Book Reviews in Review: 2017

December 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Here are my favorite five of the books I reviewed in 2017:

Being Written

As one who barely manages to control or corral the characters I put to page, I was hooked from the moment I read the description of Being Written.  The idea of a minor character subverting an author’s plot line for his own gain was not only intriguing, but made the writer in me curious how Conescu would pull it off.  Well, he did and it was great fun.  While some may not care for the ending, I found it absolutely perfect for the story. (5 of 5 Stars)

Being Written on


An extremely pleasant surprise, this book is not a traditional history of aviation, cataloging the different makes and models of aircraft through the years. Instead, Jay Spenser has authored the “biography” of a thing. And just as a man’s character can be revealed through the trajectory of events and experiences on his path from youth to adulthood, the Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” is understood as the “grown-up” Wright Flyer achieved through a lifetime of technological advances. As a pilot and aviation aficionado, I came away seeing the airplane in a new light and perspective. (5 of 5 Stars)

Link to The Airplane on Amazon


An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic by [Mendelsohn, Daniel]

While mothers are a child’s “safe space,” fathers — contrary to their current oafish pop culture stereotype ala Homer Simpson — are all too often familial labyrinths.  I guess it’s easier to make fun of something than admit you can’t really figure it out.  Daniel Mendelsohn’s paternal “odyssey” uses the other famous Homer’s epic as a template to get a measure of the kind of man his father really was.  If you’re a fan of The Odyssey (and I am), this book is an intriguing and enlightening look at both a classic of literature and the tangled relationships between fathers and sons.  (5 of 5 stars)

Link to An Odyssey: A Father, a Son and an Epic on

I was cruising along in this bio and unexpectedly slammed head-on into the epilogue–well before Wilbur died and all of the patent hassles with Glenn Curtiss, et al.  This book is less a history than an outstanding tribute to the Wright Brothers’ accomplishment, ending in 1910 with the first and only flight Wilbur and Orville ever made together at the pinnacle of their acclaim, having showcased their Flyer in Europe and America. Being familiar with their story, what McCullough really captured for me was the impact on the times had by an invention we now take for granted.  (5 of 5 Stars)

The Wright Brothers on


This was a fun read — but, of course, I’m a sucker for crosscut kinds of stories:  Hints from Heloise meets Igor the Assassin.  It reminded me a lot of my second favorite Kathleen Turner movie, Serial Mom. Grisly good fun with enough twists and turns to leave Bond, James Bond, scratching his head.   (4 of 5 Stars)

The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook on






Categories: What I've Read

Works of Art

December 20, 2017 Leave a comment

airscape Magazine

Featured image: Library of Congress P&P, LC-USW36-24

The United States Office of War Information (OWI) was essentially a propaganda agency, promulgated by Franklin D Roosevelt on June 13th, 1942 as a unification of several domestic information agencies.

Many Americans were bewildered by their rapid progression from Great Depression, to Arsenal of Democracy, to co-belligerent in a global conflict. So Roosevelt charged the OWI with using press, radio, movies and other media to inform the domestic population about the war effort and what they were fighting for.

The aesthetics of aircraft construction

Among the OWI’s incredibly talented staff were its official photographer, Alfred T Palmer (1906 – 1993) and one of his staff, Howard R Hollem. And they quickly got to work.

Alfred T Palmer in May 1942, while on assignment at the US Marines' glider training camp, Parris Island, SC. (LoC P&P, LC-USW3- 002348-E) Alfred T Palmer in May 1942, snapped on assignment at the US Marines’ glider training camp, Parris Island, SC. (LoC P&P, LC-USW3- 002348-E)

Through the second half of 1942 and…

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Clear and Present Dangers……Orville Wright

December 18, 2017 Leave a comment

 “If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true really is true, then there would be little hope for advance.”

~Orville Wright

See the source image


/ITB140306 - In the Black - Novel Cover - VW w180

Available at

Gadsden Flag

December 16, 2017 Leave a comment

December 16, 1773 — The Sons of Liberty, some disguised as Native Americans, in defiance of the Tea Act of May 10, 1773, destroyed an entire shipment of tea sent by the East India Company, which had 342 chests of tea on board.

/ITB140306 - In the Black - Novel Cover - VW w180

Available at


Categories: Shaving the Yak

An Interview With Writer M.T. Bass

December 13, 2017 Leave a comment



M.T. Bass is the author of Murder by Munchausen; here is a link to his website:


Q: What is Murder by Munchausen about?

A: Technology run amuck—but what’s new about that, right? Well, in the near future, artificial intelligence and robotics have converged. Siri, Alexa and Cortana are not just voices in pods that sit on the coffee table eavesdropping on your life and fetching stuff from the Internet. They have extremely human like bodies – in fact, they are called synthetic humanoids, synthoids for short – and act as “Personal Services Assistants” to free us from dirty jobs and menial chores out in “meatspace.” Of course, mankind being mankind, there are those among us who hijack that technology for ill intent and profit, turning synthoids into contract killers. The police unit that tracks down the hackers and repos the murderous ‘bots is the Artificial Crimes Unit.

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Categories: Reblogged Posts

Clear and Present Dangers……Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

December 11, 2017 Leave a comment

“It’s an universal law– intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.”

~Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quotes God


/ITB140306 - In the Black - Novel Cover - VW w180

Available at

Serapis Flag

December 9, 2017 Leave a comment

December 7, 1775  — John Paul Jones was appointed as a 1st Lieutenant of the newly converted 24-gun frigate Alfred in the Continental Navy.

December 7, 1941 — Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor


/CP140507 - Hard Road Art for CDBaby

Hard Road MP3 Available at

Categories: Shaving the Yak
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