Monday, June 29, 2009

Book 38 of 52 -- James Patterson's The 8th Confession

When I first discovered James Patterson about 10 years ago, I loved his stuff. He was by far the top novelist in the Mystery-Suspense genre. His early Alex Cross books were always best sellers and this was completely deserved. His books always had great pace, suspense, mystery and intriguing villains.

He still produces best sellers but he is living purely on reputation. He now employs associate authors thus enabling him to churn out novels 4 times a year. The truly great authors generally produce one book a year.

This book, The 8th Confession, is another assembly-line product. While it holds your interest, there is nothing that makes it stand out. The word that comes to mind after finishing it is TRITE. There is no real suspense. Instead it depends on familiar characters and thin plot lines.

Will the real James Patterson please come back.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Book 37 of 52 -- Michael Connelly's The Scarecrow

Ever wonder what the ratio of serial killers to the general population is in real life as opposed to mass popular entertainment?

Real serial killers are probably a huge minority, perhaps even a protected class which is why they get so much ink and film.

Therefore, if one's going to write a novel which a good chunk is devoted to the serial killer's point of view, at least spend more than a few nebulous sentences and old Doors song lyrics explaining "why".

Instead, Connelly rushes for the finish line with the hero stumbling upon the killer's identity with a deus ex machina that would have embarrassed Eurpides.

That, combined with the woefully underwritten female FBI agent (in a recurring appearance, no less), and predictable plotting, makes The Scarecrow a below average thriller.

However, The Scarecrow is saved from being completely disposable by the fascinating and frightening description of what is happening to the print newspaper industry.

There Connelly is at his best, and there is where he exhibits the passion that unfortunately doesn't exist in the rest of the novel.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Book 36 of 52 -- Michael J. Fox's Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist

Fox has written an optimistic report of his recent years, a positive sequel to "Lucky Man,: focusing on the continuing good in his life.

This memoir helps readers understand that even in the hard times, there can still be good - and a hopeful outlook goes a long way to help!

At least one other review criticizes the political points made by Fox, but he makes no secret of his political involvement and opinions - they are surely an important part of the work he does now.

The chapter on politics is a lengthy one, but this is a book about his life's beliefs - it would make no sense to leave that out! His advocacy of stem cell research and support of those politicians who are like-minded are his present-day work.

Moving and informative book!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Book 35 of 52 -- Dennis LeHane's Darkness, Take My Hand

After devouring this novel I was drained.

This is the second in Lehane's series featuring private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro and it really packs a whallup.

The first novel, A Drink Before the War, did a fine job of introducing these characters, along with an adequate story.

This novel digs deep into the relationships of these people, and all the while we're being pulled through a harrowing serial killer mystery.

Lehane has pulled out all the stops here and sure, there are many authors who will try to shock you with gruesome details, but in this novel it's the sense of the helplessness of the victims that stays with you long after you leave the story.

Trust me on this: the novel is so well structured and timed that it very slowly begins to build up, as if you're treading water just at the edge of a whirlpool.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Book 34 of 52 -- Christopher Moore's Practical Demonkeeping

I have read this book a few times and I love reading it each time.

Chris Moore is one of my favorites... if not my favorite author.

Pine Cove, California is a strange place, full of strange people with a whole slew of problems without the seemingly young man and his demon, Catch, entering the picture.

In this book, we are introduced to a host of characters that defy proper description.

You need to read the book to truly grasps the absurdity and humor.

Catch is truly the star.

This is a demon full of personality.

The scene with the hotel clerk is probably one of the funniest I have ever read, and I will forever associate "magic fingers" with this crazy scene.

Despite his being a completely evil being, the reader has no choice but to fall in love with this Cookie Monster loving beast.

If you want to laugh, Moore is the author for you, and "Practical Demonkeeping" is a book you will read over and over again.

Oh wait.... I did.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

New Jersey Facts

New Jersey is a peninsula.

Highlands, New Jersey has the highest elevation along the entire eastern seaboard, from Maine to Florida.

New Jersey is the only state where all of its counties are classified as metropolitan areas.

New Jersey has more race horses than Kentucky.

New Jersey has more Cubans in Union City (1 sq MI.) than Havana, Cuba.

New Jersey has the densest system of highways and railroads in the US.

New Jersey has the highest cost of living.

New Jersey has the highest cost of auto insurance.

New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the nation.

New Jersey has the most diners in the world and is sometimes referred to as the "Diner Capital of the World."

New Jersey is home to the original Mystery Pork Parts Club (no, not Spam): Taylor Ham or Pork Roll. Home to the less mysterious but the best Italian hot dogs and Italian sausage w/peppers and onions.

North Jersey has the most shopping malls in one area in the world, with seven major shopping malls in a 25 square mile radius.

The Passaic River was the site of the first submarine ride by inventor John P. Holland.

New Jersey has 50+ resort cities & towns; some of the nation's most famous: Asbury Park, Wildwood, Atlantic City, Seaside Heights, Long Branch, Cape May, Keansburg.

New Jersey has the most stringent testing along its coastline for water quality control than any other seaboard state in the entire country.

New Jersey is a leading technology & industrial state and is the largest chemical producing state in the nation when you include pharmaceuticals.

Jersey tomatoes are known the world over as being the best you can buy.

New Jersey is the world leader in blueberry and cranberry production (and here you thought Massachusetts?)

Here's to New Jersey - the toast of the country! In 1642, the first brewery in America, opened in Hoboken.

New Jersey rocks! The famous Les Paul invented the first solid body electric guitar in Mahwah, in 1940.

New Jersey is a major seaport state with the largest seaport in the US, located in Elizabeth. Nearly 80 percent of what our nation imports comes through Elizabeth Seaport first.

New Jersey is home to one of the nation's busiest airports (in Newark), Liberty International.

New Jersey - George Washington slept there.

Several important Revolutionary War battles were fought on New Jersey soil, led by General George Washington.

The light bulb, phonograph (record player), and motion picture projector, were invented by Thomas Edison in his Menlo Park, NJ, laboratory.

New Jersey also boasts the first town ever lit by incandescent bulbs (Roselle).

The first seaplane was built in Keyport , NJ.

The first airmail (to Chicago) was started from Keyport, NJ.

The first phonograph records were made in Camden, NJ.

New Jersey was home to the Miss America Pageant held in Atlantic City.

The game Monopoly, played all over the world, named the streets on its playing board after the actual streets in Atlantic City, NJ. And, Atlantic City has the longest boardwalk in the world, not to mention salt water taffy.

New Jersey has the largest petroleum containment area outside of the Middle East countries.

The first Indian reservation was in New Jersey, in the Watchung Mountains.

New Jersey has the tallest water-tower in the world. (Union, NJ!!!)

New Jersey had the first medical center, in Jersey City.

The Pulaski Skyway, from Jersey City to Newark, was the first skyway highway.

New Jersey built the first tunnel under a river, the Hudson (Holland Tunnel).

The first baseball game was played in Hoboken, NJ, which is also the birthplace of Frank Sinatra.

The first intercollegiate football game was played in New Brunswick, NJ in 1889 (Rutgers College played Princeton).

The first drive-in movie theater was opened in Camden, NJ. (but they're all gone now!)

New Jersey is home to both of "NEW YORK'S" pro football teams!

The first radio station and broadcast was in Paterson, NJ.

The first FM radio broadcast was made from Alpine, NJ, by Maj. Thomas Armstrong.

All New Jersey natives: Sal Martorano, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Jason Alexander, Queen Latifah, Susan Sarandon, Connie Francis, Shaq, Judy Blume, Aaron Burr, Joan Robertson, Ken Kross, Dionne Warwick, Sarah Vaughn, Budd Abbott, Lou Costello, Alan Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, Marilyn McCoo, Flip Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, Zack Braff, Whitney Houston, Eddie Money, Linda McElroy, Eileen Donnelly, Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson, Walt Whitman, Jerry Lewis, Tom Cruise, Joyce Kilmer, Bruce Willis, Caesar Romero, Lauryn Hill, Ice-T, Nick Adams, Nathan Lane, Sandra Dee, Danny DeVito, Richard Conti, Joe Pesci, Joe Piscopo, Joe DePasquale, Robert Blake, John Forsythe, Michael Douglas, Meryl Streep, Loretta Swit, Norman Lloyd, Paul Simon, Jerry Herman, Gorden McCrae, Kevin Spacey, John Travolta, Phyllis Newman, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Eva Marie Saint, Elisabeth Shue, Zebulon Pike, James Fennimore Cooper, Admiral Wm. Halsey Jr., Norman Schwarzkopf, Dave Thomas (Wendy's), William Carlos Williams, Ray Liotta, Robert Wuhl, Bob Reyers, Paul Robeson, Ernie Kovacs, Joseph Macchia, Kelly Ripa, and, of course, Francis Albert Sinatra and "Uncle Floyd" Vivino.

The Great Falls in Paterson, NJ, on the Passaic River, is the 2nd highest waterfall on the East Coast of the US.

The Diana Radar Tower on Marconi Road (Wall Township, NJ). The first in the world to send a radio wave/beam that bounced off the moon. Thank you MARCONI. There is a monument on Marconi Road for this event. The Diana Radar Tower was later topped with a dish antenna. It is represented in the lower left quadrant of Wall's official seal.

Molly Pitcher's Well Monument (Monmouth, NJ) - Pitcher, Molly, 1744–1832, American Revolutionary heroine whose real name was Mary Ludwig Hays (Heis). As the wife of John Hays or Heis, she carried water for her husband and other soldiers in the battle of Monmouth (1778).

You know you're from Jersey when:
You don't think of fruit when people mention "The Oranges."
You know that it's called Great Adventure, not Six Flags.
A good, quick breakfast is a hard roll with butter.
You've known the way to Seaside Heights since you were seven.
You've eaten at a diner, when you were stoned or drunk, at 3 A.M.
You know that the state isn't one big oil refinery.
At least three people in your family still love Bruce Springsteen, and you know the town Bon Jovi is from.
You know what a "jug handle" is.
You know that WaWa is a convenience store.
You know that the state isn't all farmland.
You know that there are no "beaches" in New Jersey--there's the shore--and you don't go "to the shore," you go "down the shore." And when you are there, you're not "at the shore"; you are "down the shore."
You know how to properly negotiate a circle.
You knew that the last sentence had to do with driving.
You know that this is the only "New" state that doesn't require "New" to identify it (try . . Mexico . .. . York . . . . Hampshire-- doesn't work, does it?).
You know that a "White Castle" is the name of BOTH a fast food chain AND a fast food sandwich.
You consider putting mayo on a corned beef sandwich a sacrilege.
You don't think "What exit?" is very funny.
You know that people from the 609 area code are "a little different." Yes they are!
You know that no respectable New Jerseyan goes to Princeton--that's for out-of-staters.
The Jets-Giants game has started fights at your school or local bar.
You live within 20 minutes of at least three different malls.
You refer to all highways and interstates by their numbers.
Every year you have at least one kid in the class name Tony.
You know the location of every clip shown in the Sopranos opening credits.
You've gotten on the wrong highway trying to get out of the mall.
You know that people from North Jersey go to Seaside Heights, and people from Central Jersey go to Belmar, and people from South Jersey go to Wildwood. It can be no other way.
You weren't raised in New Jersey--you were raised in either North Jersey, Central Jersey or South Jersey.
You don't consider Newark or Camden to actually be part of the state.
You remember the stores Korvette's, Two Guys, Rickel's, Channel, Bamberger's and Orbach's.
You also remember Palisades Amusement Park.
You've had a boardwalk cheese steak and vinegar fries.
You start planning for Memorial Day weekend in February.

And finally . . . You've NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, EVER pumped your
own gas.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife-Trailer

Great book... and it looks like a good movie.

Mets Lose on Dropped Pop Fly

This was such a tremendous way to start my weekend.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Bret Michaels Tony Award Clotheslining

Fantastic Bret... Fantastic.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Hangover Moviegoing Experience



The Final Destination


The Ugly Truth

I Love You Beth Cooper Gamer

Very amusing and laugh out loud funny movie... Zach Galifinakis is hilarious.

Drag Me To Hell Moviegoing Experience‏

Since I was there for the first showing of the day, I was the only person in the theater until right before it started!

They also didn't turn anything on until the show was supposed to start so the Regal Cinema First Look wasn't played!


Gamer -- Looks cool enough...

Armored -- Neat looking

Inglorious Basterds -- This is a Quentin Tarrantino look at WWII. I am already intrigued.

Orphan -- VERA Farmiga!

Bruno -- :-D

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Book 33 of 52 -- Carol Leifer's When You Lie About Your Age, The Terrorists Win

When I heard that Carol Leifer had written a book, I thought oh good, now this will be funny.

And it is, laugh out loud funny.

But it is so much more than that; it is poignant, touching and honest.

Carol shows us to embrace ourselves at all stages of our lives, to laugh at ourselves, and most importantly to enjoy this journey called life.

This is a book that everyone can relate to, whether you are just starting the journey or well into it.

Thanks Carol for putting such an eloquent and funny touch on this bumpy road called life.