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B. Chandler "xyzzy" RSS Feed (Arlington, Texas)

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The Call of the Wild
The Call of the Wild
by Jack London
Edition: Paperback
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Buck realizes his potential, November 24, 2015
This review is from: The Call of the Wild (Paperback)
Gold was found in Alaska, the rush to obtain it required a strong constitution and many dogs to do the work that horses usually did in the states. The environment bread harsh attitudes. Also in the testing of ones mettle one finds their true potential.

Buck (a dog that is half St Bernard and half Shepherd) goes through many lives, trials, and tribulations finally realizing his potential. On the way he learns many concepts from surprise, to deceit, and cunning; he also learns loyalty, devotion, and love. As he is growing he feels the call of the wild.

This book is well written. There is not a wasted word or thought and the story while building on its self has purpose and direction. The descriptions may be a tad graphic for the squeamish and a tad sentimental for the romantic. You see the world through Buck's eyes and understand it through his perspective until you also feel the call of the wild.

By Ben Macintyre Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victor (Reprint)
By Ben Macintyre Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victor (Reprint)
24 used & new from $23.29

5.0 out of 5 stars "Sir Bernard could identify the cause of death simply by smelling the corps", November 23, 2015
As with most potential renderers of this book I have seen the movie and seen the movie and seen the movie. Many scenes I can quote. I will always think of Clifton Webb Lt. Cmdr. Ewen Montagu.

This book tells the real story in detail and is more than the sum of its parts. In the process of telling the story we get to know the real players and the real events. If there is anything too know about the players and their relevant you will get the information in detail. I how you like details as much as I do.

We also get an insight as to what it takes to make a good spy thriller author. It is surprising how many of the authors knew each other in their original profession.

I have the hard copy in my library, a kindle version and Whispersync for Voice. All the version has actual pictures of documents and a racy (for the time) picture of "Pam" in a swim suit that would tempt the creature from the Black Lagoon.

Just like the movie, "The Man Who Never Was" (1956), you will want to re-read this book to find the differences in the glamorization of the story and the true events.

The book "The Man Who Never Was" by Ewen. Montagu is the glamour version of the story. I is fun to read the differences.

Saint Closes the Case
Saint Closes the Case
by Leslie Charteris
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from $23.94

5.0 out of 5 stars an other great addition to a great series, November 20, 2015
This review is from: Saint Closes the Case (Paperback)
The forward will help you to anticipate what you are about to read in this book and the next two books as even though each book is a complete in its self they are but part of a larger whole story.

The book may have been re-written as is the habit with many authors. That is why you keep your originals. It is too late for me on this title; however it is still quite an intriguing read of kidnapping and secret weapons.

Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (14-Mar-2005) Paperback
Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (14-Mar-2005) Paperback
by Robert A. Heinlein
Edition: Paperback
2 used & new from $38.63

5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting experiment (look up Rodger W. Young) on the net., November 19, 2015
As with any good sci-fi the story and descriptions of the latest gadgets are important; however this is just the window dressing or vehicle to carry a message or concept to you with out sounding too preachy.

Basically this book is not fascist like the movie. It suggests that people should be responsible for their actions and have a stake in what they make decisions on. Never did it say that these people were smarter or better, just that when you have a vested interest your decisions tend to work or you will pay.

I was intrigued in the process that Johnny Rico was going through in the story. The movie does not phase me as it looks like cartoon hype. But the book was too close to home. I hope my memory is flawed as I remember every one of the people types that he described. Actually I think with the volunteer Army today it is closer to the book than was Vietnam where conscripts looked on it this as slightly preferable to prison. I know that this story is not about the military but it is too real to be ignored as just the story.

You could have floored me when after watching the movie I found out there were no naked women in the book. Dizzy Flores must have had a great Swedish doctor. This could have been a genuine attempt to update the story; however it distracted from the original purpose.

Basically after school Johnny Rico is whisked into the military by peer pressure and to finds out if he is more than just the factory owner's son. While going through boot camp he learns of different cultures and the intricacies of military life. Naturally he makes mistakes and learns from others mistakes. As he grows he learns what make the world the way it is. I will not contrast this book with the movie because I think you enjoy the story more if you find out what happens as it unfolds.

The Hot-Blooded Dinosaurs: A Revolution in Palaeontology
The Hot-Blooded Dinosaurs: A Revolution in Palaeontology
by Adrian J. Desmond
Edition: Unknown Binding

5.0 out of 5 stars There'll be a hot time on the old veldt tonight, November 19, 2015
Our understanding of history and technology is constantly changing. At one time the Maya Indians were thought to be peaceful people and we ignored all their bloody pictures.

This information is a tad dated but the book "the hot-blooded dinosaurs" by Adrian J. Desmond was one of those books that changed our understanding and was a revolution in paleontology.

The premise of this book is the theory that dinosaurs were warm-blooded creatures. It sets out methodically to show why this was so.

1 - the crown of creation
2 - the tyrant finds its feet
3 - the race is to the swift, the battle to the strong
4 - the dark ages
5 - stranding of the Titans
6 - a Griffin rescues evolution
7 - phantoms from hell
8 - the coming of Armageddon: a cosmic cataclysm?

The book contains drawings of what the dinosaurs would look like and actually pictures of their skeletons.

Story of the Scene: The Inside Scoop on Famous Moments in Film
Story of the Scene: The Inside Scoop on Famous Moments in Film
by R. M. Clarke
Edition: Paperback
22 used & new from $24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A must for cinemaphiles, November 18, 2015
If you live for movies or think they ought to live for you then his is your book.

Everyone has their favorites. Unfortunately most of my favorites such as "Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death" (1989) did not make the cut.

However there are 80 pretty well known films and a tidbit about each. By reading the information on the films that you are familiar with you can verify that this is not some weird person with a grudge and trust the information on the few films that you might have missed.

You can look on this book as a more thorough review of each movie. The each come with a still shot from the movie.

Great Masters of Art: Whistler: A Retrospective (Great Masters of Art Series)
Great Masters of Art: Whistler: A Retrospective (Great Masters of Art Series)
by Robin Spencer
Edition: Hardcover
32 used & new from $6.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Who really was Whistler?, November 18, 2015
If you just want a coffee table book. This critter will work fins.

However we find that this book is way more than just a coffee table book. It is a well organized chronological biography of Whistler and the world he grew up in.

There are 139 plates; mostly Whistler's but there are pictures from other contemporaries. One of my favorites is number 16 Beata Beatrix by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1864-70.

A good companion to the book would be the PBS program:

James Mcneill Whistler & The Case for Beauty

On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)
On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)
by Stephen King
Edition: Library Binding
Price: $22.60
29 used & new from $18.04

5.0 out of 5 stars Will the real Stephen King please stand up?, November 18, 2015
This was money well spent. This book is more than the title implies. First it is a selected biography of Stephen King. I enjoyed the poison ivy episode. This is not a deviation but an explanation of why he writes the way he does and the background that he draws on. Secondly this is a "how to write like Stephen King" book it reflects his likes and dislikes. I agree with most of them. I suppose that that is why I like his novels.

However I can only guess that he must spend a lot of time around people that cuss. It is not like he is not aware of it. I feel that he is somewhat proud of the fact that he cusses a lot. Luckily he said it is not necessity to be excessive.

I share his dislike for flashbacks. And he also expresses several dislikes for other stilting crutches, including excessive description of Back-story.
An added bonus is his description of the van accident that a certain comedian commented about saying that Stephen lost his Tommyknockers. Stephen forgot to mention that he bought the van that hit him for destruction purposes. Talk about revenge.

Over all after reading this I was compelled to try my hand at writing.

Lies, Damned Lies and History: A Catalogue of Historical Errors and Misunderstandings
Lies, Damned Lies and History: A Catalogue of Historical Errors and Misunderstandings
by Graeme Donald
Edition: Hardcover
18 used & new from $24.60

4.0 out of 5 stars More fun for what you are not looking for, November 17, 2015
This book plays on the popular them of history "What if they got it wrong?"

The first thing I say was the statement "The Great Plague was not bubonic?
So I went to the index and there was no "The" or "Great" or "Plague" or "bubonic". After getting over the shock I did find a great section on plagues. The author debunked everything from rat-fleas to nursery rimes, and went into the Inuit "kiss."

This is so much fun and makes so much sense that you barely notice the absence of footnotes.

Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage
Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage
by Cliff Stoll
Edition: Paperback
59 used & new from $7.88

5.0 out of 5 stars Appropriately titled, November 17, 2015
A cuckoo bird will lay its egg in another birds nest letting that bird raise the offspring as her own.

I saw the TV program on this story before reading the book. Coming from a UNIX background it was fun to see a system I recognized. It could have been titled "The story of Ping" oops that title has been taken. I remember being billed for time on the computer and could only gain access at 2 AM. Many of these skills are now lost to people that do not have a shell account. I especially like how they kept the intruder on the line ling enough to track. The hunt was intriguing and it makes you wonder what is happening today. While this book deals with such things as passwords, the many new avenues created on today's Internet may afford for a newer mystery. Until then this is the classic.

A student managing the computer at Berkley notices an unusual charge to his account. He finds that someone is hacking before it was fashionable. To track down the culprit(s) he must first learn the tracking skills. This process is in its infancy so he even has to invent a few of the skills himself. The use of timing and knowledge of the speed of light allows for a good guess at the distance. The only way to go through the old timing switching stations was to hold the intruder on line ling enough. This required the creation of a dummy database with intriguing information.
Who's this mysterious intruder(s)?
Will they be caught?

What implications does it hold for us today?

The KGB, The Computer and Me

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