Tag Archives: book reviews

BEST OF APRIL 2018

Balladeer’s Blog’s End of Year Retrospective Continues with this look at The Best of April. 

Freedom of expression amnesty internationalFREE SPEECH, LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES – Neither end of the political spectrum seems interested in defending freedom of expression except when their own point of view is in danger of being silenced.

Here at Balladeer’s Blog I deal with these issues all the time. Easily offended people from the political left to the political right are often outraged by what I write. CLICK HERE

End of the worldWITHIN AN ACE OF THE END OF THE WORLD (1900) – My review of this work of “ancient” science fiction was a hit with readers.

Robert Barr was the name of the author of this neglected item that dealt with apocalyptic concerns. What Barr’s previous work The Doom of London did for that city Within An Ace of the End of the World did for the entire planet. CLICK HERE

Polo Silhouette LogoPOLO: 2018 U.S. OPEN, GAMES ONE AND TWO – Balladeer’s Blog’s annual coverage of the U.S. Open in Polo attracted its usual share of attention.

Instead of the title game, like previous years, this year the most hits went to the opening two games pitting the Aviators against the Red Sleeves and the Valiants against the Association. CLICK HERE

donald-trump-and-flagTRUMP-HATERS: FASCISTS AND BUFFOONS – After two pieces of garbage like Barack Obama and George W Bush we got a de facto Third Party President in Donald Trump.

This post infuriated the stuffy, blustering fools who hate President Trump, the new FDR. That seems to be because they hate the working class and the poor whom Trump has helped and when they trash the Donald they are really expressing their resentment of the needy people that Trump has benefited. CLICK HERE 

Edward O HeinrichNEGLECTED DETECTIVES WHO SOLVED REAL-LIFE MYSTERIES – This item looked at a pair of baffling real-life mysteries that were solved decades ago by eccentric detectives as colorful as any in fiction.  

Ellis Parker tackled a puzzling murder and bank robbery in 1920, while Edward O Heinrich solved four murders that took place during a botched train robbery. Heinrich’s case happened in 1923. CLICK HERE  

Prisoner 1THE PRISONER: MORE RELEVANT THAN EVER BEFORE – This item kicked off my review of the 1967 science fiction/ existential drama The Prisoner.

This series has become more timely than ever here in the 21st Century. Part Orwell, part Kafka, part Pirandello and part Alphaville, The Prisoner paved the way for ground-breaking shows like Twin Peaks, The X-Files and Lost. CLICK HERE

American FlagPOLITICAL FORTUNE COOKIES – This was a popular one-shot item in which I took shots at Congressional Republicans, Barack Obama and many, many more.

To enjoy them, just CLICK HERE

Michael MooreMICHAEL MOORE: FAKE FRIEND TO THE WORKING CLASS – Pathetic, outdated Michael Moore STILL refuses to give away all but two million dollars of his bloated fortune to prove that he really cares about the 99 percent like he claims he does.

Moore is a whiny, hypocritical hatemonger and is despised by the working class that he claims to champion. CLICK HERE Continue reading

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JOY BEHAR’S FAVORITE TRUMP BOOK FOR CHRISTMAS: TRUMP’S ENEMIES

Joy Behar IdiotJoy Behar, whose pitch-perfect impression of hate-filled, slobbering anti-Trump fascists has made her famous, recently told a Balladeer’s Blog reporter during an interview that never happened that she has a book recommendation for Christmas.

Joy Behar’s favorite Donald Trump book is titled Trump’s Enemies: How The Deep State Is Undermining The Presidency.

Trump's EnemiesJowly Joy enthusiastically called it “A terrific look at the cesspool of corruption which masquerades as the American government. De facto Third Party President Donald Trump is uniquely qualified to rock the crooked DC boat since he is NOT a career politician like all the other Made Members of America’s Criminal Class of Officeholders.” 

Or maybe I was the one who blurted that out. It’s all a blur now. But at any rate TRUMP’S ENEMIES can be bought HERE 

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BEST OF FEBRUARY 2018

Balladeer’s Blog’s year-end retrospective continues with the Best of February.

Texas 27 Film Vault

Randy (right) and Richard way down on Level 31 hosting The Texas 27 Film Vault.

TEXAS TWENTY-SEVEN FILM VAULT: 33rd ANNIVERSARY – February 9th is the anniversary date for the first episode of this Pre-MST3K version of MST3K.

Join Randy and Richard for their looks at old schlock classics and vintage Republic Serials. 

This time around I celebrated the show’s history PLUS included an appeal to any more Texas 27 Film Vault fans out there. Click HERE     

Black PantherBLACK PANTHER: PANTHER’S RAGE OVERVIEW – From the 1970s comes this 13-part Black Panther saga by Don McGregor featuring the Black Panther’s attempts to preserve his kingdom during the blood-soaked uprising led by the callous and cruel Erik Killmonger.

If the overrated and over-praised Alan Moore had written this story it would have been a movie or mini-series by now. Panther’s Rage has action, philosophy and other adult topics as well as a quest through Wakanda’s hidden realms: The Land of the Chilling Mist, the Domain of the White Gorillas, Serpent Valley and the Forest of Thorns. Click HERE  

Theodore Roosevelt1912: BATTLE OF THE THREE PRESIDENTS – Readers loved this look at the Presidential Election of 1912 in which incumbent William Howard Taft faced Woodrow Wilson AND former President Theodore Roosevelt, who was running on the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party Ticket.

For Balladeer’s Blog’s take on that historical contest click HERE

Flashman on the MarchFLASHMAN ON THE MARCH – The very popular series of reviews of my Top Five Harry Flashman Novels by George MacDonald Fraser wrapped up with this item at Number Five.

Flashman’s involvement in the 1868 Abyssinian Campaign features all-out action, death traps, sword-play, gun-play, historical intrigue and plenty of bedroom antics. Click HERE

biden crazedVICE PRESIDENTS: JOKES ABOUT THESE ULTIMATE SECOND BANANAS – Many readers felt this examination of Vice Presidents was even funnier and more irreverent than my Presidential Pros and Cons blog posts.

You can decide for yourself by clicking HERE

Charles Evans HughesPRESIDENTIAL LOSERS: PROS AND CONS – If you’ve enjoyed my humorous looks at America’s past presidents and vice-presidents you should certainly enjoy this item.

Quick takes on the prominent losers in presidential races, from Hillary Clinton on back. Featuring facts, insights and insults on each of them. Click HERE

DEMOCRAT ATROCITY ROUNDUP: FEBRUARY 28th – What more need be said? Click HERE 

DEMOCRATS: WILL THEY EVER GROW UP? – Sure, Republicans are bad, too, but Democrats are snobbish fools who actually seem to think they’re the country’s official “intellectuals” and are THE moral models for everyone else. Just like religious nuts of years ago. Click HERE

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JUSTICE SOCIETY 3: MISTER X

The Christmas Season rolls along with the 3rd adventure of the very FIRST superhero team in history: DC’s JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA. FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE

I will review the original issue and then detail how I would “script-doctor” the story for modern audiences.

All-Star 5ALL-STAR COMICS #5 (June 1941)

Title: THE MYSTERIOUS MISTER X

Heroes: HAWKMAN (Original), HOURMAN, FLASH (Original), SPECTRE, GREEN LANTERN (Original), DOCTOR FATE, ATOM (Original), SANDMAN

Villains: MISTER X AND HIS CRIME GUILDS

Synopsis: With organized crime in America on the ropes thanks to the various members of the Justice Society a mysterious masked figure called Mister X decides to fill the leadership vacuum. Organizing nationwide crime into Guilds and Unions for each type of criminal offenders Mister X plans to get “tribute” from his gangs AND to kill the entire Justice Society of America. 

The JSA does battle with the Arsonists Guild, the Kidnappers Union, and so on through gangs of jewel thieves, armed robbers and con artists. The greatest threats come from a gambling syndicate using an occult relic which hassles even the Spectre and from Mister X’s use of random bombings to extort protection money from entire cities.

All the criminals are defeated and Mister X is unmasked and sent to prison. 

How I Would Revise It:  Continue reading

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BEST OF JANUARY 2018

Year-end is the time for retrospectives of the months just past. Here is a look at Balladeer’s Blog’s Best of January for 2018.

Flashman cutTHE TOP FIVE FLASHMAN NOVELS – Little did I know how wild the reaction would be to my reviews of what I consider to be the top five novels featuring George MacDonald Fraser’s infamous antihero Harry Paget Flashman.

Roguish and amoral Harry’s bed and battle historical adventures were new to a lot of readers. Reaction was so enthusiastic I wound up throwing in a bonus Sixth novel PLUS my speculations regarding assorted Lost Flashman Papers. To start click HERE

pherecrates logo from vaseCRATES: ANCIENT GREEK COMEDIES – Balladeer’s Blog took another look at the fragmentary remains of the works of yet another ancient Greek comedian.

Crates had nowhere near the impact of the big names like Aristophanes, Eupolis and Cratinus but his comic plays are still interesting in their own way. To read this item click HERE  

5.1.2ORION: THE ELVIS PRESLEY HOAX/ PUT-ON – Many readers felt this weird topic featured me at my myth-dissecting best.

For Elvis Presley’s birthday I examined obscure and bizarre folklore, demented conspiracy theories and the way the whole Orion/ Dead Elvis tableau presented fiction imitating real-life imitating fiction in a mad loop. Click HERE

Trump triREHASHING PRESIDENT TRUMP’S INCREDIBLE 2017 – De facto Third Party President Donald Trump showed the working class and the poor that at long last an American office-holder actually cared about them for the first time in decades.

Trump-o-crats, Re-Trump-licans and the entire Trumpen-proletariat had their economic suffering eased by the Donald, who has proven to be equal parts Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F Kennedy! I was expecting to hate Trump but he proved me wrong every step of the way, from the campaign onward. Click HERE 

*** TWELVE MORE COOL FOOTBALL HELMETS FROM NEGLECTED TEAMS – This one is a visual treat, so click HERE

mascot new look donkey and elephant headsTRANSGRESS WITH ME, JANUARY 13th – One of the earliest installments of what has become one of Balladeer’s Blog’s most controversial and hotly-debated recurring items.

Let your mind explore the forbidden in this fun but challenging bit by clicking HERE

chancellor manuscript 3ROBERT LUDLUM’S THE CHANCELLOR MANUSCRIPT – Balladeer’s Blog reviews Robert Bourne Identity Ludlum’s 1977 espionage novel that seems even more timely and possible here in 2018.

See an FBI run amok, Deep State oligarchs (See how old the term Deep State is?) and the consequences of lack of oversight of America’s sleazy, forever-corrupt intelligence agencies. For my review click HERE   

*** MOCK HEADLINES JANUARY 17th – One of the most popular and funniest items of the month. CLICK HERE

*** FACEBOOK IS FAKEBOOK: NOTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS – What more need be said? Click HERE

*** MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY MULTIPLE CHOICE QUIZ – CLICK HERE

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JUSTICE SOCIETY 2: THE GREYSHIRTS

Continuing with the Christmas Season here’s the 2nd adventure of the very FIRST superhero team in history: DC’s JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA. It’s some Kid-Friendly Holiday Fun here at Balladeer’s Blog. FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE

I will review the original issue and then detail how I would “script-doctor” the story for modern audiences.

All Star 4ALL-STAR COMICS #4 (March 1941)

Title: FOR AMERICA AND DEMOCRACY

Heroes: HOURMAN, GREEN LANTERN (Original), SPECTRE, THE ATOM (Original), DOCTOR FATE, FLASH (Original), SANDMAN, HAWKMAN (Original), JOHNNY THUNDER

Villains: THE GREY SHIRTS

Synopsis: Summoned to Washington, DC by FBI Director J Edgar Hoover, the Justice Society of America is told about a secret Axis organization operating inside the United States despite America still being neutral in the Second World War then raging. That secret organization – the Grey Shirts – are carrying out covert sabotage operations across the nation.

The JSA goes into action, thwarting the Grey Shirts’ villainous efforts at a munitions factory, at Oil Fields in Oklahoma, at a Top Secret Aircraft testing field and elsewhere. The entire Axis organization across America is crushed.

How I Would Revise It:  Continue reading

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JUSTICE SOCIETY: FIRST STORY

Mascot sword and pistolWe live in a superhero-crazed world right now. Here at Balladeer’s Blog I’m always glad to oblige readers’ requests to throw in superhero-related posts because I have a soft spot for the subject since superhero comic books were a gateway to two of my adult passions: mythology and opera.

DC fans have complained that I pay too much attention to Marvel Comics and other comic book companies, so here is the first of my looks at DC’s biggest claim to fame – the VERY FIRST SUPERHERO TEAM EVER. Long before the Justice League came the Justice Society in 1940.

I will review the original issue AND detail how I would “script-doctor” the story for modern audiences.

All Star 3ALL-STAR COMICS #3 (December 1940)

Title: THE FIRST MEETING OF THE JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA

Heroes: FLASH (Original), RED TORNADO (Original female version), SPECTRE, SANDMAN, GREEN LANTERN (Original), HOURMAN, DOCTOR FATE, HAWKMAN (Original), ATOM (Original), JOHNNY THUNDER    

Synopsis: At this very first meeting of any superteam in comic book history, the members make general introductions and each relate one of their adventures via flashback. The Red Tornado stops by for a visit.

While the meeting is going on, FBI Chief J Edgar Hoover invites the entire team to a Top Secret meeting the following Tuesday and the Justice Society of America accepts. 

How I Would Revise It: Continue reading

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