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Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible
Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible
by Jerry A. Coyne
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.11
39 used & new from $16.66

58 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The gloves are off ... Coyne tells it like it is..., May 19, 2015
I was lucky to find an advance copy of this book at a used book store and finished it a few days ago. I took almost six pages of notes. The cumulative effect is that he destroys the idea that religion is comparable to science and that religion has anything to offer at all in the how and why question of our existence. I may be an atheist but I'm not a blind follower and would quibble with him over some details, but that's par for the course. So-called sophisticated apologists (aka, intellectual morons) will cry foul on every other page (or every page depending on the reader) but too bad. Coyne's opinion on the type of discussion that should take place between religion and science was priceless (pp. 256-257). Hint: One of them should just shut up and listen. You can argue that he shouldn't hit so hard at times, but really, enough is enough already. It is 2015. Put aside the silly myths. ADMIT that they are myths. Anyhow, just listen to apologists like William Lane Craig on You Tube and you won't have any pity about the take down. It's fully deserved (although they will deny it is such). Will this book cause millions of believers to put their childish and outdated beliefs behind them? Maybe one or two. To them, I say welcome to the dark side :) To the others, have fun forcing the square peg in the round hole. Yeah, push harder, maybe you can chip some of the wood off the side.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 20, 2015 12:43 PM PDT

Tuff Luck
Tuff Luck
DVD ~ Kenny Monroe
Price: $19.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Rockumentary of a little known melodic metal band from 1987, when music was still good... great guitar playing..., May 15, 2015
This review is from: Tuff Luck (DVD)
I watched this on Google Play. I enjoyed it a lot. Great band (with a top notch guitar player) that I came across by accident way back in 1987. This 2015 documentary (rockumentary) details the bands history and high points and low points. They had more than one chance to sign a record deal but ... well, you'll have to watch the video to see what happened. 97 minutes. Never a dull moment.

To the Far Mountains
To the Far Mountains
by Wayne D. Overholser
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
12 used & new from $2.90

4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Western story of settlers moving West in 1868 during Indian troubles in Kansas and Colorado..., May 7, 2015
I picked this vintage Western paperback up at a used book store. Considering its age, it was in really great shape and looked unread. Okay, what about the story? It's about settlers in 1868 Kansas that decide to group together and move to the foot of the Rockies in Colorado. At the same time there is a secondary plot about the battle of Beecher Island which one of the settlers gets mixed up in as a scout. There's also a love story that gets a bit complicated for the man (hero of the story). Being frontier settlers at this time in history, there is some god talk among them (as an atheist I didn't really mind it and it was amusing to see how they thanked god for the good but never blamed him for the bad; basically, they just used the idea of god to suit their needs). Interestingly, the parson had some thoughts that certainly lend to atheism but he (or the author) never fully follows through. The writing was pretty good and I would certainly read another book by this author. This book would make for a good movie.

Great Paintings of the American West
Great Paintings of the American West
by Patricia Janis Broder
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Full color reproductions of paintings in the Thomas Gilcrease collection..., May 4, 2015
3.5 stars
(After a quick count) this book features 73 paintings of the Old West owned by the Thomas Gilcrease Museum in Oklahoma. The reproductions are mostly very good (some a bit dark but it looks like the original paintings were like that, too) and each painting is accompanied by a page of text about the artist and the art (generally accurate but sometimes a bit weak on the history). It is easy to read, entertaining, and you can read a few pages a night and enjoy the art. I was lucky and found a like new hardcover in a used book store for only $20.00. I have also seen it in softcover (but it wasn't in good condition and that's why I didn't buy it). If you're into Western art this is a good book, but I wouldn't spend more than $20 like I did, and then only if the book is in excellent condition. While I have seen many of these paintings in other books that I already own, a few were new to me. Unfortunately the author died in 2002.

Lucky Louie - The Complete First Season
Lucky Louie - The Complete First Season
DVD ~ Louis C.K.
Price: $12.83
47 used & new from $4.32

5.0 out of 5 stars Raunchy, yes. Funny, yes. Entertaining, yes., May 4, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I don't have HBO so I never saw this show before. Not too long ago I purchased all the Louie DVDs from his new Fox show and have been watching season 5 on cable. I find the show very entertaining. So I decided to give his prior sitcom -- Lucky Louie -- a chance. I love it. The show is funny, raunchy (cursing is frequent), some male nudity, and sometimes it hits close to home with certain issues that come up. The setting of the show sort of reminds me of the Honeymooners ... lower income white couple in a crappy apartment, but in this case with a kid. Very entertaining after a day of work. Too bad there are only 13 episodes. But there are four commentaries and a 17-minute behind the scenes extra.

Yellow Swallow
Yellow Swallow
by Peter Harrison
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.34
16 used & new from $7.30

5.0 out of 5 stars Did Custer and Monahsetah have a child together?, May 2, 2015
This review is from: Yellow Swallow (Paperback)
This short book (about 45 pages) is a fascinating piece of detective work trying to figure out if Custer and Monahsetah had a child together sometime in the last quarter of 1869. The (late) author has collected quite a bit of the relevant data (if no all of it) and tries to make sense of it. A very interesting story and generally well told. What is the author's educated guess about the probability of this long-time rumor? You'll have to read the book to find out.

The Gray Fox: George Crook and the Indian Wars
The Gray Fox: George Crook and the Indian Wars
by Paul Magid
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $29.95
29 used & new from $24.88

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Starts off great, but then stumbles a bit..., April 27, 2015
This book covers roughly a ten year period, 1866-1877, of George Crook's life. It starts with Crook's Indian campaigns in the Pacific Northwest then moves to Arizona in the early 1870s before moving on to the mid-1870s and the Great Sioux War. I'm not too familiar with the first two topics listed above but greatly enjoyed reading them. Someone very knowledgeable in these particular Indian wars of the late 1860s and early 1870s would be a better judge of their overall accuracy. But the author's writing style made them easy to read and enjoyable. Next we come to the Great Sioux War. Like many readers interested in the Plains Indian wars, I am more familiar with this topic. Unfortunately the Sioux War chapters that I have read so far are not as accurate as they could have been (the question you should ask is this: Is that the reviewer's opinion or a fact?). Now let me state that no history book is perfect. Some errors get by the best authors. It's just the nature of the beast. Having said that, let me state a few of the notes I have taken. The author states (p. 425n24) that Frank Grouard was not exactly the most trustworthy of historical witnesses and that Joe DeBarthe to whom he told his life story admitted to "exaggerating and inventing incidents" in the book that resulted from their talks. But then the author uses Grouard as an eyewitness that Washakie was at the battle of the Rosebud based on a statement he made some fifteen years later when contemporary accounts do not support this detail. Even Lieutenant Bourke doesn't mention Washakie joining Crook until July 11. Overall, the contemporary eyewitness accounts do not support his presence at the battle. I'm not going to dwell on this by explaining in detail all the reasons why I don't believe Washakie was at the Rosebud battle, but I am very confident that the available evidence does not support the fact that he was there.

Moving on, between pp. 187 and 196 the author seems to be confused in regard to the Indian horses taken at the Reynolds' battle in March 1876. The herd numbered about 700 (we're all good on this). He states that the Cheyenne only recaptured 60-70 the next day. All accounts I have read state that they recaptured most of their horses, not 60-70. Even if some just wandered off and weren't technically taken back by the Cheyenne, still they recaptured a significant number of their horses. The author writes that Crook was "exuberant" (p. 188) about the horses that Reynolds captured but then states in the next paragraph that he was angry with Reynolds for several reasons, including "the loss of the pony herd." The second statement is correct (Crook was angry; Lieut. Bourke said he seemed "annoyed and chagrined'), the first ("exuberant") must be a mistake. Then on p. 189 Magid quotes Bourke about the soldiers killing many of the captured horses (young ponies and brood mares) because they were slowing down the command and kept the warriors on their trail hoping to steal back the horses, implying that Crook’s command was still in possession of the majority of them. But this seems to be a false impression by Magid. The slaughtered horses mentioned here must have been from the small number that Crook recaptured from the Cheyennes (about fifty according to Bourke) while on his way to meet with Reynolds after the battle and any other horses that the Indians failed to recapture from Reynolds. For Bourke’s account, see Volume 1 of the Charles M. Robinson series, pp. 253-258. Bourke never states that the Indians only recaptured 60-70 of their horses (nor does any book I am aware of). Lastly, on p. 196 he writes that the Cheyennes recovered many of their horses after the fight. But on p. 187 (as mentioned above) he said they only recovered 60-70 from a herd of about 700. Which is it? It's just all confused. Hopefully in the softcover edition he will fix this up.

On page 168, Magid writes that Frank Grouard rode for the Pony Express in Montana. The Pony Express did not operate in Montana and Grouard would have been about 10 or 11 years old at the time as the Pony Express was around 1860-1861. What he did do was carry mail on a pony in present Montana, but he didn't ride for the famous Pony Express.

Next. On p. 233 he writes that a patrol of the Third Cavalry rejoined Crook’s command on June 2, 1876, at the ruins of Fort Reno. It was the reverse, the patrol was already camped there and Crook's column had joined them. On p. 246, Magid writes that Crazy Horse commanded the Indian warriors at the battle of the Rosebud. That's not really how the Plains warriors fought, so I'm not sure what he means. Plus it was a pretty big battlefield for Crazy Horse to be in charge. Also, he credits Crazy Horse with being a decoy at the Fetterman battle. I'm not faulting him on this, but he seems to have written this being unaware of some of the latest research that speaks rather convincingly against Crazy Horse being a decoy. For instance, see Where a Hundred Soldiers Were Killed by John Monnett.

In closing, I think the author is a very good writer. He is easy to read and if not for wanting to look at the notes in the back as I'm reading, the pages would just fly by. No book is perfect. I point out the above for those interested.

April 28, 2015
p. 271: Crook received word of the LBH fight on July 10, not July 11
p. 272: Washakie with a little over 200 Shoshones joined Crook on July 11, not July 12
p. 273: Three couriers from Terry arrived in Crook's camp on July 12, not July 13
p. 274: The author writes: "Sheridan had insisted that Terry, who outranked Crook, should now command the joint force." I'm not saying this didn't happen, I just can't recall reading this. Does anyone know where the source for this statement is?

May 1, 2015
p. 397: I'm guessing that Magid knows that Fort Keogh and Fort Custer are not the same fort but that he somehow mixed up this detail in his narrative.

My closing thoughts. It's impossible to read a biography and not learn something about the subject and his/her times, and upon finishing the last page of this book, I feel I have added to my knowledge base. I have some more corrections but I've listed enough above (I strongly disagree with a comment made near the end of the book when the author lumped two men under the same umbrella. The historical record does not support this). Sans the errors, this is a 4+ star book.

The Guilt Trip
The Guilt Trip
DVD ~ Barbra Streisand
Offered by Super Fast DVDs
Price: $6.68
43 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Four stars because I could relate to some of the situations and characters ..., April 22, 2015
This review is from: The Guilt Trip (DVD)
An east-west road trip with mother and son. It was a cute movie, but dragged a little at times. Nothing too bad. I'm giving it four stars because I could relate to some of the situations and personalities. If it was entirely foreign to me, then I'm not sure how I would feel about it.

Office Space - Special Edition with Flair (Widescreen Edition)
Office Space - Special Edition with Flair (Widescreen Edition)
DVD ~ Ron Livingston
Price: $4.99
125 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More entertaining than I expected...definitely a few laughs and chuckles...but also a bit dated, April 20, 2015
I found this in the bargain bin at Best Buy for $4.99. I didn't even realize that it was from 1999 until I watched it and they mentioned the expected computer problems related to Y2K and someone even used a floppy disc to transfer computer files! I don't work in a cubicle but pass by a place just like this on my way to work everyday. There are big windows and you can see inside. All cubicles. I could never do it. There were quite a few laughs in this movie. A brief synopsis without giving anything away: There's this guy who writes/fixes computer code and he works for the type of company where you can just go out of your mind from the nonsense. The kind of place where you really are wasting your life. He basically reaches the point where he just gives up. Ironically, that's when good things start to come his way. But of course, the good times can't last. The only thing I didn't like was the soundtrack, a bit too much with the rap music. Just not my thing. But a good movie anyway. Would probably watch it again in a few years for the laughs. It's also funny just seeing the floppy disc. Boy how times have changed so fast!

Wild Times
Wild Times
by Brian Wynne Garfield
Edition: Hardcover
62 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars If you liked Little Big Man by Thomas Berger, you should like this too ..., April 12, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Wild Times (Hardcover)
This book is 477 pages -- the hardcover edition. Before I talk about the book I just want to mention that Garfield is also the author of some other well known books such as Death Wish (about people that want to die for some reason), Hopscotch (about some kids' game), Kolchak's Gold (stars Telly Savalas as the bald detective), and The Last Hard Men (this was made into a well known porn movie). In this book, he writes about a frontier character named Hugh Cardiff. It's comparable to Little Big Man by Thomas Berger in that the protagonist is recalling his life and adventures in his later years. It's pretty good but stretched out a bit (especially the chapter titled Trailing Apache). Although the author can blame the character (an admitted liar), he's got General George Crook in Arizona a couple of years before he really was there (he arrived in 1871) and he has General Nelson Miles in Arizona five years too early (1881 instead of 1886). Garfield's writing is easy to read and the chapters, though long, are subdivided into short sections so if time is limited, you can easily read this in short sittings. I had a hard time fully buying into the main antagonist's motivation, especially toward the end, but that's just me. I do have a couple of other criticisms but to detail them would give away parts of the book which I don't want to do. Besides, other readers may not feel the same way.

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