Monday, July 31, 2006

Nisei Rifles

Burma Rifles: A Story of Merrill's Marauders (1960) by Frank Bonham

Jerry Harada is the protagonist in this novel set in World War II. He is an American born patriotic Nisei whose family is sent to a concentration camp by liberal Democrats. Jerry volunteers and serves his country well, all the while battling racism from trailer trash.

Simultaneously lightweight and preachy.


Curry: A Tale of Cooks & Conquerors (2006) by Lizzie Collingham

Fascinating history of curries.

Documents how the British tried, and ultimately failed, to ruin the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent.

"On the whole Anglo-Indian British food was "monotonous, tasteless, and not nourishing.""

Contains many interesting recipes for curries, kebabs, sweets, etc.

The author does not recommend experimenting with roast black rat.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Hummingbirds: Jewels in Flight (1992) by Connie Toops

The Hummingbird Book (1989) by Donald and Lillian Stokes

These are two very nice books with lots of color pictures.

I learned that orioles see hummingbirds as rivals for sources of nectar and will kill hummingbirds.

Squirrels will raid hummingbird nests, eating eggs and nestlings.

Bluejays attack and kill hummingbirds.

It makes one wonder how hummingbirds survive where there are squirrels, bluejays, and orioles.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Crows (2005) by Candace Savage

Encounters with the Wise Guys of the Avian World

I have been a casual observer of crows for most of my life, and this book was a real eye opener for me.

Crows have about the same brain/body ratio as chimpanzees.

They not only use tools, they make them.

Thousands of crow vocalizations have been identified.

I have a larger respect for crows after reading this book.


Constantine (2005)

Peter Stormare is outstanding as Satan.

Tilda Swinton is very good as Gabriel (Swinton was the White Witch in the Narnia movie).

Some very disturbing imagery.


Holmes on the Range (2006) by Steve Hockensmith

Two cowpoke brothers do Holmes and Watson in the Old Wild West.

Not bad at all for a first novel.


The Brothers Grimm (2005)

More of a comedy than I expected, and better than I expected.

Peter Stormare is outstanding as the mercenary Cavaldi (Stormare was Serge the boat-bomber in Chocolat).


Bigfoot in Muskego?

I recently heard a first-person account of a bigfoot sighting in Muskego that happened decades ago.

Not an isolated occurrence, apparently.


A Mammoth Murder (2006) by Bill Crider

This is the 13th book in a series about Sheriff Dan Rhodes, but the first one that I have read.

A slow mover with some interesting characters.


Cars (2006)

Not enough about racing.

Too much about relationships.

What a bitter disappointment.


A Prairie Home Companion (2006)

Virginia Madsen is outstanding as the angel. The rest of it is marginal, at best.


A Canticle For Leibowitz (1959) by Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Special thanks to Jon Stewart of The Daily Show for indirectly inspiring me to re-read this classic of science fiction literature.

Simultaneously a very depressing and a very hopeful book.