Friday, August 31, 2007

Mesa Crop Circle - Day 5

Day 5. Liz saw nothing inspiring about the french-fried log cabin last night. She force-fed me my pills. The aliens' summer house is gone.

I will take my medicine; I will not hallucinate.
I will take my medicine; I will not hallucinate.
I will take my medicine; I will not hallucinate.
Can't sleep; the clowns will eat me.
I will take my medicine; I will not hallucinate.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mesa Crop Circle - Day 4

Day 4. Et Voila! Aliens did make this crop circle! They're from Alpha Centauri (I've been there), and they dug up my cul-de-sac in order to lay the foundation for this, their summer home. I'm happy to say that my mashed potatoes sculpture last night matched this perfectly.

Liz says I'd better start taking my medicine again. Also, we're having french fries tonight, and if I make a log cabin out of them, she's leaving me.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mesa Crop Circle - Day 3

Day 3. I knew it! Somebody else recognizes the cosmological importance of this crop circle! Here's a local peasant, out in the cul-de-sac, painstakingly wiping away the telltale residue that the alien ship left behind when it landed/took off.

You can see these "trails" more clearly in the Day 2 pic. Apparently the mother ship landed right on the cul-de-sac, then took off in a slightly different direction.

Liz, who pooh-poohs the idea of flying saucers, says this is just Weird Verl being weird. I want to see the look on her face when the extra-terrestials build something on their crop circle. In fact, I think I'll sculpt my vision of the alien's project in my mashed potatoes at supper tonight.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mesa Crop Circle - Day 2

Day 2, and the aliens have not come back to expand the circle. I'm convinced this is of cosmic significance. Liz, always the spiritual skeptic, says I'm having another one of my delusional fits.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mesa Crop Circle - Day 1

Day 1. Yessirree, we got us our own jen-yew-wine crop circle. Well okay, there aren't any crops involved. But it is a circle, and it did appear magically today right in front of our house on our cul-de-sac.

Liz says it's just another half-a$$ed pothole repair job by our municipal laborers. I say it's too round for that, and too small to be the beginnings of a manhole cover. It has to be E.T. Stay tuned.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Bourne Identity

Title : The Bourne Identity ("Bourne-1", 2 hours)
Genre : Action (MPAA Rating : PG-13)
Rating : **** (out of 5*)

This Weekend I Watched...
I've been told I will be going to see Bourne-3 in the near future. I've also been told I will watch Bourne 1-&-2 before we go, so that I don't spend the whole time asking stupid questions (which I am wont to do) about what's going on with Mr. Amnesia and the nasty folks who keep trying to kill him.

What's To Like...
Matt Damon is a very good fit as Jason Bourne. And he's a hunk, so you can talk your wife or GF into watching this one.

There's lots and lots of action. The fight scenes are cool. The (obligatory) chase scene is great! In a Mini Cooper, no less. How cool is that!? Bourne actually has to outdrive the pursuing fleet of cop cars and motorcycles. He can't just shove the car into 8th gear and leave them in his 150-mph dust.

The plot holds its own, even though we can figure out his entire past about 30 minutes into the film. And the European locations used as the backdrops (especially Paris) make me want to save my money and go back there another time.

What's Not To Like...
People who have read the (Robert Ludlum) book, seem to hate how far the movie strays from the novel. Some also seem to think an earlier incarnation of Bourne-1, starring Richard Chamberlain and Jaclyn Smith, was better. I'm sorry, but those two are not Academy Award winning thespians. That movie has to suck, even if I've never seen (nor heard of) it.

For me, there were some serious believability lapses thoughout the flick.

Jason Bourne's bullet-riddled body is found floating in the ocean by some fishermen. Instead of turning him over to the cops, or at least dumping him as quickly as possible on the nearest shore, they tend to his wounds, and even take up a collection of $$$ as a going-away present. Yeah, right.

To boot, it is discovered (while he's still unconscious) that he has a small cylinder implanted in his hip, which when you look at it close up, discloses his Swiss bank account number. What super-duper hitman is going to have that sort of information embedded in his body?

Then there's the stereotypical African despot, who may or may not get killed halfway thru the movie. He's clearly shown as having survived (he's talking to his aide while lying on the floor, having soiled his underwear), yet the police act like he's dead and he never shows up again in the flick.

All that however, can be forgiven as various plot devices. The real head-scratcher is...

Bourne is at the top of a stairwell. He's taken out all but one of a CIA hit-squad. The remaining mayhem-maker is coming up the stairs. This is seemingly an easy situation. You either escape out a window, climb to the roof (or both), or else just plug the guy as he's coming up the steps, right?

Wrong. Jason pushes the body of a dead hitman through the railing and down into the stairwell, then rolls off into a stairwell free-fall as well. As he's plummeting downward, he has the wherewithal to shoot the bad guy, then still have time to position himself right above the falling body, which miraculously breaks his fall at the bottom. Holy Implausibility, Batman!

Bourne To Be Wild...
I have a tough time understanding the "it doesn't follow the book" criticism. I read Crichton's Jurassic Park before seeing that movie, and there's some significant straying there as well.

That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy both versions of JP . Ludlum's plots (I am told) are usually very complex, and Bourne-1 is no exception. It would be very difficult (and very time-consuming) for a movie to try to include all that complexity. This movie is 2 hours long as it is. I don't think I want to sit through a 4-hour flick that faithfully captures every nuance of the book.

But I digress. The cinematic Bourne Identity may not be a gripping thriller like the novel is, but it's non-stop action with a good plot. I like the "assassin with a conscience" portrayal, which is a lot more interesting than any James Bond character. Only the numerous lapses in believability bring this rating down to only four stars.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Big & Rich - Between Raising Hell & Amazing Grace

Artist : Big & Rich
Album Title : Between Raising Hell & Amazing Grace
Genre : Country/Pop (and a lot more)
Rating : ***** *½ (out of 10*)

This Week I'm Listening To...
Big & Rich burst onto the Country/Pop scene in 2004 with Horse Of A Different Color. Now they're back with their 3rd (or 4th if you include an EP release a couple years ago) album.

Type-casting B&R is difficult. Here's some of the genres listed for them at Rate Your Music : Country; Country-Pop; Contemporary Country; Folk (huh?); Outlaw Country; Country-Rock; Progressive Country (isn't that an oxymoron?); Country-Rap; Death-Country (wazzat?); and Metal-Country (I don't think so).

You can add to that list Country-Gospel; Country-Humorous (think Roger Miller, not Ray Stevens); and last but not least, Country-Wedding.

What's To Like...
Good vocals and good harmony. "Rich" of B&R is John Rich, who used to sing in the group Lonestar.

Variety. You know how the songs on a Country album all sound the same? Not here. Every song is of a different genre.

The opening track (Lost In The Moment) is destined to be played at every cowgirl's wedding for the next 10 years.

And the third track (Faster Than Angels Fly), my favorite, is a thoughtful ballad akin to Springsteen's "Incident on 57th Street" and Dire Straits' "Romeo & Juliet".

What's Not To Like...
Think "Lite". As in Country-Lite; Rap-Lite; Gospel-Lite Rock-Lite; etc. There's a lot of breadth-of-genres here, but not a lot of depth.

Think "Mellow". These guys postured themselves on HOADC as a party band. Don't put this one on to liven up your next get-together. Pull out some of your old Hank Williams Jr. stuff instead. Indeed, the cover of AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" is just wrong. That's Liz's opinion, and she gets the final say on all AC/DC covers.

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Chaw...
In the end, Big & Rich are singers. If you dropped Simon & Garfunkel into a vat of Country-&-Western, they'd come out sounding like this. There is some good guitar work here, but it's never allowed to go for more than about three bars before it gets pushed into the background again.

And singers, even the best ones, are only as good as the songs someone writes for them. You may love classic Paul Simon from 30-40 years ago, but the stuff he's putting out today (see his 2006 release "Surprise") is just boring. Somewhere along the line, he lost the ability to write/sing songs that up and grab you.

A lot of the songs here are quite good, even if they're not particularly lively. But there are some banal lyrics as well. Here's a line from the "When The Devil Gets The Best Of Me" track : "Sometimes women are like cocaine; Got to have 'em more & more every day". Or how 'bout "You never stop loving somebody; You just start loving somebody else" from the same-titled track? Yucko!

It will be interesting to see what kind of longevity Big & Rich will have. According to their fans, they've gone downhill since the debut album. That's not a good sign. A medicore cross-genre band isn't gonna get played by any radio station. Just ask Don McLean.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

James Patterson - The Lake House

Title : The Lake House (380 pages, 2003)
Author : James Patterson
Genre : Thriller
Rating : D-

This Month I Read...
This is the sequel to Patterson's 1998 book, When The Wind Blows, and is not to be confused with the film "The Lakehouse" (one word) with Sandra Bullock, which has absolutely no relationship to this book.

As in WTWB, six genetically-engineered "bird kids" get help from a (female) Colorado veterinarian and a (male) decommissioned FBI agent against an evil doctor intent on on turning them into lab rats.

What's To Like...
It's your typical James Patterson novel. Fast-reading, fast-moving, and the average length of a chapter is 3-4 pages. So if you're in the habit of reading before going to bed (like I am), you won't have to read very far when it's time to turn out the lights.

What's Not To Like...
Unfortunately, plenty. Like most readers, I thoroughly enjoy Patterson's "Alex Cross" detective series. But either he's burnt out on serial-killer thrillers, or else he thinks anyone can write a Cri-Fi novel.

Alas, he's no Michael Crichton. He takes no time to try to convince you of the scientific validity of the "genetic engineering" theme in these two books, so you never really feel like it could be real.

At least WTWB is moderately interesting. Alas, there's nothing new added by Patterson in the sequel. Same plot, same chase scenes, same type of bad guys (evil but bumbling), same ending. Except now, everything is more-sloppily done.

Dr. Nefarious has a lucrative "entire internal organ transplant" business going. He's rejuvenated 40 of the world's leaders, and is therefore both insanely rich and insanely powerful. Why he would want to jeopardize all this for 6 bird-kids is an unexplained mystery.

To boot, he's cloned himself. Four times, even. And apparently does a heap of Balco Barry steroids, cuz he's also incredibly strong. And he can tell your IQ just by looking at you when you're sleeping. But he's not too intelligent. After he (and his gang of clones, thugs and hired assassins) are out-smarted and out-fought several times by the bird-kids, including having one of his clone-selves eradicated, what does he do? Attempts to kill the chief bird-kid, all by himself, armed only with a scalpel. Go on now, guess who wins.

Nothing gets resolved at the end. The bird-kids kill one Evil-Doctor-Clone and one Rejuvenated-World-Leader; then the original Dr. Nefarious is killed at the very end. But you're never told what happens to the organ-tranplant rejuvenating business after that. Custody of the bird-kids is transferred from their natural parents (who want to retain custody) to the Vet and FBI-ex-agent, even though it's obvious from both books that this doesn't make them one bit safer. And the remaining three Evil Clones are left to do... well, whatever three now-leaderless clones do. Look for a fourth for a pinochle game, maybe?

And on, and on. A 7th-grader could do a better job of crafting a plot and tying up loose ends than Patterson does here.

When Border's Has A Book On Sale, It Means...
I found this book on sale at Borders Bookstore. Not on their regular bargain tables. Nope, TLH had its own table and was 30% off. That makes it a good deal, right?

Wrong. It's clear that based on Patterosn's reputation, they bought tons of copies of this book, and the books weren't selling. Jimmy-Boy was pulling a fast one. My best guess is that he fooled the publishing company; the publishers then fooled the bookstores; and the bookstores then fooled the readers. I feel like Curly in The Three Stooges. Moe slaps Larry; Larry slaps Curly; and Curly discovers he has no one to slap.

But I digress. This is a stinker of a novel. When The Wind Blows is so-so, so if you want to see how Patterson fares at writing Cri-Fi, read it, and skip this sequel. And learn a lesson as to why Borders Bookstore gives books like this their own special sale.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Nightwish - Dark Passion Play (Promo)

The "Promo" version of Nightwish's latest album, Dark Passion Play, is out. This is an interesting marketing gimmick. You get the entire CD (65 minutes' worth), except that every 2-4 minutes, you also get an annoying voiceover, telling you the name of the album and the name of the track. Nightwish (or their record company) is apparently trying to generate interest in the band/CD/tour, And if that's their little game in releasing this, then it's working like a charm.

For those of us counting the days until Nightwish comes to Arizona (89 days), as well as the number of days until the "real version" of DPP is issued (43 days), this Promo CD is an unexpected treat.

I won't do a full review until the "normal" album comes out. I will say that the new female lead singer (Anette Olzon) will make you forget about Tarja; the album is definitely Nightwish's most "proggish" album yet (really, Al, even by your definition of "Prog"), and that Nightwish is raising the bar as far as what "Symphonic Metal" is all about.

I was concerned about this album, since obviously Nightwish will be featuring it when they do their concert here in the valley. I shouldn't've worried. It is fantastic!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Steve Benson

Steve Benson is IMNSHO the absolutely best political cartoonist plying his trade today. He's got a dry sense of humor, tremendous artistic skills, and loves to ruffle feathers. You may not always agree with his views, but it's almost impossible not to chuckle at his cartoons.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Congratulations, Balco Barry!

The inevitable finally happened - Barry hit #756. Then added #757 the next night for good measure. It's time to devote a posting to Balco Barry, then hopefully, as with Paris Hilton, never mention his name here again.
Kiss My Asterisk...
Let's deal with the easiest issue first - should Baseball put an asterisk beside Barry's career Home Run total? The answer - absolutely not! I remember when they did this to Roger Maris for daring to hit 61 home runs in a season, thus eclipsing The Bambino. What a pointless gesture. It's simple math - Balco Barry 757 (and counting), Hammerin' Hank 755. Commissioner Bud, if you have a problem with this, you shoulda done something about it long before #756 got smacked.

Let's Play The Race Card...
Don't even go there. Yeah, the media has been trumpeting this for the last week now - blacks are more sympathetic to Barry than whites. BFD. If Barry was a Hungarian albino, you can bet that albinos and Hungarians would be more sympathetic to him.

So don't even try to imply that white folks who think Bonds is a cheating, lying scumbag are racists. We don't like Mark McGwire, and he's white. We don't like Rafael Palmeiro, and he's Hispanic. They're all cheating liars, and doing the game of baseball a disservice by trying to hide it.

Indeed, the only one we seem to have "pardoned" is Sammy Sosa. A black. But he's come off the juice, shrunk in half, and is quietly toiling away for my Texas Rangers. And doing quite a good job, too.

Hall of Fame or Hall of Shame...
Here's where moral outrage can be made to count for something. We don't let Pete Rose into the HoF. We gave McGwire a whopping 25% of the votes (75% is needed) on last year's ballot. It'll be a few years yet, but here's hoping that Bonds gets less first-year votes than McGwire did. Send a message to all baseball players out there.

Is he cheating...
If you're still asking this, you probably think professional wrestling is a legitimate sport and that OJ didn't do it.

Maybe he didn't know they were steroids...
Yeah right. He injects himself and smears "the cream" on his butt, and fights like hell to keep anyone from uncovering that. He knew.

So he's the Bad Guy...
Yes, but he's got company. The biggest lying, cheating scumbag in this whole affair is Baseball itself. MLB knew these guys were juiced and, far from doing anything about it, actively encouraged it. Oh, they would have preferred that the massive steroids use be confined to Sosa and McGwire, who at least pretended to be role models.

But that's the trouble with condoning cheating - if you let 'nice guys' do it, there's not much you can say when an arrogant, jealous, lifelong pr*ck decides to get in on the acclaim.

The only reason MLB is doing anything now is cuz if they don't, they know Congress will. Folks, Congress may not be willing to get us out of Iraq, protect our constitutional rights, or stop spending money we ain't got. But give them this much - they got serious with Baseball.

What's Barry's biggest accomplishment in 2007?
Well, he's gonna cost Bruce Bochy his job at the end of the season. And he's much of the reason that the Giants suck this year. He doesn't hustle, he's not a leader, and the only thing he sees in the word "Team" is "Me".

Yeah, I know he's old and his knees are rubble. Then for goodness sake, retire your butt, or go to the American League and be a designated hitter. But good luck in finding an AL team that wouldn't consider you a clubhouse cancer.

Barry's Legacy...
Here's my biggest beef. What lessons are little kids going to learn by watching Balco Barry? Let's see now...

If you want to hit home runs like Barry, you gotta get juiced.
The attitude to have as a ballplayer is to be an arrogant jerk.
Forget about "manufacturing a run"; just keep swinging for the fences.
If anyone questions you and (heaven forbid) writes something bad about you, threaten to sue them.
When all else fails, have ESPN champion your cause and you. Which was more phony - Hulk Hogan pinning an opponent; or Barry crying in "Bonds on Bonds"?
Choose your lackeys carefully. Make sure they're willing to rot in jail on a Contempt of Court charge rather than reveal your cheating.

So congratulations, Barry. You did a lot (of steroids) to accomplish this goal. God only knows how many kids are going to follow your example. Not that you care.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Folkearth - Drakkars In The Mist

Artist : Folkearth
Album Title : Drakkars In The Mist (2007)
Genre : Folk-Metal; Viking Metal
Rating : ***** * (out of 10*)

This Week I'm Listening To...
Folkearth is technically not a group. Every so often, a whole bunch of Folk/Viking-Metal artists get together and put out a collaborative effort. This is their third album. The first two were A Nordic Poem (2004) and By The Sword Of My Father (2006).

This time, 30 artists from 11 countries contributed. I don't believe that Folk and Metal are easily combined, so it's interesting to see how these guys and gals went about blending two seemingly disparate genres.

For the record - "Drakkars" are Viking boats. We Anglo-Saxons would call them "Long Boats" or "Long Ships".

What's To Like...
You certainly get your money's worth - almost 70 minutes of music. And you get a variety of takes on what Folk-Metal should be. Some of it is 99% Metal, and some of it is 99% Folk (mostly Celtic). So no matter which of the genres you are partial to, you're going to find some tracks here that are "just right".

The female vocalists do a very nice job. We're talking "Warrior Queens" here, not weak-kneed "Damsels in Distress". The "Folk" half of the music holds its own; and the "Metal" half is above-average.

The studio's performance is improving. The engineering on the first album just sucked. It got better on album #2, and is even more professional here.

FWIW, I enjoyed this CD more when played at a moderate volume. I know Metal is supposed to be cranked up, but the musical talent of these Folk-Earthies is more evident when one's eardrums aren't bleeding.

What's Not To Like...
The male vocalists could use a voice lesson or two. The studio work still isn't where it could be. One person (favorably) commented that the whole album "sounded like a mist had settled over it". Maybe. Or maybe that's just shoddy recording.

Unsurprisingly, it's an uneven album. These may be 30 of the top folk-metal artists around, but if there are only, say, 35 people in the world who play folk-metal, then the "Top 30" will still have some mediocre members.

A Grunting We Will Go...
Some of the male vocalists on DITM grunt; some sing; and some chant in a sing-song fashion. "Metal Grunting" has always bothered me. Yes, I'm cool to the "Beauty and the Beast" motif, but good gracious, does that mean every flipping song lyric on every flipping metal album has to be grunted? And don't get me started on the annoying screeching by groups like Cradle of Filth.

I've always suspected that grunting the vocals is just a cheap way to cover up the lack of a good singer. DITM, which treats you to some grunting, singing, and chanting, only reinforces that suspicion.

But I digress. Folkearth, Drakkars In The Mist, and Viking Folk-Metal are all interesting concepts. I don't know that the fusion of Folk and Metal has yet been perfected, but I do look forward to Folkearth continuing to "blaze the trail". Who knows, maybe someday we'll be introduced to "Polka-Metal".

Finally, one last thing to ponder - there are 17 tracks on DITM, and the last three are listed as "Bonus Tracks". Excuse me, but just what constitutes a "Bonus Track" on a collaborative album like this? Methinks some marketing suit somewhere said, "Yeah call the last couple tracks 'Bonus Tracks'. The metal-heads will think they're getting something extra." C'mon guys, we ain't that stoopid.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

Title : Pan's Labyrinth (2007)
Genre : Adult Fantasy (Rated R)
Rating : ***** (out of 5*)

This Weekend I Watched...
I only watch about three movies a year, so I try to make them good ones. By "watching" I mean either going to the theater; or if at home, turning off the PC, putting down the crossword puzzle magazine, and actually concentrating on the film.

I'm pretty much on schedule in 2007 - I've watched two movies so far. One was fantastic; one was a dud. This is the fantastic one.

Set in the Spanish Civil War (more or less), the movie focuses on a 12-year-old girl (Ofelia) who retreats into a fantasy world (seemingly) to escape the horrors of the war and the desperate situation she and her pregnant mother find themselves in.

There are two worlds and therefore two plots. In the "real" world, Ofelia has to deal with a sadistic stepfather commandante, a pregnant mother whose health is rapdily deteriorating, and a Civil War where the Fascists (led by her stepfather) are holed up at a rural mill, trying to hold off the Communist guerillas.

In the fantasy "world", Ofelia is the princess, the chosen one, who has to perform three herculean tasks to prove her worthiness before being able to claim her throne.

What's To Like...
Awesome cinematography. A clever interweaving of the two storylines. Some perfect Castillian Spanish for you to practice your second language on. (I found I remember the Spanish cuss words reall well) And this movie will hold your attention from the beginning to the end.

What's Not To Like...
Nothing from me, since I give it five stars. The complaints from those who didn't like it fell into a couple categories.

Too gory! Yes, it is a brutal film, no doubt about that. And the cover advertising calls this film "on the same altar of high fantasy as the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy", which frankly is a misleading comparison. This is better characterized as an "adult fairy tale". There's no sex and no nudity. So reason it out - the "R" rating comes from the violence.

There are (English) subtitles! I can't watch the movie if I have to read! This complaint seems to come from folks who have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time. I've watched a lot of foreign films, often in languages I don't know a word of. This is NBD for normal people. Of course, it's equally possible that the folks who gripe about the subtitles are actually "English-only" cretins who think a movie in Spanish is undermining the American way-of-life.

It's not an uplifting film! War isn't uplifting. Get used to it.

It's not historically accurate and/or It's too biased in favor of the Communists! There is some merit to these two complaints. The story is set in 1944 (we know this because the news of D-Day comes during the story), but the truth is the Spanish Civil War was finished in 1939. And the "real world" plot line does present the guerillas as the good guys. Although in the film, they can be just as brutal to their enemies as the Fascists are.

"War Is Hell" not "War Is Heck"...
For me, the main point of this movie is that War is a brutal thing. It's horrifying enough for adults, but no child should ever have to deal with killing, torture, and utter hatred.

That's what's wrong with the American public and the War in Iraq. The TV networks present us a sanitized, censored version of what's going on over there. We don't see the blood; we don't see the gore; we don't see the mutilated bodies; and we don't see the hate. Dubnutz is hoping that we therefore see the war as a noble thing, although his "noble reason" seems to change from one lie to the next. It's time more Americans dialed in to Al Jazeera and other foreign outlets (the Europeans do a much better job of showing the "real war") and get a dose of reality.

But I digress. Pan's Labyrinth is a stellar movie. Just don't watch it with the kiddies, and do expect to feel the same horror that Ofelia does. I won't spoil the ending for you, but will leave this for you to think about when you've finished watching PL - according to the film, is the fantasy world in fact real, or was it all a figment of Ofelia's imagination?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Where Have All The Leaders Gone?

Title : Where Have All The Leaders Gone? (2007, 270 pages)
Author : Lee Iacocca
Genre : Celebrity Author
Rating : B

This Month I Read...

A few months back, I received an e-mail titled "The Nine C's of Leadership". It basically slammed the daylights out of Dubnutz, and was purportedly written by none other than Lee Iacocca.

I was intrigued that one of our industrial giants might actually have the chutzpah to tell it like it is, but also little leery because of all the right-wing bullsh*t lies circulated by the repugnican chicken-hawks. So I went out on the Internet and found that this indeed was written by Iacocca, and was from his new book, "Where Have All The Leaders Gone?"

I'm not a big fan of celebrity-penned books (do we really want to hear Paris Hilton's philosophy of Life?), but went down to Borders and bought WHATLG anyway.

Oh, and I forwarded the 9-C's e-mail to all my ditto-head friends (you have a lot of these when you live in Arizona and work for a chemical manufacturing company), and waited for their rebuttals. But apparently Rush hasn't told them was to think about it yet, since I only got one response, and that in effect said that Lee should be more grateful since we bailed him out when he was the CEO of Chrysler. Talk about a tepid counter-point.

What's To Like...
The Nine C's of Leadership segment is eloquently written. In fact, the first third of WHATLG is all about politics, and the Chimperor and his lackeys fare very poorly. Talk about some wonderful chapters!

Lee Iacocca wrote the whole book in a "chit-chat" style, making it very easy to read. And he covers every topic you can think of - the environment, the auto industry, rising gas prices, outsourcing, medical research, running for office, etc. So if it's in the headlines today, chances are Lee has, and gives, an opinion.

What's Not To Like...
While Lee's take on politics is great, when he gets to discussing the auto industry (which is obviously near and dear to his heart), I was "able to put the book down".

He covers a slew of topics, but a lot of them are done with a cursory approach. Can you really solve the issue of "How To Deal With Rising Gas Prices" in a mere five pages?

There's also s lot of name-dropping in here. Wanna know what advice Lee gave the Pope? Do you really think the Pope was impressed?

If You Can Find A Better Book, Buy It...
Bottom line - it's a good book. You may or may not get tired of Lee's "chit-chat" style. And while you might have to plod through a couple of topics that you frankly don't care about, most of them are of high-interest.

There was one issue that really stuck with me - medical research. Lee's first wife died of diabetes, and he is determined to find a cure. To that end, he started a diabetes research foundation. What he discovered about MedRes is that no one is really interested in finding a cure. What's important is to get government grants year after year. So if/when your foundation actually happens upon a breakthrough (as was the case with Iacocca's group), the rest of the researchers in that field will not be happy. In fact, they'll be downright hostile.

What's the worst thing that can happen to, say, the American Cancer Society? You got it - finding a cure for cancer. Such an event would not only end their reason for existence, but also end their goverment $$$. I had this pointed out many years ago. About once a year, ACS will make an "exciting" announcement. New wonder drug - (insert random chemical compound here) - shows promise in curing some types of cancer in mice!! More tests are needed to see if it works on humans!!!

And then, that's about all you ever hear about it. Coincidentally, they make this announcement right about the time they have to apply for more grant-money from the government. Twelve months later, they make a new "exciting" announcement, touting a new wonder-chemical. Nothing is said about last year's exciting discovery.

Now that I've let you in on this, watch for the next "exciting announcement" from the ACS, and then sit back and be amazed how this scam plays out every year.

But I digress. Where Have All The Leaders Gone? is a good read. Give it as a Christmas present to all your ditto-head friends.