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Remnants of the Gods: A Visual Tour of Alien Influence in Egypt, Spain, France, Turkey, and Italy
Remnants of the Gods: A Visual Tour of Alien Influence in Egypt, Spain, France, Turkey, and Italy
by Erich von Däniken
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.01
37 used & new from $11.89

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Treasure Trove of Photography, November 19, 2013
REMNANTS OF THE GODS is the first Von Daniken book I've read. It took a little while to realize how this particular format worked, but when I did get the hang of it, it was a real photographic tour de force going back & forth between the text & the really magnificent photos. For example, there is a beautiful 2 page photo of Delphi really conveys the magic of the scene. Wow. You don't need to hear about it from me. If you love archaeological & alternative type photos, this is for you. Worth every penny.

The Exodus Reality: Unearthing the Real History of Moses, Identifying the Pharaohs, and Examining the Exodus from Egypt
The Exodus Reality: Unearthing the Real History of Moses, Identifying the Pharaohs, and Examining the Exodus from Egypt
by Scott Alan Roberts
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.77
46 used & new from $5.70

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Little Too Loose, November 19, 2013
This is an interesting book, an interesting project really, that has fuzzy goals & choppy implementation. It is a handsomely produced book with many nice photographs...perhaps too many photographs with what seems to the great bonding experience with "Scotty" and Dr. Ward. I think the intention here was to demonstrate how two writers could have wildly different views of who the real Moses was, and the true nature of Exodus--and still remain friends. The problem is, there's too much chumminess, it gets cloying. It would have been more effective, I think, if one writer presented the Established view, circa THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, and a more radical view. What happens here is two views that are completely unfounded and left to faith.

In fact, "faith" is so often evoked in EXODUS that there is little left to consider. Like so many "alternative" views, the mind set here is the typical US (alternative writers) vs. THEM (establishment scientists & academics). The book is more a personal declaration of war, than a well-reasoned polemic.

Obviously both authors are skilled writers & researchers. As I said, the main thesis of the book is to demonstrate a positive attitude in relation to legitimate debate, a much needed debate between faith & the secular view. Unfortunately the secular view isn't given a chance, sandwiched as it is here between twin sides of faith. In EXODUS, it all boils down to what the authors choose to set-up--and in doing so, fails to prove anything, let alone break new ground.

Very good effort, Gentlemen.

Relative Values
Relative Values
DVD ~ Julie Andrews
Offered by Media Favorites
Price: $7.93
30 used & new from $0.55

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Sophisticated Comedy, November 19, 2013
This review is from: Relative Values (DVD)
It takes a lot for a contemporary comedy to make me laugh these days. RELATIVE VALUES strikes pay dirt. It is a wonderful show from beginning to end. The cast is great. I was particularly blown away by Sophie Thompson's fantastic performance as the wild eyed maid. She is just a comedic knockout from beginning to end. Definitely a must-see for anyone who likes sophisticated comedy.

Poirot - The New Mysteries Collection (Death on the Nile / Sad Cypress / The Hollow / Five Little Pigs)
Poirot - The New Mysteries Collection (Death on the Nile / Sad Cypress / The Hollow / Five Little Pigs)
DVD ~ David Suchet
Offered by RareFlix-N-Classix
Price: $89.95
16 used & new from $2.02

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So What Was Really in Agatha's Head?, November 12, 2013
NOTE: This review is sort of a hybrid mix of 5 LITTLE Pigs, the novel & the movie only.

In other reviews of the new series of Christie films on BBC, I mentioned that many of the latest offerings added a decidedly "Gay" interpretation of characters & events that may or may not have been the authors' intention. On one hand it's nice that BBC has taken such efforts to promote an openess policy, but is it fair to Christie? Would she have liked to include such details (completely VERBOTEN during her lifetime)? These aren't easy questions, but I think 5 LITTLE PIGS is a good place to start asking.

Other reviewers have indicated that they weren't entirely satisfied with the ending, or with other factors as well. The story is about an artist who, although apparently happily married, always fools around with his current model. The wife, artist & 2 male chums all more or less grew up together. One of the brothers is obviously enamored of the artist, the other with the wife. What Christie did not reveal just HOW enamored the boy was with the artist. There are fleeting scenes in the film showing the boy caressing the artist while he's painting. He seems to allow it has his due. This relationship is briefly explored only in the movie--and yet when you understand it that way, everything falls into place & makes sense (this was Christie's forte).

But what happens when you open it up like this? And I say again, is it fair to Christie? I think that in this particular case, yes it is--but only because she did not or could not have explained this in the original text. This may be one very important factor that caused a sort of disconnect. After all, it makes a LOT of difference if the male friend is in love--not with the artist's wife (as implied in the book)--but with the artist himself.

This is tricky because, after all, we are dealing with one of history's most successful authors.

I liked the film precisely because it did go a little further, but then it's still a question of How far is too far?

Bab'aziz: The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul
Bab'aziz: The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul
DVD ~ Golshifteh Farahani
Price: $17.99
14 used & new from $10.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top of my top 10 Films of ALL Time, November 12, 2013
All the other 5 star reviews say something about this film that I whole-heartedly agree with. It's depth is revealed in its apparent simplicity. BAB'AZIZ, etc. is charming, lovely, captivating from start to finish. And what a start! The little granddaughter digs herself out from the sand that has buried her while she slept. Then she helps Bab'aziz do the same. The little girl has a LOT of charisma & turns in flawless performance. She's a little greedy around food issues, but she can really dance! I absolutely LOVED her.

To attempt a description beyond this is a fool's errand. The film has a style unto itself. I will say this, there is nothing but beauty and gentle grace in the story. Oh, I'll say this--the band of musicians were wonderful! What an amazing thing in this day & age to find such an inspiring film with such a welcoming Islamic ambiance. There is so much BAB'AZIZ has to offer the weary soul.

I probably watched the film 20 times in the first month alone.

NOTE: I saw this film for the first time on LINK TV. Check it out...

A.D. After Disclosure: When the Government Finally Reveals the Truth About Alien Contact
A.D. After Disclosure: When the Government Finally Reveals the Truth About Alien Contact
Price: $10.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Occupy the Saucers!, November 1, 2013
A.D. can be enjoyed as fiction or non-fiction, but has to be judged as non-fiction. Either way, A.D. is a compelling look at the entire question of UFO's & this book is sure thrill other believers in the field. It will certainly lend credibility to a subject that has been more fantasy than fact. The authors layout a pattern that may nudge believers into a more comprehensive & less biased & defensive approach to the often bizarre world of "Ufology."

The writers are professional & highly skilled in presenting the material. It is the riveting tale of highly classified Government white-washes & cover-ups. I found myself glued to the projected events that lead to an eventual Disclosure of the true nature of buried secrets & unearthly visitation. My heart was actually pounding as I followed this literary roller coaster ride. I didn't believe everything presented, but that really didn't matter. As I said, it' very compelling.

The problem I did have, however, was the last quarter of the book that I felt unnecessarily sucked up to various religious groups & how they would react to the disclosure that at least one group of aliens is prepared to go public--and probably many more along with them. The authors invoke "God" as a concept we all agree about. This is not true & religions--particularly Abrahamic religion--have brought more terror & destruction to the world than any other human pursuit. The section on religion really disrupts the flow of the entire work.

Maybe "the Others" are waiting to see if we are going to evolve beyond organized religion & our penchant for self-destruction mandated by "God"--for specifically by Yahweh, the "God" of the Old Testament. Many gnostic groups considered him to be a false god, to be, in fact, the God of Evil who controls the material world. So one persons God, may be another persons' Satan.

My personal fantasy regarding the seminal mass sighting that will finally tip the scales to full Disclosure happens in the Cairo Square. A million plus people are peacefully demonstrating their right for social & economic justice. Suddenly, silently the mother of all mother ships glides over the Square, enveloping all the people in its massive shadow. In a panic, military & police forces turn on the people, beating everyone is sight. As to an answer to a prayer, Rays from the gigantic saucer stream out, ZAPPING the real enemy into oblivion. You see, the aliens were waiting to see if we had the gumption to stand tall for our rights. Then real disclosure can finally begin.

My only other problem with the book are the less than stellar pictures. If ever a book was crying for good pics, this was it. Surely the authors have access to a lot better than what we found. Really good photos would have greatly added to the overall effect.

Despite a few misgivings, I found A.D. to be deftly & honestly written. The authors obviously put heart & soul into this book--and it pays off big time.

American Vampires: Their True Bloody History From New York to California
American Vampires: Their True Bloody History From New York to California

5.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of Thrills to Go Around, October 19, 2013
Bob Curran has done it again with another winner! This time the subject is all about American phantasm blood-suckers--plenty of those to go around in the good ol' USA. Real-"life" American Vampires tales are embroidered around historical facts wrapped in that truly "educate" while successfully scaring the death. For example, in the chapter TENNESSEE, Curran begins with a couple pages about the evolution of the American chair--that's right, chairs & their function in American society. Never fear (at least in this regard), Bob Curran's wonderful style of writing presents such an fascinating look at the subject that you might not feel you're being educated at all. It all comes together when the vampire story concerns a female corpse discovered pinned to the ground on a lonely dirt crossroads. The stake used? You guessed it--it was a leg from one of the famous country chairs. And if this wasn't creepy enough, the vamp in question was staked face downwards. That way, if by some mischance the corpse reanimated, she could only try to crawl off by digging herself even deeper into the black earth.

I'd like to draw attention to another episode in AMERICAN VAMPIRES, that ties in to many different ideas & concepts. It is from the NEW YORK chapter: is...worth remembering that in the famous vampire novel DRACULA, the Irish author Bram Stocker makes his...vampire-hunter, Abraham Van Helsing, Dutch...Indeed, Van Helsing is almost as famous as the vampire Count himself. P. 105

In the 19th century it was customary for men to write "mash" notes to one another, praising their masculine qualities & other traits. These men were for the most part straight. It was just one of those cultural things. I mention this because in the novel, Van Helsing comes off sounding like this, almost like he's gay. It's an interesting side bit. Well, it was to me at any rate.

To further this line of thought, on P. 97

...Although the specifics of Mercy Brown's is thought to have partly influenced Bram Stoker in his writing of DRACULA. Stoker toured America with the Irish actor Sir Henry Irving...

A few serious commentators have suggested that Stocker was "in love" with the highly popular Irving, and that Irving may have been aware of it, but never responded. He may have been aware of Stoker's feeling & used it to advantage. One writer accused Irving of virtually enslaving Stoker. I believe you could make a good case that Van Helsing is a persona to express some of Stocker conscious or unconscious homosexual tendencies.

The mercy Brown case is a famous one & belongs to a 19th century pulp fiction described as "Vampire Ladies." The Brown case is fascinating in its own right, but I mention it in another context, that is a humorous one. Sarah Tillinghast(!):

...Sarah's home had been used by American snipers against the British, and her father, Snuffy Tillinghast, had actually fought against British & Hessian troops.
P 93

Shades of HP Lovecraft, SNUFFY TILLINGHAST!

Thank you, Bob Curran, for memorializing some of America's finest horror gems.

The author is one of the most talented folklorist around. Check out his list of of other GHASTLY topics.

The Ancient Alien Question
The Ancient Alien Question
Price: $12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars See to be believe, June 5, 2013
I enjoyed this book even more than the author's Lost Civilizations, and I really liked that one too. In ALIEN QUESTION Philip Coppens explores sites around the world that may--or may not--indicate some kind of alien intervention. I like Coppens' style. Yes, there are aspects of his views I disagree with, but that's no reason to lower may over all rating.

ANCIENT ALIEN QUESTION contains a really excellent Forward by the big daddy of ancient alien theorists, Erich Von Daniken. It was good enough to intice me to read more of his work as well.

Returning to Coppens' current offering, ALIEN QUESTION iS loaded with great pictures & facts to bouy up the author's point of view. What I found particuraly refreshing is Coppens' willingness to challenge the pet beliefs of todays "Ancient Alien Theorists." I literally coud not put his book down & I highly everyone to get a copy.

So, with all this praise, why only 4 stars when I liked it even better than the previous book with 5 stars?

Glad you asked...

I think that the rating of a book should include appearance & other factors of hard copy production--and in my opinion, this book has a major flaw in that area. It's simply this: Every single page has a length wide column of rune or hieroglphic sympols. Each column is the same--exactly the after page after page after bloody page. Why, what function does it serve? If the goal was to achieve some sort popularization, it still makes no sense. I think it actually degrades the author's professional & excellent material. I'm the type of reader who jumps back & forth between the books' Index to the page number listed. The silly border makes it dificult to do this because it forces the page numbers to appear right in the middle. I'm not explaining this very well, perhaps just has to be seen to see to be believed.

So I deducted 1 star & hope this sends a message to never, ever do this again.

The Lost Civilization Enigma: A New Inquiry Into the Existence of Ancient Cities, Cultures, and Peoples Who Pre-Date Recorded History
The Lost Civilization Enigma: A New Inquiry Into the Existence of Ancient Cities, Cultures, and Peoples Who Pre-Date Recorded History
by Philip Coppens
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.28
51 used & new from $7.52

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Restoring the Balance, February 23, 2013
On the back cover of this book the author profile states "He is labeled a skeptic by the believers and a believer by the skeptics..." That interested me, so I decided to read THE LOST CIVILIZATION ENIGMA.

Glad I did

Philip Coppens delivers that balance in a genre that is ripe with peril for a person like me, more skeptical than believer. Coppens is familiar to me because I've seen him on the ANCIENT ALIENS series. I have a LOT of problems with that show. The worse thing to me is the fact that the narrator of the program keeps repeating "according to alien astronaut theorists..." every other paragraph. It's as if the mantra is repeated often enough, it will add legitimacy to what the various contributors have to say. The message is clear (well, more or less): Establishment Scientists are BAD, Ancient Alien Theorists are GOOD.

NOTE: I've been watching a new TV series called AMERICA UNEARTHED. The archaeologist hosting the show is very good. He covers the growing interest in discovering proof of various peoples discovering America long before Columbus--in some sites WAY before Columbus. This is right up Coppens territory. What a show a partnership would create!

Most authors in the field begin their books by lampooning non-Ancient Alien Theorists (see how irritating it can be). Coppens does the same, but presents his material in a balanced & engaging manner. The tension between the two elements needs to be understood from the on-set so people out of the loop can understand what's going on (I'm thinking of readers who may be new to the genre). Philip Coppens' material is a wonderful place to start.

He's rational.

Although familiar with most of the locations covered in LOST CIVILIZATION, Coppens' commentary is fascinating. He brings a warm breath of fresh air to the paranormal/ancient mystery subjects. There are some great pictures in this nicely formatted book as well. The writing style is terrific too.

One topic that I found to be totally fascinating was the idea that the fabled battle & sacking of Troy occurred, not in Turkey, but in N. Europe, including Scandinavia. Other topics including new info on Atlantis & ancient Egypt. Coppens is one of a growing list of people who are having second thoughts about the integrity of archaeologist superstar Egypt Dr. Zahi Hawass. Too much power & control can easily go to people's head.

If a skeptic like me couldn't put down LOST CIVILIZATION, true believers are gonna love it.

Krishna in the Sky with Diamonds: The Bhagavad Gita as Psychedelic Guide
Krishna in the Sky with Diamonds: The Bhagavad Gita as Psychedelic Guide
by Scott Teitsworth
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.91
50 used & new from $1.96

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Renaissance of Psychedelic Exploration?, May 7, 2012
There were 4 elements that defined what people call "the 60's" in the US. 1. The Anti-War, Anti-Draft political organization. 2. A rapidly expanding Civil Rights Movement. 3. The emergence of cultural fusion i.e. "East Meets West" appreciation for new musical forms & receptiveness to non-traditionalist religious views. 4. The introduction of Awareness Enhancing Substances. Music was a vital component that linked & propelled all these social revolutionary movements.

There was a particularly close relationship between the last two elements. Hindu philosophy was the most obvious influence related to the Psychedelic "counter-culture." Why was this? I'll just suggest a few points here (and author Scott Teitsworth explores them in depth in the book.)

Smoking pot was even more widely enjoyed than injesting the popular LSD-25. The euphoria & meditative, peaceful mood associated with cannabis allowed people to internally experience a reality far different from the aggressive violence associated with "straight" (ie, status quo, not related to sexual orientation in this context) American society.

Smoking weed is a traditional practice associated with Shaivism, the devotional worship of the Hindu god Shiva. Both Shiva and the gentler form of Krishna found an appreciative audience in the West.

THE BHAGAVAD GITA is one of the most venerated Hindu texts. It has been passed down from antiquity in both written & sung (mantra) form. It tells of Krishna appearing to a conflicted warrior named Arjuna who is overcome with doubts before a great battle. Here we see Krishna in a truly psychedelic form, revealing an awesome vision of eternity & cosmic diversity in oneness.

Teitsworth indicates that the "soma" mentioned in the scripture must have been some sort of psychedelic. He is not alone in this. There have been many recorded cases of ancient cults whose practices included ingesting some sort awareness enhancing substance. These groups included the Greek Mystery Schools & various "Oracles" in the Pagan world. What I particularly appreciate in Scott Teitsworth's book is that the author doesn't doom a resurgence of LSD-25, for example, to the psychiatrist's couch. It certainly can serve an extremely useful function in that setting, but a more informal, safely "guided" use of acid must be supported as well. Total trust is essential to the psychedelic experience.

NOTE: Early experimentation of LSD-25 showed it to be uniquely valuable for treatment of terminally ill patients--just as cannabis has been proven beneficial for people undergoing chemo because it counteracts nausea & stimulates the appetite. Both awareness enhancing sumstances can open psychic doors leading to a reaffirmation of life as well as a reaffirmation of a person's intrinsic value & place in the cosmic scheme of reality.

The "spiritual" group I've studied & participated in (The Gnostic Pagan Tradition), an Gnostic Mystery/Initiation group that involved the ritual use of psychedelics) would definitely consider KRISHNA IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS to be a modern Gnostic testament. That's certainly my personal estimation of the book. Hopefully, its' message will get across to a materialistically stupified new generation. Many people would like to see a more mature Renaissance of Pschedelic Exploration.

NOTE: The picture on the book's cover illustrates a traditional depiction found in much, if not most, Hindu pictures & other imagery (some I plan to post here.) The multitude of forms, including multiple arms & heads, indicates an almost modern view of multidimenal cosmic forces & parallel universes. At least that's the way I see it.

One of LSD's mysteries is how certain "brands" of it could lead to an almost predictable range of visual "hallucinations." For example, the only time I saw the particular vision of people having multiple heads (more like multiple dimensions of the same person) was tripping on "Purple Haze." That particular brand of LSD was notable for just such visual effects. It may have something it to do with dosage or chemical purity.
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