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JUSTICE LEAGUE ACTION [2-DVD SET]


The Justice League animated series ran on the Cartoon Network and this 2-DVD set was released in 2017. I’ve always liked the Justice League–both the comic books and the TV series–for the shifting mix of characters and the unique storylines. Kevin Conroy voices Batman. Mark Hamill is Joker, James Woods is Lex Luthor, Diedrich Bader is Booster Gold. Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman form the core of the Justice League. But unusual characters like Swamp Thing and John Constantine show up to keep things edgy. If you’re a fan of the Justice League, there are 290 minutes of fun on these DVDs! GRADE: A
DISK ONE:
Classic Rock
Power Outage
Night of the Bat
Abate and Switch
Follow That Space Cab!
Nuclear Family Values
Zombie King
Time Share
Under a Red Sun
Play Date
Repulse!
Trick or Treat
DISK TWO:
Speed Demon
Hat Trick
Field Trip
Luthor in Paradise
Plastic Man Saves the World
Rage of the Red Lanterns
Freezer Burn
The Trouble With Truth
Inside Job
Double Cross
Battle of the Bottled City
Garden of Evil
All Aboard the Space Train

INVESTED: HOW WARREN BUFFETT AND CHARLIE MUNGER TAUGHT ME TO MASTER MY MIND, MY EMOTIONS, AND MY MONEY By Danielle Town & Phil Town


Danielle Town was a typical Millennial who was working hard at her law office, but not really making ends meet. Danielle’s father, Phil Town, had written a couple books on financial advice. Phil Town had tried to get his daughter to practice smart money management, but she resisted…until now. Together, Danielle and Phil try to restructure Danielle’s financial life. Along the way, Danielle learns the basics of value investing practiced by Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. If you’ve been confused by investing terminology and concepts, Invested is the perfect place to find clarity. Danielle slowly works her way through the steps of investing and along the way makes a tidy sum with the help of her Dad. Invested covers most of the key knowledge of investing with plenty of examples. It demystifies a complicated process. If someone asked to recommend an investment book, I’d go with Invested. GRADE: A
TABLE OF CONTENTS:Chapter 1 January-Becoming Brave p. 5
Warren Buffett and Value Investing
Rule #1 Investing
Hoard Or Abdicate
Inflation
My Investing Practice
January Practice
Chapter 2 February-Knowing Your Number p. 37
Primer on the Stock Market
Flavors of Abdication
Calculating My Number
Investment Options Outside of the Stock Market
Maro-Thankfulness
Components of Financial Freedom
Four Levels of Mastery
February Practice
Chapter 3 March-Voting For A Mission With My Money p. 65
Creating My Investing Office
Primer on Corporations
Asymmetry of Information Between Companies and Shareholders
Voting for a Mission with My Money
Finding Missions
Story of a Company
March Practice
Chapter 4 April-The First Principle of Value Investing p. 85
Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH)
Lucky Monkeys
Events
Market-Wide Indicators of Events
Shiller P/E
Buffett Indicator
Charlie Munger
Four Principles of Investing
First Principle: Understanding the Business
Circle of Competence and the Three-Circles Exercise
Primer on Annual Reports
Gurus
Investing Intensive and the Buffett Bible
April Practice
Chapter 5 May-Charlie’s Moat and Management p. 119
Second Principle: Moat
The Five (And a Half) Moats
Moat Case Study: Coca-Cola
Moat Case Study: Apple
Primer on Financial Statements
Big Four Numbers and Growth Rates
Windage Growth Rate
Third Principle: Management
Management Numbers
Checklist For Charlie’s First Three Principles
May Practice
Chapter 6 June-Circling Competence p. 147
Facing Feelings About Money
Investing in What You Know
Annual Reports
Wishlist
Fantasy Investing
Brokerage Account Basics
Family Tradition with Money
Steps to Face Preconceptions Around Money
June Practice
Chapter 7 July-Charlie’s Fourth Principle: Pricing p. 177
Fourth Principle: Price that Makes Sense
Three Methods of Pricing/Valuation
Pricing Using Whole-Company Numbers
Ten Cap Pricing Method
Owner Earnings
Formula for Owner Earnings
Payback Time Pricing Method
Formula for Free Cash Flow
July Practice
Chapter 8 August-Charlie’s Fourth Principle: Value p. 209
Pricing Using Per-Share Company Numbers
Margin of Safety Valuation Method
Formula For Margin of Safety
Opening a Brokerage Account
August Practice
Chapter 9 September-Inverting the Story p. 229
Checklist of Expensive Errors
Writing the Story
Inverting the Story
Investing Research Organization
Practice Shares
September Practice
Chapter 10 October-Compiling an Antifragile Portfolio p. 253
Antifragile Portfolio
Passive-Aggressive Strategy
Buying Plan
Tranches
Prepare to Manage Emotions During Events
October Practice
Chapter 11 November-When to Sell p. 269
Buying A Company
Sell Whew the Story Changes
Reducing Basis
Dividends
Buybacks
Determining When to Sell
November Practice
Chapter 12 December-Living Thankfulness p. 291
Checklist for Ongoing Investing Practice
Maro-Thankfulness
December Practice
Epilogue p. 303
Afterword p. 307
Resources for Your Investing Practice p. 310
Appendix p. 313
Acknowledgments p. 321

TEACHER’S PET (Tales From Lovecraft Middle School #3) By Charles Gilman


More fun and mayhem from Lovecraft Middle School as the students find themselves attacked by bugs. Not just a few bugs. Millions of bugs! It’s all a menacing plot of Lovecraftean horror. Once again, the cool hologram cover that alternates between a middle school student and a giant bug gives you a flavor of what’s between these covers. There’s only one more volume in the “Tales From Lovecraft Middle School” series. I’ll be sorry to see these clever stories end. GRADE: B+

BATMAN NINJA [Blu-ray]


I’ve viewed many of the DC Animated movies, but Batman Ninja (2018) is the coolest looking film in the series. Grodd (the super-genius gorilla) invents a time machine and Batman gets sucked into the Past. In feudal Japan, Batman has to take on the Joker, Poison Ivy, the Penguin, Deathstroke, and Two-Face–as well as Grodd–in order to restore the Timeline. Harley Quinn and Catwoman have a couple of great cat-fights. The graphics are eye-popping. The notion that Batman has to defeat the villains without his advanced technology and devices is intriguing. Check out the trailer below. GRADE: A

FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #476: THE YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORIES: 1951 Edited By E. F. Bleiler and T. E. Dikty


Imagine a story that’s based on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. That’s exactly what Charles L. Harness’s “The New Reality” does in its exploration of what Reality really is. Wonderful story! And then there’s a very different story from A. E. van Vogt titled “Process.” Told from the perspective of an intelligent forest on an alien planet, van Vogt manages to capture a “Sense of Wonder.” The most famous story in this volume is Damon Knight’s classic “To Serve Man.” I remember watching The Twilight Zone in 1962 and being shocked by the episode!

The quality of the stories in THE YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORIES: 1951 is better than the 1949 and 1950 volumes. Fritz Leiber’s “Coming Attraction” set new trends in SF. Alfred Bester’s “Oddy and Id” and “Born of Man and Woman” by Richard Matheson are first-rate stories of “unusual” children. If you find a copy of The Year’s Best Science Fiction Stories: 1951 grab it! GRADE: A
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
• Introduction, by Everett F. Bleiler & T. E. Dikty
• “The Santa Claus Planet”, by Frank M. Robinson (Bleiler & Dikty, 1951)
• “The Gnurrs Come from the Voodvork Out”, by Reginald Bretnor ( The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Winter/Spring 1950),
• “The Mindworm”, by Cyril Kornbluth (Worlds Beyond December 1950)
• “The Star Ducks”, by Bill Brown ( The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, 1950)
• “Not to Be Opened—”, by Roger Flint Young (Astounding Science Fiction, May 1949)
• “Process”, by A. E. van Vogt (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, December 1950)
• “Forget-Me-Not”, by William F. Temple (Other Worlds Science Fiction Stories, September 1950)
• “Contagion”, by Katherine MacLean (Galaxy Science Fiction, October 1950)
• “Trespass!”, by Poul Anderson & Gordon Dickson (Fantastic Story Quarterly, Spring 1950)
• “Oddy and Id”, by Alfred Bester (Astounding Science Fiction, August 1950)
• “To Serve Man”, by Damon Knight (Galaxy Science Fiction, November 1950)
• “Summer Wear”, by L. Sprague de Camp (Startling Stories, May 1950)
• “Born of Man and Woman”, by Richard Matheson (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July 1950)
• “The Fox in the Forest”, by Ray Bradbury (Collier’s, May 1950)
• “The Last Martian”, by Fredric Brown (Galaxy Science Fiction, October 1950)
• “The New Reality”, by Charles L. Harness (Thrilling Wonder Stories, December 1950)
• “Two Face”, by Frank Belknap Long (Weird Tales, March 1950)
• “Coming Attraction”, by Fritz Leiber (Galaxy Science Fiction, November 1950)

HALTING STATE and RULE 34 By Charles Stross


I’ve enjoyed Charles Stross’s “Laundry” series so I thought I would like this projected trilogy: Halting State (2007) and Rule 34 (2011) and a cancelled third volume. Halting State is a police procedural about the hacking of a video game company. Rule 34 revolves around a series of mysterious–but connected–murders. Edinburgh Decretive Inspector Liz Kavanaugh investigates these crimes set in the “near Future.” My biggest complaint about both books is they are told in the Second Person. “You” this and “You” that grates on me. I was able to figure out the culprit in Halting State fairly early in the novel. Rule 34 held more surprises. All in all, I’d advise you to stick with the “Laundry” novels and skip these SF crime novels. HALTING STATE: GRADE: C
RULE 34: GRADE: B

BIBLIOMYSTERIES: STORIES OF CRIME IN THE WORLD OF BOOKS AND BOOKSTORES Edited By Otto Penzler


Over the years, I’ve enjoyed many of Otto Penzler’s crime and mystery anthologies. This theme anthology from 2017 features stories that involve books and bookstores. I really liked Loren D. Estleman’s “Book Club” where a book seller is murdered and a rare book is missing. William Link writes a pretty clever Columbo story in “Death Leaves a Bookmark.” Jeff Smith once took Jeff Meyerson, Andy Jayanovich, and me to THE BOOK THING in Baltimore (we were attending a BOUCHERCON). THE BOOK THING is a book store that gives books away. For FREE. Laura Lippman makes THE BOOK THING the star of her story of the same name. Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins send Mike Hammer on a search for a dead gangster’s “ledger” in “It’s In the Book.” Bibliomysteries ends on a high note with Nelson De Mille’s “The Book Case” where two vicious beneficiaries are involved in a murder that could make them millionaires. If you’re in the mood for stories about books and crime, Bibliomysteries will fit the bill. You can read my other reviews of Otto Penzler anthologies here, here, here, here, and here. GRADE: B

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
INTRODUCTION By Ian Rankin i
An Acceptable Sacrifice – Jeffery Deaver p. 1
Pronghorns of the Third Reich – C. J. Box p. 43
The Book of Virtue – Ken Bruen p. 69
The Book of Ghosts – Reed Farrel Coleman p. 93
The Final Testament – Peter Blauner p. 121
What’s in a Name? – Thomas H. Cook p. 151
Book Club – Loren D. Estleman p. 179
Death Leaves a Bookmark – William Link p. 203
The Book Thing – Laura Lippman p. 231
The Scroll – Anne Perry p. 257
It’s in the Book – Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins p. 293
The Long Sonata of the Dead – Andrew Taylor p. 333
Rides a Stranger -David Bell p. 361
The Caxton Lending Library & Book Depository – John Connolly p. 413
The Book Case- Nelson De Mille p. 471

JAMES CAMERON’S STORY OF SCIENCE FICTION [AMC]


I’ve been watching James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction on AMC. The first episode deals with “Aliens.” Cameron interviews actors, directors, science fiction writers, and experts of all sorts to share their stories. Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Will Smith, Amy Adams, Jeff Goldblum, and Sigourney Weaver relate their experiences in their key science fiction movies. We’re getting James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction on Monday nights at 10:05 P.M. There’s also a book version of the series. GRADE: A
EPISODES:
1. ALIENS
2. SPACE
3. MONSTERS
4. DARK FUTURES
5. INTELLIGENT MACHINES
6. TIME TRAVEL

LOOK ALIVE OUT THERE: ESSAYS By Sloane Crosley


I’ve been a fan of Sloane Crosley’s humorous essays. I enjoyed I Was Told There’d Be Cake (2008) and you can read my review of How Did You Get This Number (2011) here. In Look Alive Out There (2018) Sloane Crosley writes about dealing with vertigo in “Cinema of the Confined.” Very scary, but Crosley injects humor into a very grim situation. “Relative Stranger” tells the story of Sloane Crosley reaching out to a distant relative who once “performed” in 116 porno movies decades ago. Crosley deals with Bad Neighbors in “Outside Voices.” Slaane Crosley doesn’t hide her snarky and bitchy moments in these essays. But you’ll find something to smile at or laugh at in each of these essays. GRADE: B+
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Wheels Up p. 3
Outside Voices p. 7
A Dog Named Humphrey p. 31
You Someday Lucky p. 49
If You Take the Canoe Out p. 53
The Chupacabra p. 77
Up the Down Volcano p. 81
The Grape Man p. 117
Right Aid p. 129
Relative Stranger p. 131
Brace Yourself p. 151
Immediate Family p. 155
Cinema of the Confined p. 159
Wolf p. 179
Our Hour Is Up p. 203
The Doctor Is a Woman p. 211
Acknowledgments p. 241