Tuesday, August 30, 2011

9/11 books: "tattoos", Thunder Dog and 1,463 stairs to Freedom

Reading the USA Today over my daily breakfast regime, a page or two was dedicated to newly released books by survivors of our generations Pearl Harbor. Two caught my eye of which I've decided to read over the next several days. Given today is a Tuesday, when most books are released, I hopped in the car and went shopping. 

Unmeasured Strength, by Lauren Manning. Managing Director and Partner at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 106th floor of Tower Two, survived with over 80% of her body scarred and burnt. She doesn't hide her scars, she calls them "personal tattoos, her body art".

Unmeasured Strength

The second book, Thunder Dog, The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog & the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero by Michael Hingson with Susy Flory. 1,463 stairs away from survival, freedom from the smoke filled inferno of the north tower. Hingson put his faith and  trust in his guide dog, Roselle, and triumphed!

Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero

Firehouse by the late David Halberstam is the only book I've read on 9/11 although I have several in my library.

Halberstam explores the lives of 13 men of Engine 40, Ladder 35 located on the West Side of Manhattan. Thirteen men became first responders to the World Trade Center, only one survived. Halberstam, a Pulitzer Prize winning author and Vietnam war correspondant, at the time of the writing lived three blocks from the station.

Any books that you've read or wish to recommend?

It's been years since I read Halberstams book, almost nine years to the date and I rarely read a book twice. However, accompanied with Manning's and Hingson's, I'll make an exception and read his, too.

Adele...Concert Review

How does one describe the voice of an angel? Soft, yet passionate? Gifted? Angelic, of course could be used too. But, cute? Would you take a singer serious if you thought her performance was cute? For Adele, yes you should.

With her cute, playful sense of humor and angelic voice, Adele thrilled the audience through a rollercoaster of emotions.

Making up for her cancelled Minneapolis First Avenue date, Adele serenaded the St. Paul Xcel Center crowd (8/24/11) as if it were only you and her in an intimate setting, then asked the audience to pay tribute to Amy Winehouse and thousands of cheering fans obliged with their cellphones( which have replaced lighters) and lit up the arena.

Hard to describe someone like you(Adele), thoughts of Norah Jones as she smoothly made her way from one tune to the next, including her "19" hit of "Chasing Pavements". One got the sense of maybe, Bonnie Raitt then shortly thereafter she pleasantly surprised us and crooned a Raitt classic, "I Can't Make You Love Me", introducing it as her favorite song and honoring Bob Dylan with " Make You Feel My Love".

Then there was, "Someone Like You", co-written by Minnesotan Dan Wilson, shows there's truly noone like Adele.

Dining with three smiling angels before the show then having the pleasure of listening to one, made the evening a heavenly experience!

Look for more concert reviews on the Concerts and Clef Notes page to the right.

Set List
• Hometown Glory
• I'll Be Waiting
• Don't You Remember
• Turning Tables
• Set Fire to the Rain
• If It Hadn't Been for Love
• My Same
• Take It All
• Rumour Has It
• Right As Rain
• One and Only
• Lovesong
• Chasing Pavements
• I Can't Make You Love Me
• Make You Feel My Love
• Someone Like You
• Rolling in the Deep

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Eggs, toast and James Patterson

"ChClick" is the sound my GT Express 101 machine makes when its pre-heated and ready for cooking.

GT Express 101 Countertop Grill

 Focusing on a dietary suggestion in Bill Phillips' Body for Life, I crack open a couple of eggs,  pour whites and all into this handy little cooking machine, toss a piece of whole wheat bread into the toaster, sit down and start reading the morning newspaper.

Leaving the eggs to their wonderment and waiting for the toast to pop, I crack open a diet coke ( not a suggestion by Bill Phillips', but hey, I need my caffeine), and thumb through the paper.  Grabbing the specially equipped spatula, I scooped the eggs out of  Mr. Express, and lathered the toast with some butter  ( another suggestion that Bill doesn't like) I continue my morning reading ritual.

One Reuters' story caught my eye as the yoke oozed out of my first egg. James Patterson topped the Forbes List of the world's highest paid authors, with a cool $84 million.  Reading the article as I finished my second egg, lapping up the remnants with my piece of toast, I was quite impressed by the contract Patterson signed that helped catapult him to the top of the Forbes list.

Sharing  this eye brow raising news later in the day with a couple of great friends,   we wondered, 'What's up with all the collaboration?' 

Seems more and more authors these days are collaborating.  Tom Clancy over the past several years has either lent his name or collaborated on, Op-Center, Net Force, Power Plays, Splinter Cell and others. Then most recently, he picked up the Jack Ryan series in Dead or Alive with Grant Blackwood and started a new character in Against All Enemies with Peter Telep.

Patterson has collaborated with several as well, Andrew Gross for Judge and JuryThe Jester and Lifeguard along with the first three of the Women's Murder Club: 2nd Chance and 3rd Degree.
Judge & Jury

Maxine Paetro  has also joined Patterson on: Swimsuit, Private and Women's Murder Club:10th Anniversary; 9th Judgment, 8th Confession, 7th Heaven, 6th Target, 5th Horseman, 4th of July,  and  while Michael Ledwidge accompanied him on Step on a Crack, Now You See Her, Tick Tock, Run for Your Life, The Quickie and Worst Case.

The Quickie
Are they truly collaborating or am I being a cynic to think they're just lending their name? I guess if whatever method works and it certainly "ain't" broke based on the numbers, why fix it?

So whatever your nutritional reading supplement may be, breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack, and you eat solo or in this case, collaborate with others, Reading is not only fundamental, it's a key to ingredient for everyones diet.

Look for more collaboration to come as Clancy and Patterson release more books and Gross writes more of his own.

   For more on the highest paid authors, visit Jeff Bercovici's article at:   www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2011/08/17/the-worlds-highest-paid-authors/

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Last Train to Memphis...Where were you when Elvis died?

Thirty four years ago on a rainy day in Southern Illinois, I was unloading a truck of folding chairs, preparing for my sisters upcoming sixteenth birthday. Then the news broke by way of David Brinkley on the NBC evening news. I was astonished by the emotion the stoic Brinkley shown as he read the news that the King of Rock n Roll passed away.

Imitating Elvis in front of a black and white TV at the age of five or six, I to this day, love his music.  Having lived in Memphis for a few years, I never grew tired of taking friends and family to visit Graceland. The best time to go?  Christmas!!  Holiday music chimes over the speakers as you tour the grounds of Graceland. 
 Peter Guralnick in a two volume set, chroniclizes Elvis' rise and tragic fall.  Last Train to Memphis is volume one, very detailed account of Elvis' early years.  Followed up by Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, if you read any books on Elvis, these two should be included.

Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley

Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley

Other books written over the years:

Elvis: My Best Man: Radio Days, Rock n Roll Nights by George Klein, DJ and radio personality and long time friend of Elvis

Elvis and Me by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley

Me and a Guy Named Elvis: My Lifelong Friendship by Jerry Schilling; Jerry met Elvis back in 1954 and became part of the Memphis Mafia

Elvis Presley: The Family Album by George Klein

Where were you when Elvis left the building?