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2011 Japanese Drama : Jin (I+II) w/ English Subtitle
2011 Japanese Drama : Jin (I+II) w/ English Subtitle
DVD ~ Ayase Haruka, Koide Keisuke, Aso Yumi, Nakatani Miki, Kiritani Kenta Osawa Takao

4.0 out of 5 stars From Tokyo To Edo To Tokyo With Love, September 13, 2014
Jin could be just another Japanese TV drama with all the corniness that goes with it. However, Jin stands out thanks to an original story, several decent actors and the period's setting. The story is so because the serial combines medical criminal and jidaigeki period drama, historical elements, romance, bushido, science fiction and a good dosage of soap. Too many cooks usually spoil the broth, but for the earlier reasons Jin's recipe works.

It is the Tokugawa period in Japan and change is afoot. A young doctor - accomplished but due to recent events unsure of himself - has literally fallen back in time after interacting with a patient in modern Tokyo. He has left a life and love behind. His contemporary medical skills are astounding and valuable in Edo, which is where he has landed. From there the drama moves quickly and never gets bogged down. While basically a soap opera, the many innovative elements, period pieces, action and love propel the multi-genre series to a higher plane. The serial also teaches the viewer a thing or two. Otherwise, Jin is a treat for admirers of Edo of the period and Japanese culture.

Jin explores consequences of one's actions. For my personal tastes, there is one too many mentions of God, spirituality and the oddity of a school of medicine, which implausibly is more advanced in breast cancer and surgery than the doctor. The implicit love of the lead female character for the sensei is not a surprise, but his ignorance of it is. In fact, the attractive and dedicated Saki (played by Ayase Haruka) spends a lot of time soul-searching while being inquisitive and longing for love - perhaps not a surprise given how she has just met someone from another time - while Minakata Jin (played by Osawa Takao) looks confounded and confused.

Speaking of Saki-san's attractiveness could Doctor Jin be stalking her? After all, aside from sharing the screen in Jin the two were leads in Ichi ICHI [Blu-ray] one year before Jin. They were both in one of the Jam Films' Jam Films S [DVD] segments, albeit not together. Facetiousness aside, it is not until episode ten of Season One that the good doctor catches on regarding Saki-san's love.
It is on occasion soapy and corny and the music is cheesy, but because of all the above-mentioned positives Jin is worth the hours. TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) offered eleven episodes for Season One of Jin including an extended season finale. Due to the series' success a second season with eleven episodes appeared two years later and a Korean version was also filmed.


In the Realm of the Senses (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
In the Realm of the Senses (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Tatsuya Fuji
Offered by westcoastmedia
Price: $24.25
26 used & new from $23.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Whether You Appreciate The Film Or Not You Will Feel Unease, August 28, 2014
Of all the categories of film ones depicting open sex are the most controversial. Trick people, steal their identities, wealth or children, make war, drop bombs or annihilate planets and it is all fine. Show two humans have sex for pleasure and millions will revolt. Although few deny that sex is exciting many assert it is not proper or art. In this context, making the audience feel unsettled, uncomfortable and flinch is part of the intention of this film.
Written and directed by Japan's Nagisa Ôshima, 1976's In The Realm Of The Senses (Ai No Korida or `love's/lover's bullfight') clinches the title as a risqué and explicit art film conceived to break taboos. Here is a film with full sexuality, nudity, penetration, S&M and more whose mission, for starters, is to push the boundaries, promote free speech and deconstruct obscenity. It is pornographic, but directed to be the opposite. Given the imagery and subject matter the film could easily be labelled pornography; however, the presence of respectable/mainstream/traditional cast, crew, studio and production values - not to mention anti-pornographic (pink eiga) film techniques - renders it enough of a something else to confuse most and push the boundary well back.

Nagisa Ôshima saw obscenity and censorship as anathema to progress and indeed believed Japan has taken many steps backwards since the days of pleasure quarters, open prostitution in brothels, openness and individuality. His distaste for what he saw as the society's backward march, group-think and suppression of free speech is the driving force behind the feature. Indeed the old geisha who at one point entertains the main characters of this film, when the younger ones ended up refusing to return, proclaims "that's natural for a woman" to constantly have sex with a man. Oshima's statement in this regard sheds light on his intent. "The concept of "obscenity" is tested when we dare to look at something that we desire to see but have forbidden ourselves to look at. When we feel that everything has been revealed, "obscenity" disappears..." He needed his powers of articulation because - and not for the first time - he would land in court in Japan defending his art. He would live to tell the tale, but to this day the film is only seen in Japan cut, censored and pixelated.

The film unequivocally depicts one X-rated sexual act and thought after another. On a mission to make "obscenity disappear" one sees complete nudity, sex, an extramarital affair, S&M inclusive of pain inflicted with or without foreign objects (Kichizo: "it hurts but feels good"), exhibitionism, ingestion, prostitution, promiscuity/free sex, exposure of children and sex with the elderly. Having scratched items off its list the viewer is still ill prepared for the mutilation that follows. Such is the conviction of the writer/director and the ensemble around him. The film does not stop there. Caught in its crosshairs are Japan's pre-World War II militarization, Japanese traditional respect for one's seniors and tradition, male dominance in sex and pornography and crucially man's greater sexual appetite compared to a woman's.

Any and all of these concepts would horrify the busybodies that constitute any society anywhere, but even more so in the Japan of 1976 with its induced promotion of group harmony and conformity.
Based on a real story dating back to 1936 In The Realm Of The Senses retells the story of Sada Abe (played by newcomer Eiko Matsuda) who bedded with her master (Kichizo Ishida played by Tatsuya Fuji) with their ending up stealing away from their lives in a Tokyo inn in Nakano while abandoning his wife. Scandal ensues when their indulgence intensifies amidst everything described above and more. The lovers completely give of themselves.

Coincidentally, I had recently watched Akarui Mirai Bright Future with Tatsuya Fuji who has had an acting career in Japan before and after this feature. It is worth noting this because In The Realm Of The Senses features a range of established Japanese talent. Anywhere else in the world and this movie would not have attracted any takers. Apparently, many women had come to audition for a cinematic role, which involves full penetration. The same could not be said about the male talent. The director recounts many were worried about their phallus size or being able to perform on camera. Nonetheless, first there is Oshima's wife, the actress Akiko Koyama. She had volunteered to play Sada, although some speculate it was done to spur other actresses. She plays a geisha here. The old geisha is Kanae Kobayashi. She plays her actual real-life age. She was an established actress notable for the Zatoichi films. The old vagabond is Taiji Tonoyama whose over 200 credits include the brilliant Human Condition I - No Greater Love. The innkeeper is played by established actress Aoi Nakajima herself the daughter of Masayuki Mori known for classics of cinema like Ugetsu Ugetsu (The Criterion Collection) or Rashomon Rashomon. The crew was also an established team working in Kyoto on the set of many a Mizoguchi or Kurosawa film.
It is an extraordinarily uninhibited and ground-breaking film. Yet, there are beautiful images of old-style Japanese rooms and decor, traditional outfits, melodies of the shamisen and muted but vivid colours throughout the film which is largely restricted to the indoors. The fox (kitsune) masks of the festival, the kites of the Children's festival and the bird dancer (mimicking the actual bird of earlier) colour the film Japanese further. Nonetheless, these are mere interludes amidst the subversive and often difficult viewing.

Amazingly Oshima had sought out the real-life Sada Abe (Sada meaning 'chaste' in Japanese - although her name and the adjective are different Kanjis) and obtained her permission to film In The Realm Of The Senses. By this time she was ensconced in a Buddhist monastery.

Whether one enjoys In The Realm Of The Senses or not one has to tip his hat at the courageous and spirited Argos Films, the cast, crew, director, producer and Criterion video.


Tintin and Alph-Art (The Adventures of Tintin: Original Classic)
Tintin and Alph-Art (The Adventures of Tintin: Original Classic)
by Herge
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.54
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3.0 out of 5 stars Modern Art Signifies The End, August 27, 2014
It is amazing that there are so many five-star reviews of Tintin And Alph-Art here. One supposes it is par for the course. Like many Tintin, Snowy, Haddock and I were childhood friends. Now as an adult nothing has changed. Tintin, and Snowy's adventures are cherished and entertaining to this day, which is part of the magic of writer and illustrator Herge. He created something that is amusing and stands the test of time.

Having said that, Tintin And Alph-Art is the only volume that is new to me. That is for good reason. It was planned to be the twenty-fourth volume of The Adventures Of Tintin, but alas, the death of its Belgian creator in 1983 left it unfinished. It is presented as an interrupted comic book broken up mid-adventure. In lieu of illustrations, the volume offers sketches and, in my Egmont edition at least, accompanied on one side by a rough, yet descriptive, script. It does have the advantage of offering something of Herge's work process.

Journalist Tintin, his lovable Fox Terrier Snowy and their friend and companion Captain Haddock are embroiled in an intrigue, inclusive of murder, involving the worlds of modern art and cults. Thrown into the whole intrigue merely by chance the heroes find themselves racing for their lives and resolution at Haddock's Marlinspike Hall and later near Naples in Italy. The story is cut off soon, but not before dear Snowy does his utmost to reach and help Tintin. It would not be the first time Snowy is the source of a rescue - think Flight 714 To Sydney Flight 714 (The Adventures of Tintin). For that matter it would not be the first time Tintin's investigative prowess both get him into trouble and help him explore and deduce much. In The Castafiore Emerald The Castafiore Emerald (The Adventures of Tintin) Haddock calls him "a genius" and it sure looks like he is one here the way he figures things out. As is usual with the stories several past characters are present in Alph-Art.

Sadly, there will be no more Tintin adventures. This volume itself is one for completists of the series given its rough and unfinished nature. Nevertheless, for the asking, several unauthorized versions with colour illustrations; panels and imagined endings are available out there.
Tintin and Snowy shall be enjoyed by the masses for a long time to come. They are that good. Additionally, one hopes that extraneous and commercial interests, like Hollywood, never get their paws on the series for it could only ruin the story and damage the legacy... ooops!


Rena Tanaka in DSG (Drugstore Girl) (Kadokawa Mook (No.194)) (2004) ISBN: 4047215066 [Japanese Import]
Rena Tanaka in DSG (Drugstore Girl) (Kadokawa Mook (No.194)) (2004) ISBN: 4047215066 [Japanese Import]
by unknown
Edition: Mook
4 used & new from $13.50

3.0 out of 5 stars Move Over Ramen Girl!, August 23, 2014
Doraggusutoa Gâru a.k.a. Drugstore Girl in English is a simple, low-budget and light-weight feature that has the feel and levity of a summer evening TV movie. One could imagine watching this on one of the broadcast stations of Tokyo one early humid and oppressive August evening in a cramped room with the door and windows wide open.

The story begins with a chuckle in a bizarre situation that by all rights would not be funny. Keiko Obayashi (played by Rena Tanaka who was a new face to me) catches her boyfriend cheating on her in the funniest way possible and reacts as any edokko Tokyo girl would. She jumps on the first train at the station without looking, cries herself to sleep and only wakes up to find herself at the end of the line lost in an unfamiliar area. It turns out that - she and the viewers later find out - she has landed in the fictional Masao town and station a stone's throw from Saitama. As she wanders the streets lost and forlorn she comes across a pharmacy whose grand opening is the next day and being a pharmacology student applies for a job. Unhappy with the new mega store, Hustle Drug, the incumbent pharmacy owner in the area and his friends plan a boycott and sabotage, which leads them to Keiko. Where the film seems like a tale of David and Goliath at first, somewhere in the middle it transforms into something else. The business aspect is not pursued. Instead, Keiko is depicted as a butterface with sexy legs and not only university smarts, but also experience and talent for Lacrosse of all things. Hoping to gain a date with this smart and sassy girl the men mobilize to earn her affections to decidedly silly effect. Soon the entire town is transformed and the efforts of the men multiply to such an extent that the players are the focus of a TV news feature. Keiko is keen to gain revenge from her ex (who, in turn and as oddly, is being dropped by his two new pretty girlfriends because Keiko wants to pick up her belongings), the men cannot score a goal to get a date with the subject of their infatuation and the new business' obviously rich owner puts cash money towards sponsoring her would-be rivals and foes.

This is a light, funny, shallow and exaggerated film perfect for killing a couple of hours. It somewhat surprisingly features Kimiko Yo (Departures, Café Lumiere, Ramen Girl, Suicide Club, etc.), Akira Emoto (Ichi, Zatoichi, Maborosi, etc.) and is scripted by Ping Pong writer Kankurô Kudô.


Tintin and the Picaros (The Adventures of Tintin)
Tintin and the Picaros (The Adventures of Tintin)
by Herge
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.66
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tintin And Snowy Are Back In Latin America, August 22, 2014
And, oh no, so is Bianca Castafiore!
Tintin And The Picaros is the twenty-third volume in the comic series and sadly the last one to be completed by author and illustrator Herge. In the adventure Tintin, Snowy, Professor Calculus, Captain Haddock, Thomson and Thompson are back in the thick of things in San Theodoros rescuing the Milanese Nightingale and her entourage - and doing so near the beginning unwillingly.

To get the most enjoyment and continuity out of this tome it is best to have read the early Tintin adventure, The Broken Ear Tintin - the Broken Ear (The Adventures of Tintin). Castafiore is arrested and imprisoned as part of a plot to entrap Tintin and Haddock. Of all people, Captain Haddock, followed by Calculus, are the first to fly down to attempt a defence of the Italian opera singer. Tintin and Snowy soon join their friends. What follows is a mishmash of banana republic politics, Latin American gaiety, standard Tintin coincidences and lucky breaks and foul deeds.
There is much humour along the way including a Scottish Whiskey distiller (appropriately called Loch Lomond), local revolutionary General Alcazar's wife Peggy, Castafiore and more. As always, many previous friends and foes reappear with the oddest one being the Belgian insurance salesperson Jolyon Wagg who is lost in the jungle! Moreover, one of the reporters barging into Marlinspike Hall resembles Spalding from Flight 714. Calculus still cannot get his friends' names correctly, Captain cannot hold down his alcohol now and a carnival is in progress featuring people in Asterix, Zorro and Disney customs in front of morbid posters of the detectives being condemned to death.
Picaros contains more than a veiled suggestion of corrupt politics and corporations. A poster above the celebrations heralds "Viva Tapioca" courtesy Of Loch Lomond. Later a poster heralds "Viva Alcazar," yet the people in the slum are still poor. The military personnel and staff go from hailing one dictator to the other on a dime.

The adventure is interesting and fast-paced, the script is interesting and the illustrations as detailed - if not better - as ever. However, a shadow hangs over Tintin And The Picaros. It will end up being the last of Herge's series that is completed. It is fateful for the series that a changed Tintin (notice his pants?) is unwilling to charge to the rescue and only later joins his friends. Why he comes is not convincingly explained, given the obvious danger, but the change in characters, mannerisms and tone is a harbinger of the end of an illustrated and exciting series that has enriched the lives of millions across the globe.


Flight 714 (The Adventures of Tintin)
Flight 714 (The Adventures of Tintin)
by Herge
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.81
104 used & new from $4.83

4.0 out of 5 stars Tintin And Snowy Thriller In Southeast Asia, August 19, 2014
Flight 714 - called Flight 714 To Sydney in certain editions - is one of the most action-packed volumes in the Tintin series. It has Tintin, Snowy, Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus (who cannot get his friends' names right!) travelling to Sydney in order to participate in an Astronautical Congress due to their being the first to land on the moon. See Explorers on the Moon (The Adventures of Tintin)

A chance meeting with their erstwhile murderer and now friend Piotr Skut in the Kemajoran Djakarta International Airport means a change of plans when the friends fly on the private supersonic jet of millionaire Laszio Carreidas to their destination instead of continuing with a commercial plane. This leads to their becoming embroiled in a hijacking and a landing on the Sondonesian island of Pulau-Pulau Bomba where the nefarious tycoon Roberto Rastapopoulos has subverted the locals for his scheme. With the friends caught in the thick of the action, it falls to Snowy to in his affable way save the day and for the companions to be later guided by Mik Kanrokitoff who is a writer for the magazine Space Week. The body language of Snowy after entering the jail and wrapping himself around Tintin is touching.

Being one of the later books of writer and illustrator Herge, Flight 714 has complex drawings and story and both introduces new characters as well as unsurprisingly brings back familiar ones. Moreover, a new level of technology is part of the story. The international intrigue or historical locales are not something to which Tintin readers are not accustomed to, but Tintin's twenty-second volume injects a fair bit of supernatural, pseudoscience and parapsychology into the plot.
As always, lucky circumstances abet the companions and several chance events are never explained such as the presence and back-story of the Kanrokitoff or the aliens, which are major holes. At the end of the story Snowy observes that, "I could tell them a thing or two! ... But no one would believe me." One could also add that no one could understand the dog.

Tintin comic books are nearly always of high standard and Flight 714 is above average among the volumes. It takes the series to new places and, especially, appearing after the atypical The Castafiore Emerald where the crew stay at Marlinspike Hall packs a higher level of turbulence.


The Castafiore Emerald (The Adventures of Tintin)
The Castafiore Emerald (The Adventures of Tintin)
by Herge
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.82
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3.0 out of 5 stars Tintin And Snowy... Not Dashing Around The World This Time, August 16, 2014
In the last few Tintin adventures the hero and his affable dog Snowy had travelled to the Middle East, Tibet and Central and Eastern Europe. While the last few Tintin volumes had the smart reporter become a world-traveller and sleuth The Castafiore Emerald keeps him at Captain Haddock's Marlinspike Hall where Bianca Castafiore, the Italian opera diva who has been seen or heard in multiple previous books, has also made herself at home.

Castafiore and Captain Haddock have always had a love/hate relationship and moments of hilarity ensue. However, the action centres around the former's jewels and a burglary for which there are ample suspects. As always Thomson And Thompson are at hand to solve the puzzle, but it really falls unto Tintin to investigate - not that the blundering detectives realize it. It does help that Tintin apparently reads Italian.

There is much humour in the twenty-first Tintin comic book, yet one also marvels at how many of the depicted stereotypes and annoyances are also those of contemporary times. The gypsies are distrustful and distrusted and suspected of burglary (although they do have at least one stolen item). The handyman does not show up and consistently lies about his appointments. The tabloids are after a scoop and truth be damned!

With The Castafiore Emerald readers and our heroes both see a lot of action and catch their breaths, but not for long of course!


The Calculus Affair (The Adventures of Tintin)
The Calculus Affair (The Adventures of Tintin)
by Herge
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.82
92 used & new from $5.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Tintin, Snowy And Captain Haddock To The Rescue, August 14, 2014
Ready for another Tintin adventure where he, his beloved Fox Terrier Snowy and inebriated friend Captain Haddock dash around the world to do great things? Good. The Calculus Affair is both a great comic book and one of the better of the characters' escapades.

It all begins when on the heels of several mysterious shatterings of glass and crystal Professor Calculus leaves Haddock's ancestral mansion Marlinspike Hall on a scientific trip to Switzerland. He is very soon in trouble and, having strong suspicions of imminent danger to his absentminded genius friend based on observation, intruders and multiple clues left on the scene, Tintin marshals the Captain and his heroic dog to the rescue.
What follows is continual action involving an international plot to steal the plans for and develop catastrophic weapons. Secret agents, foreign armies and police forces conspire to thwart our heroes who are using planes, trains and automobiles to rescue the professor. Reaching back to previous adventures this eighteenth Tintin volume features trips to Borduria, Syldavia (which is quite ungrateful to the man who lead them to the moon) and a crucial appearance by Italy's very own Bianca Castafiore. It also will not be the last time Haddock unwillingly hosts unwanted guests at his home.

As with any Tintin tome multiple lucky breaks, coincidences and happenstance are aiding the Belgian reporter while, of course, poor Snowy is hurt and troubled, Haddock is over drinking, Thomson and Thompson are mostly in the way. How Tintin guesses that a book by an author called Leslie E. Simon is necessarily the work of an American scientist is bemusing as is the group's surviving a bombing, opposing artillery and multiple car crashes with nary a scratch.

One of the charms of the Tintin series is Herge's illustrations. The Calculus affair's is intense, and while less adorned with open wide spaces, manages to fantastically depict the adventure and sense of speed required in such a thriller. Having said that, the almost marginal drawing of poor Snowy's shut snout is my favourite. Also marvellous is the village square's pandemonium as the trio chase down a suspected car. It even looks like one Thomson/Thompson is in the square too. Then there is the last illustration of Snowy and Marlinspike's cat ultimately joining in friendship.

The Calculus Affair is 52 pages of Tintin fun and recommended for all ages - and any calculus used in the book is buried in the namesake professor's invention and well hidden from plain sight!


Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
by Seth Godin
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.23
143 used & new from $4.75

3.0 out of 5 stars "You Can Either Fit In Or Stand Out. Not Both", August 3, 2014
The Sub-title for the book is "Are You Indispensable?" Those are mighty words in a modern economy that has been sold to us as a normalized state of flux where being mobile and flexible are sold as a given virtue.
In Linchpin, prolific author, marketer, pundit and thinker Seth Godin, exhorts and espouses the imperative to become a namesake person by leading, gifting, giving, standing out and generally not be "a cog in the giant industrial machine." Godin asserts that linchpins who lead us and connect us in this manner, counterintuitively, will have secured their present and future as today's economy is ruthlessly punishing the fearful. There is no map on how to go about this, but a Linchpin rejects the compliance lessons he has learnt at school and at work and instead of being silenced and cowed charts his own path of "genius" via the aforementioned qualities, by creating value, chucking the rule book, making a difference and creating order. The assumption here is that one wants to be a linchpin and cares enough in the first place.

Before continuing, however, it should be pointed out that while the above promise does indeed come across as praiseworthy there are plenty of reasons to go in doubting both this book and its author. After all, motivational speakers and modern age `gurus' are a dime-a-dozen. Moreover, while many people have positively commented on the author's Purple Cow Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, and other works, his The Dip The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) seemed personally unimportant and incomplete to me. Even worse, my skepticism is reinforced when recalling that this is the same author who sifted through online directories to come up with a print compilation called E-Mail Addresses of the Rich & Famous in 1994, with which he annoyed a few rich and famous people by printing their e-mail addresses, but then would release a book called Permission Marketing Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers in 1999.

With that declaration in place what about Linchpin? The core concept is sane and the assertion noble. The author's reminder that the traditional workplace, media and school perpetuate myths and render one compliant in exchange for stability is not odd, but that world is gone. Furthermore, Godin's ridicule of mainstream nonsense mongers like Thomas Friedman is one of his many progressive arguments and another cause for applause.
In the book, which as said comes across as a motivational speech-cum-rally, there is a whole lot of pandering and a whole lot more of encouraging. Linchpin, the author explains, is a matter of attitude and not learning. It is about people who put in emotional labour. One has a choice and one has to resist the resistance, push back the "lizard brain" and chart a path by creating value.
This new Linchpin way is the new bargain replacing the old money/job/stability-for-compliance and conformity order. The new proletariat owns the means of production (computers, say), which is a shocking statement that is far from true and even refers to Friedman's "world is flat" drivel. The only difference between a mediocre rule follower and a linchpin is that the latter has never bought into the self-limiting line of thought or, my addition, has freed himself from it. Page 43 of the book has a diagram in which Godin depicts being his favoured Linchpin as a confluence of charm, talent and perseverance. A tall order, sure, but recall that we are all geniuses in something at least (patronizing?) or could be so by changing our attitudes. The race to the top is achieved by leaning in, persevering, throwing out the rule book, not giving up, creating art and giving it freely. Somewhat paradoxically, on its surface, a linchpin says no 1- never (always finds a way to say "yes") or 2- all the time (being a visionary means uttering "no" is with good intentions given how saying "yes" obstructs the art and the achievement). Godin, congruently, comes out against the concept of time for money/work for pay. He deems selling oneself to the highest bidder cheap and asks the reader to opt for creating art instead. The concept, as espoused on page 87, really does seem to target the core of the capitalist system. As cheekily, and on page 79, Godin advises against creating resumes and concealing one's true self in order to get a job. After all if one has to conceal his identity to obtain a job, then he needs to bury it in order to keep the job.

In the second half of the Linchpin Godin drops the actual reprise of the word "linchpin" and goes about supporting his premise by lateral assertions. Here one learns that linchpins are all bout passion and art. Moreover, it is not art if it is not offered for free and freely. The more one gives away the more one receives. "The easier it is to quantify, the less its worth."
How does one know that the lizard brain is at work resisting the said concepts? Here are examples: one does not ship product/art/results on time. "Late is the first step to never." Making excuses, suffering anxiety on what to wear, procrastination demonstrates a lack of desire to learn new skills, start committees instead of acting, join committees instead of leading, not asking questions or asking too many, be boring or waiting for tomorrow. The whole discussion on shipping and not resisting the "lizard brain" is expanded upon with a touch on neurology and evolution. Godin insists that we abandon fear and that the more one hides the more likely it is to fail. Find the wind of resistance and move towards it and face it down. A successful artists completes the idea - although even false had had ideas.
Having said all of the above, Godin either seems to misunderstand the nature of some people or being American plays the brainwashed game. He claims it is a pity that a chance encounter with an ex-US soldier showed how said former soldier/current sales guy is simply following his boss's orders instead of being an artist and going above and beyond. Clearly, soldiers are more courageous and talented than that! In fact, all jarheads are trained to comply and outsource thinking and reasoning. Obeying standard rules and not questioning is the way of the soldier. Given such an error one wonders what Godin was thinking.

Where he makes more sense - but not necessarily being correct or truthful to readers - is when addressing a hiring company's perspective. Obviously, as he advocates spearheading the genius inside to becoming a linchpin Godin knows many wonder what if the `machine' out there is resisting the paradigm change. It often is the case that corporations suck employees' strengths dry increasingly destroying employees, society and the nation with their folly. It is all fine and good for one to secure one's future, but not by necessarily with the present employer. What about the lack of acceptance and progressive corporations/businesses/societies to go with the rise in quantity and quality of linchpins? Firstly, Godin believes stepping out of line is not harmful to one's career. In fact, he insists that since the demise of the `factory order' it is quite the opposite. He adds that a company now wants employees to be a linchpin. Turn to page 36 and Godin is telling employers to hire, nurture and pay linchpins to transform into likewise companies and enjoy employees who work harder, longer, better and deliver more. Companies, he insists, should not be afraid to make employees linchpins and not be afraid of them either. The book sets it off as linchpins versus workplace drones - clearly a simplification (but Godin disagrees).

In his quest to set parameters for a race to the top Seth Godin has little room for shades of grey. On page 55 he grants a major exception for organizations which are centralized, monopolistic, safe and cost sensitive. The author, however, emphasizes that such companies are paying a price and will not garner customer loyalty. However, as it seems to be the case with most modern books of this sub-genre, the author eschews footnotes or scientific and controlled studies to prove his point. Moreover, the material is often redundant and repetitive. It is a long read that could be entertaining or interesting, but also hammers the point again and again.

Finally, here are a few words more about the incidentals in the book. The book's cover artwork looks lifted off the Hydro Utility Workers' Union collateral. The book is essentially a 220-page conversational and rousing speech to break the rules and to prove his point, and in keeping with the spoken nature, the author pays little heed to grammar. Fragmented or backward sentences are the norm. "once one person in your class or your town had a car, others needed one" is one of hundreds of examples. Beginning sentences with `and' like "and it worked but this isn't enough" are also common. Worse, sentences like "the typical household spent a tiny fraction of what we do on everything in our budget" are confusing.
As mentioned, Godin has been prolific and he manages to subtly name drop his other books in order to give us examples of his prescriptions. He nonchalantly mentions several of his better-selling works.

The Seven Abilities of The Linchpin:

1. Providing a unique interface between members of the organization.
2. Delivering unique creativity.
3. Managing a situation or organization of great complexity.
4. Leading customers.
5. Inspiring staff.
6. Providing deep domain knowledge.
7. Possessing a unique talent.


The Red Sea Sharks (The Adventures of Tintin)
The Red Sea Sharks (The Adventures of Tintin)
by Herge
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.90
115 used & new from $3.81

4.0 out of 5 stars Tintin And Snowy Are Entangled In The Middle East Again, July 27, 2014
A chance encounter with General Alcazar, whom series readers already know from earlier adventures The Broken Ear (The Adventures of Tintin) or perhaps The Seven Crystal Balls (The Adventures of Tintin), soon escalates into an international intrigue where Tintin, Snowy and the ever-reluctant Captain Haddock are drawn back into the Middle East and regional politics.

The friends start with the not-so-simple goal of abetting their acquaintance Mohammed Ben Kalish Ezab the Emir of Khemed, but are soon drawn into even more action involving commerce, human trafficking and political corruption. The story, illustrations, travels, coincidences and mishaps come as fast and furious as any Tintin adventure with one notable difference. The Red Sea Sharks is our dashing reporter's nineteenth comic adventure and by now he has quite a collection of international friends, enemies and contacts. Readers will enjoy a myriad of appearances by past characters here including the aforenamed General Alzcazar, Ezab and his mischievous son Abdullah, Oliveira da Figueira, Bianca Castafiore (who does not sing!), Rastapopoulos/Di Gorgonzola and more. In this case, a couple of them are even guests of Haddock at Marlinspike Hall. The core group of Nestor, Thomson And Tompson and professor Calculus are all here as well of course. Some things never change however. The team is lucky in many turns, Haddock has more than just an affinity for his alcohol and poor Snowy is always one step away from physical harm. Nonetheless, our heroes are often as fortunate as can be with all the adversity in the world being resolved through action or luck.

The Red Sea Sharks is not my favourite Tintin book, but nonetheless is a fun and fast-moving action adventure drawn and written brilliantly as only Tintin books could be.


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