Author Archives: george

LEGO DC Super Heroes: The Flash [Blu-ray]

When I was a kid, my favorite DC superhero was The Flash. I loved the idea of super speed. And The Flash used his intelligence to defeat his villains instead of just using his super speed. In this new LEGO animated feature, The Flash finds himself in a time-loop. His nemesis, Reverse Flash, tricks The Flash into losing his powers. The Justice League is also tricked into kicking The Flash out of their organization. Things look bleak for our speed-challenged hero. But wait, there are some clever surprises that Reverse Flash didn’t anticipate. I enjoyed this fun film. If you want to delight the little kid in you watch LEGO DC Super Heroes: The Flash. Do you have a favorite DC superhero? GRADE: B+

THE LAST STAND By Mickey Spillane

Just in time to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Mickey Spillane’s birth, Hard Case Crime is publishing The Last Stand, a book with two previously unpublished Spillane novellas. As Max Allan Collins discusses in his informative Introduction, “A Bullet For Satisfaction” was written around the mid-1950s. It has the style of I, the Jury with an ex-cop narrating his fury of vengeance against The Syndicate for the killing of a politician. Rod Dexter, former Captain of Homicide, loses his position on bogus charges. But that only fires up his crusade to get even with the gangsters who are trying to take over his town. Yes, there’s a dash of Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest in “A Bullet for Satisfaction,” too.

“The Last Stand” was the last completed manuscript Mickey Spillane wrote. Max Allan Collins estimates “The Last Stand” was finished shortly before Mickey Spillane’s death in 2006. It’s an adventure story featuring Joe Gillian, a pilot, whose antique plane is forced to make an emergency landing in the desert because of a mechanical problem. Joe meets a Native American who calls himself Sequoia Pete and his beautiful sister, Running Fox. Joe finds himself drawn into a battle with government agents, criminals, and local tribe politics. Lost Aztec treasure and mysterious arrowheads propel the plot to a thunderous conclusion.

Mickey Spillane knew how to tell a story and now Hard Case Crime brings us two of his best! Don’t miss The Last Stand! GRADE: B+


I’m not a big fan of milk. I generally drink Silk soy milk instead. Plenty of our friends have become lactose-intolerant. But now, from Sweden, there’s an alternative to milk: Oatly. A professor of Food Science, Rickard Oste, developed this alternative to milk by using enzymes to liquefy oats into a rich milk that also retained oats’s high fiber content. Oatly has been available in Sweden for 25 years, but now it’s being marketed in the United States in 2018. Our favorite grocery store, Wegmans, will carry Oakly as well as Fairway and ShopRite. Right now, it’s available mostly in coffee shops. Do you like diary products? Would you give Oatly a try?
Nutrition Facts
300ml of Oatly Oat Milk – Oat Milk
Calories 135 Sodium 0 mg
Total Fat 5 g Potassium 0 mg
Saturated 1 g Total Carbs 20 g
Polyunsaturated 0 g Dietary Fiber 0 g
Monounsaturated 0 g Sugars 12 g
Trans 0 g Protein 3 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Vitamin A 0% Calcium 45%
Vitamin C 0% Iron 0%


Carefully compiled over more than three decades by Wood assistant Bhob Stewart, The Life and Legend of Wallace Wood Volume 2 is the sequel to The Life and Legend of Wallace Wood Volume 1 (you can read my review here). Wallace Wood was a remarkable and legendary comics creator. A special tribute gallery includes artwork by Robert Crumb, Dan Clowes, Michael T. Gilbert, Al Feldstein, Dave Sim, Michael Cho, Drew Friedman, and Marie Severin. The Life and Legend of Wallace Wood, Volume 2 features full-color illustrations and artwork on practically every page. If you’re a Wally Wood fan, this book is a must-buy. If you love comic artwork, you should definitely take a look at this wonderful volume! Highly recommended! GRADE: A
Introduction/Ed Piskor 7
From the Woodwork Out/Clark Diamond 9
Making “My World”/Ben Saunders 17
The Bubblegum Years/Les Brown 25
A Case History of the Disneyland Memorial Orgy Poster/Paul Krassner 37
Blowing Down This Dusty Road/Flo Steinberg 45
Wood Workers/Bhob Stewart & Mike Catron 47
Strange Magic/Tom Sutton 51
About Woody/Trina Robbins 55
Wood at His witzend/Rick Spanier 59
Guitars and Flying Tigers/Larry Hama 67
The Overseas Weekly Discovery/Roger Hill 71
Wood Engravings/Paul Levitz 79
Ghost Story/A.L. Sirois 85
Rapping on Wood/Basford, Cuti, Kirshner, Pearson, Stewart 93
Trajectories/Paul Kishner 125
Second-Story Man/Bill Pearson 137
Wood Screws/Paul Kirshner 151
The Third Man/John Workman 155
The One That Got Away/Mike Moore & Bill Spicer 167
The Woody Papers/Richard Bassford 171
Wood Posts/Wallace Wood 183
The Wizard of Odkin/Feshid Barucha 195
In France/Wallace Wood 199
Cover Story/Roger Hill 207
The Big Blue Pencil/Wallace Wood 213
Self Portrait/Wallace Wood 217
Portrait Gallery/233
Final Curtain/Mike Catron 237
There Are Good Guys and Bad Guys/Bhob Stewart 243
Contributors 263
Selected Bibliography 270
Acknowledgments 271
Hooray for Wally Wood!/Bhob Stewart 272

FATED and CURSED By Benedict Jacka

“Harry Dresden would like Alex Verus tremendously–and be a little nervous around him.” That’s the blurb by Jim Butcher that adorns both Fated and Cursed, two urban fantasy novels by Benedict Jacka. Alex Verus is a mage who lives in contemporary London. He operates a store that sells magic items and trinkets. But Verus has a very specific power: he can see the Future. Given this premise, Jacka builds a couple of interesting novels combining the treachery of other mages (who have different powers) and Alex Verus’s flaws. In Fated, Verus agrees to work with Light mages to crack the puzzle of a powerful magic item called the fateweaver. But, of course, Dark mages appear to battle them. In Cursed, Verus tangles with mages who discover how to drain magic from magical creatures to enhance their powers. I enjoyed the system of magic that Jacka constructs. It’s logical and clever. If you’re in the mood for a trip into urban fantasy, I’d recommend Benedict Jacka’s works. GRADE: B (for both books}

LEONARDO DI VINCI By Walter Isaacson and Audio Book (14 CDs)

I’m a big fan of Walter Isaacson’s biographies. Steve Jobs and Einstein manage to give the reader a tour of these complicated lives. The same goes for Leonardo Di Vinci. I can’t imagine how much research Isaacson had to do in order to tackle the life of Di Vinci. Isaacson not only gives the reader insight into Leonardo’s painting, but also his turtle-like tanks, human-powered flying machines, and perpetual motion machines. Di Vinci was curious about EVERYTHING! He studied the human body by conducting dozens of dissections. He was fascinated by mirrors. Di Vinci devotes pages and pages of his notebooks to the ways water swirls. Leonardo was as much an engineer as a painter. He wondered why the sky was blue (and then provided an explanation–later Einstein would ask the same question and provide the equations). Diane and I started listening to the 14 CD audio book alone. But, wonderful narrator, actor Alfred Molina, kept referring to illustrations in a PDF. We bought a hardcover edition of Isaacson’s Leonardo Di Vinci just so we could look at the lovely illustrations as we listened. Highly recommended! Do you have a favorite Di Vinci work? GRADE: A (for both the book and the audio book)
Acknowledgments p. ix
Main Characters p. xi
Currency in Italy in 1500 p. xiii
Note Regarding the Cover p. xiii
Primary Periods of Leonardo’s Life p. xiii
Timeline p. xiv
Introduction I Can Also Paint p. 1
Chapter 1 Childhood p. 11
Chapter 2 Apprentice p. 23
Chapter 3 On His Own p. 68
Chapter 4 Milan p. 91
Chapter 5 Leonardo’s Notebooks p. 105
Chapter 6 Court Entertainer p. 112
Chapter 7 Personal Life p. 129
Chapter 8 Vitruvian Man p. 140
Chapter 9 The Horse Monument p. 160
Chapter 10 Scientist p. 170
Chapter 11 Birds and Flight p. 181
Chapter 12 The Mechanical Arts p. 190
Chapter 13 Math p. 200
Chapter 14 The Nature of Man p. 212
Chapter 15 Virgin of the Rocks p. 223
Chapter 16 The Milan Portraits p. 236
Chapter 17 The Science of Art p. 260
Chapter 18 The Last Supper p. 279
Chapter 19 Personal Turmoil p. 293
Chapter 20 Florence Again p. 299
Chapter 21 Saint Anne p. 315
Chapter 22 Paintings Lost and Found p. 325
Chapter 23 Cesare Borgia p. 335
Chapter 24 Hydraulic Engineer p. 347
Chapter 25 Michelangelo and the Lost Battles p. 355
Chapter 26 Return to Milan p. 380
Chapter 27 Anatomy, Round Two p. 394
Chapter 28 The World and Its Waters p. 425
Chapter 29 Rome p. 444
Chapter 30 Pointing the Way p. 463
Chapter 31 The Nona Lisa p. 475
Chapter 32 France p. 495
Chapter 33 Conclusion p. 517
CODA Describe the tongue of the woodpecker p. 525
Abbreviations of Frequently Cited Sources p. 527
Notes p. 533
Illustration Credits p. 571
Index p. 573


Something Rotten!: The Musical is set in 1595. William Shakespeare dominates the stage with his plays and his rock-star persona. For Nick and Nigel Bottom, two brothers who are struggling to produce a successful play, Shakespeare casts a huge shadow over their efforts. Older brother Nick decides to consult a soothsayer, Thomas Nostradamus, to determine what will become the next “can’t miss” innovation for the stage. Nick learns it’s “the Musical.” Armed with this “knowledge” Nick and Nigel and their band of actors put on a production that spoofs all the musicals you’ve ever seen. There’s plenty of singing and tap dancing and silly antics in Something Rotten!. If you need a laugh or two, Something Rotten! will tickle your Funny Bone. GRADE: B+
Act I
“Welcome to the Renaissance” – Minstrel and Company
“God, I Hate Shakespeare” – Nick, Nigel, The Troupe
“Right Hand Man” – Bea, Nick
“God, I Hate Shakespeare (Reprise)” – Nick
“A Musical” – Nostradamus, Nick, Ensemble
“The Black Death” – The Troupe
“I Love the Way” – Portia, Nigel
“Will Power” – Shakespeare, Ensemble
“Bottom’s Gonna Be on Top” – Nick, Company
Act II
“Welcome to the Renaissance (Reprise)” – Minstrel
“Hard to Be the Bard” – Shakespeare and Ensemble
“It’s Eggs!” – Nick, The Troupe
“We See the Light” – Portia, Nigel, Brother Jeremiah, Nick, Ensemble
“To Thine Own Self” – Nigel, Nick, Shakespeare and The Troupe
“Right Hand Man (Reprise)” – Bea
“Something Rotten!” – The Troupe
“Make an Omelette” – Nick and Company
“To Thine Own Self (Reprise)” – Nick
“Finale” – The Company


With all the chaos in the White House and our Government in general stupefying us on a daily basis, I thought we all needed a book that might counteract the anger and anxiety of our Times. Jordan B. Peterson has an approach to deal with uncertainty and confusion in life. Using plenty of practical examples, Peterson shows how we might adjust our thinking and actions to confront the troublesome issues of everyday existence. I found Peterson’s reasonable suggestions useful. He advocates for common sense constructive solutions to problems. He stresses honesty (something that seems to be lacking in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere in the world) and a focus on personal responsibility. I think you would find 12 Rules for Life useful and pragmatic. GRADE: B+
Foreword Norman Doidge vii
Overture xxv
Rule 1 Stand up straight with your shoulders back 1
Rule 2 Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping 31
Rule 3 Make friends with people who want the best for you 67
Rule 4 Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today 85
Rule 5 Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them 113
Rule 6 Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world 147
Rule 7 Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient) 161
Rule 8 Tell the truth-or, at least, don’t lie 203
Rule 9 Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t 233
Rule 10 Be precise in your speech 259
Rule 11 Do not bother children when they are skateboarding 285
Rule 12 Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street 335
Coda 355
Acknowledgements 369
Endnotes 371
Index 390


Most people know about BLUE APRON, the company that sends out the ingrediants for meals that you can whip up in minutes. BLUE APRON has competitors in the mail-order meal space and PLATED is one of the best. Katie gave Diane a coupon for two FREE PLATED meals. Diane picked “Saucy Meatball Sliders” (see above photo) for me and “Pan Roasted Chicken with Tomato Butter, Sweet Potato, and Quinoa” (see photo below) for herself. These pre-fab meals feature convenience and variety. If you check out the MENUS at PLATED.COM you’ll see plenty of food for every taste.

Of course, the convenience and variety come at a price. But, if you’re willing to try something new, different, and delicious without leaving your house, I recommend PLATED as a smart dinner option. GRADE: B+