Category Archives: Uncategorized


I’ve had Joan Baez’s No Woman No Cry on my shelf for nearly 30 years, waiting for me to listen to it. This 1992 CD is a mishmash of songs and styles. Joan Baez sings a couple songs in Spanish. A couple Traditional songs–“Sing Low Sweet Chariot” and “Rambler Gambler/Whispering Bells”–stand out. And then there’s the pop songs: “No Woman No Cry,” “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress,” and “Hand to Mouth.” “Famous Blue Raincoat” is my favorite song on this CD. There’s not a lot of flow on this CD. But, Joan Baez has an incredible voice no matter what she sings. Are you a Joan Baez fan? GRADE: B


Vincent Ford/Bob Marley
JOAN BAEZ 0.3:44
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress Jimmy WebbJoan Baez03:08 
CarrickfergusPaddy Moloney / Van MorrisonJoan Baez05:37 
El Preso Numero NueveLos Hermanos CantoralJoan Baez03:15 
Famous Blue Raincoat Leonard CohenJoan Baez04:58 
Do Right Woman, Do Right ManChips Moman / Dan PennJoan Baez03:23 
Sing Low Sweet ChariotJoan Baez03:42 
Hand to Mouth George MichaelJoan Baez04:31 
No Nos Moveran TraditionalJoan Baez02:12 
10 Rambler Gambler/Whispering Bells TraditionalJoan Baez05:04


Mack Reynolds wrote a series of stories for Analog in 1964 featuring a college history professor, Dennis Land, who enters gladiatorial competitions (think Hunger Games). These near future stories feature a world-wide ban on wars, but with hand-to-hand combat as the alternative to settle international (and social) disputes. This version of Sweet Dreams, Sweet Princes from 1986, explore the East vs. West Cold War without nuclear weapons. Part of the story involves a quirky scientist whose discoveries could disrupt the Status Quo. And, for Mack Reynolds fans, one of Reynolds’ favorite characters, Joe Mauser, makes some cameo appearances.

As with most of Mack Reynolds work, socio-economic themes are explored. But, most SF readers will find the detailed gladiatorial conflicts the most compelling parts of Sweet Dreams, Sweet Princes. GRADE: B


Back in 1990, Goodfellas hit the movie screens and achieved a modest success. Unlike The Godfather movies that glamorized the upper hierarchy of organized crime in America, Goodfellas–based on Nicholas Pileggi’s Wiseguy–shows what life was like for the street-level gangsters. Pileggi had access to a criminal in Witness Protection–Henry Hill–who had intimate knowledge of Mafia figures and their various schemes. The movie was nominated for six Oscars (winning one for Joe Pesci), five Golden Globe awards and eight British Academy Awards (winning five). 

Glenn Kenny, a film critic, interviewed Marin Scorsese, Robert De Niro and other key figures involved in Goodfellas. My favorite chapter of the book was “All the Songs” where Kenny analyzes all the music–over 40 songs!–included in the movie. And, sadly, most of these songs were not included in the Goodfellas soundtrack. Fans of Goodfellas will love all the detail Kenny provides in the scene-by-scene chapter.

If you’re a fan of Goodfellas you’ll love Glenn Kenny’s Made Men: The Story of Goodfellas! GRADE: A


Prologue: Mortin Scorses, December 1989 — 13

One: Nick, and Nora, and others — 20

Two: Players — 36

Three: The prep work — 49

Four: A Martin Scorsese picture, scene by scene — 67

Five: All the songs — 230

Six: The schoonmaker treatment — 255

Seven: The aftermath — 264

Eight: The eventual tragedy of Henry Hill — 280

Nine: Unofficial narratives — 292

Ten: From Goodfellas to The Irishman — 303

Epilogue: Martin Scorsese, March 2020 — 321

Postscript: A Goodfellas Library — 346

Appendix: A Goodfellas Timeline — 361

Notes/Sources — 365

Acknowledgements — 381

Index — 385

CHARACTER By Marjorie Garber

“It goes to character. You don’t realize how important character is in the highest office in the land until you don’t have it.” Adam Schiff made this declaration during the Impeachment trial of Donald Trump on January 20, 2020 (p. 23). Marjorie Garber is a Shakespeare expert, but she spends a lot her latest book writing about Trump, Pence, and Brett Kavanaugh. Of course, Garber is quick to quote Shakespeare on character to highlight her thoughts that lack of character leads to disaster both for the individual and the community.

I’m a fan of books that explore intellectual history so Character checks a lot of the boxes that make a book compelling to me. Garber supplies plenty of historical examples of character and character failures. She links thoughts about character in the Past with those dealing with our present political nightmare.

My only quibble is Garber’s occasional forays into physiognomy–the “science” of determining character by the bumps on your head–and other wacko theories caused me to become impatient for a return to a Shakespeare reference or an another example of a catastrophic decision by the Trump Administration. If you’re looking for a wide-ranging discussion of character, Marjorie Garber’s new book covers all the bases. GRADE: A

Table of Contents

Introduction: Character Witnesses 3

1 Testing It: Politics, Sports, Celebrity 23

2 Teaching It: Tales Out of School 57

3 Claiming It: The Idea of National Character 131

4 Reading It: The Rise, Fall, and (Un)Surprising Return of Phrenology 195

5 Naming It: Psychoanalysis, Psychology, and the Emergence of “Personality” 240

6 Seeing It: Art, Physiognomy, Photography, Gesture, Science 271

7 Character Types: Greeks, Geeks, Nerds-and Little Miss Hug 322

8 The Difference Gender Makes: Mettle, Spunk, and the Right Stuff 349

Afterword: The Character Effect 375

Notes 385

Acknowledgments 425

Index 427


After dropping two straight games to the Tennessee Titans and the Kansas City Chiefs, the 4-2 Bills face the winless New York Jets. Jets QB Sam Darnold is questionable with a shoulder injury. The Bills defense couldn’t stop the run in their two losses. We’ll see what happens this afternoon. The Bills are favored by 13 points. How will your favorite NFL team fare today?


Diane decided that with the Winter looming and the prospects of another coronavirus Shut-Down on the table, we needed a piece of exercise equipment so we could stay healthy until the vaccine arrives.

We did an Internet search and decided on the BODYCRAFT R200 RECUMBENT BIKE. It’s a commercial product, well-built and solid. Diane and I liked the seat. Many bikes have very uncomfortable seats and some are downright painful to sit on for any period of time.

What are your exercise plans for the Winter?


Gary Lovisi’s Introduction to Bourbon Street/Hot Cargo provides some provocative information about an obscure writer who wrote a few compelling books and then dropped out of the publishing business. “G. H. Otis” was Otis Hemingway Gaylord, a man who knew a lot about New Orleans and later worked for Disney as an advertising manager. Bourbon Street and Hot Cargo were published by Lion Books in 1953. As Lovisi points out, both books were ahead of their time.

Bourbon Street is narrated by Digger Mulcahy, a man whose problems dealing alcohol have led him to despair, has come up with a smuggling scheme that he sees as the way out of his poverty and failures. Mulcahy gambles on accepting money from a gangster to fund his risky operation. But, as you might suspect, things start to go wrong and Mulcahy finds his world falling apart. GRADE: B+

Hot Cargo features a beautiful but deadly woman named Sheba. Ed Brody is on the run and finds his only escape is on a ship that harbors plenty of secrets. Brody is hired as an engineer, but the Captain seems uninterested in the dangers Brody discovers with the ship’s engines. The plot transforms the voyage into a violent gun-battle before a midnight rendezvous in the the middle of the ocean. If you’re looking for surprising action and adventure, you’ll want to load up on some Hot Cargo. GRADE: B

THE RARITIES By Mariah Carey

I’ve been a Mariah Carey fan from the beginning of her career. Back in the early 1990s, Carey was pumping out Number One hits with regularity. Carey is the first artist in history to have their first five singles reach Number One on the Billboard Hot 100, from “Vision of Love” to “Emotions“.

Of course, everyone knows that Carey gambled on a movie called Glitter (2001) that opened the week of 9/11 and bombed. That lead to Carey’s emotional and artistic breakdown. If the story ended there, it would have been tragic. But, Carey got herself together and she returned to the top of music charts with The Emancipation of Mimi (2005), the world’s second-best-selling album of 2005. Mariah Carey has sold over 200 million records and her music still sounds good to me. This new release of early music possesses verve and energy. Are you a Mariah Carey fan? Any favorite songs? GRADE: A


1.“Here We Go Around Again” (1990)Mariah CareyBen MarguliesCareyMargulies3:55
2.“Can You Hear Me” (1991)CareyBarry MannCarey4:06
3.“Do You Think of Me” (1993)CareyWalter AfanasieffMark C. RooneyMark MoralesCareyAfanasieffRooneyMorales4:48
4.“Everything Fades Away” (1993)CareyAfanasieffCareyAfanasieff5:25
5.“All I Live For” (1993)CareyAfanasieffCareyAfanasieff3:22
6.“One Night” (1995)CareyJermaine DupriCareyDupri4:41
7.“Slipping Away” (1996)CareyDave HallCareyHall4:31
8.Out Here on My Own” (2000)Lesley GoreMichael GoreCarey3:16
9.Loverboy” (2001 – Firecracker Original Version)CareyMartin DennyCareyClark Kent[a]3:14
10.“I Pray” (2005)CareyKenneth CrouchCareyCrouch[a]2:53
11.“Cool on You” (2007)CareyDupriManuel Seal, Jr.Johntá AustinCareyDupri[a]Seal[a]3:11
12.“Mesmerized” (2012)CareyLoris HollandCareyHolland[a]Randy Jackson[a]3:22
13.Lullaby of Birdland” (2014 – Live)George ShearingGeorge David WeissCareyJames “Big Jim” Wright[b]3:18
14.Save the Day” (2020 – with Ms. Lauryn Hill)CareyDupriWrightCharles FoxNorman GimbelCareyDupri[a]3:48
15.Close My Eyes” (2020 – Acoustic)

WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #2: WHERE THE VEIL IS THIN Edited by Cerece Rennie Murphy & Alana Joli Abbott

The cover by Anna Dittmann lured me into reading Where the Veil is Thin: An Anthology of Faerie Tales (2020). Like many of these themed anthologies, there’s a variety of quality among the stories. My favorite story in Where the Veil is Thin is Alethea Kontis’s “The Seal Woman’s Tale.” The Seal Woman is a skin walker, a supernatural being with the power to physically take the appearance of anyone (but she doesn’t like become a man).

“The Seal Woman’s Tale” starts with the changing of appearances and leads to a more sinister circumstance: the Seal Woman becomes the prisoner of the King of Trolls. The King of Trolls is cruel and power-mad. But the Seal Woman plays the Long Game. I also enjoyed “See a Fine Lady” by Seanan McGuire. If you’re in the mood for some stories that will capture the essence of Halloween, give Where the Veil is Thin a try. GRADE: B


Introduction” by Jim Hines — 5
“The Tooth Fairies” by Glenn Parris — 8
“Glamour” by Grey Yuen –19
“See a Fine Lady” by Seanan McGuire — 33
“Or Perhaps Up” by C.S.E. Cooney — 44
“Don’t Let Go” by Alana Joli Abbott — 65
“The Loophole” by L. Penelope — 90
“The Last Home of Master Tranquil Cloud” by Minsoo Kang — 102
“Your Two Better Halves: A Dream, with Fairies, in Spanglish” by Carlos Hernandez — 113
“Take Only Photos” by Shanna Swendson — 139
“Old Twelvey Night” by Gwen Nix — 152
“The Seal Woman’s Tale” by Alethea Kontis — 164
“The Storyteller” by David Bowles — 182
“Poisoned Hearts” by Zin E. Rocklyn — 186
“Colt’s Tooth” by Linda Robertson –196




This 1997 movie based on the Henry James novel from 1902, would confuse money-obsessed Americans today. Young Helena Bonham Carter plays Kate Croy, an emotionally intense impoverished woman whose wealthy Aunt Maud (Charlotte Rampling) keeps trying to marry her off. Kate is in love with a journalist, Morton Densher (Linus Roache). who is equally impoverished. Densher wants to marry Kate but she knows their marriage would never survive without money.

Kate meets an attractive American millionaire heiress Millie Theale (Alison Elliott). Millie has a secret that Kate decides is the answer to her and Densher’s happiness. Kate, Millie, and Densher travel to Venice and a romantic triangle fueled by money blossoms.

I would expect most young Americans today would find the conclusion of the movie and the novel to be inexplicable. Morality and ethics regarding money morphed over the past century. Honor sounds good, but money pays the bills. The title refers to the 55th Psalm, which records the deceit and guile of conspirators and exclaims, “Oh that I had wings like a dove!”

Wings of the Dove, with a strong cast–especially Helena Bonham Carter–provides a cautionary tale that would fall on deaf ears today. Still, this film moved me. GRADE: B+