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L. Shirley "Laurie's Boomer Views" RSS Feed (Huntington Beach,CA)

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4.0 out of 5 stars NOT The Jack London Story ...But A Good Series (1 Season = Complete Series), August 27, 2015
The Series -Although, an excellent show with some original story lines that had great potential - don't let the title fool you - is not "Jack London's Call of the Wild". There are some storylines that have similarity to certain episodes/adventures in the book, but basically it is about Buck the dog and the life he may have led after all the trial and tribulations he went through in the book; finally settling with a family that loves him.

The story takes place in a small gold mining town in the Yukon around the late 1800's-early 1900's. Buck comes to town to be auctioned as a sled dog; Miles Challenger, a teen with aspirations of being the best guide there ever was, wants to own Buck desperately, but the bidding is getting very high .Of course, Buck does become part of Miles' family, and is proved to be one great dog, usually saving lives and the day.

The stories are suspenseful, adventurous, and as we get to know the inhabitants of the little town and share their personal lives, many of the episodes are heartwarming as well .Some of the episodes even have a wonderful mystical note to them, including Indian lore, and a visit from a famous gunfighter who as history tells us was not even alive at that time. Although basically a family friendly series, I wouldn't recommend it to the very young child. There are some scenes which may be too violent or scary - dog fighting, bear attacks, murder, etc. Also, another disappointment is that there is no season 2. The last episode leaves us hanging as to what will happen with some of our favorite characters.

The acting is wonderful - Buck is fabulous, and a young Shane Meier interacts expertly with Nick Mancuso as his step-father who is trying hard to both teach Miles the ways of the frontier and be a father to a reluctant step-son ;the scenery, - much taking place in the snowy mountains - is gorgeous; and the background music gives the perfect tone to the stories.

I really enjoyed the series and would recommend it. I think it could have developed into something great, maybe another Lassie.
Happy Trails .....Laurie
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 26, 2016 4:57 PM PST

A Christmas Carol [VHS Tape] (1979) Alister Sim; Brian Desmond Hurst
A Christmas Carol [VHS Tape] (1979) Alister Sim; Brian Desmond Hurst
by Alister Sim
Edition: VHS Tape
30 used & new from $0.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sim IS Scrooge, August 25, 2015
Alastair Sim is the perfect miserly "Hum Bug". He IS "Scrooge" in this wonderful version of the classic Christmas based on a story by Charles Dickens. He is a bitter old man who "Will keep Christmas in my own way," which is not at all. People cringe when they see him coming. Dogs cower. But that is all about to change .You know the story.....Scrooge, visited by the ghost of his deceased partner, Jacob Marley, dragging the chains he has forged for himself in life, now learns that it is not too late for himself. He can redeem himself!

He is visited by three more spirits that Christmas eve. His past, his present and his future. Each take him on a fantastic journey,through time and space, showing him how his ways are wrong, and what will happen if he doesn't change.

Sim does an excellent portrayal of Ebeneezer Scrooge. His transformation from a bitter man to a really caring human being is wonderful to watch. In the end we know that he changes not just so he can have a better after life, but because he really cares about life and humanity. It's a joy to watch ANYTIME of the year - I just watched it on a hot August night and now I'll try to wait until Christmas to view it again.

It also stars, Kathleen Harrison, Jack Warner, Mervyn Jones, the always wonderful Hermoine Baddeley,and be sure to look for a young Patrick MacNee, who plays a young Jacob Marley on the visit to the past.

enjoy and remember - we will wear the chains we forge in life - and keep Christmas all through the year!
Happy Trails...Laurie

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman[All Region, Import]
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman[All Region, Import]

5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure Abounds, August 24, 2015
Robin of the Hood, Prince Of Thieves, friend to the poor, on the run from the law. This film has it all. Lots of swashbuckling adventure, heroes, villains, romance, comedy, terrific cinematography ,wonderful actors, great costumes and a truly memorable musical score. It's a great story: Robin Hood(Kevin Costner) escapes from a foreign prison during the 12th century wars, comes home to find his father(Brian Blessed), a nobleman, murdered and the people of his beautiful countryside are starving. The person responsible for all this suffering - well you know - it's the Sheriff of Nottingham(Alan Rickman).

With King Richard also away at the wars, it is up to Robin to save the starving people, thwart the efforts of the Sheriff to take over the country, and save Maid Marion(Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) from the clutches of this madman. He has lots of help though; he hides out in Sherwood Forest with Littlejohn, Friar Tuck, Will Scarlett(Christian Slater)and the rest of the outlaws, and also is befriended by Azim(Morgan Freeman), a Moor that escaped the prison with Robin.
There's lots of great action and romance to follow. The sword fights, arrows blazing with fire in slo-mo and explosions, all look great in the widescreen, along with the tender moments between Robin and Marion with the great musical score in the background. There's even a surprise cameo(I won't say who just in case you havn't seen it yet).

As I already mentioned there is some great acting in the film. Kevin Costner is a terrific Robin. Alan Rickman is so good at being so loathesome(Die Hard/Quigley Down Under), and Morgan Freeman as usual thrills us with his performance. You'll love hearing Brian Adams' "I Do It For You", and the scenery of the English countryside is breathtaking.

I also wanted to mention for those that have not seen it and are thinking about watching it with the family, the PG-13 rating does push the envelope a little. There's some language, and some scenes that may be to sexual(nothing explicit though) for younger viewers. And of course there is all the fighting.

Happy Trails.....Laurie
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 26, 2015 5:29 PM PDT

Benjamin Franklin: The Autobiography
Benjamin Franklin: The Autobiography

5.0 out of 5 stars A Precious History, August 23, 2015
This review refers to "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin"

How lucky we are that these writings still exist. For history buffs and really, any American, Benjamin Franklin's words about his life and the American way of life during much of the 18th century is truly a precious history. He wrote his memories of his life late in his life to his son. I say memories as many of his papers did not survive the war(as he states), and much that he relates is from memory.

From early boyhood through the 1750's he records his thoughts of - with amazing details - the people who affected him, various writings, including some letters he still had, Indian wars, his various jobs and government offices, and important moments and events in history. He is not shy about noting his accomplishments, many that there were(lucky for us), but also the times when things did not exactly go well for him. Sadly, he died before he finished his memoirs.

It is an absorbing and a remarkably easy read. I thought I might have trouble following this great mind, but his writings are straight forward, open and candid. He touches on a great many subjects, as well as some very personal thoughts. I would have liked to read a bit more about his personal life with his family, however, he does touch a bit on that aspect of his life.

A wonderful read of a precious history....enjoy.
Happy Trails...Laurie

In the Heart of the Sea
In the Heart of the Sea
by Nathaniel Philbrick
Edition: Audio CD

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Account and Audio Read.....Check to Make Sure You Are Getting The Audio Edition You Prefer, August 15, 2015
This review is from: In the Heart of the Sea (Audio CD)
This review refers to "In The Heart Of The Sea" by Nathaniel Philbrick, Unabridged Audio edition, read by Scott Brick

Nathaniel Philbrick leaves no stone unturned in this very tragic and complex, but true account of the wreck and sinking of The Whaleship Essex. Rammed by a huge sperm whale, that from all accounts was a definite attack on the ship, the crew, men who lived and profited by the sea and were the slayers of whales for the precious oil provided, were now the victims as the hunted became the hunter. It is an incredible story of man's will to survive against all odds, that was the inspiration for Melville's "Moby Dick".

Philbrick immediately draws you into not only the lives of the Essex's crew members, but the entire town of Nantucket, from where the ship sailed, detailing the close-kint families; the women's roles and the daily life in Nantucket, often revealing some very intimate details. The life on board a whaling ship, the hardships of the journey for both the crew and their families, and the journey itself through the vast ocean are all very much a part of this story.

You will feel like you have gone back in time to 1820, and are there with them, as the whale attacks the ship, the men nearly frozen by horror and disbelief, and the beginning of a long, horrifying journey; a fight to stay alive under some of the worst conditions imaginable.For thousands of miles, and many months, I was constantly amazed at their ingenuity and stamina as they tried to find safety, food and water. Steering clear of islands they thought might be inhabited by cannibals they later found they had to resort to that themselves. Questions still remain as to the actual circumstances that occurred.

A handful of survivors left to tell the story, not all agreeing on some points, but enough so that this tragedy at sea and the men who lost their lives as well as those that survived may be remembered for their bravery. Philbrick delves into all the details, from the people involved, to procedures at sea, and even what became of the survivors through the years.The book is so well written, that it will grab you right away and won't let you go. Sometimes you have to keep in mind that this amazing tale is not an adventure novel.

The reading of this audio book is excellent as well. Scott Brick sets the tone and captures the importance,the tragic events, and the emotions involved. Sometimes the reviews for all editions of a book are lumped together on the product page; there are also several audio editions available. Check with the sellers(and make sure you are on the detail page - tape; CD; reader; etc) of the edition you prefer.

A book that will certainly get read again and again. Highly recommended read for anyone, but for those who love tales of the excellent account of a tragic story.

6 used & new from $5.71

3.0 out of 5 stars Of Historic Importance...But...Long-Winded, August 14, 2015
This review is from: Windtalkers (DVD)
Nicolas Cage plays Joe Enders a wounded Marine, soul survivor of 15 men fighting a battle during WWII. He is a Marine through and through. He wants to get back to battle and even fakes his wellness to be released from the hospital. Still feeling the sting of the guilt by the loss of his men, he is given a new assignment: to protect and guard with his own life, that of a Navajo soldier. One of an exceptional group, that has been intensely trained in the art of wartime code. Ben Yahzee is considered THE Code, and must be protected at all costs, never to fall into the hands of the Japanese.

Enders is unhappy with this assignment, but he lives by a code as well... To Do Or Die. Although resentful of the "babysitting" job, he obeys his orders to the fullest - putting himself in harm's way to protect "the code". Yahzee does his job of decoding and does it well, but must endure physical abuse and racial slurs from some of the other soldiers. As Enders sees the importance of Yahzee's existence to the war, and gets to know him as a person, he begins to warm to him and eventually holds him in the highest esteem.

I love War films, especially WWII films, and most especially, those based on actual events. I have viewed this film twice over the last few years, and twice it lost me a little over halfway through the 2 hours and 15 minutes of it. The story, Directed by action great John Woo, is an important one to American History and one that makes us aware of the very integral part the "Windtalkers" played in the war - probably saving hundreds of lives by their own heroic actions. I just felt it took too long to tell the story. The script did not allow me to feel about the characters the same way I did, say, for the soldiers in Saving Private Ryan, that had to protect Ryan with their own lives. The action sequences were great, but there was so much of it, it was hard to warm to the personal stories.

Probably a good rental for war buffs or just to see what the "Windtalkers" were all about; but may not stand up to repeated viewings.......Laurie

No Title Available

3.0 out of 5 stars What Could Have Been, August 12, 2015
1,000 friends and family members were at the funeral. So many were such a big part of his life. They loved him and would do anything for him, but they didn't do enough. None could or would save him from himself.

"Wired: The Short Life & Fast Times of John Belushi" by Bob Woodward takes a good look at the events of his life that led him to sudden fame and his fast spiral downward of fast living and drugs that led to his death much too early for this brilliant and much loved comic genius.

You may learn more then you want to know about some pretty big names in the entertainment industry that either unwittingly helped Belushi or partied hardy with him on his road to self-destruction. I admire them for stepping up and telling their stories to Author Woodward(even the drug dealers themselves have some interesting accounts), and although some actually lectured John on the evils of what he was doing to himself - at one point a self-professed anti-drug enforcer was hired to help out -I was dismayed by the lack of courage of any of these giants, and those closest to him, to take drastic measures to save his life. Many times the interviewees say, he was headed for death. Woodward does an excellent job of supplying the details of his life and times, his fast rising career, the attitudes of his friends, the movie studio execs, his family and even his Doctors. No one could say NO to him.

It is clear that alot of time, hundreds of interviews, and extensive research has gone into this book, making it a must read for fans. John's bigger then life personality, his constant demand and need for artistic freedom and control are a very big part of this story. My problem came in about the first third of the book. To be honest I found this part a bit tedious and repetitive. Adoring fans, need not be reminded of nearly every line he spoke or wrote for the Saturday Night Live sketches. Long ago, we already made his famous phrases our own ("Cheezbugga, Cheezbugga".... "But Nooooooo...." ), and we could probably still recall in great detail, all the great moments he gave us. I did however find the look behind the scenes of this great show, and the movie ranglings most interesting. Each film he did or had a script for is talked about in detail, along with his state of being during that time. As the book goes on though, and especially towards the end where we are with him every one of his last hours on earth, we get a very good look into the craziness his life spiraled.

By the end I was saddened once again by the loss of one of my favorites, and thought about all the laughs the world has missed out on. I also felt angered by the lack of help he received from all those close to him and thought there were some matters that were just sluffed off by the participants and not detailed enough by the Author; for example, the police investigation. The book also has numerous favorite..John in his Samauri warrior costume.

An interesting read, one that may stir fans to say:

"'Bluto' have been truly missed"
Happy Trails.....Laurie

Back When We Were Grownups Unabridged edition by Tyler, Anne published by Random House Audio (2001) [Audio Cassette]
Back When We Were Grownups Unabridged edition by Tyler, Anne published by Random House Audio (2001) [Audio Cassette]
2 used & new from $7.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Audio - Fabulous Reading By Blair Brown, August 6, 2015
This review refers to the Unabridged Audio Edition of "Back When We Were Grownups" by Anne Tyler...

Blair Brown's reading of "Back When We Were Grownups" is a most enjoyable one. She seems to find in each character, just the right inflections, accents, and character traits to bring them alive. From the 100 year old "Poppy" to the youngest child, Brown finds the subtleties that make each one different, and she does it without going over the top. She brings the quiet humor of the story right to the listener, and gives you the feeling you're with an old friend.

Rebecca Davitch is a 53 year old woman, who finds herself, in life, at a place she never expected. She simply thinks she is the wrong person. What happened to her life? One minute she was an aspiring history major in college, and the next she was a middle aged woman, who, widowed early in her marriage, has raised, on her own, 4 daughters, 3 of them from her husband's previous marriage. Taking over the Davitch family business of hosting parties in their large, but always in need of repair home, also became part of her exsistence. She has been and seems will always be the glue that holds this growing family together. Always there to smooth out the wrinkles and motivate the troops.

But what of Rebecca's wants and needs? Who will ever see to them? Is her college boyfriend, who she left for her husband the answer to her quest for the real Rebecca, or is her life just as it should be?

Anne Tyler's "Back When We Were Grownups" is a wonderful take on midlife and family life. Rebecca's thoughts and feelings seem so real, almost anyone who's been there can identify with this woman. You may have even thought some of the same thoughts as Rebecca. The family and friends who surround her could be any family, anywhere, including all the everday challenges that life presents. The story is humorous, touching and at times poignant. It reminded me a bit of Doris Day's song, "Que Sera, Sera" It is a tale of finding peace with who you are, and it is one that although starts out a little slow, will have you falling in love with the characters and wishing there was more by the end.

A wonderful life story, a fabulous reading, and one that I am sure I will enjoy many times in the future. Happy Trails....Laurie

Yule B Swingin Too by Yule B' Swingin' Too! [Music CD]
Yule B Swingin Too by Yule B' Swingin' Too! [Music CD]

5.0 out of 5 stars Cool Yule, August 4, 2015
This review refers to the "Yule B' Swingin'" Too!" CD(Hip-O/Universal Music).....

"Baby It's Cold Outside"....but you won't even notice with this CD on your changer. It'll warm you through and through with it's oh so recognizable voices and musical styles. From the opening track of Louis Armstrong's classic rendition of "Christmas In New Orleans" to Billy Holiday's wonderful "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm", you'll be smilin' and swingin' to all these fun tunes.

I was looking for something fun, upbeat and just a little different from the usual holiday fare, and wow! did I find it with this one. Fans of swing will find this to be a real and rare treat. All these legendary greats performing some fabulous holiday tunes in a style that that never gets old. It's a match made in music heaven.

Some of the wonderful sounds you'll be delighted by are Louis Prima's "Shake Hands With Santa Clause"(this one will really get you jumpin'),..."Baby,It's Cold Outside", a provocative duet from Ann Margaret and Al Hirt...Dean Martin sings "Rudolph, The Red Nose Reindeer"(appropriately enough),..Ella treats us to a moving "White Christmas", and Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra entertainingly perform "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus".There are 13 tracks in total, including such greats as Benny Goodman, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, June Christy, Joe Williams, Bing Crosby with The Andrews Sisters and of course... Duke Ellington.

Many of these recordings are quite old but sound great on this CD. It's a mix that will just have you wanting to get up and swing...and if you're new to it..don't worry.. the basic 'swing step' is included in the booklet that comes with the CD!

Nice for a cool yule and a 'hip' holiday - or enjoy anytime of the year.
Happy Trails......Laurie

Whatever Happened To Billy the Kid - Does History Have the Story Right?
Whatever Happened To Billy the Kid - Does History Have the Story Right?
by Helen Airy
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Well Written and Interesting, But Still....I Dunno, July 29, 2015
OK Billy fans, you'll have to decide for yourself on this one. Author Helen Airy has put together a plethora of arguments, statements, pictures and hearsay to try and convince us that The Kid was still alive and well and lived well into the 1930's under the name of John Miller.

Settling in the Zuni Mountain area of New Mexico, John Miller and his Mexican wife became somewhat pillars of the community among the ranchers, native Americans and the Mormon residents. According to statements and tales from various denizens, Miller not only had an uncanny resemblance to Billy, but seemed to know all about Billy, had personal knowledge of the Lincoln County wars, only traveled at night, did not cotton to strangers on his land and even was a might quick(and a dead shot) on the draw.

There are many claims about what happened that fateful night at Fort Sumner, most in this account saying that Pat Garrett shot the wrong man; One of Garrett's own men denies it was Billy, and one who helped bury the corpse also claims it was someone other than The Kid. Billy was said to flee from the scene and eventually assumed the John Miller persona only telling those whom he really trusted who he really was - and there seemed to be quite a few - although everyone for miles around knew.

Although I found the book quite an interesting read, and even found the super-imposed pictures of Billy and Miller amazingly similar, I just wasn't convinced. There are so many testimonials of the people in the area, and the descendents just took it for granted that Miller was the real Billy Bonney. It is hard for me to believe that not one of these possibly hundreds never turned him in or told any outsiders. There was even at least one law man who knew(and believed). Accordingly they loved him as their neighbor so much they all kept his secret - I dunno.

The book however is very well written and put together. It appears quite a bit of research and interviews went into it and Airy lays out her findings very well. If you have a great interest in the legend of Billy the Kid you would probably want to read this book. There are some points that will definitely make you think about it. You'll also find many pictures of the people and the area.

On a personal note - I have twice driven through the New Mexico area that follows The Kid's path and stopped at towns that all had Billy stories to tell, all the way to his well protected grave(Fort Sumner). In Lincoln, I went through the courthouse where he made is infamous escape by killing two lawman, and saw the bullet hole still in the wall at the bottom of the stairs. I asked the residents of the small town - who make their living educating and giving tours to tourists on the legend - which film they felt best portrayed Billy and the events surrounding Lincoln and they all agreed it was "Young Guns"- but said the sequel(where a very old and still living Billy tells his story) was nothing but a Hollywood fluff. I still think both films were great though.

4 stars for a very well written and interesting case for "Whatever Happened To Billy The Kid?

But still...I dunno...
Happy Trails.....Laurie

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