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Supergirl Is Awesome!

Supergirl Is Awesome!

Supergirl Is Awesome!

I thought instead of a rant bashing stupid people that I’d take a break and talk about something I am really enjoying.  It’s Supergirl, I am a fan.  There are so many things about the show I love. There are a couple of things, I have mixed feelings about but all in all, I have loved every minute of the show.  It’s fun, it’s not dark and Melissa Benoist as Supergirl is a breath of fresh air. In fact, I will go as far as to say that Supergirl is awesome!

A few months ago I saw an extended preview of the show that CBS put out and it interested me for a few reasons.  First and foremost, it wasn’t dark.  I am so sick of every superhero reincarnation having to be dark and gritty.  It was fine with Batman, in fact, it was perfect for Batman.  But, then the new Superman re-boot came along and I was really disappointed with it.  To me, the movie came off as more Emo than dark.  I didn’t hate the movie.  But, dark superman just doesn’t’ work for me.

George Reeves As SupermanI am now 46 years old and my introduction to Superman was with the 70’s when I first saw the old TV’s series starring George Reeves as the caped wonder.  But, then in my 7th year of life I saw Superman the Movie with Christopher Reeves and it truly made me believe a man could fly.  Those movies became an iconic symbol of hope in my eyes.  They were eye-poppingly colorful and so perfectly inspiring.  To this day I can’t watch Superman I or II without wanting to be a better person and considering that when it comes to being a cynic I make Lewis Black look calm and even tempered, I think that says a lot.

So, I was ecstatic to see the Supergirl series on CBS was going to continue that tradition of positivity of hope. Well, at least when seeing the preview, I was hopeful. It looked like what I had been craving for.  And, a couple of weeks ago when the first episode aired, it was pure joy.  It was everything I had hoped for. I loved the cameos, with Helen Slater and Dean Cain I thought that was brilliantly fun. The cast is great and the story plays out with heart.  This past week’s episode, “Flight or Flight” ended with a text between Clark Kent and Kara (Supergirl) and it was just so sweet without being too sappy or cheesy.  The show isn’t perfect but the amount of fun it is, makes up for any flaws there may be.

Though, I can’t express enough Melissa Benoist really is the star of the show.  Not just because she’s the title character but because of the way she plays her roles as Kara and Supergirl. I believe her as both and I just adore her.  She’s vulnerable and strong and that’s the key to any great character.  She nails it.  When she does her shy almost snort laughing, I turn to mush.  I am grown man and I think if I ever met Melissa Benoist, I’d react like Kara does when she thinks about Mehcad Brooks as Jimmy Olsen er… Sorry “James” Olsen.

Melissa Benoist As Kara aka Supergirl

My only problem and it’s not so much of a problem as it is a conflict I have within myself.  It’s her skirt.  Part of me is glad that they stayed with the traditional looking outfit.  The shallow guy in me is literally thrilled.  But, the male feminist in me feels that it’s a shame.  If the character was truly created in today’s world there is no way she’d be created in a short skirt that can easily be looked up with every fly by.  It’s not practical at all for doing battle in and it’s just kind of silly.  So, for that I am torn.  However, the character Kara that Melissa Benoist’s has created, I can totally see as actually liking the skirt. So, I don’t let it get to me.  As I said, torn.

It’s hard to do a superhero show because you need to keep the fantasy going without losing the human moments and I think Supergirl does this so very well.  At the time I am writing this, three episodes have aired and I can honestly say that with each new episode I find my interest in the show is still strong and still growing.  And, I have to admit a lot of it is because Melissa Benoist as Supergirl is awesome!

Some Comments On America’s Got Talent

Some Comments On America’s Got Talent

Some Comments On America’s Got Talent…

I started watching this show back during season 8.  I don’t like many reality shows.  In fact this season, was the first time I ever watched American Idol and I didn’t even finish the season.  I stopped watching around the time they got time cut the contestants down to like 10 or 12 guys and 10 or 12 girls.  They had cut so many singers I thought were great and kept a lot that weren’t that good in my opinion.  So I lost interest.  America’s Got Talent though, I have managed to watch faithfully each season because it’s just pure entertainment to me.  There are acts you won’t see any other show and I just love the variety of it all.

However, there are many things about the show that aggravate me to the point that I have considered not watching it anymore.  I can handle it when I disagree with the judges, opinions vary.  I’m cool with that.  What I am not cool with is all the contestants that seem to go missing without explanation.  I think it was last year that a very nice old man preformed on the show. He song was outrageous and I loved it!  It was about going out on a date and finding that the girl had a penis.  It was so funny.  He never appeared on the show again after he getting all the judges approval to go on to the next round.  What kind of heinous fuckery is that?  Then there’s the prize money.  The top 10 contestants really need some prize money as well.

I did some research on one of the contestants that was never asked back. I don’t know how true it is but as I understand it, the trans community complained about Ray Jessel’s performance.  I fully support the LGBT.  I am pro gay marriage.  I have gay friends, I’ve hung out at gay bars with them.  I have no hate in my heart for anyone based on their sexuality. However, if it is true that Mr. Ray Jessel was pulled from later airings of the show because some members of the LGBT community found it offensive, then I am very disappointed in them and anyone else who found it offensive enough to complain about it.  Being able to laugh at yourself is a good thing.  There was no hate behind the man’s song.  It was just funny and if you can’t see that then I feel sorry for you.

There was another contestant that never got his second chance on the show that stands out.  It was a kid comedian and he’s jokes were pretty raunchy for his age but he was funny.  Never saw him again and that is a shame.  There are contestants that never got a second chance after making it through the first TV round and I could name them all but it’s the point of their absence I am trying to make.  It’s just wrong.  It’s a contest, if they make it past the judges, they should be allowed to preform again.  If people complain about it that’s fine.  They will have their chance to not for them soon enough.  That’s how it should work.  It shouldn’t be left up to some executive who is trying to appease the tiniest part of viewing population that are offended by something.  This is something that really, really needs to be fixed.

Another problem with the show I’ve noticed, is something that’s also viewer related.  But, something I don’t think she show can really fix.  It’s the singers on the show.  I have no problem with them.  It’s hard for me to vote for them in the final round but, I have no problem with them on the show.  However, I have seen a sort of backlash against them the past few years.  Because of this, I think it’s going to be a while before a singer ever wins the big prize.

The backlash I first noticed a couple of years when I used to post regularly on Facebook. My FB friends didn’t like the singers on the show.  I don’t recall who it was on the show but I had posted that I voted her, she was of course a singer.  My friends damn near attacked me over my vote for her.  They felt that AGT isn’t for singers.  If you’re singer, tryout for The Voice or American Idol, told me.  The acts they voted for were the comedians, the magicians, the dancers, acts like Freelusion and Siro-A and so on.  Acts they’d really want to go and see in Vegas.  And, I have to admit in some ways, I agree with them.

It won’t stop me voting for a singer or band.  I voted for Benton Blount all the way through.  He wasn’t the only act I voted for in the finale, I voted for 3 acts primarily.  I have 3 gmail accounts so I voted for Paul Zerdin, Stevie Starr and Drew Lynch primarily.  They each got 40 votes me for.  Benton Blount, as much as Loved him, only got 20 votes from in the finally.  The reason being, as much as I genuinely like the guy and his music, I’m not a big concert fan.  If anything is going to pull me away from a blackjack table in Vegas it’s not going to be a musician.  I have seen lots of acts in Vegas, even Carrot Top once (to be honest, I had free tickets).  But, to go see someone singing, I’ve been to concerts before, and they pretty much bore me.  The music doesn’t sound that good live, the crowds annoy me, it’s just not my thing at all.

So I can see the argument against the singers and bands.  People picture a Vegas show as being more like Blue Man Group and Penn & Teller type acts then someone who just won a talent show for singing.  I can see going to a Vegas show for a legitimate icon like Billy Joel or Celine Dion.  I would NEVER go see Celine Dion, I’m sure she’s a wonderful person but her music pretty much makes me gag.  But, she’s an icon, I get it.  I would however go to see someone like Paul Zerdin, Derek Hughes, Oz Pearlman or Drew Lynch. A singer, just not my thing. And, not while in Vegas unless they are truly an icon.

This season was the toughest for me.  I honestly loved so many of the contestants this season.  Voting in the finale, I swear to God I don’t believe in that I sat in front of my PC for over two hours trying to decide who wasn’t going to get my votes.  I re-watched clips on YouTube even.  My final decisions actually made me feel guilty.  I wanted to vote for Benton Blount more.  I had planned to vote for Derek Hughes and Uzeyer Novruzov but I agreed with the judges comments on Derek Hughes.  He came out and did rope tricks.  I love the guy but he did rope tricks and they weren’t that original.  There was Uzeyer Novruzov my favorite from the beginning!  But, I just couldn’t vote for him in the finale, not when his performance was so lack luster.  I understand he was hurt but it wasn’t fair to the other contestants that went out there and killed it.

My last and finale concern or recommendation rather, the prize money.  America’s Got Talent makes millions and millions of dollars.  They need to bump up the prize money.  A million, paid out over 40 years?  Really NBC?  Bump it up to 2 million as the top price.  Then, take a another million and give the number two person 500k, 350k for 3rd place and so on down to the number 10 spot.  Go big or go home.  Make the show bigger!  Because a million dollars sounds great but when it’s paid out over 40 years, that’s about 2k a month.  Sure, an extra 2k a month would be nice but it’s not about nice.  It’s supposed to be “life changing”.  And, if it’s a group that wins the big prize.  How sad is that is going to be if a trio wins and their cut of the money is going to be less then $700.00 a month.  Cough it up NBC.  AGT is one of the few shows you have that doesn’t suck, throw more money at it.

Anyways, these are just some very unorganized thoughts I’ve had about the show.  And, after re-watching the finale again last night I just had the urge to rant about it a little.

Sir Richard Branson And Celebrity Apprentice…

Sir Richard Branson And Celebrity Apprentice…

Sir Richard Branson And Celebrity Apprentice…

I have thought for a long time now that NBC should part ways with Donald Trump for several reasons.  One, he’s an idiot.  Sure, he’s an idiot with money.  And, how he’s managed to make so much money after having filed for bankruptcy 4 times is now?  Seriously, that is worthy of rant of it’s own but I am not hear to talk about that.  Two, he’s pretty much outted himself as a racist now.  And, sadly he’s too shallow to even understand why everyone but other racists are angry with him.  Now that Trump has been fired, it’s time they get a better host for The Celebrity Apprentice.  Sir Richard Branson should host Celebrity Apprentice…

I will admit that I love the Celebrity Apprentice.  The only thing I haven’t liked about it is that Trump himself was on it.  The man is such a train wreck of a human being.  From raising two sons that get off on killing Trump Jr. Animal Killerendangered animals to that stupid haircut.  It’s like some weird fucking animal died on his head.  Seriously, if you’re hair looks so bad that everyone thinks that it’s a toupee, it’s probably time to get a fucking haircut.  But more importantly than that.  He is so philosophically shallow it’s offensive and his most recent racist comments against Mexico and it’s immigrates are unbelievable!  The worst part is that he is completely unapologetic about it.  It’s been days since he called Mexican immigrants “rapists” and he has since stated several times that he stands by what he says!

Anyways…  So why should NBC go with someone likeTrumps kids killing animals Sir Richard Branson to host the popular show.  Well, he’s not a douchebag, so he’s already got Trump beat.  He actually tries to help humanity.  I’m not saying he’s perfect.  No one is.  It’s just that he’s on the cutting edge of today’s business world.  He’s innovative, seems to care about his fellow man and when he donates to charity he actually seems like he does it because he wants to and not because he has to.

I realize that one of the reasons people watched The Celebrity Apprentice was because it was fun to watch trump fire people because he’s just such a douchebag and so full of himself it’s almost hypnotic in some strange way.  But, just imagine actually having someone host the show that actually gave a shit about it’s contestants.  That presented challenges for the celebrities that not only were designed to raise money for charities but perhaps the challenges themselves could be more useful.  Instead of every challenge being about creating an ad for some business that really doesn’t need any help, how about they do it for some charities and business that do need help.

How about a challenge that is designed to raise awareness for a cause.  As of right now the celebs are tasked with creating some kind of ad for a corporation and the best ad wins some money for their charity.  Why not make the challenge have some depth from time to time. Why not make a challenge that requires the celebrities to create ads for a charity.  How interesting would it be to see these celebrities have to get their hands dirty and spend a few days creating ads for local homeless shelters or food banks?  Another challenge could be to create an ad for a local small business.  Because let’s be honest, LG doesn’t need the Celebrity Apprentice to create an ad for them.  Why not create an ad campaign for a small business that could really use the boost.  Now that would be fascinating!  Have these celebrities fly into small town USA and help create an ad for Joe’s Hardware.  It could literally change people’s lives forever.

There are so many ways the show could be improved to be not only fun but important.  Thought provoking even.  And, someone like Sir Richard Branson would be an ideal candidate for the show because that’s what he does already in so many ways.

That’s my idea to save the show.  NBC has a great chance to do something worthwhile and entertaining.  I’m hoping they choose to wisely.

Stupid Things Donald Trump Has Said…

Stupid Things Donald Trump Has Said…

Stupid Things Donald Trump Has Said…

Donald Trump Photo by Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump Photo by Gage Skidmore

So after watching Donald Trump make an ass of himself during his presidential coming out speech I found myself wanting to laugh but could not.  I mean he has to be joking right?  No one could really be that fucking stupid could they?  It would appear so because since Trump made his racist remarks he has had multiple times to correct himself and refused to each time.  He has instead chosen to stand by his racist remarks.  Thus making him a racist.  Something he can no longer deny that he is.  I couldn’t laugh that. I instead found it sad, frustrating and offensive.

It got me thinking about all the other stupid things this man has said.  So, in case we all forgot, here’s a few of the moronic and stupid crap that has come out of his mouth…

I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” –Donald Trump, announcing his campaign for president.

I have a great relationship with the blacks.” –Donald Trump

I’ll tell you, it’s Big Business. If there is one word to describe Atlantic City, it’s Big Business. Or two words – Big Business.” –Donald Trump

You know, it really doesn’t matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.” –Donald Trump

I’m not a schmuck. Even if the world goes to hell in a handbasket, I won’t lose a penny.” –Donald Trump

Why doesn’t he show his birth certificate? There’s something on that birth certificate that he doesn’t like.”  –Donald Trump on the View Talking about President Obama’s birth certificate.

Trump continued his attack on Obama by telling everyone he was going to release his own official birth certificate exclusively to Newsmax.  He produced his birth certificate and it was rejected because it wasn’t an official document.  Once again, Trump talking about shit he simply knows nothing about.  The man is so stupid he doesn’t even know the difference between a birth certificate and an “Official” birth certificate.

The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” -Donald Trump on Twitter 12:15 PM – 6 Nov 2012

It’s freezing and snowing in New York–we need global warming!” – Donald Trump on Twitter 12:24 PM – 7 Nov 2012

“Our great African American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore!” -Donald Trump on Twitter 9:38 PM – 27 Apr 2015

While @BetteMidler is an extremely unattractive woman, I refuse to say that because I always insist on being politically correct.” -Donald Trump on Twitter 8:59 AM – 28 Oct 2012

Oh, I could go on all day with the outrageously stupid things this jackass has said over the years.  It’s just so easy when nearly every single time he opens his mouth a mass of stupidity flies out.  It’s like he goes out of his way to sound like a dickhead.

Some Of My Favorite Books…

Some Of My Favorite Books…

Some Of My Favorite Books…

I just saw a tweet by Alexis Radcliff a fantasy author who had this to say.

I thought it about and as someone who has written a book but can’t afford to have the book edited I think it’s a great idea. I can only imagine how amazing it would feel to have someone I don’t know praise my work in a review.  I have written a few words of praise on some authors Facebook and Twitter feeds but I don’t do it nearly enough.  So I thought today I would take some time recommend some books that I loved.  Not just liked but loved!  Books that are so good the words and characters in them have stuck with me over the years.

There is no order to this “list.”  These are just few works that pop into my head when I think about my favorite books.  And, no matter how accurate and detailed of a list I make I know that I will later remember other works that I liked just as much that I just didn’t have time to add to this list.  This isn’t a list of every single book I loved.  Besides, if I did that, I could never come up with “Some Of My Favorite Books… Volume II”

On a side note, even though I love a book there may be things I didn’t like about it and yet I consider it a favorite so I might rant a little about it.  I’m already looking at you Uncle Stevie…

So how about I quit rambling and get on with the list already?!

Memnoch The Devil By Anne RiceAnne Rice’s Memnoch the Devil. It’s an interesting story how I discovered this book.  I was walking through the mall and was passing a bookstore.  I noticed out of my peripheral vision the phrase, “The Vampire Chronicles”.  I stopped in my tracks and backed up a couple of steps to double check what I had just read.

You see I had just recently seen Interview with a Vampire with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.  I loved that movie.  I watched that movie and was drawn into it like it was a documentary.  I knew it was a based on a book, I had no clue the book was the first in a series.  I had to investigate.

I went into the bookstore and picked up the book, read the back of it and learned it was part of a series.  I bought the book on the spot and started reading it.  I will have to admit that I wasn’t impressed at first.  I had stopped reading it after about 50 pages or so. Went on to other books and then for some reason, one day I decided to give the book another chance and picked up where I had left off.  I couldn’t put it down.  Page after page I was enthralled.  It was written so well that you really believe Lestat de Lioncourt is really talking to you.  Back at the time I wasn’t so much of an atheist.  I just didn’t think about a god or god’s much.  However, as I read the book, it told an amazing tale of a Christian god and devil.

It was the first time I read anything dealing with religion that actually made sense.  I didn’t sell my possessions and go barefoot or anything.  Didn’t join a church either and I didn’t suddenly start to believe in any god’s. I will say that the world the book had created made the concept of a god and a devil make sense.  The book was absolutely fascinating!  Because of that book I went went back and started reading the series from the beginning.  That was almost 20 years ago to the day and Memnoch the Devil still stands as one of the most interesting works of fiction I’ve ever read.

The Stand By Stephen KingStephen King’s The Stand.  Uncle Stevie will be on the list a few times I’m sure.  This book was read at a time in my life when I literally had no possessions of my own.  Even the book was borrowed.  I ended up reading it twice.  The book took me on a journey.  The characters were so rich and fully developed.  I love the way Mr. King tells a story.  I’ve never read a book of his that I didn’t like.  Well, that’s not true. To be completely honest, and I know this is going to offend a lot of people, but, I didn’t care for the Gunslinger. I just couldn’t get into it. I was listening to it on an audio CD while making the long drive home from Vegas and the book was putting me to sleep.  I had to put on something else to listen to.  However, should I ever get the chance for another road trip I plan to give it another try.

Getting back to The Stand, I even enjoyed the TV movie with Rob Lowe though the book was infinitely better.  I remember as I read it feeling like I was part of the group of survivors.  Every time I had to put the book down for one reason or another I couldn’t wait to get back to it.  It’s a long book and certainly not for everyone but it stands out as one of the best post apocalyptic books every written.

The Monkey's Raincoat by Robert CraisThe Monkey’s Raincoat by Robert Crais.  I think it was on page two when I actually had to back up and re-read the last sentence because I was positive that I had read it wrong.  I hadn’t and I actually laughed out loud.  I won’t say what the main character Elvis Cole said as I don’t want to ruin it.  All I will say is that it has to do with chocolate.  The book is simply a must a read.  It’s funny, it’s smart with a dry sense of humor that many, I am sure, won’t get.  But, for the those of us that do, every Elvis Cole mystery is pure joy.  It has heart pounding action, emotional moments you can feel with wit and sarcasm that is always perfectly timed.

Most of the books I “read” I don’t actually read.  I listened to a lot of them on audio as I used to drive cross country for work once or twice a year.  That being said, The Monkey’s Raincoat is a book that I actually read.  In fact so far all of the books I have listed thus far I have read.  Not all of them on this list will be books I’ve “read”. But, I’ve read and listened to enough of them to know that a good book, is a good book no matter the format.

World War Z Max BrooksWorld War Z by Max Brooks.  This is one of those books I listened to.  I was on my way from the High Desert in Southern California to Hollywood, FL.  I started this audio book about an hour into my trip.  I had stopped at a McDonald’s to get some food to go, got back on the freeway and started the book.  It was absolutely fascinating.  The audio book was read by a great many well known celebrities.  Award winning celebrities.

It was about 3pm when I started the book.  I remember being on the 10 FWY between the middle of nowhere Arizona and the middle of nowhere New Mexico when it came to a point in the story when a soldier is stranded on a FWY forced to walk.  It was like I was there, in some ways I was.  The way that the character described the zombies stuck in cars that couldn’t get out was eerie and yet tragically sad at the same time.  I can’t express how into it I got.  I mean it had me looking over my shoulder as I drove.  Expecting at any minute to see the walking dead meandering on to the FWY as I traveled along with our hero in mind as she made her way along that freeway.

The audio for the book is about 6 hours or so and is plays out over 6 CD’s.  I was so into the book that I couldn’t believe when I ejected CD number 5 that not only was I about to play the last CD already but that I had been driving for more than 6 hours already.  I had stopped for gas once already it didn’t even phase me.  The book was just that good.

Side note, whatever idiot decided to make the movie World War Z and have it not have anything to do with the book is a complete idiot!  Look it was a descent movie but it should have been called something else.  The only thing the movie had in common with the book were the zombies.

Zombie Fallout By Mark TufoZombie Fallout by Mark Tufo. Another book I listened to on audio.  It stands as one of the best, if not “The” Best zombie books every written.  There is an amazing sense of comic reality to this book.  The book has heart, suspense and the writing is so wonderfully crafted in wit and irony that the pleasure of reading it just oozes over as if you’re carefully being dipped in a vat of warm butterscotch.

The Zombie Fallout books are narrated by the amazing Sean Runnette.  He brings the words to life unlike any other book I’ve listened to before.  I could go on and on about how much I love the Zombie fallout series.  Sadly I am stuck at book six.  I have it on audio and haven’t been able to afford a serious road trip in years.  I have no idea when I will be able to get back to the series.  I miss it dearly.  I wonder what my friends up to and how they are doing.  I am a few books behind now in the series.

The Cell By Stephen KingThe Cell by Stephen King. I loved this book as well. Another book I listened to on one of those cross country drives.  It’s been years since I listened to it.  Sometimes when I see cute teen girls, doing cute teen things, I think of “pixie light and pixie dark” from the book.  The Cell is another post-apocalyptic story that just grabbed me from the start.

My only disappointment with it has nothing to do with the writing per say. It has to do with something Mr. King does a lot in his books that I hate.  He always takes at least one character that you love and then kills them towards the end.  I had always thought he did that needlessly for dramatic effect.  However, at the end of one of his audio books, maybe it was at the end Bag of Bones?  He discusses this issue in an interview on the audio book.  He says the best way to solve a moral conflict or dilemma in writing is to kill the character.  For example, in The Cell (SPOILER ALERT). the main character who is 30 year old guy, now widowed is obviously starting to fall in love with the another main character.  The problem, she is just 15 years old.

I had no problem with it.  It was the end of the world as we know it.  The rules have changed.  She was a strong and mature character.  But, it’s what our Uncle Stevie likes to call a moral dilemma and because of it, one of them must die.  He’s done this in a few of his books and it pisses me off every time.  I think it’s a cop out.  Stories need to be free to go wherever they go.  If we simply end those “moral dilemmas” by killing a character then we aren’t being true to the characters or the story.   Great literary works have always challenged or questioned societal norms and doing so for no other reason than not wanting to offend narrow minded people is simply wrong.

But, hey look at me getting all uppity and I haven’t had a single word published.  Uncle Stevie is one of my absolute favorite authors.  My point is that I think it’s shame he feels the need to sensor his work to appease a group of people that probably would never read his work to begin with.

Once again I have gone off on a tangent here.  The Cell is in my opinion one of Stephen King’s best works.  And, even though he once again solved a moral dilemma by killing a character he did it so well and with such shock and emotion I actually shouted out “Noooo!” as the tragic events unfolded in the book.  Brilliantly written.

Pillars Of The Eath By Ken FolletPillars of the Earth by Ken Follet.  I read this book a few decades ago and loved it.  It’s a long book that takes place over about a century as I recall.  I haven’t seen the mini-series that was made a couple of years ago though I do have the DVD.  I started to watch it but just couldn’t get in to it.  I don’t know why?  I do plan to give it another try someday.

However, the book was great and I can’t even begin to tell you why.  As I sit and think about it, I don’t know what makes me love this book so much other than it’s just a really good story that takes you back in time with the most vivid mental imagery.  I often think of Tom Builder and the pride he took in his work.  The book takes some work to read.  It takes place about a 1000 years ago in England and surrounding areas and there’s a lot of characters in it. But, it has a beautifully written grit to it that just sticks with you.

Dean Kontz's Life ExpectancyDean Kontz’s Life Expectancy. What an interesting a fun book.  It has one of the best endings of a book I have ever read.  I got a little choked up at how wonderful the ending was.  And, though it’s been years since I read it there are times when I am feeling of proud of myself for something and I exclaim, “Konrad Beezo, the greatest clown of all time!”  I don’t recall the actual quote said but that’s how I remember it being repeated by the crazed son of Konrad Beezo.  Just a fun, fun read.

I have read so many of Koontz’s books and have loved many of them.  This one stands out the most to me because the ending was just so perfect.  After all the tragedy our protagonists went through, the last moments made it all worthwhile.

Homebody by Orson Scott CardHomebody by Orson Scott Card.  One of his few books or maybe his only book that wasn’t science fiction.  It’s about a craftsman in the process of flipping a house.  He doesn’t really have a home, he lives in the houses that he restores until they are completed and then moves on to the next.  While working on his most recent house he discovers a young homeless woman has been living there.

It’s truly a magical story. It’s starts off based in reality and then slowly builds into a supernatural murder mystery.  I was almost cheering for the characters at the end of the book.  Another fantastic ending.  Just a great, great book.

Afraid By Jack KillbornAfraid by Jack Killborn. This book is by far the most suspenseful book I have ever read/listened to.  To give you an example of how amazingly suspenseful this book is.  Several years ago I started listening to this book on the 3 and 1/2 hour drive to Laughlin, NV.  Now, by the time I get to Laughlin I am always beside myself with excitement.  It’s all I can do to contain myself long enough to get checked into my room before I get to the blackjack tables.  However, on this trip when I pulled into the Colorado Belle’s parking lot I was right in the middle of another heart pounding moment in the book.  I actually drove around the parking lot for a good 15 or 20 minutes until the scene in the book I was listening to was over.

Afraid, jumps from character to character and each one’s story line get’s more and exciting as the story goes on and it was all I could do to pause the audio before I got sucked into the next characters storyline.  What a fun and intense book that was!

Well, I have come to the end of the list for now.  I just logged into my account and was reminded of dozens more that I wish I had the time to mention fully in this post.  So many favorites like Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz.  Extraordinary book! Hater by David Moody was simply fantastic.  Crota by Owl Goingback is another book that caught me by surprise.  I’ve listened to this one twice.  Nightmare House by Douglas Clegg is the first in the Harrow House series.  Loved it!  Brian Keene’s Castaways was great and it had a scene about fish that had me grossed out and laughing out loud at the same time.  So many, I could go on for hours.  Even now as I type this, more and books are flashing through my mind that I want to mention because they are every bit as good as the ones I’ve mentioned.

I can see already there is going to have to be the “Volume II” I joked about earlier.

When My Mom Wouldn’t Let Me See Jaws…

When My Mom Wouldn’t Let Me See Jaws…

When My Mom Wouldn’t Let Me See Jaws…

Steven Spielberg’s Jaws came out 40 years ago today.  When it came out I was 4 years old.  We lived in Okinawa because my dad was in the Army and stationed there.  Everyone I knew as a kid had seen the movie but my mother wouldn’t let me see it.  I was so pissed off.  My parents never treated me like a kid so I was shocked that I couldn’t see it.  I watched scary movies with them.  They took me to see every Bruce Lee movie and they were all rated R as I recall.  Jaws was just PG. I may have only been 4 years old but I was offended!

My mother, in an attempt to appease me, promised that if it ever comes out in the theaters again that she will take me to see it. She new that once a movie comes out in the theaters, it never gets re-released. It would be years and years before it was shown on TV.  That’s just the way it was back then.  There were no VCR’s, Cable TV or Pay Channels.  But, I didn’t know all of that. I did however remember the promise she made and a few later Jaws got re-released!

Jaws 2 was coming out and the studios decided to re-release Jaws prior to the sequel’s release to boost ticket sales and give those who hadn’t seen the first one a chance to see it.  I was one of those people and I wasn’t about to let my mother forget that promise she had made me. It had been nearly three years later but I was all over that promise.  She was good to her word and reluctantly took me to see it.

To say I loved the movie would have been an understatement.  It started a life long fascination with the sharks.  I read books about them, saw every movie I could about sharks.  The movie scared me but in a good way.  It made me think twice before I went to the beach and to be honest, it still does.  In fact I can’t think of time in the past 40 years while at the beach and in the water that someone has mentioned Jaws in some way.  I still go in the water but there isn’t a second that I am in it that I’m not looking around for a shark.

I remember some people saying the shark looked fake and I thought, bullshit!  I had seen photos of Great Whites, it didn’t look fake.  They said, sharks don’t jump out of the water.  I said, yes they do.  Years later we have amazing videos and photos of sharks breaching their wet world when chasing prey.  We’ve seen them swim to one side, just enough so that they can look around above the water line. So many of the things shown in that movie that were thought to be fiction about sharks behavior tuned out to be fact.

Though immediately after the release of Jaws, the film did more harm than good for the sharks.  We killed millions of these beautiful creatures for sport.  People feared them.  The only good shark was a dead shark.  It’s the typical idiocy of the human condition to fear what we don’t understand.  Smart people want to study the unknown.  Stupid people either want to kill it or ban it.  Tragically, there are more stupid people in this world than smart ones.

However, after the initial fear of Jaws passed a fascination began to emerge with the public.  We started to protect them.  Hell, now we take a week every year to celebrate them.  “Shark Week” has grown consistently bigger every year.  And, they certainly deserve the praise and tribute.  They’ve been the top ocean predator for 450 million years.  They outlived the mass extinction and will probably outlive us.

So, in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Jaws, here some fun shark facts and film facts.

The famous Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) quote, “We’re gonna to need a bigger boat.” is actually not what he said.  He exclaimed, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

The safest time to swim in the ocean is midday.   Sharks typical feed from dusk till dawn.

Quint played by Robert Shaw re-wrote the “Indianapolis” speech he said in the film and it’s to this day, one of the speeches in film history.

If attacked by a shark, it’s better to go after the sharks eyes or gills than to try hitting it’s nose.  It’s eyes and gills may not be as sensitive but sharks are more protective of them and you have a better chance of keeping your hand if you go for the eyes instead.

Peter Benchley who wrote the Book the film was based on was disgusted and saddened by the senseless slaughter of sharks after the film came out.  He spent the rest of his life trying to educate people about sharks.

In some of the scenes when Richard Dreyfuss’ character was supposed to be in the shark cage, they used a little person so that the shark would look bigger in comparison.

Sharks attack roughly 100 people every year.  Of those attacks about 5 of them will die.  We kill an estimated 60 to 100 million sharks every year.

Jaws was the first summer blockbuster.  Summer had always been the slow seasons for films.  Jaws forever changed that.