Sunday, December 28, 2014

Book Review: No Turning Back by Dan Burns

No Turning Back
By Dan Burns
Chicago: Chicago Arts Press: pp 253 

10 short stories in one book by Dan Burns
 may be just the thing to get your mind off the world or decide to engage just a bit more. Thought provoking, the sometimes Twilight Zone reminiscent or Bradburyesque tales transport the reader to another place.

The ten stories are: Cone Out Wherever You Are, At the End of the Day, Out of Touch, Letting Go, The Dark Side, For a Few Laughs, Adios Amigo, An Unexpected Guest – A Fantasy, The Pass, and No Turning Back. Will keep you turning pages through the quick paced prose.

Come Out, Wherever You Are takes one path on an apocalyptic day. What would you do if you were the last man standing? You may think differently when you’re done with this one. I particularly liked the descriptions of the location and how what was expect just wasn’t what was found.

Adios Amigo is particularly disturbing in that funny Twilight Zone sort of way. While it reminded me of one of the tele-plays it was distinctly different. The differences included a 21st century taste for the ew-factor. By the end, we’re not sympathetic to the main character and yet… ew.

An Unexpected Guest is the answer to, if you could have dinner with anyone, absolutely anyone, who would it be? Dan Burns’s guest is simply delightful, and if it is based completely on fantasy, it’s just how I would imagine his guest would be. No spoiler here. But when you read it you’ll know why he included this vignette with this collection.  

The last story No Turning Back is thought provoking especially with the announcement of the end of the warfare in Afghanistan; it gives us food for thought before we send any other young men to foreign countries.

If you like SciFi stories without the gore you’ll enjoy this collection of short stories and commentary from author Dan Burns.

Thank you Dan for the opportunity to read and review your latest book: No Turning Back. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy Birthday Sir Isaac Newton

Setting aside the controversy this year with wishing Sir Isaac Newton a Happy Birthday on Christmas, there were two thoughts in different directions: the calendar and do most people even know for what Sir Newton is noted.

Happy Birthday on December 25th looked like January 4th for Sir Isaac in his life time which started in 1642. With a healthy long life, the astronomer lived to be 84 years old, expiring March 20 1726. Interesting thing about the calendar between 1642 and 1726, it didn’t change.

While the calendars around the world were changing with the Catholic church adopting the Gregorian calendar in 1582, England, Wales and the Colonies were not participating until the New Style Act in 1750. American historians will point out to eager students that the change in calendar is the reason for President’s Day being sometime in February rather than on Washington’s Birthday because we changed the date during his life time. Imagine thinking you know your date of birth only to find out you’ve been wrong by about a week: Poor George.

More importantly, Sir Isaac Newton formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation. Because of his work, we understand planetary motion, trajectories of comets and other fun astronomical facts. Newton removed the last doubts about the center of our system being the Sun. Believe it or not, there were nay-sayers to that fact for a several centuries.
Sir Newton was a professor of mathematics, biblical chronology and alchemy, a combination not likely in our day but quite the scholar in his time.

For more information:

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cheshire Smile

A most memorable character, the Cheshire cat and his smile are famous. The broad smile often comments like: He's smiling like a Cheshire cat waiting for something. 

In the story of Alice in Wonderland that cat explains that he 'isn't all there' which goes quite well with his mischievous grin and giggly laugh. 

But the Cheshire smile has a sinister side as well. Also known as the Glasgow smile is the signature disfigurement inflicted on the victims of a beating from the Chelsea Headhunters. Gang members cut the edges of the person's mouth, then beat them in the face until the cuts widen across the face until the wound spreads from ear to ear. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Book Review: Stop, Drop, and Wiggle by Gaia Shawna Morrissette

Stop, Drop, and Wiggle

by Gaia Shawna Morrissette

2014: Balboa Press: Hay House. 103 pages $28.95

Pulling from her own experience, Gaia Morrissette offers detailed seven steps to lift yourself out of depression by wiggling. Can't be bummed if you're giggling and wiggling is the philosophy.

Step 1: STOP!
The beginning asks that you check in with your emotions. How are you? Really.

What's the universe telling you? The messages are there if you look for them.

Step 3: DROP
Take control of your feelings. They belong to you, not the other way around.

Step 4: WIGGLE!
Shake it baby!

Find something to be grateful for. This exercise will help you feel better, no matter what.

Step 6: LOVE
List those things that make your life worth living.

Step 7 SHIT or get off the pot
Time to put it all into action.

The rest is simple but not necessarily easy: practice practice practice.

It is absolutely impossible to stay bummed out if you're wiggling your tush, as my grandma used to call it. Try it.