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James L. Throne "Jim Throne" RSS Feed (Dunedin, Florida United States)
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Advanced Thermoforming: Methods, Machines and Materials, Applications and Automation
Advanced Thermoforming: Methods, Machines and Materials, Applications and Automation
by Sven Engelmann
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $135.53
46 used & new from $92.37

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is NOT Advanced Thermoforming, just Technology Overview, September 28, 2012
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Thermoforming is a technical term that embodies heating of plastic sheet until it is softened, stretching the sheet against a solid cool form, holding the formed sheet against the cool form until it has hardened, removing the sheet and trimming the formed part from the unformed plastic around it. Thick sheet is formed into permanent products such as automotive interior elements and refrigerator liners. Thin sheet is formed into products such as rigid protective packaging.

This work represents the latest in a series of technical works describing the thermoforming process. The book is in English. It is 327 pages in length plus a single-page glossary and a seven-page subject index. There are 42 chapters including a 5-1/2 page introduction to the technology. The book is published by John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ, in its Polymer Engineering and Technology Series. It retails for about $150.

The stated author of the book, Dr. Sven Engelmann, is Distinguished Director of Polymer Technology, Gerhard Schubert GmbH, Crailheim, Germany. However, this is not a single author book but a compendium of coauthored essentially stand-alone chapters. All but one of his collaborators is from Europe (The Netherlands, Germany, Austria). Only one non-European company is represented. Practitioners are fully aware of the differences in European and non-European thermoforming technologies that may skew the applications of the technology elsewhere. Essentially, each chapter represents an overview of its title. Often, however, overviews lack technical information or, on occasion, no information at all. As an example, there is an 8-page review of fuel tanks that consists of nearly one page of text and seven pages of mold actions. There is no specific information on materials, cycle times, and downstream handling. The very important and very technical topic of multilayer sheet for barrier packaging is 2-1/2 pages long.

Probably the most galling aspect of a book on Advanced Thermoforming is the author's view of other books on advanced thermoforming. On page 1, he states "[O]ften technical connections and contexts are describing by using a lot of mathematics...so that a large part of the target group...quickly loses interest." He continues that "reading books on technology and engineering can be fun." And further, "[A] lot of technology has become so complex and abstract that it is no longer possible to understand the connections through mere reflection or observation." The author is correct in opining that the advanced thermoforming practitioner will never be able to understand the fundamentals of, say, radiative heating of thin-gauge plastics through `mere reflection or observation.' But to believe that it is necessary to take the `fun' out of `fundamentals,' in order to amuse his reader, is inane. Unfortunately, the `casual observer,' to whom he addresses his Advanced Thermoforming effort, needs to look beyond the fun to the fundamentals to be competitive in the real world. And yes, Doctor Engelmann and cohorts, equations and references form the foundations for all those mere reflections and observations.

In short, the effort, described in the title as Advanced Thermoforming, is false and misleading. It should have been titled Current Thermoforming Technology. It provides the reader with little, if any, technical information, advanced or otherwise. There are no references, technical or otherwise. There are no equations, descriptive or otherwise. There are few, if any, tables of preferred methods of operation. And there are little inter-chapter connections.

There are several thermoforming books on the market that present advanced technologies (with equations and references and extensive tables). Any tyro who purchases this book believing that he/she will learn advanced thermoforming methods will be snookered. And any practitioner who purchases this book seeking new approaches to understanding the technical interface between plastic sheet and its environment will certainly consider returning it to the publisher.


How to Self-Publish Your Book the CreateSpace Way: A Step-by-Step Guide To Writing, Printing and Selling Your Own Book Using Print On Demand
How to Self-Publish Your Book the CreateSpace Way: A Step-by-Step Guide To Writing, Printing and Selling Your Own Book Using Print On Demand
Price: $3.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Why did I pick this loser?, November 21, 2011
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I paid ~$10 for the kindle version of this ***. I have no idea how many pages there are but it sure isn't formatted for kindle. In one break between sections (in normal type size), there was a four word title occupying the middle of a page in the middle of exactly 8 blank pages. My guess is that blank pages represent about 10% of the entire effort. I believe the authors admit to puffing up the page count to make the minimum for CreateSpace. Bah!

The first half (or more) of the book was essentially boilerplate found in a dozen POD websites. Unfortunately the stuff here is badly written and poorly organized. I probably could've learned the rest of the stuff from reading the CreateSpace website. The last 10% or so dealt with Photoshop conversion for the cover. The 'ScreenScans' are so small in real sized type they cannot be read and they are completely distorted in enlarged type.

Personal opinion: If this is representative of the Amazon-CreateSpace POD, I think I'll seek out one that is far better organized and certainly more helpful.

It was apparent that the authors were promoting their own how-to books, particularly when they pointed out, near the end of this mess, that 90% of the eBook stuff is non-fiction. In truth, kindle (or most other eBook sites) is not the place to 'publish' a book with graphics, tables, or photographs (see my comment above). Hopefully there are better 'self-help' POD books out there. Bypass this one. Better yet, demand your money back!


The Book of God and Physics: A Novel of the Voynich Mystery
The Book of God and Physics: A Novel of the Voynich Mystery
by Enrique Joven
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.57
90 used & new from $0.01

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Mystery Remains a Mystery, September 9, 2010
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Somewhere at the end of the 15th century a several hundred page manuscript was written. In the early 20th century, Wilfrid Voynich, a book dealer, purchased it from Italian Jesuits. The manuscript, now known as the Voynich Manuscript, or VM, and now being housed at Yale University, has never been translated. VM consists of two major parts - text of some 170,000 characters and drawings. The drawings are loosely categorized as astronomical, herbal, and biological. Because the lettering appears without erasures or rub-outs and because the drawing are quite crude, it has been assumed that VM is really a copy of an earlier text. Furthermore, because the pages do not seem in logical order, appear to have been taken from a bound volume, and because there seems to be no translating key, it has been assumed that the extant VM is really only a portion of the original manuscript. Some of the great minds of the past century-plus have attempted and failed to translate the VM.

The Book of God and Physics by Enrique Joven, PhD in Physics, links the VM, and more importantly, its purported missing code, through the Jesuits and ultimately to the Vatican. His primary characters, a Spanish Jesuit, an atheist English astronomer, and a wealthy Mexican woman, believe that VM is the product of two English charlatans. They link the VM to Johannes Kepler, the student and supposed murderer of the Italian astronomer Tycho Brahe and it and possibly the missing code to the 17th century Jesuit, Athanasius Kircher.

First off, the reader must understand that The Book of God and Physics is a NOVEL! Meaning that it is meant to entertain the reader and most certainly not meant to provide a solution to this five century mystery. So, does it work as a NOVEL? The author spends inordinate time ensuring that the reader fully understand his thesis - that the Jesuits were deeply involved in either the creation or interpretation of VM. The physics part of the book that deals with supernovas and eclipses reflects the author's technical background in astrophysics. The god part of the book deals not only with the Jesuits but also with the possibility that VM actually IS the word of God, transcribed in Enochian by the 16th century charlatans. In truth, the VM characters bear little resemblance to Enochian. Other reviewers have hammered the author for relying heavily on Wikipedia for his background material. IMHO, I think this helps cement the basis for his thesis. Where else can you find details about Enochianism?

Is it a good read? It is pedantic, plodding, repetitive at times, and perhaps less scary than it should be. In the end, the novel is perhaps best appreciated by true technical Voynichians.


Nuclear Jellyfish
Nuclear Jellyfish
by Tim Dorsey
Edition: Hardcover
127 used & new from $0.01

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When is an Eel a Jellyfish? It's a long story!, November 15, 2008
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This review is from: Nuclear Jellyfish (Hardcover)
All right, here we go again! Number eleven and Serge and Coleman are still alive! [Not so sure about Coleman.] We're off the boat and once again traversing the Flori-duh sand spit. In a 1971 Javelin. [You gotta be kidding!] Rooting out the really bad guys. Thugs, so to speak. Led by the notorious Eel. [We all learn the connection between Eel and Nuclear Jellyfish.] We're focusing on the cheaper motels that host the smaller conventions and exhibitions and trade shows, such as coin collectors, and people, like Howard, who sell Flori-duh-iana. And who are transporting gems. Oh, and while Serge is trying to start and restart his travel service, unique in that it highlights important places where super- and megastars stayed and played, even momentarily, he is also dealing with Story. An English lit major, perchance a barracuda hooker, and a less-than-successful stripper who knows a whole lot of trivialities, sometimes even more than Serge! [No way!]

Did I forget to tell you that Mahoney is out? And on Serge's trail? And about Johnny Vegas, the Accidental Virgin? And Sh-teve? Well, I guess you'll just need to find out about these folks all by yourselves.

Is this a good ride? A frantic one, for sure. Some neat twists and turns but somewhat linear [even tho the center third of the book is a flashback. Or at least it was intended to be a flashback. Never mind...] Dorsey always intrigues when it comes to "offing" the bad guy. I'm not always certain his techniques work in "real life", so to speak. Like the butane lighter thing. Nevertheless, I think there should be a footnote, something like "Do not attempt this without professional or adult supervision."

As with nearly all of Dorsey's madcap mayhem books, this is a fast read and a well-written tale. There are many, many plot jumps, but what the heck, it keeps the reader on his/her toes. Even Serge gets a little confused at times. [I mean, what is 6 weeks among friends, right?] And of course, Coleman is confused most of the time.

Are there characters worth revisiting? I can't believe that Story has been written out. She represents Serge's alter-ego in many respects. Not so sure about Harold, tho. And looking back over the previous decade of books, I would sure like to have another visit with our legislators. And maybe even a governor. Then again, it's hard to find a Flori-duh equivalent of a mooseburger. And a visit to Dodgertown is just not enough for us baseball fans. Hey, Tim, remember that Babe Ruth played ball here. And Steinbrenner lives here. Oh. And one more thing. Early on, Serge tackled the media, but I think another visit is in order. Think Bubba the Love Sponge.

Anyway, enough! Go out and buy the book! You may recognize an acquaintence, a neighbor, or even yourself. Hey, and if you're not in this book, maybe you'll make it in the next one! Five stars? You bet!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 25, 2008 5:37 PM PST


Hurricane Punch: A Novel
Hurricane Punch: A Novel
by Tim Dorsey
Edition: Hardcover
102 used & new from $0.01

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars [WWSD] What Would Serge Do?, March 2, 2007
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Okay, this is a highly biased review. I own twelve copies of Dorsey's books. Nine published editions and three purloined pre-published editions. And someday, I'll do a complete index so that each of us can search back to find specific characters or antics in the life of one Serge A, Storms.

A long while back, I wondered aloud whether Tim Dorsey could sustain his main character. Well, the wonder is over, at least for Hurricane Punch, Dorsey's ninth book (lessee... The original, a prequel, and 7 sequels). And in my humble opinion, Dorsey has returned home - Florida - where Serge characters abound and seem to "fit right in." Where hurricanes are a fact of life (and death).

Seems tho we got ourselves an imposter calling himself "Eye of the Storm". Serge complains but Agent Mahoney, just released from the booby-hatch, teams up with McSwirley, a Tampa reporter who can't stop crying over spilt blood, is convinced Serge is behind all the mayhem. Meanwhile Serge has a new game - driving in the eye of hurricanes. And picking up wenches along the way. And offing guys the old Serge way. Ingeniously. Coleman, still working the booze and drug circuit, thinks Serge's losing his touch. Getting old. 44. And that's almost 50. And that's almost 60! Maturing. Mellowing. And what about Party Parrot, you ask! Don't ask.

Personal opinion. Hurricane Punch is Dorsey's best book since Orange Crush.

Final thought: Remember the thriller, Das Boot? Remember how you were warned NOT TO READ THE LAST PAGE BEFORE YOU GOT THERE? If you're a Floridian, or if you are a devotee of the nonsense going on in this nonsensical state, whatever you do, DON'T READ THE LAST PAGE BEFORE YOU GET THERE!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 21, 2007 7:08 PM PDT


Songs from the Labyrinth
Songs from the Labyrinth
Price: $12.58
132 used & new from $0.01

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Old Stuff" and "Stuffed Shirts"!, October 17, 2006
More than a half-century ago, as a teenager just learning the clarinet, I bought a record - Benny Goodman playing Mozart's Clarinet Concerto. A jazzman playing classics! I loved it and wore the record out! I even rewrote some classical ditties into jazz form and played them at high school contests, a concept that did not go over well with judges. It wasn't until years later that I learned that the critics had panned the Goodman recording primarily because Goodman was not a trained classicist.

Who says that this "old stuff" needs to be played by people skilled in playing "old stuff?" I am pretty certain that the people who played the "old stuff" in the 17th century never went to Julliard and never had classical training.

This is pleasurable listening! And fun! Just like the minstrels of old planned it to be!

Kudos for Sting! And Kudos for any other non-classical musician who dares to tackle the "old stuff." Maybe, like Goodman, they will encourage young people to learn about the "old stuff," experiment with the "old stuff," and who knows, maybe spur a whole new generational interest in the "old stuff." And for all you "stuffed shirts" out there, stuff it!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 24, 2006 3:23 PM PST


The Big Bamboo: A Novel
The Big Bamboo: A Novel
by Tim Dorsey
Edition: Hardcover
114 used & new from $0.01

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AKA Serge Goes To LA-LA Land, April 2, 2006
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Having apparently snuffed all the important strange and evil characters in Florida, Serge and his remarkably resurrected sidekick, Coleman, head to Hollywood. But of course, it's not that simple. It's never that simple. They need motivation and they get it from Serge's Grampa, Sergio. You remember him from Cadillac Beach, Dorsey's prequel. Let's see, two Pretzel heads, Mark and Ford, from Zanesville Ohio, work their way to Holly-land and wind up as prop men for a less-than-ethical movie studio run by the brothers Glick and owned by Japanese mafia of sorts. Of course, everybody, from street vendors to movie grips to tourists from Minnesota, have scripts to sell. Including Ford. Of course, the Glick brothers scam Ford out of his. While all this is going on, the Glick brothers are trying to convince their artistic director, Potemkin, to finish his epic, All That Glitters. Then their newly discovered leading lady, Ally Street, is abducted and supposedly murdered. Is there money, lotsa money, involved? Is there gonna be mayhem? Is there gonna be a convoluted plot? Are there bad guys, really bad guys? How about The Tat and The Fullback, and bunches of other snuffable villains in big, black cars! Are our boys involved? Whaddaya think!

I was a little leery of Dorsey taking on the Hollywood scene. After all, there should be enough Hollywood - and Disneyland - in Florida to provide fodder for another dozen Serge books. But, I have a sneaking feeling that Dorsey has spent a bunch of time "out there," probably being wined and dined far too many times over movie rights to his first book, Torpedo Juice. And after Dorsey's seventh book, where he, Dorsey, took over the litany of geographical or locational minutae that Serge always did, I worried that he would do the same here. But Serge is back to his old mind-dump routine - great long lists of movies that were filmed in Florida, or those that were filmed in other places but attributed to Florida, or locations and descriptions of actors' abodes, or even the great detail of where and how Janice Joplin died - "She hit face-first right where you're standing. October third, twenty-six years ago." Fantastic! These are the things that complete Serge's loveable psychopathic character. Thank God he's off his lithium for a while!

Even Serge's offing of the bad guys is true Hollywood! Car chases, collapsing buildings, even the unparting of the Red Sea! Still, I think even Serge is losing a half-step after all these years. I mean, he ruined a perfect assassination of a bad guy by not having the right sized nails! I mean, that wouldn't have happened to the Serge of old, now would it? And even Serge is getting more than a little annoyed at Coleman who does nothing but drugs and booze, ordering him off the island (think Survivor).

Oh, and mystery readers who love to read the last chapter first to find out who did it - go ahead! It ain't gonna help! And I'm sure it will make Serge and Dorsey's day!

Tim, great job! Now bring Serge back to Florida! Please! We need him here!


Torpedo Juice : A Novel
Torpedo Juice : A Novel
by Tim Dorsey
Edition: Hardcover
32 used & new from $1.68

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Frenetic Tour of the Florida Keys, January 13, 2006
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WARNING! For those of you who have just stumbled into Serge's Florida world, BEWARE! DO NOT read this book! That is, not before you have read all the previous ones! What we have here is a lovable [yes, lovable!] psychopath who, through thousands of pages, has collected and discarded human flotsam and jetsam at will. And somewhere in Tim Dorsey's detailing of Serge's adventures, plots appear [sometimes very faintly, to be sure!].

I, like many amateur reviewers of Dorsey books, am a Serge junkie [NO, not that kind of junkie!]. And I guess so long as Tim Dorsey can bring words to paper, I'll remain a Serge junkie.

BUT, several book reviews back, I commented that I hoped that Dorsey wouldn't run out of things for Serge to do. In his prior novel, Cadillac Beach, Dorsey did the prequel thing, calling on Serge's grampa, Sergio, to help with the plot thing. This time he brings Coleman, whom he killed off in the first book, back from the dead, in what seems to be a traditional literary manner!

Then Dorsey decides to marry the two flakes off! Running out of things for Serge to do, are we? Really, Tim, really! With all the weird things going on in Florida, the underwater wedding isn't all that weird, is it?

I guess what really disappoints me is the extended litany of islands. It seems that Dorsey has shifted from having Serge generate the litany of historical events that happened at a given location to having him, Dorsey, give the litany. Serge has only a couple of chances to expound on his forte. Shame, Tim, shame!

Another reviewer said he was disappointed with the middle of the book. I agree. But liked the ending. I also agree. Hey, Tim, let's not play "Philup Space." The frenetic toing-and-froing does not make for a tightly written story.

Hey readers! Are you paying attention? Dorsey is presaging his next novel, The Big Bamboo, by introducing "the narrator" at the begining and again at the end of TJ! A neat literary trick, especially if you've got a contract to write the next book already in your pocket! Tsk, Tim, tsk!

Alright, Serge fans! On to Hollywood! And who knows where else... A return to New York City? Nah! Still weirder than Florida. How about Mexico? Need to revisit drug smuggling? How about the trailer people? Oh, and PLEASE bring back the Governor! We've had so many, ah, unique ones!

Ah, so many ideas, so little time!


Bahamarama
Bahamarama
by Bob Morris
Edition: Hardcover
89 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another bunch of Florida bad guys, April 22, 2005
This review is from: Bahamarama (Hardcover)
Devotees of the Florida mystery writer genre cannot get enough of the weird characters, ridiculous circumstances, bosomy babes, gallons of alcohol, guns of every description, and broken teeth galore. Welcome Bob Morris to the fold. His first novel after tons of work in the "real world" of journalism. He told me that this is the first of a trilogy. It'll be interesting to see if Chasteen, an ex-Dolphin who still believes he can blitz, his protagonist, Barbara, the femme fatale, Boggy, his DR Indian helper (think Igor to Dr. Frankenstein) and Yellow Bird, appear in his next effort. [Hey, Bob! Bring Nixon back!]

Other reviewers have outlined the story. But readers want to know, how does Morris compare with others in his class? First off, this is a light read. Start to finish - Tampa to Detroit and back. The plot is simple, bordering on simplistic. The parallel plots don't seem to sufficiently crisscross or intermesh. As a result, the reader isn't sufficiently distracted away from solving the mystery. Having said all that, Morris is one helluva wordsmith when it comes to imagining. His characters are quickly but very succinctly constructed. The tableaus are so clearly worded that you can smell the smoke, taste the salty air, and, yes, feel the pain! [By the way, Bob, if Chasteen was a blitzing linebacker, how come he still had teeth?]

So, reader, go ahead. Scour all the Florida writers' works. See if you can find "Barbecued breast of duck with peanut-whipped potatoes" or "The Faith in Jesus Victory Tabernacle Church" in any of their works.

Great first book, Bob Morris! Five for five on this one!


The Cult of the Black Virgin (Arkana)
The Cult of the Black Virgin (Arkana)
by Ean C. M. Begg
Edition: Paperback
106 used & new from $0.01

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but tough reading, January 1, 2005
If you are fascinated with the goings-on of early Christianity and have been following the growing litany of books - both semi-serious (Holy Blood, Holy Grail) or fanciful (Da Vinci Code) - this book belongs on your reading list.

Make no mistake about this work. It is a serious treatise, with a focus on the historical sources of the cult of the Black Virgin. The author notes that many of the more than 500 images of the Black Virgin found in Western Europe in general and France in particular were created around the time of the Crusades (1100-1300). He draws some interesting parallels between Catharism, the Knights Templar, and the quest for the holy grail. He also discusses the Mergovingian dynasty and even the Abbe Sauniere (who is featured so prominently in current fiction). But the general thrust and importance of this work is to identify the locations and possible origins of the Black Virgin icons. Begg's writing is dense, dispassionate, and frankly tough going in many spots. His gazeteer and maps are of great importance for those interested in this aspect of religious history, whether or not you're a believer.


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