Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The One Day Read

The late Michael Crichton, besides being a very successful author and one of the first progenitors of the hybrid genre known as the techno-thriller, holds one other unique distinction for me. He wrote the first book I read, no--consumed, in a one day period. I believe every avid reader, early in their genesis, collided/merged/plunged into that one book (like no other before it) and could not break away till it was read to the last page.

That one novel/hardcover/paperback became for the individual their first black hole experience in readership. For me, the event horizon came with Mr. Crichton's first published book (at least under his real name), The Andromeda Strain. There have been others, but this one was my first (did that make me a virgin to that point? No, don't answer that.)

I remember it fondly, still. It was early 1970, and I was home sick from high school (10th grade). I lived at that time with my maternal grandmother, along with her youngest, my uncle. He was a reader, like his sister, my mother. I was bored being home and went looking for something to peruse and found this 1969 hardcover. I started it around 10:30 in the morning, and finished it just after 11 PM (I did take fitful breaks, but it kept pulling me back in). If my wife reads this, she's gonna complain that I'm being nostalgic once more (but, so what?).

So, my questions to you:
  1. what book was it for you?
  2. when was it?
  3. fiction or non-fiction?
  4. hardcover or paperback?

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you and yours have a wonderful and festive holiday. And, drive carefully.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Way Too Early for This

Every year in SoCal, KOST 103.5 FM broadcasts Christmas music. At first, some years ago, they'd start this on the eve. Then, years later, the week of... followed by the month of the yuletide season--or right after the Thanksgiving weekend. And, I think last year, they began it during the T-day* weekend.

Last night, on the way home from picking up my teen from his after-school program, I discovered, to my horror, that the radio station had started it that day (Nov 21st)!?! So, they jumped over that Fall holiday altogether to get the Xmas season underway. Un-believable...

* to borrow Corey Wilde's family term for Thanksgiving ;-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Haven't Been Called a Bookworm Since Junior High

..., and it wasn't a compliment back then. But, I certainly take it as one now. Jen, the wonderful book blogger of Jen's Book Thoughts, has so graced me. And, I thank her for it. Now, for my part in this, I'm supposed to do the following:

"Open the closest book to you--not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the book closest to you at the moment--to page 56. Write out the fifth sentence as well as the next two or three sentences. Pass this on to five blogging friends."

The closest book is the one on my computer table, right next to my iMac, it is The Great Raid on Cabanatuan, by William B. Breuer. It is one of the small handful of historical books chronicling the Raid at Cabanatuan. Between the fictional books/audiobooks I read, I always throw in some of history into that mix--it comes by way of having a father who fought in WWII. I had read one of the other books on this event, Ghost Soldiers, by Hampton Sides, some years ago and wanted another author's take on it. Eerily, when I opened the book for this post, it opened right on page 56. Some things are meant to be, I guess...

For seven days, the prisoners were kept there, unprotected from the pot-boiler sun. No food was provided. They had to line up for the twelve hours to get a canteen of water from the lone spigot. They fainted by the score. Each morning, a hundred or more unconscious POWs were hauled away to unknown fates.
The ordeal in the Pacific for the survivors wasting away at this Japanese POW camp was just another level of misery piled on them. These were the same men who to this point in the event had already survived what many would think have been two lifetimes worth of torment:
If this were someone's fictional story, the publisher would have rejected it for its cruelty and unbelievability. But, its a true, life-affirming and absolutely heroic written account of what happened there.

I will pass this bookworm award to the following and invite them to play (but only if it is their wish to):
No worries...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Required Amount of Consolation

Besides the summer movies that I looked so forward to, and now have come and gone, my other highly anticipated film is set to arrive tomorrow. The Quantum of Solace:
Maybe it's because of my age and that my formative years
included watching this movie series from a young age. Or,
maybe that's it just plain escapist fun to go into a large
movie theater and get blasted by story and special effects
and forget about the world for two hours.

Either way, I'm so there this weekend--but being the
responsible parent that I am, I'm taking the kids to
Madagascar 2, as well (out of sheer guilt). So, if you've
enjoyed 007, try answering these questions:
  1. which was the first Bond film you ever saw?
  2. was it in a movie theater or in the comfort of your own home?
  3. who were you with?
  4. have you seen them all?
  5. which of these is your all-time favorite?
  6. your least favorite?
  7. which of the actors portraying Bond is your favorite?
  8. which of them is your least favorite?
  9. which is your favorite Bond girl?
  10. and your least favorite?
Here are my answers:
  1. Goldfinger
  2. theater, in 1964
  3. my mother's younger brother took this 10-year-old with him on its first run
  4. yes!
  5. Goldfinger, but From Russia with Love is a close second ;-)
  6. View to a Kill (Roger Moore too old at that point, story that dated too quickly, bad Bond girl (see below), bad henchwoman)
  7. Sean Connery, no surprise, right? (but I do find Daniel Craig's portrayal intriguing)
  8. George Lazenby (and it frustrates me no end that he was in the best story of the series, and with the best Bond girl)
  9. Diana Rigg (pure class--though I have a special place in my heart for Honor Blackman [who has the best name in the entire series ;-)]
  10. tie between Tanya Roberts and Lois Chiles

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


November 4, 2008. For the two years I've been watching this, Probably the most important election that I've voted in quite a while, and I've been doing this for 36 years. The morning show on our local oldies station, K-EARTH 101, asked the listeners to call in and mention which presidential election they first voted in, and for who. The results were interesting to listen to. Here's mine:

1972--the first time 18 year olds were allowed to vote (previously, the age limit was that you had to be 21)--and this 18-year-old voted for McGovern (who really hurt his chances by picking Eagleton*). There was no way I was going to vote for Nixon since I'd watched some politics to that point, and everyone in California was well aware of his politic career since this was his home state. Many didn't trust him, and for good reason (as the rest of the country would soon find out). Do you recall yours? I'd be interested to find out.

I originally registered as a Democrat. But, changed to Independent in the late eighties. I found it more comforting--especially, if I voted for a Republican. Plus, it made me more free to express my criticism of either party, when warranted (which I have done, too). This year, so I could vote for a Democrat in the state primary, I had to select a party ballot to cast my vote their way. So, I selected Democrat, again. Anyway, I'm excited, and nervous as all get out, for election  results. I (and my wife) have already voted, by absentee ballot over a week ago (to make sure it was in to be counted early by the October 31st deadline here in California). And, if you've been reading this blog, my pick (in State and National election) won't surprise you. It's Obama.

* I'm hoping history repeats itself and penalizes McCain for his pick of Palin