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Epson EX7240 Pro WXGA 3LCD Projector Pro Wireless, 3200 Lumens Color Brightness
Epson EX7240 Pro WXGA 3LCD Projector Pro Wireless, 3200 Lumens Color Brightness
Price: $649.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The aspens are dazzling… the set-up, less so…, October 7, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I recently went hiking in the mountains above Santa Fe (NM) to enjoy the aspens, now in full autumn yellows. Took a few pictures. Just projected them via this Epson 7240 projector, and it was as though I was seeing the details and the colors for the first time: it was that intense, with colors truer than I’ve ever experienced. For that aspect of the product’s performance, it deserves a “6-star” rating.

I acquired my first portable computer-compatible projector about 15 years ago. It cost around $5000. Fortunately the company I worked for bought it, and I duly cranked out those “everything is great… and they will only get better in the future” type presentations. The features were impressive at the time, but the color was of the “this is the best we can do” variety. In the varying fields of human endeavors, at least the quality of the projectors are greatly improved. I also like the design of the unit, and the very convenient carrying case.

In terms of the set-up…hum… I experienced my share of frustrations before seeing those autumn golds. The HDMI cable was missing! And yes, I checked everywhere, and it was simply not included in the box. Nor was there a “packing list” that indicated what should have been included, and what you would be required to buy… though I did receive the two batteries for the remote! A VGA cable was included, but my new laptop does not have that port. A USB cable was also included, the ports were available, but I continued to obtain the “no signal” message, even after “searching.” I read the smaller print on what is supported: Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, XP… blah, blah… but no mention of Windows 10, the operating system on my computer. UGH! Many of us have been there before: a new niffy tech product, that appears to be “dead on arrival.” But I asked my son: Would you happen to have an extra HDMI cable? And bingo, I immediately experience the golds of autumn.

As with some of the other reviewers, I found the various “set-up” menus “klutzy.” Something from the ‘90’s. I still fondly recall the name of a software company in Cincinnati, “Sledgehammer Cybernetics.” And that is the message from those set-up menus… we spent our entire developmental budget on the niffy new product, but explaining how the product works, and “troubleshooting,” well, you are largely on your own… but if you just keep hammering, or preferably, sledgehammering away… it will all sort out in the end… a couple of extra needlessly frustrating hours later.

Finally, I had to chuckle to myself looking at the pictures of the possible uses for this product at Amazon. The first picture demonstrated use in a courtroom, where I was lately. We were unsure of the video-support functions available, and as a backup, my brother asked if I had a projector. I said NO, we “winged” it, and all did work, but now I have an all-important back-up, for the next time. Mainly though, if you are into photography, think the price is right for home use, and the pictures are, after a bit of hammering away, dazzling. Overall, 4-stars.

Strangers in the West: The Syrian Colony of New York City, 1880-1900
Strangers in the West: The Syrian Colony of New York City, 1880-1900
by Linda K. Jacobs
Edition: Paperback
Price: $29.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A detailed account, with general applications, even more so, today…, October 5, 2015
Linda Jacobs holds a PhD in Near Eastern Archeology/Anthropology. More importantly, perhaps, she holds an “informal” PhD in the subject area of this book: the first Syrian group of immigrants (“the colony”, as she calls it) in the United States. Her grandparents were all “charter” members, that is, in the original colony in the early days of its development, and as a descendent she already had much background for this academic study. She states that the work is focused on a 20 year period, 1880-1900, and involves approximately 3500 people, all of whom emigrated from what was then the Ottoman Empire.

When she offered me this book for review, my initial reaction was that this might be far TOO narrow a focus, and far too detailed for this “general” reader: I am not an academic, and I am not Arab. Thus, there was no “hot” buttons, but there were some “warm” ones. In my own way, I had immigrated TO a country whose coasts had once been part of the Ottoman Empire, (Saudi Arabia), and had lived there over a period of a quarter century. I had travelled through much of the Middle East as well, including Syria. But what I most recall was the hospitality of the seemingly tight-knit Lebanese/Syrian community in Memphis, in 1993, over a one week period, as a Saudi and I reviewed the operation of St. Jude’s hospital (which they, along with Danny Thomas, had played a major role in developing and maintaining), with the intention of replicating it in Riyadh (which did eventually occur). It was that week that led me to say yes to Ms. Jacobs, and I am glad that I did.

By “Syrians,” Jacobs means residents of a larger area than present day Syria, and includes Lebanon, and parts of Jordan and Palestine. Almost all of the original “colony” were Christians, divided mainly between the Maronite and the Orthodox, with a dash of Roman Catholic thrown in. Why did they come? Jacobs provides no definitive answer, on the “push or pull” question. Did they come to improve their economic prospects, or were they fleeing Turkish rule? Jacobs somewhat wryly notes that telling the immigration officials that they were fleeing “persecution” for their religious beliefs upped the chances of their applications being approved.

The Syrian colony settled around Washington Street in lower Manhattan. It was a slum, but Jacobs points out that Jacob Riis, of How the Other Half Lives: A Jacob Riis Classic (Including Photography) did not photograph it. Their first jobs were often that of a peddler, and many made reasonable money, enough so to move up the “economic chain” and open small shops, or even own manufacturing facilities. The author’s range is comprehensive. She covers marriages, schooling (or lack of same), religious and political groupings and views, crimes, and the relationship with the “mother country.” She delves into the restaurants, nightclubs, “smoking parlors,” and even the many claims to the women who claimed to be “Little Egypt.”

There were numerous insights that I will remember. For example, the term “auto-Orientalism,” which essential means that the immigrants, at times, would deliberately “ham up” their “exoticism” in order to sell “trinkets from the Holy Land.” As with other immigrant groups, and in particular I am thinking of the Vietnamese, in 1975, the newcomers were taken advantage of by their more established in-country compatriots.

Jacobs appears not to have interviewed many of the descendants of the original colony; rather she relies heavily on the Arabic press, mainly Kawkab America and Al Hoda, as well as Court records, and her research appears to be extensive. Of course, as the author points out, Court records provide insights into the unhappy marriages, for example, and not the happy ones. Time and time again I was impressed with the author’s balanced judgment, when sifting through the “knowns” and “unknowns” from the historical record.

I believe several categories of readers might find this book of interest, and even enjoyable: the academics in the fields of history or sociology, all the various Arab and Muslim groups now living in America, as well as those preparing for the arrival of 100,000 Syrian refugees. 5-stars.

Our Man in Havana (Penguin Classics)
Our Man in Havana (Penguin Classics)
by Graham Greene
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.87
114 used & new from $4.10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On fitting the “intelligence” to the political agenda…, October 2, 2015
I’ve read Greene’s The Quiet American (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) three times. He was amazingly prescient in depicting the complete inability of the CIA’s agent, Alden Pyle, to see the reality of Vietnam that was before him. Rather, Pyle chose to view everything through the prism of the Ivy League academic theories of Professor York Harding. My copy of “Our Man in Havana” came with an introduction by Christopher Hitchens. In the intro, Hitchens indicates much the same, including: “…Greene seemed to have an almost spooky prescience when it came to the suppurating political slums on the periphery of America’s Cold War Empire.” And, “… the mandarins of MI6 are eager to deceive themselves, and to be deceived, and they get no more than what they ask for.’

Cuba is again “topical,” as the United States has finally decided, after more than half a century, to “kiss and make-up” with the Communist government led by Raul Castro, brother of Fidel, who seized power from the dictator, Fulgencio Batista shortly after “Our Man in Havana” was first published. Greene knew a thing or two about the British intelligence services, since he once worked for them, recruited during the Second World War, by his sister, who worked for MI6. His initial posting was in Sierra Leone. His novel is a wonderful slap-stick farce… that, in all likelihood, accurately depicts the meaningless levels of intrigue, and the pre-disposition of the “intelligence” leadership to hear, as Simon and Garfunkel once famously sang: “A man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards all the rest.”

Jim Wormold is a failing British vacuum cleaner salesman, working in Havana. He has yet to sell one model of the company’s latest product, the “Atomic” (vacuum cleaner!). He is estranged from his wife, and is attempting to raise his daughter, Milly (Seraphina), now in her teen-age years. She is both a devote Catholic (the father is not), as well as more than a bit of a hooligan. She also aspires to higher economic levels in society, commencing with the ownership of a horse. Her aspirations are clearly beyond Wormold’s ability to fulfill, and thus he is an easy “mark” that can be recruited by Hawthorne, an MI6 operative. In farcical style, the recruitment takes place in the bathroom of a restaurant, with the water running (to make it more difficult to pick up the sound on the microphones!).

Wormold seems to intuitively understand the “great game,” and simply makes up all the intelligence, including the “agents” that are working for him. He pockets their salary and expenses, thereby funding the needs of his daughter. Meanwhile, back in London, Hawthorne’s boss, a senior MI6 operative, believes he has an intuitive understanding of Wormold, one of the “merchant princes” of the British Empire. There are a number of other well-wrought characters, including Captain Segura, a Ministry of the Interior “enforcer” of the Batista regime. (“only certain classes of people are subjected to torture…”)

Real life imitating fiction? Greene has produced a satirical masterpiece, and if the reader considers it “over the top,” one need only consider the crazy machination involving the presentation of “intelligence” on Iraq’s purported “weapons of mass destruction” including those famous aluminum tubes, based on the testimony of a defector with the ever-so-apt code name of “curveball.”

In ways, Greene’s novels on Vietnam, Cuba and Haiti constitute a trilogy on imperial folly. I will soon read the third volume, The Comedians (Penguin Classics) on Haiti. As with other novels of Greene, alcohol is also a main “character.” A pithy summation of Greene’s view of life is provided by Hitchens: “The human condition seen through the bottom of a glass darkly…” “Our Man in Havana” is a most memorable novel. 5-stars, plus.

Sony HTNT3 450W Hi-Res Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer
Sony HTNT3 450W Hi-Res Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer
Price: $798.00
10 used & new from $697.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tomatoes from the garden…, September 30, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It is that time of year again, when I am harvesting tomatoes from the garden. The complaint is now a familiar one, and concerns language: how can we use the same word, “tomato” to describe the freshness and flavor of one produced from the garden, and the ersatz cardboard version that is the staple fare of the grocery stores? Ditto that for peaches, plums, etc.

When I listened to one of my favorite orchestral pieces, Gustav Holst’s “The Planets,” Op. 32, on the Sony HTNT3 Sound Bar, it was as though I had never heard it before. Admittedly, I have a bit of a “tin ear,” yet the difference in the quality of the sound was so overwhelmingly apparent, that I was truly stunned. Alas, I have never heard “The Planets” performed live, yet with the new Sony system, I had a front row orchestral seat (with clapping being optional). And it appears that most of the other reviewers also highlight the sheer quality of the sound and the listening experience.
When the Vine program offered me the Sony sound system, I felt it would be ideal for my son, who needed to replace a five year old sound system (with wires!). He was instrumental on the set-up, and the following are his thoughts about the system:
I’m using the Sony Sound Bar to replace a 5.1 surround sound system. I have to say that the sound out of this is great! No one wants wires anymore and this takes care of that problem. The Sound bar and the subwoofer have different power cords and connect to each other wirelessly with no issues. The Bluetooth function works great! Easily connected two computers and my cell phone without difficulty.

The system easily connected to WIFI and downloading updates has been simple.

The plugins can be a little tight but I think this design has to do with the way the sound bar would be mounted to the wall. Pretty tight to fit my chromecast but it works. The display is hidden in the speaker and is only visible when it is lit up which is pretty cool.

They system has 3 HDMI ports and you can also plug in an optical audio cable (not included).

The Spotify feature works great too!

If I had to pick on something it would be the tight plugins and that it doesn’t seem like you can change the name of the HDMI inputs. But if you are looking for great sound and easy connectivity then these two things are easily overlooked!

I will add a hearty “amen” on the EASE of connectivity via the Bluetooth function, to the different computers in the house as well as the cell phone. Connectivity has often been an issue via Bluetooth with other devices.

As with all Vine reviews, they must be posted within 30 days of receipt, so the reviewers’ extensive experience with the product cannot be noted, but I will come back in six months, and provide those updates, and unlike the garden tomatoes, which can only be enjoyed 6-8 weeks a year, the Sony Sound bar is good, year-round. 5-stars, plus

Toujours Provence
Toujours Provence
by Peter Mayle
Edition: Hardcover
177 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars May it ALWAYS be so…, September 28, 2015
This review is from: Toujours Provence (Hardcover)
I purchased this book in a bookstore on the Cours Mirabeau, near Les Deux Garcons café, in Aix, in 1991. At the time, the bookstore carried only books written in French. This work of Peter Mayle’s had just been issued, in quick pursuit of the immense popularity of his initial work A Year in Provence. “Toujours Provence” was released only in English in 1991, and somehow the bookstore had mistakenly ordered it, no doubt due to the title (In 1998 Mayle’s account was published in French). After my read in 1991, I concluded that it was not of the same caliber as “A Year in Provence.” Currently I ache to return to the many joys of Provence, and therefore decided to give this light-hearted work a re-read, and have concluded that it is as good as “A Year…”.

Mayle’s substance and style are unchanged from his previous work. There are a series of vignettes that often focus on the uniqueness of Provencal life as experienced by a recent expatriate “arrivée” who has taken up residence in the Luberon region (Mayle, who is English, arrived from London). The observations are a blend of the self-deprecating as well as the condescending. And he peppers his work with untranslated French (which I understand). Generally, though not always, the meaning can be determined from the context for those who know no French.

“A Year…” introduced me to the “Auberge de la Loupe” in Buoux, where I ate a wonderful dinner on a cold dark evening in November, 1989. Subsequently, on many repeat visits, I’ve enjoyed the “17 appetizer” lunch, along with the Tavel Rosé. Maurice is the owner of the restaurant, and Mayle’s wife arranged for “le pique-nique” with the owner for Peter’s 50th birthday. It was in grand-style, since Maurice’s avocation is the restoration of many 19th century horse-drawn carriages, which was the mode of transport to a glorious setting under the trees, with white linen tablecloths and the obligatory champagne. Mayle explained how he had grown to dislike picnics in England due to the often inclement weather. In the end, after the delights of a wonderful “lunch,” it did turn into un pique-nique anglais.

Food, and more food, and yet as he concludes, they have actually lost weight living in Provence. Many of his vignettes center on food and alcohol, and include a trip to a degustation in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, as well as a discourse on the origins and effects of pastis. He also describes his trips to two radically different restaurants – Hiély – in the heart of Avignon, near the Place de Horlage, and a truck stop on the N7 at Orgon. The key selection criteria for both: value for money. Other stories concerned seeing Pavarotti in concert at the Roman Amphitheatre in Orange, singing toads, Vogue magazine highlighting the various “escapes” of the rich and famous, the dog show and the wild fires that can decimate the countryside. Variegated, yes.

In the final chapter he raises the rather unique British admonition on “Going Native,” again a bit tongue-in-cheek. The expression was mainly used during the Raj, the British rule of India, and how the British were supposed to maintain a certain distance “from the native classes,” by adhering to their own rituals and clubs. One of Mayle’s visitors from England noted that Mayle was in T-shirt, shorts, barefoot, and seemed to be oblivious to a rigid time schedule. Had Mayle “gone native” and become a Provençal? And he answers in the affirmative, noting the gradual and at times imperceptible changes in his life, and that overall, they were much for the better, and had improved their mental and physical health. All the better, since he had no “native” guide to help him. Imagine if he had! 5-stars, on the re-read.

Autumn Quail
Autumn Quail
by Naguib Mahfouz
Edition: Paperback
52 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bevies of quail in tranquil Alexandria in October…, September 25, 2015
This review is from: Autumn Quail (Paperback)
I first read Naguib Mafouz when I picked up Midaq Alley from a revolving stand of “odds-and-ends” book in a newsstand on Olaya Road in Riyadh in 1980. It was to be my first venture into Arabic literature. I remember being impressed at the time, feeling it gave me a slender glimpse into the lives of the Egyptians who lived in those apartment buildings, with laundry on the lines, on the balconies, along Olaya Road. The men ran many of the shops along the road, and they were “petites functionaries” in the burgeoning governmental bureaucracies. I was quite pleased when Mafouz won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the only writer in Arabic to do so. I realized there was much more to his work, and recently read the psychological thriller, The Search. Thus, “Autumn Quail” is the third work of Mafouz’s that I have read, and I have made a personal commitment to read at least three more.

In world history, “between the wars” most often refers to the period between World War I and II. Mafouz’s novel is situated between two seminal wars in their history: the 1956 seizure of the Suez Canal by British, French and Israeli forces and the 1967 “Six Day” War with Israel. The opening scene depicts the rioting and fires in Cairo, which were a reaction of the civilian population to the killing of Egyptian policemen by British forces.

The protagonist is Isa ad-Dabbagh, a young official successfully “on the move” in the political establishment. He is engaged to his cousin Salwa, the daughter of Ali Bey Sulaiman, a Justice and senior palace official. Then disaster strikes. There is a dramatic shift in the political structure: the outs are in. The ins are out. Those who were too closely associated with the monarchy of King Farouk are “history.” Isa must appear before the “Purge Committee,” and although his level of crimes were “normal” under the rules of the prior power structure, he is released from government service, albeit with a modest severance package. Hassan, who is another cousin of Isa, and had been on the “outs,” finds his team to now be winning, and he is driving that perennial status symbol: a Mercedes. The remainder of the novel depicts Isa’ loss of status, and his drift, due to lack of work.

The above set-up occurs in many countries. The familial relationships in Egypt are often stronger – with the aforementioned marriage to cousins – and thus Mafouz’s tale is colored by those familial considerations. Salwa dumps the “fallen” Isa. Much of the rest of the novel relates to his efforts obtain a satisfactory wife, and he eventually settles for an “overfed nonentity,” Qadriyya. He also feels that he cannot remain in Cairo, and flees to the relative tranquility and anonymous existence in Alexandria, hence the title.

Mafouz ranks with Balzac, in terms of insights into the “Human Comedy.” His characterization of Isa, and his relatives and companions is incisive. In terms of political commentary, Mafouz includes, twice, in relationship to both wars, the sometimes familiar “lament” of people who had been colonized: should they bring back their former colonial “masters,” in this case, the British, since they seem to be utterly unable to rule themselves? Roger Allen has provided an excellent, fluid, and at times lyrical translation. I had to keep reminding myself that this is actually a translation. My only criticism of this edition is that Allen provides a complete summary of the plot as an “Introduction.” Surely, that should have been relegated to an “Afterword.” He also leaves enough Arabic words (with suitable explanation of these words, as well as place names and historical characters, in the “Note” section) to provide local “flavor.” 5-stars, plus.

King Lear
King Lear
Price: $0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aging and dissent among the heirs…, September 23, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: King Lear (Kindle Edition)
After a few decade hiatus, I’ve been reading (or re-reading, as in this case) the works of Shakespeare. Principle themes in King Lear involve the aging process, “letting go,” and the (seemingly inevitable) dissent among the children, particularly if some money is involved. These are all eternal themes, and Shakespeare has set a good “benchmark.”

Lear has made it four score years; frailty, mental and physical have set in. Like so many, he wants to ensure his “legacy.” He has three daughters, Cordelia, Regan and Goneril. He asks each to profess their love for him. The latter two are profuse in their praise, as well as hypocritical. Cordelia is neither, but she is true in her love, and is disinherited for her efforts. She will go on to marry the King of France. And this sets in motion forces that will lead to literal war among the three daughters and their husbands.

There is also a major subplot, involving Edmund, who is the illegitimate son of Gloucester, and Edgar, who is legitimate. Edmund is a true villain, and successfully plots Edgar’s ejection as heir. As he says: “A credulous father! And a brother noble, whose nature is so far from doing harms, that he suspects none: on whose foolish honesty my practices ride easy. I see the business. Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit: All with me’s meet that I can fashion fit.”

Some other memorable quotes that have resonated through the ages: “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child. Away, Away.” “And let not women’s weapons, water-drops, stain my man’s cheeks.” And hasn’t the following truth always been with us: “Our present business is general woe.” Concerning her father, Regan says: “Tis the infirmity of his age; yet he hath ever but slenderly known himself.”
After having now read several of the tragedies, there is a very familiar trajectory to the plot, which is a very foreshortened variation of John Maynard Keynes famous quip: “In the long-run, we are all dead.” In Lear, it is in the short-run of the play that virtually all the principal characters share that fate. True to form, the influence of the Greek tragedies is heavy, with the “fool” providing a useful foil, Lear is condemned to his fate by his own hubristic actions, and there is even a character, Gloucester, who is blinded, and must wander, or as one of the daughters jibs: Let him use his nose to find his way back to Dover.

I continue to be impressed how these “school assignment” plays demonstrate immense insight into the human condition, and remain relevant today. However, think I am ready for a comedy, where not everyone is dead in the end, long or short-term. 5-stars.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 24, 2015 5:35 PM PDT

Dictionnaire Du Francais Parle (French Edition)
Dictionnaire Du Francais Parle (French Edition)
by Charles Bernet
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
21 used & new from $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On kicking the ant-heap and other idiomatic expressions..., September 21, 2015
Charles Bernet and Pierre Rezeau are researchers at CNRS (Centre national de la recherché scientifique) in Nancy. They worked and collaborated on the 13 volume Trésor de la langue française, tome 8, of which a single volume, number 8, is currently selling for $404, in the Amazon secondary market. Before "wading into" those very heavy volumes (Amazon is indicating that one volume weigh eight pounds), this single volume provides much insight into the nuances and "tricks" of French idiomatic expressions. This work was published in 1989, and I purchased it in the 1990's, in part because the cover flap seemed to describe me: (this work is) "for the foreigners who learned the French and who hear or read something which they cannot find any part of the `key'.) This work is only in French, so those looking for a translation of a French expression into English (or some other language) should pass. Nonetheless, I found their explanation of French expression quite lucid, and even memorable. The work is approximately 400 pages long, with an excellent index.

To cite a couple examples, both of which resonated with me. I seem to have struggled with internalizing the various usages of "foutre" and I found an example utilizing my old "friend," the gravelly-voiced singer Serge Gainesbourg:

"Se foutre en l'air" (`detruire sa sante') (to demolish one's health)

"Serge Gainesbourg chante la plupart des chansons `pas degueus' de son dernier album.... ou il met en gard ses jeunes fans contre la drogue: `touchez pas a la poussiere d'ange. Surtout n'ayez pas l'impudence de vous foutre en l'air avant l'heure dite' The quote is from an article in the French newspaper `Le Monde' from 1988, and it is Gainesbourg's admonition not to use "angel dust" so as not to damage your health before the appointed hour.

I had to chuckle since the expression immediately before "Foutre" seems to relate to precisely what I am doing in life now: "Coup de pied dans la fourmiliere" which the authors state is: "prise de position novatrice d'un individu qui derange la routine d'un groupe." I am "kicking the ant-heap" which is to take an individualistic position which disturbs the routine of the group.

This is the type of dictionary that can be read "cover to cover," a few pages at a time. It provides much insight into the French language, and is highly recommended, and if I ever stopped kicking the ant-heap, I'd have more time to concentrate on the important things in life, like finishing this excellent dictionary. 5-stars.

Martine: en Avion (French Edition)
Martine: en Avion (French Edition)
by Marcel Marlier
Edition: Hardcover
38 used & new from $5.12

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Martine trumps Caroline..., September 18, 2015
I recently reviewed Caroline Aux Sports D'Hiver (French Edition)It is part of a series of French children’s books that are standard cultural references. More than 38 million copies of the series have been sold. However the “Martine” series easily trumps “Caroline,” with over 100 million copies sold, in a 60 book series. This series was conceived and executed by the Belgium author, Gilbert Delahaye. His first book was published in 1954, he died in 1997, and the last in the series was published by his heirs, in 2010. The subject volume was published in 1965.

And it depicts air travel as it was then, free, easy, maybe even a bit of fun and adventure. For an adult reading this book to his child, it can be a trip down memory lane. And for the child who has endured the present-day hassles, it must seem like a fairy tale, and not one with a bad ending. For example, the passengers actually walk out on the tarmac (naturally under sunny skies) and board by climbing the steps they descend from the rear of the aircraft. There is real china, real silverware, and real glasses, all in the “golden era” before hi-jackings led to some serious modification. And the security is such that there dog manages to ride in the baggage compartment.

Overall, particularly if you are trying to teach your children a different language, as well as the ways of a different culture, these books remain a very tangible, and lovely pedagogical device. 5-stars.

Conscience of a Conservative
Conscience of a Conservative
by Barry M. Goldwater
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.95
51 used & new from $1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Apostate reflections on an earlier era..., September 16, 2015
I first read this book before I kept track of the books I have read, which commenced in the summer of 1962. My 50 cent copy was the 14th printing, in August, 1961 (it was first published in March, 1960). Back then, a lot of Americans were dissatisfied with the direction their country was taking (sound familiar?), and yearned for some answers. Barry Goldwater, a US Senator from Arizona, was proposing those answers in this book. Nominally, they make some sense, and can be confirmed by the appropriate, but selective examination of experience. Goldwater proclaimed America is: "...fundamentally a Conservative nation. The preponderant judgment of the American people, especially of the young people, is that the radical, or Liberal approach has not worked and is not working. They yearn for a return to Conservative principles." Goldwater would go on to become the Republican candidate in the 1964 Presidential election, and he would win precisely one of the 50 states, against a Johnson landslide. After eight more years, and a clear demonstration that many youth were not conservative, the liberal "Goldwater," George McGovern, would win precisely one of the 50 states, against the Nixon landslide of 1972. Ah, the `60's, "interesting times" to borrow a phrase from a Chinese proverb.

Goldwater is a strong advocate of "state's rights," and admits the phrase is somewhat tainted due to its use by segregationists. He unequivocally states that he is in favor of integrated public schools, but also states that he does not believe he should impose his beliefs on the people of South Carolina or Mississippi. He opposes the efforts of the Supreme Court since he believes the Constitution provides no basis for the Federal government to be involved in education. He has a rather "fundamentalist" view of the Constitution, believing the "Founding Fathers" got it completely right the first time around, and says: "In effect, what the Court said that what matters is not the ideas of the men who wrote the Constitution, but the COURT'S ideas" (emphasis added.

Other areas of concern, and they are rarely heard about today, is "Freedom for the Farmer" and "Freedom for Labor." Quick: when was the last time you read an article about massive subsidies that created mountains of "farm surplus"? And when was the last time you read an article about the nefarious influences of "Big Labor"? The proverbial "family farmer" left the farm, and Goldwater saw nothing wrong with this trend that had been in effect since the foundation of the Republic. Now it is all "agribusiness." The power of the Labor unions has been largely eclipsed, due to the "outsourcing" of manufacturing (and jobs) to non-Americans who are willing to work for much less, coupled with a vast underground pool of "undocumented migrants" who are happy to accept a few crumbs, and cause no problems.

The last portion of the book is a clarion call to fight for "victory" over the commies. It is a grimly binary world. It is the "commies" against us, seeking world domination. No hint that there might be major fractures in this supposedly monolithic world, as would occur between China and Russia, or all the other little "eddies" of differences, for example, Yugoslavia, which would largely mirror a variety of other nationalistic differences in the so-called "Free World," which contain a large dollop of dictators, but they were "our" dictators as the expression had it. Goldwater concluded with an awkward two sentences, both grammatically, and morally, which may have been the reason he failed to gain a wider following: "The other runs the risk of war, and holds forth the promise of victory. For Americans who cherish their lives, but their freedom more, the choice cannot be difficult." Dead, but "free"?

Back when I first read the book, I was a "believer," and after not so many years, became an apostate. What to make of the book, and its rather simplistic, but never truly outrageous ideas, save for the last one, five and a half decades later: I'll give it 3-stars.

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