Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sign of the Cross by Chris Kuzneski

When I first received this book I noticed how the synopsis was very similar to "The DaVinci Code" by Dan Brown and almost put the book away thinking, "That's been done, why should I read it again?" I'm glad to say I went ahead and read this book "The Sign of the Cross" and was pleased to read a great action thriller by Chris Kuzneski.

The story follows 3 groups of characters and one secret the Vatican doesn't want releases nor does it know it wants to keep this secret. Group 1 are Professor Boyd and Maria, they are a couple of historians set out to discover the secret of some catacombs beneath a small town in Italy. These catacombs were the hiding places for the pope and key figures during the great Schism in the Catholic church, but they hide a "deeper" secret. The Next group are two mercenaries, Payne and Jones, hired to find Boyd and Maria and bring them back to what could be their death. The next character is the American in charge of Interpol's homicide division, Nick Dial. Dial is trying to uncover who is behind 3 recent crucifixions in the world while trying to prevent a 4th. All Their stories soon come together as dark forces try to uncover the secret that Jesus as a Messiah was faked by the Roman Emperor, Tiberius.

All 3 groups do what needs to be done to all get together for a very climactic ending that will take you by complete surprise. The characters are extremely well developed and completely believable. In fact so much so that some of the non-factual parts of the book become believable. My favorite characters have to be Payne and Jones, the hired mercenaries. The remind me of the Marvel comics "Merc' with a mouth" Deadpool. And It times I saw Will Smith and Martin Lawrence easily playing these guys if a film is ever made. In other words they provide this book, which is filled with dark secrets, sinister plots, evil plotters and constant chases, with much needed comic relief. From the first moment they are introduced they are cracking wise. Great Characters.

All in all, while the formula of the book may be similar to Dan Brown's bestseller, Chris Kuzneski comes up with a surprisingly original thriller. He even pays homage to Dan Brown, when the character Nick Dial, looking for help in the crucifixions, asks, "What do you know about the Bible?" The response is, "More than Dan Brown."

This book is a page turner with more action and suspense than you could ever expect.

If you're interested in reading the book I'll be posting it at Paperback Swap.

Swap Your Paperback Books -

Or you can purchase it by clicking here:


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posted by Gil T. @ 3:12 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Penultimate Peril - A Series of Unfortunate Events Book 12 by Lemony Snicket

I only have one more book to go and yet I really see no end in sight. It seems Book 12 has left off just as all the others. Okay maybe with a slight difference. First let's summarize what happens in this book.

The Baudelaires have landed the submarine, "Queequeg" and hopped into a taxi. We learn that the taxi is driven by a volunteer named Kit Snicket...hmmm author's sister? Kit begins by telling the orphans that they have been watched throughout all their misadventures. At first the Baudelaires were left with guardians that either turned out to be villains or the guardians were killed. Then the orphans took matters into their own hands and were on their own through the other unfortunate events. Now they arrive with Kit at the Hotel Deneumont, where they are trying to find out if they, themselves are Volunteers or Villains. Looking back on their "careers" as orphans, they have helped to set fire to a carnival, lied to a record keeper in a hospital, worn disguises and tried to set a trap to catch someone as bait to lure Count Olaf to them. So with all these misdeeds have they become Villians? That answer, sad to say, is not revealed. However, a trial will be held at the hotel to determine whether they or Count Olaf are the villains...but, like I said, it is not revealed.

The interesting thing about the Hotel Deneumont is that it is set up like a library, using the Dewey Decimal System. The arts are on the 7th floor in the 700 section, Geography & History are on the 9th floor in the 900 section and so on. Another interesting thing about this hotel is that all it's rooms are filled with all the characters from the previous books, both Villains and Volunteers.

In this hotel the Baudelaires pose as concierges in order to do double duty as flaneurs. As flaneurs they are to discover the secret of V.F.D. and whether it is safe for the Volunteers to come back to the last known safehouse.

This book didn't seem to possess as much quick wit and elaborate story telling as in previous books. I felt as though this book were simply a summary of all the previous books. It didn't seem to hold my attention as much but there were many twists in the plot to keep me wanting to know what happened next. The unexpected end where the Baudelaires escape with....wait...I'll let you read that yourself. Or at least let your kids read it and let you know.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:06 PM Comments: 0

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz has recently released his third novel in the Odd Thomas series, "Brother Odd." As a buzz agent I got to read some excerpts from the book and found the story very intriguing and it seemed like it would be a fun read. Well, I've never been one to do anything halfway, so I couldn't start reading the series from the 3rd book. Keep in mind, however, that each of these books have been written to be independent of each other, in other words you can read one without the other. But I made it a goal that before I could read the 3rd book I had to read the first 2.

So here I am. I just finished "Odd Thomas," and I was right the novel is intriguing and a fun read.

Odd Thomas, is a fry cook with a special 6th sense. This 6th sense enables him to see dead people. The difference between Odd and that M. Night Shamalan movie is that the dead cannot talk to Odd. But they do seek revenge, by helping Odd track down their killers. Another aspect of this 6th sense is that he also sees dark spirits which he calls "bodachs." These bodachs appear and linger when violence and death are about to happen.

In the small Southern California town of Pico Mundo, Odd Thomas has just tracked down the murderer of a little girl and goes to work as a fry cook at the local greasy spoon cafe, when a man with a mysterious aura comes in and becomes the center of attention for a flock of these bodachs. Knowing they are only present when something evil is about to happen, Odd uses the 3rd part of his "gift" to psychically track down this mysterious man he has dubbed "The Fungus Man." The bad guy gets his name because of his appearance being closer to micology than biology. By the way, Odd still hasn't decided if this 6th sense is a gift or a curse.

After tracking down the man Odd gets the feeling of dread in which he feels many of Pico Mundo's citizens will perish in a major catastrophic act of evil. Odd Thomas has to stop this. He is only assisted by his girlfriend, the local sheriff and the ghost of the King of Rock-n-Roll. That's right Elvis' ghost has taken up residency in Pico Mundo.

So with this motley crew of citizens working to fight evil Dean Koontz has written one of his best novels. The character is very believable, even if he has a paranormal gift and the action is intense and non-stop. This book is one that intrigues you with great characters and keeps you held to your seat with a great plot and great action leading to a great climax. I will warn you the book has a sad ending as any paranormal love story does. Dean Koontz's writing is so wonderful I cried at the very emotional end. (Just don't tell the guys.)

This book is the perfect mix of humor, horror and love story.

I can't wait to read the next book.


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posted by Gil T. @ 9:37 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Grim Grotto - A Series of Unfortunate Events - Book 11 By Lemony Snicket

Hi, welcome back to the ongoing reviews of the books in the Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I'm a little saddened after reading this book. Not because the events are so unfortunate that they bring me to tears, but because there are only 2 books left in this great series. The writing just gets better and better with each book as well as the thickness (number of pages) of each book. I will say this, the Grim Grotto is by far the funniest and most creatively written book in the series. It is my favorite book of the series.

In this episode the reader is exposed to some great classics in literature. Such as Herman Melville, T.S. Eliot and Lewis Carroll.

First of all the orphans escape from Count Olaf as they make their way through the frozen Stricken Stream on a toboggan. The return of False Spring causes the Stricken Stream to thaw and they are carried through the rushing waters of the stricken stream and separated from Quigley Quagmire. They are soon picked up by a submarine named the Queequeg, of course, named after the character in the Herman Melville novel "Moby Dick." In fact the uniforms on the Queequeg feature the face of Herman Melville. We are then introduced to the most fun character in all these novels, Captain Widdershins. Captain Widdershins reminds me of Robin Williams with the constant speech and quick-changing subjects of his speeches. We are also introduced to Captain Widdershins step-daughter, Fiona. You will be surprised who Fiona's brother is. I'll give you a clue...he works for Count Olaf.

The orphans are then recruited to find the elusive sugar bowl that can help save V.F.D. Along the way they meet up again with Count Olaf, only this time Count Olaf also has a submarine and captures the Queequeg after the disappearance of Captain Widdershins. The orphans receive a Volunteer Factual Dispatch (a telegram) from Quigley. This telegram requires the reading of T.S. Eliot and Lewis Carroll to decipher the code.

All in all this is the best book in the series. Read it for yourself, read it to your kids, have your kids read it to you. Just enjoy the fun in this adventure.

Only 2 books left, with the exception of the "Unauthorized Autobiography of Lemony Snicket." I'm not looking forward to finishing the series but I HAVE to read more. By the way, each of these books can be read independently but it's more fun to read the series in order.

Get those kids reading.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:35 PM Comments: 0

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

End Global Poverty

If we don't take action, all of the global poverty fighting funding increases that were made in 2006 might be lost!

Check out the e-mail below.

From: Josh Peck,
Date: December 19, 2006
Subject: Keeping the Promise

Dear ONE Member,

Unless we take immediate action, a billion dollars in anti-poverty funding you helped secure for 2007 will be lost.

While Congress took time to pass important trade benefits for Africa in the closing hours of their last session, they failed to pass funding bills for the 2007 fiscal year. The result is that any funding increases that we secured in 2006 are in jeopardy ? as are the lives and livelihoods of millions of the world?s poorest people who were counting on this funding.

Please take a moment to ask Congress to protect anti-poverty funding and save lives. Click Here

During 2006, your efforts helped to secure a one billion dollar increase in anti-poverty funding for 2007. Incoming Congressional leaders have indicated that they are in favor of maintaining 2006 funding levels through 2007. This decision would mean that we risk losing all of the increases we fought hard to win and the earth?s most vulnerable people risk losing access to anti-malarial bed nets, AIDS medicines, clean water, and the opportunity to send their children to school.

To ensure that these people have the tools to fight back against poverty now and in the future, we must make certain that we follow through on our promises; we must get them the assistance that they need now.

Tell Congress to fight global poverty and save lives. Click Here

Thankfully, there is still some limited money that Congress can allocate for the 2007 budget. We need to let Congress know that we want this money to go towards fighting extreme poverty and global AIDS so that we do not take a giant step backwards.

As a movement we made an incredible amount of progress in 2006. Don?t let our progress be rolled back in 2007, tell Congress to fight global poverty and save lives. Click Here

Thank you for your voice,

Josh Peck,

Take action now Click Here

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posted by Gil T. @ 6:36 PM Comments: 0

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Battlestar Galactica

I have created a group on Gather dedicated to Battlestar Galactica. I was going to cross post my entries here but I decided just to post my initial entry and steer you in the right direction for future posts...heck maybe some of you will join my group. below is a banner for the link.

Now here is my first post to the group:

Being a DJ and working nights I don't get to watch much prime time television. I do get to watch the great Fox lineup on Sundays, because I only work Monday through Saturday, but that has nothing to do with what I am about to write. Okay in the end it will, but you will just have to read through to the end to find out how.

At first the Sci-Fi network would repeat the Battlestar Galactica Series after 1 am (CST) and that would give me my chance to catch this really cool series. But they put a stop to that and I had to find other ways to watch the series. Without discussing how I was able to view them I want to now talk about Battlestar Galactica. After all I have just finished watching all the episodes from the mini-series to the last episode "Passage," and the Webisodes of "The Resistance" found on the Sci-Fi Network. That's 55 individual episodes. It took me some time but only being able to catch some episodes every once in a while, I had some catching up to do.

One of the things I think that make this show believable is the casting of Edward James Olmos as Commander Adama, now Admiral Adama. His acting is just phenomenal. Never has a TV series made me laugh out loud, hang on the edge of my chair or get that lump of sadness in my throat. It's amazing and most of it I would say is because of Mr. Olmos.

Another thing about the series is its ability to "mimic" our world. Okay, you can have your basics of all the ships follow closely to U.S. Navy protocol. (Being a former Navy man, I can really appreciate this.) From the numbering of bulkheads and compartments on the ships to the battle tactics used, some writer/researcher on this show had to be former Navy. The other aspect of mimicry is in the way they treat the war between humans and Cylons. Many times I've seen the Humans or Cylons use tactics that are being used in today's war in Iraq, such as the use of suicide bombers in the resistance movement to defeat the Cylons. Very Interesting.

If I could say one thing about Battlestar Galactic it would be this: I hope they never reach Earth. If they do reach Earth that would probably be the end of the series, and I don't want that...I don't watch much TV, but this I make an effort to watch.

So what does this have to do with Sundays? I heard rumor that Sci-Fi network may be moving the show to Sundays...I think I would be willing to give up Simpsons for this show.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:53 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman

Oh my gawd....I have just read one of the most ridiculous and funny books of all time. The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman is a book filled with anything and everything. In fact on the cover it boasts that the book is "an almanac of complete world knowldge compiled with instructive annotation and arranged in useful order by me, John Hodgman." The only problem is you can't believe a word of it. Mr. Hodgman lets the reader know he made it all up.

With that said, let me tell you just some of the topics covered in this book: The 6 Essentials in becoming a writer, Lycanthropic transformation timetables, Failed Palindromes, Handy measurements of time when you don't have a watch, Short words for use on submarines to preserve oxygen, great restaurants that serve crab and much much more.

At first this book seems like a mush of just a bunch of weird stuff, such as the "Useful Hobo Signs" or "Idiosyncracies of Great Detectives," but let me tell you you won't want to put this book down. In fact it is hard to read from cover to cover, at least for me because I kept flipping around reading other topics, tables and pictures. Not that that's a bad thing. It's just so funny plus there are footnotes that direct you to other pages and then that page has some more funny stuff.

Let me give you an example:

In the top spots for crabs section

-At the Crab Bunker in Atlanta, Georgia, you can catch your own crabs! Every night the live crabs are set loose throughout the restaurant, sometimes attacking children! (Please: no dogs or gulls allowed.)

In the Handy Measurements of Time When you don't have a Watch section

-Find a cesium-133 atom. It will take exactly one half hour for it to oscillate between the two hyperfine levels of its ground state 16,546,737,186,000 times. Most car dashboards now come equipped with a cesium-133 atom for just this purpose.

I mean really with made up facts like that, who needs an almanac, except for sailors and farmers.

By the way, you may recognize John Hodgman's name from The Daily Show with John Stewart. Now I had to google that because he says in the book that he's a contributor to the show, but, like I said, you can't believe anything in this book.

And finally just to tell you how good this book is, I'm keeping it. I got the book in paperback form and normally after reading a paperback book I pass it on either to friends or family or through But this one I'm gonna keep and whenever I need a good laugh, I'll just randomly open the book and read a passage. Trust me, you'll love it.

Some folks have said they are having a hard time finding some of the books I've reviewed. Well, I've made it easy just click here.


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posted by Gil T. @ 9:15 PM Comments: 0

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

THE SLIPPERY SLOPE A Series of Unfortunate Events book the 10th by LEMONY SNICKET

Once again the Douglas Adams of children's literature has made me laugh out loud and almost spew Diet Dr. Pepper out of my nose. That would have made for a rather sticky book.

Before I quote the section which made me laugh let me give you a rundown of what happens. When we last left the Baudelaires they were discovered by Count Olaf to be disguised as carnival freaks. Sunny,the baby, was in the car with Count Olaf and his minions and Violet and Klaus were being hauled in a carnival caravan behind the car. Kevin the ambidextrous freak cut the rope connecting the caravan to the car, thus sending Violet and Klaus rolling off the Mortmain Mountains to their impending deaths. But wait ...before we find out what happens...let me tell you my favorite quote from the book:

The children were quiet again, and tried to think as best they could in the cold and the dark. Deciding on the right thing to do in a situation is a bit like deciding on the right thing to wear to a party. It is easy to decide on what is wrong to wear to a party, such as deep-sea diving equipment or a pair of large pillows, but deciding what is right is much trickier. It might seem right to wear a navy blue suit, for instance, but when you arrive there could be several other people wearing the same thing, and you could end up being handcuffed due to a case of mistaken identity. It might seem right to wear your favorite pair of shoes, but there could be a sudden flood at the party, and your shoes would be ruined. And it might seem right to wear a suit of armor to the party, but there could be several other people wearing the same thing, and you could end up being caught in a flood due to a case of mistaken identity, and find yourself drifting out to sea wishing that you were wearing deep-sea diving equipment after all. The truth is that you can never be sure if you have decided on the right thing until the party is over, and by then it is too late to go back and change your mind, which is why the world is filled with people doing terrible things and wearing ugly clothing, and so few volunteers who are able to stop them.

This is another fine example of the Douglas Adams type humor infused with great action. I think I even detect a little Bob Dylan prose in there.

Where was I? Oh yeah, well, thanks to Violet's inventing skills Klaus and Violet escape. They then begin the trek up to the highest peak of the Mortmain Mountains in search of the secret hideout of V.F.D. and possibly to rescue Sunny. On this trek they meet up with some vicious snow gnats and the even more vicious Carmelita Spats. Carmalita was the annoying brat that gave the orphans a hard time at Prufrock Preparatory School in the book "The Austere Acadamy." Well now she's the False Spring Queen for the Snow Scouts. The snow scouts have a strange member that knows the code of the V.F.D. and soon befriends the orphans. The three sneak away from the Snow Scouts to find the V.F.D. headquarters, only to find it in ashes. Yet another strange fire. We then learn that the mysterious scout is a survivor of another fire.

Meanwhile, Sunny is having to do all the cooking for Count Olaf and his evil troupe. Her use of language is getting better but the bad guys still think she's only babbling. So she's able to listen in on some secret plans and help her siblings out, once they rescue her.

Okay now you have the gist of the book. Go out and read it. It is funny and a great read. And don't forget to get those kids the books so they can read and maybe the whole family can have a fun discussion about books.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:05 PM Comments: 0

Monday, December 11, 2006

Lisey's Story by Stephen King

To any Stephen King fan this book is a must read. To the layman this book is a must read.

With that said I first must warn the reader: The book does seem to have a slow start and it does a lot of potentially confusing jumping back and forth from the past to "present." Give it time and it'll all make sense and even be worth it.

"Lisey's Story" is a story about a woman, Lisey, who is married to a famous author. (It seems that all the books about authors Mr. King writes about have slow starts. Remember "Bag of Bones"?) The story takes place after her husband, Scott Landon, has died. She is contemplating going through his study in order to decide what to throw out and what to donate to the Acadamia that have expressed and interest in his left behind treasures. This story, as with any good Stephen King novel, also has a darker hidden side in which is revealed by Lisey's reflection of her past with Scott. For one thing Scott has revealed that his older brother and father died when he was only 10. This secret Lisey knows and has chosen to forget but must remember in order to help with what could be the death of herself.

A university professor has expressed extreme interest in the late Mr. Landon's hidden works and has unleashed upon Lisey a stalker/asylum escapee/Scott Landon Fan. So Lisey learns from revisiting her and her husband's forgotten secrets how to move on in her life and at the same time take care of this creature sometimes known as Zack McCool.

The book reveals that the Scott Landon character has a secret world he visits, called Boo'ya Moon. The jumping from reality to Boo 'ya Moon is very reminiscent of the Stephen King & Peter Straub books "The Talisman" & "Black House," as well as many parts of the "Dark Tower" series. But it's a tool that Mr. King knows how to use and does not seem overused. Another thing I found interesting was the similarities between the pool of Boo'ya Moon and the Sea of Quiddity from the books by Clive Barker "The Great & Secret Show" and "Everville." The world of Boo'ya Moon is full of great sights and smells, yet you wouldn't want to be there after dark...that's when the evil takes over. I'm trying not to give too much away but just enough to intrigue you. Not that I think Mr. King needs another best selling novel (heck, go to the library and check it out for free), It's just that this book has some of his best writing wrapped in a book that could be overlooked otherwise. Besides, telling you too much would give away the end. It's a lot like watching the movie "Fight Club" after you know that Tyler Durden is the subconscious of the Narrator.

There are lots of sections (especially in the last half of the book) that you can't put down. While this may not be one of his best horror novels, it is a good book. There is some really nice writing in this one. Some sweet, poignant confessions of love wrapped in a nice, dark, creepy story.


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posted by Gil T. @ 9:15 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Call to Action as ONE

Take time out now to help with this important opportunity for us to take action.

Unless we take action now, up to 150,000 Africans, mostly women, could lose their jobs.

The "third-country fabric" provision of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) must be renewed before the end of the year. This provision helps African businesses create jobs by allowing them to import fabric that they can then make into clothes to sell in the United States.

In September, ONE Members like me sent over 160,000 letters to members of Congress. ONE took out a full page ad in Roll Call, a daily newspaper read by members of Congress, with the names of ONE members who supported renewal of this important provision. We can now build on that momentum by reminding our Representatives about this pressing issue today.

Please take a moment to write your Representatives.
click here

AGOA passed in 2000 and increased trade opportunities in Africa giving some of the world?s poorest people new opportunities to earn a steady income, send their children to school, and build a hopeful future. But the crucial "third-country fabric" provision is set to expire next year.

Our action showed Congress that we support renewing this provision that's helping Africans continue to work their way out of poverty. Our efforts helped put this on the negotiating table, and now we have one last chance to ensure that it's passed before the end of the year.

Please take a moment to write your Representatives.

click here

Without it, hope for many who have benefited from AGOA will fade and tens of thousands could lose their opportunity to work their way out of poverty.

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posted by Gil T. @ 7:21 PM Comments: 0

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Ask Cartier Not To Sponsor 'Elephant Polo'

Dear Friend,

Cartier, the company best-known for its high-end jewelry,
sponsored an absurd event in which elephants were made to play
polo in Jaipur, India, on Saturday, November 18. Elephants are
cruelly beaten with sharp metal bullhooks and are kept chained
up in order to force them to participate in such events. Please
click the link below, and encourage Cartier to enact a policy
against sponsoring such events in the future.
Click Here

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Member Relationship Management Solutions
That Recruit, Engage, and Retain (tm)

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:13 PM Comments: 0

THE CARNIVOROUS CARNIVAL A Series of Unfortunate Events BOOK the Ninth by LEMONY SNICKET

I'm almost done with the entire series of Unfortunate Events. It's kind of sad really, I'm gonna read the remaining 4 books slowly just so I can enjoy the witticism of Lemony Snicket even more so.

As I've said before Lemony Snicket is the Douglas Adams of children's literature, with a little Monty Python's Flying Circus thrown in. (Didn't Douglas Adams help write some of the Monty Python skits?) This book has my favorite surreal quote so far.

Miracles are like meatballs, because nobody can exactly agree what they are made of, where they come from, or how often they should appear. Some people say that a sunrise is a miracle, because it is somewhat mysterious and often very beautiful, but other people say it is simply a fact of life, because it happens every day and far too early in the morning. Some people say that a telephone is a miracle, because it sometimes seems wondrous that you can talk with somebody who is thousands of miles away, and other people say it is simply a manufactured device fashioned out of metal parts, electronic circuitry, and wires that are very easily cut. And some people say that sneaking out of a hotel is a miracle, particularly if the lobby is swarming with policemen, and other people say it is simply a fact of life, because it happens every day and far too early in the morning. So you might think that there are so many miracles in the world that you can scarcely count them, or that there are so few that they're scarcely worth mentioning, depending on whether you spend your mornings gazing at a beautiful sunset or lowering yourself into a back alley with a rope fashioned out of matching towels.

At that is just a small example of some of the humor you will find in this book. As for the story, well in this one The Baudelaires, having escaped the Hostile Hospital in the trunk of Count Olaf's car, find themselves in a carnival in which the head of the carnival, Madame Lulu, is a fortune teller. The orphans find out that she is the one who has been telling Count Olaf where the orphans are each time they move. This time the orphans and Count Olaf find out that one of the orphans parents may still be alive. So they must consult the fortune teller. In order to stay in the carnival the orphans disguise themselves as freaks and get a job on the freak show. Klaus and Violet become Beverly and Elliot, the 2 headed freak, and Sunny becomes Chabo the wolf baby (half wolf/half human). Once they get the job as freaks the orphans learn that the carnival is losing money. Count Olaf now steps in and gives as a gift to Madame Lulu several lions. The lions are to become part of the show in which the freaks will be fed to the lions, because everyone loves to watch violence and sloppy eating.

In order to escape from being thrown into the pits the Baudelaires must use their talents as inventor, researcher and biter. They also find they may have help from Madame Lulu. But I won't give too much away. After all, that's where the fun is.

But I will tell you that 2 folks will get eaten by the lions, Count Olaf leaves with the orphans (Sunny held in his arms like a watermelon, growls in the disguise of Chabo) and it doesn't look well for the orphans.

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posted by Gil T. @ 1:03 PM Comments: 0

Friday, December 01, 2006

Movie Review: Fast Food Nation

When I saw that Hollywood was making a movie based on Eric Schlosser's book "Fast Food Nation," my first response was, "Will America's movie going audience be prepared for another expose documentary?" Well I can tell you they did not do an expose documentary, instead the folks in tinseltown got real creative and made a movie telling a story based on the facts in Mr. Schlosser's book. Let me also be the first to tell you they got it right.

In case you don't know the book has several sections discussing the effects of fast food on America. Teens working instead of learning, illegal immigrants, lack of safety in the meat processing industry (including lack of health safety for final product from obesity to pathogens {e. coli}), chemicals in food, and more.

So how do they do this in a movie. Very creatively that's how.

The movie starts with Greg Kinnear as Don Anderson, VP of marketing for Mickey's (a chain of fast food restaurants) sent to a meat packing plant to find out why there is fecal coliform in the meat. (yes shit in the meat, read the book...this is not unusual). As another story in the plot Wilmer Valderrama (yep from "That '70's show" and "Yo' Mama") portrays Raul, one of a group of illegal immigrants coming to America to live the American Dream. Through these two characters all the original books expose's are revealed.

Toward the end of the movie, some characters come up with ideas to change the big wheel of the fast food industry. At this point some may feel it gets "preachy." I think they covered the ideas well. From letter writing to politicians to quitting working in industry to even a little chapter from the Animal Liberation Front of setting the cows free.

While watching the movie I noticed a lot of similarities between the plights of this movie's illegal immigrants and the Eastern European immigrants from the Upton Sinclair novel "The Jungle." Now I'm not sure if this was intentional or just that the times haven't changed for the meat industry. I'm leaning toward the latter.

Another nice thing about this movie is the surprises in the other cast members. Just a short list: Bruce Willis, Avril Lavigne, Luis Guzman, Patricia Arquette, Esai Morales, Kris Kristofferson and Ethan Hawke.

So go out and enjoy a good movie and as the great Bill Cosby said, "If you're not careful, you may learn a thing or two."

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:21 PM Comments: 1