow, 1895)
“The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” by H. P. Lovecraft (1936)
“O Ugly Bird!,” by Manly Wade Wellman (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, December 1951)
“The Fool,” by David Drake (Whispers VI, July 1987)
“Narrow Valley,” by R. A. Lafferty (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September 1966)
“Jackalope,” by Alan Dean Foster (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, April 1989)
“The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson (The New Yorker, June 26, 1948)
“Children of the Corn,” by Stephen King (Penthouse, March 1977)
“Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight,” by Ursula K. Le Guin (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, November 1987)
“The Jolly Corner,” by Henry James (The English Review, December 1908)
“A Ghost Story,” by Mark Twain (Mark Twain’s Sketches, New and Old, 1875)
“The Other Lodgers,” by Ambrose Bierce (Cosmopolitan, August 1907)
“Ma’ame Pelagie,” by Kate Chopin (1893)
“The Devil and Daniel Webster,” by Stephen Vincent Benét (The Saturday Evening Post, October 24, 1936)
“The Valley Was Still,” by Manly Wade Wellman (Weird Tales, August 1939)
“The Howling Man,” by Charles Beaumont (Rogue, November 1959)
“Twenty-Three,” by Avram Davidson (Asimov’s Science Fiction, July 1995)
“We Are the Dead,” by Henry Kuttner (Weird Tales, April 1937)
“Where the Summer Ends,” by Karl Edward Wagner (Dark Forces, August 1980)
“Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa,” by W. P. Kinsella (Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa, 1980)
“Hatrack River,” by Orson Scott Card (Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, August 1986)
“The Hero of the Night,” by Bradley Denton (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 1988)
“The Whimper of Whipped Dogs,” by Harlan Ellison (Bad Moon Rising, April 1973)
“The Griffin and the Minor Canon,” by Frank R. Stockton (1885)
“The Enchanted Buffalo,” by L. Frank Baum (The Delineator, May 1905)
“The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (New England Magazine, January 1892)
“The Moving Finger,” by Edith Wharton (Harper’s, March 1901)
“Slow Sculpture,” by Theodore Sturgeon (Galaxy Magazine, February 1970)
“The Coin Collector,” by Jack Finney (The Saturday Evening Post, January 30, 1960)
“Prey,” by Richard Matheson (Playboy, April 1969)
“The Geezenstacks,” by Fredric Brown (Weird Tales, September 1943)
“Paladin of the Lost Hour,” by Harlan Ellison (Universe 15, August 1985)
“The Black Ferris,” by Ray Bradbury (Weird Tales, May 1948)
“Bed & Breakfast,” by Gene Wolfe (Dante’s Disciples, February 1996)
“Dead Run,” by Greg Bear (Omni, April 1985)
“Her Pilgrim Soul,” by Alan Brennert (Her Pilgrim Soul and Other Stories, December 1990)
“Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut,” by Stephen King (Redbook, May 1984)
“Among the Handlers or, The Mark 16 Hands-On Assembly of Jesus Risen, Formerly Snake-O-Rama,” by Michael Bishop (Dante’s Disciples, February 1996)
Select Critical Bibliography, by Brian M. Thomsen

THE LAST GIRL: MY STORY OF CAPTIVITY, AND MY FIGHT AGAINST THE ISLAMIC STATE By Nadia Murad


Nadia was 21-years-old in August 15, 2014 when her home in Kocho, a small village in northern Iraq, was overrun by ISIS. Six of Nadia’s brothers were executed. Nadia’s mother was killed. Nadia, and the other younger Yazidi girls, were taken to Mosul and forced to become ISIS sex slaves. This brutal, horrific story tells how Nadia and the other girls were repeatedly raped and beaten. But just when you think things couldn’t get worse, Nadia decides to escape–or die trying. The Last Girl–in the final analysis–is a tale of hope and survival despite barbaric treatment of innocent girls. If you need a story to inspire you, I recommend Nadia’s journey through Hell. GRADE: A

WRITING RADAR: USING YOUR JOURNAL TO SNOOP OUT AND CRAFT GREAT STORIES By Jack Gantos


Jack Gantos won a Newbery Medal for Dead End in Norvelt. But Gantos struggled to master the elements of writing. Writing Radar traces Gantos’s trial and error efforts to become a writer. Every writer has their own process. Gantos discovered that by keeping a journal, he was able to generate ideas for his stories. Gantos includes the many mis-steps he made in learning to write. I found this slim little book full of wit and humor and solid writing advice. GRADE: B+
Table of Contents
Before Writing, There Was Storytelling, xi
1 Trust Me, 3
2 Getting Started, 8
3 The Best Journal in the World Is Yours, 13
4 Turning On and Fine-Tuning Your Writing Radar, 25
5 Story Hunting and Gathering, 29
6 The Writing Journal in Action, 43
7 “I’ll Kill You,” Said My Sister, 48
8 The Oath, 61
9 Blank Slate, 65
10 Story Maps, 73
11 Action and Emotion, 84
12 Power!, 94
13 Good Habits Lead to Great Inspiration, 101
14 Story Structure and Story Elements, 110
15 Putting My Oath to the Test, 117
16 The Follower, 125
17 Breaking It Down, 142
18 My First Reader Teaches Me a Lesson, 153
19 Focused Drafts, 164
20 A Parting Surprise, 173
A Final Word, 193
Writing Connections, 195

THE SHAPE OF WATER


Guillermo del Toro’s tribute to The Creature From the Black Lagoon features Sally Hawkins as a mute who falls in love with the bizarre creature being tortured by Michael Shannon in a secret Government facility. Hawkins and Octavia Spencer work as cleaners. But they witness the cruelty and decide to do something about it. The Shape of Water looks gorgeous. But, I was disappointed that there were no surprises. Very predictable plot. I wish del Toro had taken a few more risks. The elements for a Great Film are here, but the result just doesn’t jell. GRADE: B

THE BAD FOOD BIBLE: HOW AND WHY TO EAT SINFULLY By Aaron Carroll, M.D.


Aaron Carroll decided to look closely at the research regarding food. Dr. Carroll learned a lot of the studies claiming coffee is a menace and eggs are causing heart attacks are flawed. Dr. Carroll shows that many foods have been demonized unnecessarily. Meat is a perfect example. Dr. Carroll discusses research that reveals that meat is not a “silent killer.” The research on diet sodas show they are mostly benign. Some people have problems with gluten, but those people are only 2% of population. The rest of us can eat gluten without worry. The most revealing part of The Bad Food Bible to me was the chapter on alcohol. Alcohol is another substance pilloried by “experts.” According to Dr. Carroll, men who had two drinks a day (women one) had lower rates of heart disease. They also lived longer than non-drinkers. There’s a lot of phony claims about the health aspects common foods like meat, eggs, and alcohol. Dr. Carroll clarifies the research and makes common-sense recommendations. Moderation is the key! GRADE: A
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Foreword by Nina Teicholz ix
Introdution xiii
1. BUTTER: On fats 1
2. MEAT: On protein 19
3. EGGS: On cholesterol 39
4. SALT: On sodium 51
5. GLUTEN: On grains 68
6. GMOs: On genetically modified organisms 79
7. ALCHOHOL: On booze 95
8. COFFEE: On caffeine 113
9. DIET SODA: On carbohydrates and artificial sweeteners 129
10. MSG: On monosodium glutamate 155
11. NON-ORGANIC FOODS: On conventionally grown fruits, vegetables, and meat 171
CONCLUSION: SIMPLE RULES FOR HEALTHY EATING 187
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 199
NOTES 203
INDEX 227

NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS: JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS VS. PITTSBURGH STEELERS ( 1:05 P.M. EDT CBS); NEW ORLEANS SAINTS VS. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (4:40 P. M. EDT FOX)



The Pittsburgh Steelers are 7-point favorites over the Jacksonville Jaguars. When these two teams met on October 8, 2017 the Jaguars beat the Steelers 30-9 in a surprising upset. I don’t think that will happen today. But the game we’re all waiting for–especially Deb–is the New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings. The Vikes are 5-point favorites. Can the Saints win on the road in arctic Minnesota? What do you think will happen?

NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS: ATLANTA FALCONS VS. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (4:35 P.M. EDT NBC); TENNESSEE TITANS VS. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (8:35 P.M. EDT CBS)


Just a few weeks ago, the Philadelphia Eagles were cruising into the Playoffs. Then, their brilliant QB, Cqrson Wentz, got injured and the Eagles looked like their goose was cooked. We’ll see today when the Atlanta Falcons come to the City of Brotherly Love favored by 3-points. In the late game, the mighty New England Patriots are favored by 13 1/2 points over the Tennessee Titans. This game looks like a blow-out. Who do you think will win today?

FORGOTTEN BOOKS #457: RISE OF THE TERRAN EMPIRE By Poul Anderson


Rise of the Terran Empire is the third omnibus volume in BAEN Books’s “The Technic Civilization Saga.” The confederation of traders that kept order is breaking down. Poul Anderson shows how the Terran Empire emerges from the breakup of the old order. If you’re looking for that “Sense of Wonder” in Science Fiction, this volume has it in spades. Anderson also manages to create credible aliens in these stories, too.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
“Descent into Empire” By Hank Davis vii
Mirkheim 1
“Wingless” 293
“Rescue on Avalon” 307
“The Star Plunderer” 325
“Sargasso of Lost Starships” 363
The People of the Wind 437
“Chronology of Technic Civilization” By Sandra Miesel 663