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Anna Katerine "oracle1" RSS Feed (Denver, CO)

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Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys?
Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys?
by Billy Crystal
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.40
72 used & new from $2.48

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Crude low life, October 5, 2014
What a disappointing book! Billy Crystal is crass, crude, and REALLY stuck on himself! The big turnoff is the incredible level of crudity in this book. I expected cursing...after all, that is all comics seem to be able to do... but the low life sex talk was a huge turnoff. I simply could not finish reading the book after that. He is also really hung up on aging. Fine, many if us are, but I know 90-year olds that aren't as bummed as this guy. His fixation on this is depressing, and takes up too much of the book.

The style was also incredibly rambling, and jumped all over the place. You'd get in the groove of reading about some event in his life and then he'd jump into commentary about the aging process, then back to another life event, oh yeah, go back to what I was talking about before., and yeah here is something else about aging, etc.

The book did not click for me at all, and I won't finish the rest. Thank heaven I got this at the library.

Firstborn Advantage, The: Making Your Birth Order Work for You
Firstborn Advantage, The: Making Your Birth Order Work for You
by Kevin Leman
Edition: Hardcover
54 used & new from $1.61

1.0 out of 5 stars Another attempt to pidgenhole people, October 5, 2014
I think the "cult of personality" is a big sham, and never more so than in this book. Dr. Leman has attached so many caveats into what "firstborn" even means it results in his pet theory having no leg to stand on. The traits he hangs out there for firstborns are followed by "but not if"s"....not if you had a critical parent, not if there is 5 years or more between you and your next oldest sibling, not if the family dynamic kept you from behaving like a true first born. Does birth order have some influence in your family? To some extent yes, but I hardly think you can categorize people with all of these general traits. It's like saying you are what you are because of astrology...nonsense!

I'm glad I only picked up this book at the library. It is full of crap, and I firmly believe humans are much too complicated to be categorized as the personality type crowd seems so fond of doing. Don't waste your time or money on this one.

Food Over Medicine: The Conversation That Could Save Your Life
Food Over Medicine: The Conversation That Could Save Your Life
by Glen Merzer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.96
53 used & new from $11.01

4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book has nothing to say, stretches credibility, August 27, 2014
This is a terrible book. For one, it is written in an interview style, and is very irritating to read. Two, there is little good information in there. Three, the author attributes eating of meat with every disease known to man and makes claims that go beyond credibility for a vegan diet. Although she says you can get away with eating animal foods...meat, dairy, eggs....a couple of times a week, and only 3-4 oz at a sitting, she harps heavily on veganism as the only truly viable alternative. Do we need to ditch what I call "pre-fab food" for real food? Yes, our bodies were not designed to get anything out of chemicals pretending to be food. Should we eat fewer animal products? Probably. Humans are omnivores, and I'm sure overeating slain animals is not good for primates like us.

This author is not the only one promoting a vegan diet, and most of them make claims to cure disease that science does not find credible. I believe the reason some people get better is because they are so afraid of what is happening they ditch fake food, eat what nature produces, and promote health in their bodies. There are also cases in which a disease regresses and science does not know why. Chalk it up to the complexities of the mechanisms of life, not one specific thing like a purely vegan diet, a Paleo diet, or whatever diet you want to name.

Popper need to learn how to write a real book, not an interview disguised as a book. She should come back when she has something realistic and fresh to say. All in all, I'm really glad I borrowed this book from the library. It is not worth spending money on.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 18, 2014 3:02 AM PST

Fly Away
Fly Away
by Kristin Hannah
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.95
157 used & new from $0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars More suffering than a person can stand, August 24, 2014
This review is from: Fly Away (Paperback)
This is without a doubt the most depressing book I have ever read. Kristin Hannah seems to enjoy wallowing in the angst and horror of life, even in some of her earlier books. This book was joyless, without redemption, lame and not one of the characters was worth a crap, including Katie, the person who died in the previous book "Firefly Lane". Just like the other reviewers said, the books jumped around and started with the main character, Tully, getting in an accident and having a near death experience throughout the ENTIRE BOOK. Tully and Katie with an afterlife is painful to say the least. There is certainly no comfort to be had, and the book jumps around to all of the characters describing what happened to them after Katie's death. Drugs, booze, extremely disturbed characters, and the only ones not self-absorbed and jerky were the twin boys of Katie and her mother and father. Other than that the rest were worse than worthless.

Hannah likes to make a living writing books about female relationships, but this has to be the one with the least to connect you to anyone. The previous book, "Firefly Lane" was great until she dropped cancer on one of the main characters at the very end of the book....and I do mean the end! I was hoping that, after the crash of that book, she would pull something personal and uplifting for this sequel. Nope, way worse than the other book. I suspect all of this makes up the psyche of the writer.

One of the first books I read of hers was "Angel Falls". It was uplifting and a little strange which is why I loved it. I've read several of her other books, but they all suffer from too much suffering!!!!! I will not read another book of hers nor will I recommend her to others.

Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the Human Spirit in an Age of Disbelief
Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the Human Spirit in an Age of Disbelief
by Huston Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.73
172 used & new from $0.01

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible book, May 11, 2014
Huston Smith is considered a great pillar of Christian thought, but you would never endow him with that title after reading this book. It is the most rambling diatribe I have read in a long time. He jumps all over the place in each chapter, and can never seem to come to the point. He also has a huge beef with scientific thought. While I agree that science may not ever be able to explain everything, he seems to believe that scientific thinking has not brought much to the human endeavor except for technology. His misunderstanding of Darwin's theory of natural selection is more than a little confused. In some areas of the book he also conveniently forgets that Christianity, and other religions, have attempted to halt progress more often than not.

As with other writers with a Christian bent he does not feel compelled to defend that point of view with much of anything other than the argument that humans are better off with religion. Really? Tell that to people who have been the victims of religious thought over the millennia, including slaves who were told that the bible, including the new testament, endorsed the idea that slaves needed to continue to serve their masters. If that is the best religion can do, you can keep it.

Get Off Your "But": How to End Self-Sabotage and Stand Up for Yourself
Get Off Your "But": How to End Self-Sabotage and Stand Up for Yourself
by Sean Stephenson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.62
111 used & new from $1.75

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing but him, February 25, 2014
This book was beyond disappointing. Stephenson spends the biggest share of this book going on & on about his own life and especially his frustration at not being able to find a girlfriend. His "advice" is hackneyed and simplistic. Like so many others he points the finger at the person for any failure in their life, and insists that, with the right mind set, you can get what you want. The truth is life does not work that way. Yes, there are things a person can do to initiate friendships, get the job they want, live the lifestyle they want. But, there is also an incredible amount of luck as well.

Stephenson does touch on things that anyone who has every read a self-help book or taken a basic psychology class knows. To some extent your mind set does influence how things go in your life. What I don't like about his point of view is that the solutions are just too simplistic, and his attitude is pushy and in your face. Need to lose weight? Lack of adherence to a weight loss plan isn't what is holding you up, you just need to see yourself in a different way and then the magic will happen! Again, mind set does have something to do with your ability to lose weight, but that is not the only thing. Have problems making friends because you are not particulary outgoing? Just become outgoing like he is! What I found particularly odious were his views on friendship. If they are not "A" level friends ditch 'em! Should you get rid of people in your life that are insulting, controlling, etc? Yeah....but, there are different levels of friendship in all of our lives, and not every friend is going to be there just to "meet your needs" and reflect your greatness back to you which is what he seems to be advocating.

Thank heaven I got this book at the library. I would never buy it.

The Secrets of the Bulletproof Spirit: How to Bounce Back from Life's Hardest Hits
The Secrets of the Bulletproof Spirit: How to Bounce Back from Life's Hardest Hits
by Azim Khamisa
Edition: Hardcover
11 used & new from $20.81

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars terrible book, July 22, 2012
The authors of this book attempt to meld the term "spiritual" with clearly psychological ideas about how people deal with the slings & arrows of life. This mixing of all things spiritual with what psychologists know about how people cope with life and become more resilient did not work at all. They also adhere to the idea that the "universe" brings you all circumstances in your life, and while they would occasionally claim that you can't look at all bad things that happen to you as "good" the larger part of what they write tries to makie just that point. After all, you can't see the totality of you life and can't see what the "universe" is bringing you to make you the person you are supposed to be. Lame! I think they are pushing credibility with a large part of their writing. They keep using martial terms as well, and repeat stuff like "bulletproof", "boot camp", over...and over....and over.

The points they make in each chapter are refered to as "secrets", and to me this smacked of the "name it & claim it" books out there like "The Secret". They also write with a condescending tone that was repellant, such as calling most people "spiritually fragile". Khamisa and Quinn also snuck in many ideas from "new thought" such as manifesting with your thoughts.

Book was largely a waste of time and almost sounded like an infomercial.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 23, 2013 11:06 AM PDT

Razing Hell: Rethinking Everything You've Been Taught about God's Wrath and Judgment
Razing Hell: Rethinking Everything You've Been Taught about God's Wrath and Judgment
by Sharon L. Baker
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.30
53 used & new from $5.98

6 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars still doesn't explain god's blood requirement, February 26, 2012
This book was interesting in some ways, and Sharon Baker had me with her to some extent throughout about half of the book. She weaves questions from students in with her explanations of what god is, how god is represented, what god wants, and what can be belived in the scripture of this tradition and how all of these things should inform the views about hell. With reference to hell she argues that God IS love, and would not PUNISH those who have not heard of Jesus with eternal torture. She believes that, when people die, they are burned by the "fire of god", and that this fire burns away all evil within us. This fire will be painful because we will have to experience the pain we caused in our lives and be overwhelmed with the Goodness and Purity and Love that IS God. However, during this process if there is no good in the person at all the "fire of god" will consume them and they will be destroyed because there was no goodness to survive. She uses this to explain that not having heard of the abrahamic god will not matter.

Baker does take time to make an argument, as other scholars have done, that the passages of the christian and jewish traditions about the vengeful god do not represent what god is, but are to be understood as a part of their culture. However, she really has to twist around interpretation of many scriptures to come up with this. She goes to great lengths in her attempts to talk around the retributive god of the old testament. She admits that her interpretation and explanation is based on the idea that if the God of Jesus is loving and forgiving, then you must look at the parts of the old testament that posit the angry god, as opposed to the parts of those books that call god good and merciful, as just being a product of their time. Lazy scholarship!

By now I'm asking myself what the explanation will be for the sacrifice of Jesus. If this view of god and what we call "hell" is true, then obviously god did not sacrifice his "son". What would be the point? If Jesus was a substitute that means that god's forgiveness depends on retribution, a payment. But, there is the catch: it's not that the concept of substitutionary death was not necessary, it just was not in retribution for sin. She begins by explaining the old testament ritual of animal sacrifice. She says "the priest kills the animal only for its blood. It has nothing to do with punishing the animmal in the place of punishing the people. It has everything to do with blood as the life force that cleanses and purifies the people". Further, she says "blood sacrifices the formalism of worship without the heart to go with it, and the shedding of blood without the investment of a life given to God to back it up" is not what god wants. Crazier still she says, "God hoped the people would catch on to the true meaning of the blood poured out & perform their external sacrifices as a symbol for the true internal sacrifice of their very lives set apart to God and for God". So, their god instituted blood sacrifice although what he really wants is a changed heart, but hopes they get that this is not really the point? Are you kidding me?

In like manner, Jesus was a sacrifice...."The blood (life) of Jesus given to us cleanses and purifies us from all sin as he sprinkles (forgives) it on the mercy seat (kapporet) before God. In other words, Jesus, who had no sin, atones (cleanses) for our sin by giving his life for us". So, because Jesus did this if you stand before god after death with Jesus by your side the "fire of god" will not cause you pain. However, if you stand in the "fire of god" without Jesus it will hurt A LOT!!! So, if you never heard of Jesus, God will make you suffer in a way those that have will not. Wow!

I used to be a Christian, but could not reconcile a god who creates a universe of death and destruction with this good creator everyone talks about. Baker's book, with its attempt to postulate a god of infinite goodness and love whose goodness "burns" when people die unless, of course, you "accept Jesus as your savior", has not changed my mind. Although this writer tries to twist around the old testament god to agree with her new testament point of view, no matter how you twist and turn the Abrahamic religions you still get a god that demands sacrifice so he/it can be "reconciled" to a sinful creation it made this way.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 19, 2014 4:36 AM PDT

Knowing Christ Today
Knowing Christ Today
by Dallas Willard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.95
69 used & new from $5.39

1 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars circular arguments, February 12, 2012
This review is from: Knowing Christ Today (Hardcover)
Terrible book, unnecessarily complex. The way he tries to make an argument about our ability to know the gospel is true seems circular to me. His arguments about what constitues "knowing", and his degradation of what "knowing" means in a post-modern world, leave the impression of someone saying "you can know because to know is to know". Comparing what constitutes knowledge in a world after the Enlightenment, and what knowledge was before that is a waste of time. As science and discovery move forward we know things that people of the past did not know that informs our views of everything, and rightly so. This will be the case in the future as well. The big question for me is, does any religious belief correspond with what life is actually like, and does following it change that? Only in the mind of the believer...physical reality like starvation, privation and sickness continue unabated. If "knowing" that christianity is true does not appear to affect the world it is useless.

Dallas Willard did not convince me of anything.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 12, 2012 8:52 AM PDT

Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease
Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease
by Gary Greenberg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $10.80
32 used & new from $1.65

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American treatment expose, November 19, 2011
"Manufacturing Depression" is a great book. Psychotherapist Gary Greenberg takes the reader through the history of treating mental issues over thousands of years, and then hones in on what lead to the modern treatment for depression in particular. This book does not offer answers, but the story he tells resonates with me. This is actually the story of America and what we have become. The NECESSITY to be a hard-driving, "positive" person who knows that any incident in life can be overcome seems uniquely American. These ideas, intended to forward freedom from oppression, have become gospel in every aspect of life. Tell that to the guy suffering in a third world country, struggling to survive.

No one seems to be asking if unending happiness is supposed to be the norm for humans; Gary Greenberg maintains that it is not, and I agree with him. While there are some episodes of depression that can be life-threatening and need to be treated aggressively, most are not, and I think too many things have been medicalized in this country. Or, as he says "this might be a good working definition of disease: not a condition with a specific biochemical cause, but a form of suffering that a particular society deems worthy of devoting health care resources to relieving."

I was amazed at how little proof there is that anti-depresent drugs actually work, how circular the reasoning is when determining if someone is "ill", and how much the DSM is rewritten. He also disagrees with cognitive therapy, which I have always seen as an attempt to get you to lie to yourself and repeat the mantra "when bad things happen adjust your beliefs" like some magic spell. Greenberg intersperses the historical stories with his own of being involved in a clinical trial for depression. In the end he says that, as culture seems to be falling apart, we have a right to feel unhappy, angry, frustrated. As well we should. If every one is drugged to the gills and feels that everything is a-ok, who will be left to rail against injustice in the world, and fight for what is right? To be engaged with others to make the world a better place?

He concludes for himself that everyone should have a life story, and, using the book of Job as a reference point, he suggests that the greatest injustice that Eliphaz and his friends inflicted on Job was that they refused to let him have his version of events. "That's what the depression doctors want to do to you". I ended this terrific read with a perspective on depression that was new and, in may ways, empowering.

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