jonathan-strange-and-mr-norrellBy John Ruberry

It’s time to take a break from politics.

Many times while surfing on Netflix I came across a recommendation to watch the seven-part 2015 BBC One miniseries, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which is described as such: “In 1806 ambitious magician Norrell leads a revival of practical magic in England and ignites a fierce rivalry with bold young conjurer Strange.” If that sounds like a dopey show, well, that’s what I thought too. But I yielded to the luring and tuned in. I’m grateful that I did.

Magic in the alternative universe of Strange and Norrell is not smoke-and-mirrors and rabbits being pulled from hats, it’s a neglected scientific discipline that for unexplained reasons was abandoned in England in the early 16th century. But Gilbert Norrell (Eddie Marsan), a magician from York, becomes a national sensation when he brings to life the statues of  York Minster Cathedral and, in his only use of dark magic, brings back from death the future wife of a prominent member of parliament, Lady Pole (Alice Englert).

But just as in another alternative universe where humans can sell their soul to the devil, the dark side, in this case a mysterious being known as the Gentleman (Marc Warren), sabotages the transaction and establishes Norrell’s second rivalry.

Norrell offers his services to fight the French and their allies in the Napoleonic Wars, although only Jonathan Strange (Bertie Carvel) directly utilizes magic at the side of the Duke of Wellington (Ronan Vibert), who is initially skeptical of him. Included in the broad historical sweep of Strange and Norrell is the blind and mad King George III, and although not by name, the anti-industrial Luddites.

The rest of the cast is wonderful, particularly Ariyon Bakare as a mysterious butler and Vincent Franklin as the duplicitous promoter of Norrell and Strange. The special effects, with the exception of the ravens in the last two installments, are first rate.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is a welcome diversion from the usual, and it’s a particularly good series for binge-watching.

Besides Netflix, the mini-series is available on many on-demand systems and on DVD.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

For years we have all been watching the news about Iran and disagreements they have with a number of governments around the world about their nuclear program. We have all seen the discussions of sanctions, lifting sanctions, red lines, pushing red lines, and even had our own internal disagreements over what should be done about the aspirations of their weapons (or peaceful) program.

I have written extensively on this subject in various places as a scientist. Having a nuclear background myself I find the discussion interesting, if for no other reason than just how poorly nuclear “things” are understood.

A number of years ago I started writing fiction novels. It is something I enjoy, and have met with some very humbling positive reader feedback. I do hope if you have read one that I can include you as a fan. It is truly an honor to have entertained people.

The point of this discussion is that, like everyone else, I want to know what Iran wants to do with those weapons. That is assuming they get their hands on them. That caused me to read as much as I could of their official releases to see what their intention was, and nothing positive could be found.

Nations that want many nuclear weapons are defending themselves, a nation that wants four or five and has stated targets in mind I take issue with.

I do not think the United States should be the world police, nor should we dictate to everyone. But this time they have something in mind. That something led me to write a fiction novel. The premise of The Last World War: Volume 1 Trial By Fission is my fictionalized version of what happens if Iran gets these weapons and does what they say they want to do. I hope you enjoy the read and we do apologize to the one reviewer who said we kept him up at night.

Below is an excerpt from that book which can be purchased on Amazon in paperback and eBook format. It can be purchased in paperback or eBook for Kindle (which I will reduce to just a $0.99 download for the next few days).


An excerpt from The Last World War:


The news anchor kept talking, filling airtime no matter what, “I want to remind everyone, that we still have no idea who is behind these acts. We don’t know much of anything yet, other than there have been two nuclear explosions in two United States cities, which history will surely…please hold for a moment…”

She put her finger to her ear, listening intently to her earpiece, “Ladies and Gentlemen, we have our first video feed coming in from a helicopter over the destruction near Fort Worth. This is from a traffic helicopter that had yet to take off when the device detonated. Many of them that were in the air at the time were tragically downed when the detonation happened. This one had to be fueled then fly in from more than a hundred and fifty miles northeast. Ah, the picture is coming…” her sentence ended abruptly as she turned to see the picture on the screen behind her.

She was not the only person who would stop mid-sentence upon first seeing the images. The video of the scenes of destruction would stop even the most professional of newscasters all over the globe.

As far as the camera could focus the scene of the desolate landscape was nothing but giant piles of rubble. Pieces of what once were multi-story buildings, automobiles, what might have been a highway overpass, maybe a school bus were all thrown together in massive piles.

In the distance some portions of buildings could be seen remaining with some large missing portions. A steel beam was sticking out of one of the remaining structures giving a smoke filled, charred reminder that the buildings here were recently much taller.

A city was gone from the Earth. It was there, just this morning. It was there, and now it wasn’t. It had been turned into a pile of waste. The land was still there, bits of junk were still there. None of what had been the well-organized and constructed buildings stood in any useable fashion.

The cameraman pulled back for a wide shot and the destruction appeared to go on even further and wider than Frank had imagined possible. It wasn’t completely flattened out but looked to be something akin to the surface of an abandoned island in the Pacific, one of the ones that were used for testing of all kinds of weaponry during and after World War II.

Frank could not believe that what he was looking at had been a thriving metropolitan area just a few short hours ago. Being in the combat branches of the military he had seen destruction from bombs, explosives, and missiles, but this was far beyond any of that. If you looked closely in the distance you could see what appeared to be steel superstructures of buildings on fire. Given that this was a nuclear blast there should be no fuel left on the surface burning, this had to be the metal itself that had gotten so hot that it was producing a flame. It was too much for Frank to even wrap his mind around. That much heat, it just wasn’t possible that this was really happening.

The helicopter slowed. There was a static filled audio feed from the pilot. By now the audience had put together from the somewhat broken transmissions from the helicopter that on the images were from the edge, not at the center, of the damaged area. The fires in the distance were too massive and the pilot did not feel he could get closer without risking his aircraft. They were attempting to search for survivors. The recording of damage could wait until they helped what people they could. So far they were searching, but not finding anyone left alive.

The pilot was systematically searching the area. The camera panned down rather than pointing in front of the flight path in order to increase their chances of finding someone still moving. The pilot was asking for help of anyone watching his feed to alert him if they saw something he missed. On the audio feed the pilot could be heard praying to himself between official radio exchanges. He must have forgotten that he pushed the voice activated transmission button. Who could blame him?

The helicopter came upon what had recently been an elementary school. At least they came upon the remnants of a playground that indicated that is what this building probably used to be. It could have been a daycare center, but it was certainly something with children in mind. What remained of some of the children who had been on the playground could be seen littering the area. Their bodies had been turned to the color of blackened fireplace ash. Some of the piles of ash still maintained the shape of small humans who had finished their lives in intense pain based on the positions they had been in when they reached their final breath.

One small child who had been on the side of the building and therefore not “protected” by its structure was burned down to a pure white skeleton. At this discovery the camera operator and pilot stopped speaking into the radio. Their flight slowly, almost sadly, changed direction away from the blast center moving further towards the outskirts. The camera remained focused on the skeletal remains of the once playful child as long as it could as the nation and world took note of the price of this attack had cost the innocent civilians of the United States.

All that was heard from the pilot after this sad discovery was a very timidly voiced statement, “We are going to look further north for survivors.”

The news anchor came back into view as tears were streaking her makeup in silent emotions stains, “We have just received word from an overseas colleague. We have no reason to doubt the validity. There have been three nuclear explosions in Israel, our close friend and ally in that region. Our prayers go out to everyone in Fort Worth, Detroit and Israel. May God help Israel and God help the United States. We are at War. I hope humankind can survive this madness.”

She got up and walked off camera covering her face to hide the new stream of tears now flowing uncontrollably.

Frank closed the screen on the laptop saying, “Let’s get that first aid review underway. We have to get in there and help whoever is left alive.”


imageby baldilocks

No, not that Fisherman. The other one.

The power to tax is the power to destroy.

–Daniel Webster, et al.

The 36th president of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson, is infamous for many things.

Most domestically notable are two programs: the Great Society and Medicare. Both programs can arguably be viewed as bait to Americans. Bait for what? Luring the poor into government dependence, luring the elderly into the same, and luring the descendants of all into catastrophic debt. This debt applies both individually and nationally.

However, I was fascinated to discover that these programs were not LBJ’s first forays into hooking groups into government control. At The Federalist, Leslie Loftis notes that his first target was the church.

When the federal tax code was written, that the government couldn’t tax churches was assumed. For one, at the beginning of the union, only the federal government was prohibited from establishing a religion. The state governments could and did establish churches. They didn’t tax churches, but collected taxes for the church. This stopped after the Civil War and the ratification and subsequent case law of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporated the federal proscription against an established religion to the individual states.


Essentially, churches have complied with the exemption requirements of the tax code rather than asserting the right to be free from taxation.


To punish and prevent political opponents [including churches] from speaking out against him, [in 1954] then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson, who was in a contentious re-election campaign, pushed through an amendment to the tax code which prohibits “political activity” by 501(c)(3) entities. It is called the Johnson Amendment. Since the prohibition passed, it has only been lightly—and selectively—enforced.

Loftis points to bi-partisan examples of this selective enforcement, but notes that

[m]ost churches, however, tend to err on the side of caution lest the IRS decide to prosecute, either on a whim or as part of a larger political intimidation program much like the one they have run in the past few years against conservative secular organizations.

In other words, due to LBJ’s little trap, most churches yield to fear and/or love of money.

Oh and Loftis also notes that the IRS is the process of composing new guidelines for political activity by tax-exempt religious organizations and churches at the the legal behest of the Freedom From Religion Foundation(!) Aren’t all we Jesus freaks, Bible-thumpers and bitter-clingers looking forward to the passage of such regulations so that we can find out what’s in them?

Back to LBJ. We have had several problematic presidents and the current one seems like the biggest one. But he and his ideological siblings who sit in political office at all levels of government–like Houston Mayor Annise Parker–can look to the politicians of the past and thank them for laying the foundations of tyranny by luring an intentionally under-educated populace into assenting to it.

Politicians like LBJ: Dixiecrat, Reenslaver of black Americans, and Persecutor of the Church.

Quite a legacy, don’t you think?

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her second novel, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2014.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects: Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or contribute to Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

As you may or may not know my friend Tim Imholt is running for congress in the Ma-3 district against Niki Tsongas.

I’ve interviewed Tim many times, covered his campaign and had hi on my show. He’s a scientist, a small business owner a father of three and a PhD. The man is a problem solver and an excellent choice for congress.

And if that isn’t cool enough he is also is a writer of fiction, and his latest book The Forest of Assassins (with David Forsmark) is now out.

It’s a roaring story of a Vietnam era seals operating both at base and in country engaging charlie, dealing with the South Vietnamese and local tribes and at the same time trying to find a traitor in their midst.

My full review on Amazon is here but you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by just buying the paperback or the kindle edition

That way you can support Tim and give yourself the gift of great entertainment.

There was one good thing about the slow upload speeds at the Westin Hotel at RNC Boston, I had a chance to finish Elizabeth’s Scalia’s Strange Gods Unmasking the idols in Everyday life (FYI you can find my interview with her on the book here)

The book is all about the things we place before God in our life the idols and Icons that we raise up and I recommend it to anyone who can read.

I would especially recommend it to Secularists as I wrote in my review on Amazon:

But for the skeptic the lessons still hold true, because Strange Gods really is dealing with obsessions, and even if one is not a believer those obsessions can take over your life and get in the way of what is important.And nobody is more vulnerable to creating a strange god than a person who thinks they do not acknowledge one because they will not recognize behavior that a believer would instantly see as religious.

While a skeptic may scoff at the core message of Christ that is the center of the book that warning to remember what is truly important in life can do naught but help overcome they gods they don’t even know they have.

It’s a great read, buy it.

My review for Leften Wright’s latest book The Handbook for Closet Conservatives is available at here.

If you hope to someday get a government job and need to be able to convince the person interviewing you the IRS went too easy on Tea Party Groups, this is a must read.

Leften Will be joining me Saturday June 15th on DaTechGuy on DaRadio for more tips on how to help you blend in the bluest of blue settings.

By why wait till the 15th when you can buy his book here

auntie matterMy Review of the 4th Doctor Big Finish Episode The Auntie Matter Staring Tom Baker as the Doctor and Mary Tamm as Romana #1 is available at here

It really drives home the loss from Tom Baker not joining up with Big Finish right at the start.

You can get these and other great Big Finish Doctor Who Videos in the US at Mike’s Comics

My review of Jonah Goldberg’s book The Tyranny of clichés is now available at here a peek:

And all this is done in the context of so many pop culture references that it’s hard to turn a page without them. He can start a point quoting Edmund Burke on example and finish with: “Similarly, we don’t all need to fight a land war in Asia or go against a Sicilian when death is on the line” without missing a beat.

The best way to put it Imagine if Firing Line was done in the style of Family Guy by a conservative writer and you will understand what to expect.

Buy his book below.

Oh and while Jonah Goldberg is trying to make a buck or two on his book The DaTechGuy Fundraiser is in progress, our goal is $3000. Any help is appreciated.

For details click here for the progress check the thermometer to the right and to kick in hit DaTipJar”.

My Review of the New Movie Ted Staring Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis as his girlfriend and Seth MacFarline as the voice of his Teddy Bear Peter Ted is here:

What do you do if you are a successful TV show writer who wants to make a Movie but doesn’t have the brass to do what the Simpsons folks did and do It blatantly? Simple make your main character a Teddy Bear, turn his kids into his slacker friend and his wife into his friend’s long suffering girlfriend and Presto, you have Ted.

Mark Wahlberg is John Bennett whose teddy bear Peter (sorry Ted) comes to life after a Christmas Wish that is almost as powerful as an Apache Helicopter. Unfortunately for John his parents apparently had no idea how to raise either him or the teddy bear and both become pot smoking slacker losers in Boston.

read the rest at


The DaTechGuy Fundraiser is in progress, our goal is $3000. Any help is appreciated. For details click here for the progress check the thermometer to the right and to kick in hit DaTipJar”.

I received Robert Caro’s volume The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power as a gift late Friday night and finished reading it at noon on Sunday. the following is the review I have submitted to It has not yet appeared on their site: I reproduce it in its entirety here and will link it when it is up: Update: It’s up here.

Robert Caro’s 4th Volume on the life of Lyndon Johnson covering from 1958 to the transition in 1964 is yet another lesson concerning how political power is achieved and how it is applied.

Caro book is divided into five sections:

The first covers Johnson’s failed effort to obtain the presidential nomination in 1960. He focuses on strategic errors, in terms of solidifying support Johnson should have had without effort combined with a total misreading of the political gifts of JFK. While his inaction would seem strange for the man who said: “If you do everything you will win” it is clear from my reading of the volume that it was less a question of insecurity and fear as Caro suggests but of dedication to a strategic plan that was in fact based on an understandably flawed premise. The “inaction” was, in my opinion, simply Johnson using the disciple he thought necessary for his strategy to work. The story of the vice presidential offer to was particularly revealing and the handling of his train tour during the campaign was something I was totally ignorant of.

The second section concerning the vice presidency is the least exciting in that it concerns not Johnson’s power but his weakness and inability to use his considerable talents to change that state. We also get a solid look at JFK’s understanding of how who holds presidential power within the Executive Branch branch.

Sections 3 & 4 are very short, 30 and 49 pages respectively. They deal with the events of Dallas up to the end of the procession in DC. It chronicles the moment when the switch in Lyndon Johnson’s head turns from “off” to “on”. The transformation will be no surprise to anyone who read the previous books nor his willingness to use Jackie the blood still upon her dress to begin that consolidation. Excluded from this section are Johnson’s decisive actions to complete this consolidation among world leaders, and political leaders on the state and national level once back in DC. That is saved for the final section…

….Section 5 Where we see the difference between a romantic figure and a political master. We are taken back to his previous volume Master of the Senate where we see how a person who knows how to use power and understands how political power works operates. Most interesting to me is his forcing people like Hubert Humphrey to develop the skis that Johnson due to his new office can’t use in person. This was my favorite part of the story.

Several thoughts:

Caro is a master storyteller, The 600+ pages of this book turn as easily as Shelby Foote’s Civil War Trilogy did.

The meat of this book is the conflict between LBJ & RFK, it dominates the volume as the balance of power shifts between them.

I was taken aback by how Caro approached RFK’s anti-communism and dislike for the Soviet Block. It suggested a sympathy for the single most murderous ideology of the 20th century that is not inconsistent with 20th & 21st century liberalism.

Make sure you read the notes at the end of the book, they are filled with nuggets that should not be missed.

It seemed odd to me that Johnson would not give an opinion issue when JFK asked EXCEPT when Kennedy asked about passing a Civil Rights bill. That was totally inconsistent with everything that came before.

The single most important words of the book come on page 465. Russell played his cards till the end but he knew the game was lost before it even started because like his hero R. E. Lee he faced a foe who as Shelby Foote put it: “Knew how to whip him, and did.”

Finally there is one elephant in the room that needs to be addressed:

I took the liberty of reading the one star reviews. Most fault Caro for not linking Johnson to the assassination of Kennedy. Although Caro states emphatically he is aware of no evidence to support any such linkage to the crime, it is impossible to ignore the level of coincidence here. For thousands of pages every bit of Lyndon Johnson’s life is directed toward a single ultimate goal. Caro writes the day of the assassination Johnson’s world is about to crumble. The upcoming Life magazine stories on his wealth, the congressional testimony on the Baker case and the realization by the Kennedy campaign that he was no longer needed in 1964 combined with RFK’s ambitions suggest LBJ unquestionably was in fear for his political life.

Yet with two bullets his problems either disappear outright or he suddenly has the power to make them disappear.

Johnson’s actions in the car to the airport certainly seem exculpatory and I’m certainly not going to accuse LBJ of complicity in a murder and coup nor re-write history based on coincidence, but one can not have read the previous nearly 3000 pages to the moment of crisis and not reflexively suspect Johnson of complicity due to his unwillingness to leave anything to chance and the principle of Cui Bono, even if such suspicion comes only for a moment and leaves just as fast.

This book like the volumes that preceded is simply spectacular even as a stand alone volume. It is informative, entertaining and applicable to the political situation that exists today. You should buy it.

I hope that Mr. Caro lives to complete the final volume and I look forward to reading it when he does.

This book is worth your money PERIOD!

I’m not a big online gamer (although I’ll occasionally use my son’s account for a hand of Bridge) so the online multi Player stuff really doesn’t hold a lot of interest for me, but I’ve been a wargamer/boardgamer for 35 years and this week I had my first exposure to World of Warcraft the Boardgame, and it is interesting.

The System:

Basically you have two groups of players each on a “side”. In a specific number of turns these teams of players complete quests against various monsters and warriors (either together or along) to gain experience in order to be strong enough to defeat the boss at the end, if neither can then the fight is between the pair of groups. You also encounter some creatures that give no bonus’ at all but are in your way. Each player can equip themselves based on the restrictions of their character as they gain levels they gain bonus traits that are roughly based on the choices they make at the start (although technically they can choose others) The point is to progress enough so you can defeat stronger and stronger monsters as you go up in levels.

One of the interesting things about this game is the turn alternates one team moves on odd turns, one on evens.

The Combat:

The system is a D8 System. Blue (range) Green (Defense) and Red (Parry and attack) system. Based upon your equipment you will gain dice of each color to attack, depending on your abilities and equipment you may be allowed re-rolls or be allowed dice in the “attrition” box. Blue attacks hit first as they are ranged. Green dice block hits and Red Dice parry AND hit. Attrition hits take place at the end of combat.

Each creature you fight has a value for Offense (damage it deals) and Defense (damage it takes) and toughness (the number it takes to score a hit) additionally creatures may have bonus’ that negate various types of advantages. If you fail to slay your opponent(s) they deal damage to you based upon these figures.

The Chrome:

Photo from Gencon

The individual molded plastic pieces are pretty well done and rather neat, the cards design is only pleasing to the eye but large enough to read without glasses if you are older like myself, the board is a thing of beauty and it’s layout worth of your attention.

The Price:

On Amazon the Game retails for $119 on other sites I see it for about $80 which sounds a lot more reasonable. You will get a lot of playtime from this game, but in comparison to other awesome games out there (read Talisman) it seems a tad steep.

My verdict:

It is a good game and is a lot easier to learn than it might seem, the combat system might take a play or two to pick up. It’s not the best value in gaming out there but you will enjoy yourselves.

This review also appears at here

It is not often that I will recommend a book that tends to hit the Catholic Church but I’ve just finished Vishal Mangalwadi’s The Book that made your World, How the Bible Created the soul of Western Civilization and must conclude that no defender of Western Civilization should be without it.

You can find my full review at Amazon but let me briefly say that in 400 pages Mr. Mangalwadi performs a service by reacquainting the reader with the role of the Biblical worldview in not only all that is best about Western Civilization but in how our modern “humanitarian” views would have never developed without it.

This work combined with Thomas Woods’ How the Catholic Church built Western Civilization (my review here) provides the defender of Western Civilization will every tool needed to defend the Western Worldview and all the good it has done.

Buy em both!

These books are practically the Christian version of this skit

My review of The Whites of Their Eyes: Bunker Hill, the First American Army, and the Emergence of George Washington via the Amazon Vine program is available at here.

Considering all the Palin/Revere stuff lately it’s not a bad idea to actually read some history instead of relying on poetry for yours.

My reviews of Stephen Budiansky’s soon to be released volume Perilous Fight America’s Intrepid War with Britain on the High Seas 1812-1815 are now available both at here and at via the Amazon vine program here.

If you are looking for a book that is a play by play of the cannon balls of the fleet such as Preble’s boys you will likely be disappointed but Budiansky does cover a lot of aspects of the War that have been given short shift by other historians.

Oh and I suspect the William Bainbridge fan club will take Budiansky off their Christmas list.

My reviews of the Big Finish Doctor Who adventure # 133 City of Spires Staring Colin Baker as the 6th Doctor and Frazer Hines as Jamie are available at here. And at here.

There is nothing so sad as a story that starts off so promising and end, well like this one did.

As always you can pick this up at Mike’s comics. You can also listen to a trailer the adventure here.

My review of the Big Finish Companion Chronicles adventure # 5.3 Staring Alex Lowe as Huxley and Katy Manning as BOTH Jo Grant and Iris Wildthyme are available here at and Here at

I haven’t done a Doctor who review in a while so I’m glad to get back to it.

As always you can pick this up at Mike’s comics. You can also listen to a trailer the adventure here.

My reviews of the Ladd Ehlinger Jr. film Hive Mind staring Greg Trent are available at here and at here.

I am absolutely convinced this movie would be a cult classic if more people saw it. CPAC 2011 should consider showing it in a side room on a loop or something.

If Ladd Ehlinger Jr. sounds familiar but you can’t place him, you likely know him from this.

And if you still can’t place him I interviewed him Wednesday.

Go to his site and buy this movie.

My twin reviews of Dick Armey’s and Matt Kibbe’s book Give us Liberty a tea party manifesto are available at here and here.

Update: Bad graphic fixed, hey when you’re spending the night dancing you can’t always stop to fix a bad graphic.

I have written two reviews of Allie Winegar Duzett’s new book How to Save America A Tactical Guide for Practical patriots. You can find my Amazon review of the book here and my review for is here.

No matter which review you choose, it is an excellent book at an excellent price by a remarkable young lady.

You can view my interview of A. E. Duzett for the Field guide here.

My review of the Big Finish 8th Doctor Episode 2.2 Max Warp staring Paul McGann as the Doctor and Sheridan Smith as Lucie Miller is available at here:

Considering the posts this week about cars and hot rods this review fits in perfectly

As always you can pick this up at Mike’s comics. You can also listen to a trailer the adventure here.

My review of the 1915 silent movie Birth of a Nation one of the most famous American movies in history is available at here.

After you read my review read Roger Ebert’s from 2003: A peek:

To understand “The Birth of a Nation” we must first understand the difference between what we bring to the film, and what the film brings to us. All serious moviegoers must sooner or later arrive at a point where they see a film for what it is, and not simply for what they feel about it. “The Birth of a Nation” is not a bad film because it argues for evil. Like Riefenstahl’s “The Triumph of the Will,” it is a great film that argues for evil. To understand how it does so is to learn a great deal about film, and even something about evil.

I don’t have much use for Roger Ebert as a political commentator but his review of this movie is spot on. We can only thank God that for the good of society Michael Moore or Oliver Stone doesn’t have the skill or talent of D. W. Griffith.

One of the things that I’ve noticed in my time in the Amazon Vine program is the idea of the program is to generate buzz for a book that may nor may not sell otherwise.

When Sarah Palin’s book was due out, it was not available in the vine program, Michelle Malkin’s books don’t show up there, nor Glenn Beck or even Ann Coulter’s, the more established the personality and/or author the less the chances their book will be available via Vine.

Yesterday I got my Amazon vine e-mail. I didn’t have a chance to check it out when it first came since my son came home from the hospital that night, but when I did see it I noticed that Keith Olberman’s new book Pitchforks and Torches: The Worst of the Worst, from Beck, Bill, and Bush to Palin and Other Posturing Republicans due out in two months was on it.

Olberman is MSNBC’s headliner, he is on during their 8 p.m. hour. He is one of the loudest voices of the left with the megaphone of a nightly TV show 5 days a week. Yet his book as of this moment is ranked #56,905 in Books a mere places behind The Road to Serfdom Volume 2 of the Collected works of F. A. Hayek

but lets not be unfair here, it is #33 in Books > Nonfiction > Politics > Political Parties lets see what is ahead of it at this hour:

At #30 Conservative comebacks to liberal lies by Gregg Jackson who I have never heard of. It was released a month ago.

At #28 Liberalism is a Mental Disorder: Savage Solutions by Michael Savage released (April 12, 2005) .

At #7 Conservative Victory: Defeating Obama’s Radical Agenda: Paperback edition by Sean Hannity (March 30, 2010)

At #1 & #2 Sits Give us Liberty, a Tea Party Manifesto by Dick Armey that came out Tuesday. The Hardcover is #2 and the Kindle edition is number two, but since it just came out lets finish with an older book

Mark Levin’s Liberty & Tyranny sits at #4 (Hardcover), #5 (Paperback) and #26 (Audiobook) This book came out in MARCH of 2009

None of these books were available to me on vine.

Even funnier is that unless you go down to that 4th level He doesn’t even show up, go up one level to Politics instead of political parties and Hayek is #3 & 53, Laura Ingram is #6 & 29, The Federalist papers are #13, Tea Party Manifesto is #14 & 50, Glenn Beck has books at #21 & 96, Malkin is at #22, mark Levin is at #96 and Pam Geller’s new book is #75, it was NOT available on Vine.

Pam is a spectacular woman and an American treasure, but she is nowhere near as well known as Olberman, yet his book is on Vine and her’s is not. Her book is at #2,516 a mere 54,299 spots ahead of Olby.

Maybe MSNBC should consider hiring Pam instead.


My review of #3.1 of Big Finish’s 8th doctor adventures Orbis staring Paul McGann as the 8th doctor and Sheridan Smith as Lucie Miller is available at here.

This begins Lucie Miller’s final full season with McGann. It’s a good one.

As always you can pick this up at Mike’s comics. You can also listen to a trailer the adventure here.

My review of Sabatina James book My Fight for Faith and Freedom via the Amazon vine program is available at here.

Although the book was really good, I would really love to see the day when a story like this is regulated to history. I’ve read too many such stories lately and it breaks your heart.

Actual Cover Mutant Phase
My review of Big Finish Adventure #15. The Mutant Phase. Featuring the 5th Doctor and Nyssa is available at here.

Although in general an above average audio there are some exchanges between the Doctor and Nyssa that are particularly memorable and the

As always you can pick this up at Mike’s comics. You can also listen to a trailer the adventure here.

Alternate cover via Colin Brockhuirt

I’ve mentioned this before but Colin Brockhurst has done some first rate alternative cover art for some Big Finish CD’s. I think his mutant Phase cover is one of his best. Big Finish should really consider using his art professionally.

My review of the Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s new book Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations is available here.

This book is one of the most conservative books I’ve read. If you take a look at the some of the cultural practices described in the book you almost understand why liberals are so ok with Islam.

My review of the Doctor Who Big Finish adventure #33 Neverland staring Paul McGann as the 8th Doctor, India Fisher as Charley Pollard and Lalla Ward as Romana is available at here.

This was the first of three Charley “Resolution” episodes (the second being The Girl who Never Was and the final Blue forgotten planet). There would be a 17 episode gap between this one and the next 8th Doctor adventure, the big 50th episode Zagreus featuring Doctors 5-8 and a cameo by the 3rd doctor from beyond the grave.

As always you can pick this up at Mike’s comics. You can also listen to a trailer the adventure here.

My review of Noah Andre Trudeau’s book Southern Storm: Sherman’s March to the Sea is available at here.

This volume is very much worth reading. The only reason I can think of for not buying it at Amazon is that I found a copy in the bargain bins at my local Barnes and Noble for $5. How a book this good ended up in that bin is beyond me.

My review of the Big Finish Adventure Survival of the Fittest featuring Sylvester McCoy as the 7th Doctor and Tracy Childs as Klein is available at here.

This CD features not one but TWO bonus stories, the conclusion of the Three Doctors saga featuring the Brigadier, Polly and Thomas Brewster and a special one part preview called Klein’s story with special guest star Paul McGann as the 8th doctor? Or is he someone else?

As always you can pick up the episode at Mike’s Comics and you can listen to a preview here.