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bernie "xyzzy" RSS Feed (Arlington, Texas)
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Twelve O'Clock High (DVD)
Twelve O'Clock High (DVD)
DVD ~ Gregory Peck
4 used & new from $10.90

5.0 out of 5 stars "We'll Meet Again" - Vera Lynn, December 27, 2014
This review is from: Twelve O'Clock High (DVD) (DVD)
The 918th Bombardment Group of the U.S. Eighth Air Force is known as the hard-luck group. Gen. Frank Savage (Gregory Peck) does not believe in luck and chalks it down to attitude and discipline due to their leader getting too evolved with the men.

The general plans to take a different tact. We watch as it is applied and the results. You may pretty much have guessed the steps and outcome as there have been several movie of this type.

This movie however is exceptional good at the acting and story.


Phantom From Space
Phantom From Space
Price: $9.89
9 used & new from $8.61

5.0 out of 5 stars Guilty until proven innocent, December 27, 2014
This review is from: Phantom From Space (DVD)
This film stats out with the standard and fun 50's sci-fi formula. We ar treated to a thesis on the use of radar. Something foreign approaches Santa Monica (a beautiful beach community off the cost of southern California.) Then we are confronted by a stranger in a diving suite with pipes coming out of his helmet. It is only human nature that we should beat the snot out of him. But wait he defends himself. Could this deadly stranger have anything to do with the UFO? As he is tracked down and cornered by the authorities, he ditches his fancy suite and we are in for a surprise.

Not as much of a shoot-em-up as it is a study of physiology.


By Nancy Horan Under the Wide and Starry Sky: A Novel (First Edition)
By Nancy Horan Under the Wide and Starry Sky: A Novel (First Edition)
by Nancy Horan
Edition: Hardcover
21 used & new from $11.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Finding Fanny, December 27, 2014
This is my first Nancy Horan book. I have nothing to compare it to. However She writes well and you get involved quickly. Because I do not know enough fact from fiction I have not finished the book yet and am looking for a little real information first.

I am familiar with most of the works of Robert Louis Stevenson; however not the man and his history. This is a novelization of that story.


Collins Complete Woodworker's Manual by Albert Jackson (April 14 2005)
Collins Complete Woodworker's Manual by Albert Jackson (April 14 2005)
by Albert Jackson
Edition: Hardcover
6 used & new from $61.15

5.0 out of 5 stars "Bend me, shape me, anyway you want me.", December 27, 2014
This book is more than just veneer. It has the look and feel of a coffee table book. There are glossy pictures and plenty of diagrams. However after the shock and awe, you will find this a great overview of many wood working disciplines. This book has information on everything from the history and makeup of various woods to tools used in various types of wood working.

My interest is mostly in turning and turning tools. There a tab in the margin of the book page that leads you to similar information on the subject. This is the in print version of a Hyper Link.

After absorbing this book you will have a better feel for what how you want to proceed. Then the book is still useful for a reference. If you do not actually indulge, at lease you can hold an intelligent conversation.


Speaker for the Dead
Speaker for the Dead
8 used & new from $6.01

4.0 out of 5 stars We shall never cease from exploration, December 26, 2014
This review is from: Speaker for the Dead (Paperback)
We shall never cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time. - T. S. Eliot

We start off where the last book ended. Now Ender the writer of "The Hive Queen and the Hegemon", after traveling three thousand years of penance as a Speaker for the Dead is summoned to a planet where there is a new race and an opportunity to put things right.

Even though the author says that you can read this book as a complete story without reading the first novel it is actually part of a five book series. True the essential background will be repeated or contemplated in this volume it is still not as complete as reading the first volume.

Once again you can bypass the introduction but then you will have missed crucial information on the author and his intent. The introduction can also be used as part of a good writing course.

The first book was thinly veiled as a version of "Starship Troopers" and you can see that somewhere the author must have read some field manuals. In "Speaker for the Dead" you can see that Orson Scott Card knows his Catechism. I used to teach RCIA so he could not fake it. I also come from a strong LDS background. I suspect he spiced it up with a little "Tony Hillerman." Our main character may have changed focus a tad form the first book but people change, authors change, and we change.

The only part of the writing the did not go too smoothly was the inclusion of references to "The Tempest" it seemed a tad forced where other authors such as Dorothy Sayers for example with "stale flat and unprofitable" would not be spotted if one had not read "Hamlet" but it fits her story like a glove.

I can see why this book has a problem with being pigeonholed as sci-fi or space opera, etc. as it has all the elements needed to thinly veil a message. What is the message you ask? Read the book.


Civil Disobedience
Civil Disobedience
Price: $0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Henry you are so radically disobedient, December 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I knew that Henry David Thoreau was a tax evader, however I did not realize how radical he was until I read his book on the duty of civil disobedience.

He starts off with "The government is best which governs not at all." This should have tipped me off to what was going to come next.

What would Timothy McVeigh think if he had read this (and he might have):
"Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?"

Henry David Thoreau's discussion of democracy verging on mob or only majority rule also could have incited certain people. If you put your hand over the title and read the sentences they could've been dropped into "Mein Kamph" and fit very well.

The bottom line in his dissertation is stated:
"There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize that individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly."


Fearless in Tibet: The Life of Mystic Tert?n Sogyal by Pistono, Matteo (2014) Paperback
Fearless in Tibet: The Life of Mystic Tert?n Sogyal by Pistono, Matteo (2014) Paperback
by Matteo Pistono
Edition: Paperback
2 used & new from $36.88

5.0 out of 5 stars Too esoteric for the common reader, December 26, 2014
Engineers can read and understand books on engineering as they use the correct vocabulary and references to an already build base of knowledge. The same thing holds true for any discipline (some broad; others quite narrow in scope.)

This book is a great extension for someone already well versed in Nineteenth-century Tibetan mystic Buddhism as a field of knowledge. It is definitely not a beginner book. On the positive side there are a great many notes and references as you need them.


PANS LABYRINTH (DVD/2 DISC/PLATINUM ED/WS-1.85/ENG-SP SUB) PANS LABYRINTH (DVD/2 DISC/PLATINUM ED/W
PANS LABYRINTH (DVD/2 DISC/PLATINUM ED/WS-1.85/ENG-SP SUB) PANS LABYRINTH (DVD/2 DISC/PLATINUM ED/W
3 used & new from $45.99

5.0 out of 5 stars In your hands is your destiny, December 26, 2014
Director Guillermo del Toro out did himself and created a film beyond any previous presentation. Although he purposely applied many layers both technologically and psychologically, the actual finished product is deeper and has many more facets. This could be the results of leaving loose ends and just implications. What looks like two stories is really one story where one reality intertwines with another reality until they both merge.

It is 1944 Spain, five years after the Civil War, ten year old Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) is going to meet her new stepfather Captain Vidal (Sergi López.) Vidal is a fascist pro-Franco officer. She is about to meet more than that as she encounters possible friends from another world. We also see how touchier and fantasy are juxtaposed. One of the major questions to answer is, is the magical creatures real and can only be seen because you have to have the right gaze or are they figments?

You will need to watch the movie several times to get the nuances and see the surrounding environments that you miss when concentrating on the dialog. See how the two world parallels in furniture. See out the two works hold similar tasks as both containing a key and a knife. In addition, there are always more surprises waiting.

The acting is superb especially Ofelia's death scene. Ivana Baquero Won, Imagen Award Best Actress, Premio ACE Best New Actress, Newcomer Award Female (Categoría Femenina), Turia Award New Best Actress, and Nominated, Young Artist Award Best Performance in an International Feature Film - Leading Young Actor or Actress.

The Blu-ray version I watched had English subtitles as option but I found them to be a tad inaccurate and wanting of some of the background conversations. However, the director's voice over option helped point out the obvious that was not obvious until he pointed it out. As pointed out by the director, the violence was not for violence sake in the story and they did not have cowboy type breakable props.


Bridge to Terabithia (2007) Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb
Bridge to Terabithia (2007) Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb

4.0 out of 5 stars Movie does not know what it wants to be, December 26, 2014
Basic story of outcast sixth graders bonding, learning and teaching what life is about. The Disney's and Director: Gabor Csupo's version is trying to be more than the book and came up with an artsy film that is better than most of the trash that we feed our kids today. The only problem is that the professional artsy people can do it better and the people that go for mindless graphics and fairy tail endings will not appreciate this film; it is sort of pearls before swine.

Trying to be subtle, we get nether graphics enough to make this a moppet movie or the lack of graphic making this a philological escapist story. The images are not confined to Terabithia but to Jess (Josh Hutcherson) himself. Of course Zooey Deschanel can bring out the graphics in any of us; be sure to see her again in "The Tin Man."

Bottom line a fairly good formula movie but not designed for the mindless. And there is nothing exceptional or surprising. When Val Lawton had to use titles like "I walked with a Zombie" and made it into a physiological thriller, Csupo snuck a physiologic thriller right under Disney's nose.


King Solomon's Mines
King Solomon's Mines
by Henry Rider Haggard
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.00
11 used & new from $7.95

5.0 out of 5 stars If you are thinking Debra Kerr you will be shocked., December 25, 2014
This review is from: King Solomon's Mines (Paperback)
I grew up on the movie so it was quit a shocker to read the book. As stated in the beginning there are no petticoated women in this book. It is a men's adventure written by a man for men. You can not miss the hand of H. Rider Haggard as he has a unique sense of humor that pops up at the strangest times. And as with written stories this one is much more intricate than the movie adaptations. You will find many assumptions of the time such as any complex construction must have been built by white people and natives on their own may turn savage.

The story is told first person by Allan Quatemain. Nevil is off to make his fortune by finding King Solomon's lost diamond mines. Allan sends him a map to help. This is the last anyone heard from Nevil. Turns out that Nevil is really the estranged brother of Henry Curtis. Sir Henry Curtis now wants to make amends and he with his friend Captain John Good, bribe Allan Quartermain to take them across an endless desert and trough impassible mountains to an adventure that will hold you to the very end. Along with them is their self imposed helper Umbopa who carries a secret of his own.


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