Dec 31, 2015

Review: The Silent Bullet

The Silent Bullet The Silent Bullet by Arthur Benjamin Reeve
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Arthur Benjamin Reeves collections of detective short stories, the protagonist is Craig Kennedy. Craig was professor of chemistry and his friend Walter is the staff of The Star (newspaper) the story is told form the perspective of Walter.

1. The Silent Bullet
2. The Scientific Cracksman
3. The Bacteriological Detective
4. The Deadly Tube
5. The Seismograph Adventure
6. The Diamond Maker
7. The Azure Ring
8. Spontaneous Combustion
9. The Terror in the Air
10.The Black Hand
11. The Artificial Paradise
12. The Steel Door

The Silent bullet is the shortest story and the last two The Artificial paradise and The Steel door are the longest. I liked the story of The silent bullet, The Diamond maker, the Scientific Cracksman, The Bacteriological Detective and The Terror in the Air.



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Dec 26, 2015

Review: Grace Immaculate

Grace Immaculate Grace Immaculate by Gregory Benford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A short story from Timescape author!, satirical short story about religion and aliens. Kept me wondering what will happen next. And also to me the story appears incomplete.

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Dec 25, 2015

Review: Dragonfly in Amber

Dragonfly in Amber Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book of Outlander series. Claire returns with her daughter Brianna to Reverend house in 1968 to know about the persons died in the battle of Culloden. For that she needs the help of Reverend's foster son Roger and later she tells her story.

I liked the writing style of the author. Below are some lines from the book:

While the battle of Prestonpans is ongoing there is no explanation of how the war is taking place instead the author has given how the character prepared herself.

Ladies, I said We've done a lot, but there's lot more to do. we shall be needing boiling water. Cauldrons for boiling, cream pans for soakin. Pattrich for those who can eat, milk for those who can't. Tallow and garlic for dressings. Wood laths for splints. Bottles and jugs, cups and spoons.Sewing needles and stout thread. Mrs.MacPherson, if you would be so kind...

The closeness of Claire and Jamie is well known, here is how poetical she has written.

I felt as though I were floating myself, rising without volition, drifting my skirts up the length of his body, settling over him like a cloud on a hilltop, sheltering his need.

Another poetic instance about the weather:

The weather was unseasonably warm for November, and the omnipresent clouds had broken, letting a fugitive autumn sun shine briefly on the grayness of Edinburgh.

and lastly
Deception had at one point been second nature to me. Lying was like riding a bicycle, I thought, you don't forget how.

Waiting to get a hand to read her third book. Thanks Diana for a superb novel.


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Dec 10, 2015

Review: The Ian Fleming Files: Operation Parsifal

The Ian Fleming Files: Operation Parsifal The Ian Fleming Files: Operation Parsifal by Damian Stevenson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I got this digital edition as free in amazon. It is fictional story of Ian Fleming, the author of world famous British spy James Bond. While reading some of the story elements pointed to the James Bond movies like Never Say Never Again, From Russia with Love, Live and Let die and The Spy Who Loved Me. Below is one such: "A strange dull humming sound as distinct from the generator filled the air as he crept closer, cautiously advancing to the corner of a derelict ossucary moving from menhir to menhir until he was just a few feet from the unit." (for me it remembers The Spy Who Loved Me scene).

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Particularly the part in the train Ian and Lustbaden disguises as members of 30th Division.

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Dec 2, 2015

Review: History of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt

History of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt History of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt by Jacob Abbott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book I have read written by Jacob Abbot, the first being History of Julius Caesar. The first part of the book History of Cleopatra Queen of Egypt gave detailed information about the Ptolemies. How they came to power and more information about Cleopatra's father his rise and fall and regaining his title by the help of Romans.

The author had substantiated the bewitching beauty and her intelligence of Cleopatra in many chapters. After the death of Julius Caesar, Cleopatra who is now a Queen but still had dangerous threats to her throne. Then Mark Antony comes to the scene who has been captivated by her beauty and falls to her charms and becomes a slave bounded by invisible chain.

Ego clash of Octavius (Augustus Caesar) and Mark Antony goes on like a never ending story, after Mark Antony leaves Octavia for Cleopatra the mind of Octavius changes, and the story ends like a Greek tragedy. Antony takes his life and so Cleopatra. Some historians mention Cleopatra as Queen who lived pompously and had many men to her life. What I feel if is she like that kind of a character, after Octavius storms into Alexandria and seizes the rule and plan to take Cleopatra as a memento for the triumphal train, why she did not mesmerizes Octavius as she had did like to Antony?

According to the book Cleopatra loved Antony very much, when Antony doubts about her that she may poison her, the following day she poisons the petals and keeps it in Antony's chaplet after dining Cleopatra takes petals from her chaplet and drinks and ask him to join, when he tries to drink she holds his hand and mentions that the petals are poisoned. I give the exact word as it is written, "You see now," said she, "how vain it is for you to watch against me. If it were possible for me to live without you, how easy it would be for me to devise ways and means to kill you." Then, to prove that her words were true, she ordered one of the servants to drink Antony's wine. He did so, and died before their sight in dreadful agony. This incident tells her how much she cares for Antony.

While reading this book, Elizabeth Taylor came to my mind as she had played Cleopatra in the movie.


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Sep 21, 2015

Bond On Bond

Sir Roger Moore and Gareth Owen co wrote a book titled, Bond on Bond, it is the ultimate book on 50 years of Bond movies. The book lives to its expectations. Published by Michael O’ Mara Books Limited, year of publishing 2012, ISBN 978-0-7627-8969-6

book-cover

The book had bond hilarity thanks to Roger Moore’s style. I give one instance his witty humour, during the climax for the film For Your Eyes Only, the monks protested for the shooting, “On location: I tried to reason with them, saying I’d once been a saint, but that didn’t go down too well. Cubby intervened and made a charitable donation, which seemed to placate their worries more readily”

The-Bonds

The book is written in chapter wise:

Bond on Beginnings : How the character was created, the name of the character James Bond borrowed from an American ornithologist, little information about Bond childhood etc.

Ian

The two producers and Ian Fleming (centre)

Bond On Villains: From the evil organization SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion), Dr.No, Auric Goldfinger, Super Villain - Blofeld etc. to their henchmen the famous Jaws, Oddjob, Nick Nack)

Bond On Girls: The first bond girl Ursula Andress to Ralph Finenes

Bond On Gadgets : Various gadgets provided by Q to James Bond for his projects, the book showcases the original props such as  A radio transmitter housed in a hairbrush, the attaché case in From Russia With Love, the miniature spy camera from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, tracking devices from The Goldfinger, the bug detector, the Nikon underwater camera from Thunder ball, Seiko watches, the Golden gun from the movie The Man with the Golden Gun, tracking pill from Thunder ball, Laser Gun and Wrist Dart gun from Moonraker, Walther P99 from Tomorrow Never Dies.

sean

A birth of an icon: a very early publicity shot of Sean Connery as OO7

Bond On Cars: Exclusive colour images of cars used by James Bond in several movies includes Bentley, Ford, GM, Aston Martin, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Lotus, Rolls Royce, Citroen, Renault. The Bam ford and Martin, 1.5 litre is the first bond car. The car Aston Martin appeared in over five films they are Gold Finger, Thunder Ball, Golden Eye, Tomorrow Never Dies and Casino Royale (2006).

Bond On Style: The chapter includes the costumes and the makers and vodka Martini.

Bond On Location : Roger Moore lists the picturesque locations of every Bond films some comes to my mind is The James Bond Island named after the shooting of The Man With The Golden Gun.

Bond On Bonds : From his own words about the actors who recreated Bond on screen. I was often asked, who is the best Bond?’ ‘Apart from myself?’ I modestly enquire. ‘It has to be Sean.’ Sean was Bond. He created Bond. He embodied Bond and because of Sean, Bond became an instantly recognizable character the world over – he was rough, tough, mean and witty. Of course, it was an alter ego he didn’t always appreciate, but it was one I’d like to think he is ultimately proud of – as he was a bloody good 007.

Bond Behind The Scenes : The people behind the Bond film, Roger writes, there are a huge number of people involved in each Bond film, hundreds in fact. From the producers (who raise the money), directors (who spend it) and writers (who imagine more elaborate ways to spend it than the director could think of last time) to the assistant directors, cameramen, sound recordists, props, continuity, editors, stunt team, production managers, oh and yes, the actors.

Bond On Screen : Roger Moore lists out the premiers of every bond film.

Bond On Films : The complete list of James Bond movies Eon productions and non Eon productions, budget and worldwide gross.

Movie Name

Year Of

Release

Budget

Worldwide Gross

Dr. NO 1962 1,000,000 59,567,035
From Russia With Love 1963 2,000,000 78,000,000
Gold Finger 1964 3,000,000 124,900,000
Thunder Ball 1965 9,000,000 141,200,000
Casino Royale 1967 12,000,000 41,744,718
On Her Majesty's Secret Service 1969 8,000,000 82,000,000
Diamonds Are Forever 1971 7,200,000 116,000,000
Live And Let Die 1973 7,000,000 161,800,000
Man With The Golden Gun 1974 7,000,000 97,600,000
The Spy Who Loved Me 1977 14,000,000 185,400,000
Moonraker 1979 31,000,000 210,300,000
For Your Eyes Only 1981 28,000,000 195,300,000
Octopussy 1983 27,500,000 187,500,000
Never Say Never Again 1983 36,000,000 160,000,000
A View To A Kill 1985 30,000,000 152,627,960
The Living Daylights 1987 40,000,000 191,200,000
Licence To Kill 1989 42,000,000 156,200,000
Golden Eye 1995 60,000,000 350,731,227
Tomorrow Never Dies 1997 110,000,000 339,504,276
The World Is Not Enough 1999 135,000,000 361,730,660
Die Another Day 2002 142,000,000 431,942,139
Casino Royale 2006 102,000,000 596,365,000
Quantum Of Solace 2008 230,000,000 576,368,427

This book is must for all the Bond aficionados.

Mar 10, 2015

Terminator 2 Sound Track

T-800_leaving_the_bar

Image courtesy Aaron McDonald

T-800 (Arnold) leaving the Biker bar from the movie Terminator 2 Judgement day, the sound track Bad to the bone follows. I was thinking about what would be the full sound track of the song. After many years I come to know that the song is by George Thorogood below is the lyrics of the song. (from metrolyrics.com)

On the day I was born
The nurses all gathered 'round
And they gazed in wide wonder
At the joy they had found
The head nurse spoke up
Said "leave this one alone"
She could tell right away
That I was bad to the bone

Bad to the bone
Bad to the bone
B-B-B-B-Bad
B-B-B-B-Bad
B-B-B-B-Bad
Bad to the bone

I broke a thousand hearts
Before I met you
I'll break a thousand more, baby
Before I am through
I wanna be yours pretty baby
Yours and yours alone
I'm here to tell ya honey
That I'm bad to the bone
Bad to the bone
B-B-B-Bad
B-B-B-Bad
B-B-B-Bad
Bad to the bone

I make a rich woman beg
I'll make a good woman steal
I'll make an old woman blush
And make a young girl squeal
I wanna be yours pretty baby
Yours and yours alone
I'm here to tell ya honey
That I'm bad to the bone
B-B-B-B-Bad
B-B-B-B-Bad
B-B-B-B-Bad
Bad to the bone

And when I walk the streets
Kings and Queens step aside
Every woman I meet
They all stay satisfied
I wanna tell ya pretty baby
Well Ya see I make my own
I'm here to tell ya honey
That I'm bad to the bone
Bad to the bone
B-B-B-B-Bad
B-B-B-Bad
B-B-B-Bad
Bad to the bone

Click the link below for the George Thorogood performance “Bad to the Bone”.

Bad to the Bone

Feb 22, 2015

Two And A Half Men

One of America’s most successful comedy series with 262 episodes spanning 12 seasons “Two And A Half Men” ended this week. The series kicked off with Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen) a jingles writer who is feared of commitment, lives in beach front property in Malibu. In the first episode he was joined by his divorced brother and Chiropractor Dr.Alan Harper (Jon Cryer) and his growing son Jake (Angus T.Jones) (2 1/2 men).









These 3 people hilarity continued upto Season 8 after Charlie Sheen’s disparaging comments about the series creator Chuck Lorre ended the season abruptly. The series continued without Charlie Sheen, new character, Internet billionaire Walden Schmidt (Ashton Kutcher) buys the beach house and asks Alan and Jake to continue to stay with him. 












Finally in season 12 Walden Schmidt marries Alan pretending to be gay couple for adopting a baby. The show titled “Of course he’s dead” concluded somewhat satisfying the audience. 

The final episode was very much hilarious and had many guest stars surprisingly the action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger did a cameo as Lieutenant Wagner who briefly describes the story of the series in ten seconds.Another interesting cameo is Christian Slater who is kept in custody because he looked like Charlie Harper.  I do not want to write much about the final episode it might spoil the viewing.

Of the above persons Jon Cryer appeared in all the 262 episodes of the series and he had won best supporting actor in a comedy series and also best lead actor in a comedy series.

Sure we will miss Two And A Half Men.


Main casts of the show:

Charlie Harper Charlie Sheen
Dr.Alan Harper Jon Cryer
Walden Schmidt Ashton Kutcher
Jake Harper (Alan’s son) Angus T.Jones
Berta (house keeper) Conchata Ferrell
Evelyn Harper (Harper’s mother) Holland Taylor
Judith Harper (Alan’s ex wife) Marin Hinkle
Rose (stalker and neighbour) Melanie Lynskey
Lyndsey Courtney Thorne Smith
Dr.Herb Melnick (Judith 2nd husband) Ryan Stiles

Feb 10, 2015

Sycamore Row


Just completed reading John Grisham’s novel Sycamore Row. This is the first time reading a legal thriller of John Grisham. The protagonist of the novel is Jake Brigance a lawyer of Ford county.

One Mr.Seth Hubbard a timber tycoon, leaves a holographic will to Jake which renounces the existing will. In the new will he gives 5% of his estate to a Church and 5% to his long last brother Ancil Hubbard and the remaining 90% to his black house keeper (maid) Lettie Lang. The legal heirs of Seth Hubbard confronts the holographic will with their lawyers.

Story takes momentum during second half of the book, the court battle yields many twist and turns unpredicted which keeps us to read further and the book becomes unputdownable. It looked that Jake is losing in all ends but a major twist happens when Ancil character is introduced and his deposition which wins the case for Jake. Finally we get to know why Seth Hubbard hanged in that particular tree and why he gave all his wealth to his house keeper though he had heirs to his estate.

Unable to forget the characters in the novel are Reuben V.Attlee the Judge, Wade Lanier representing Seth’s heirs, Jakes friends Lucien Wilbanks, Harry Rex and Booker Sistrunk. 

Some notable lines from the novel:

Seth Hubbard in his letter to Jake “fight it to the bitter end”.

Jake in court house “You’re ignoring what the old man wanted. He was very clear, both in his will and in his letter to me. He directed me to defend his handwritten will at all costs, to the bitter end.”

Jake before the jurors “Now, as I said, it’s not your job to give away Seth’s money, or to decide who should get what or how much. However, it is your job to determine if Seth knew what he was doing”.