December 15, 2007

Book Review: The Thundering

First Thunder: An Adventure of Discovery, by MSI (Society for Acension, 1996, ISBN 0-931783-07-0)

This book was written by: MSI, who, according to the last page of the book, "personally trains teachers of the seven spheres described in his books. He presently resides at the Society for Acension's academy in the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina." He also writes in the introduction to Second Thunder that "I am an Unbounded Being. Living in a human body, I experience the Ascendant continually, twenty-four hours a day." At the time of the book's publication, MSI was willing to teach seminars on Ascending in exchange for a reasonable fee.

What is in this book: "a Teaching founded by Christ and his beloved Disciple John, a precious knowledge with enough power to transform the Earth within a single generation" (p.28). However, First Thunder lays out this teaching in a first-person narrative, where an everyman with "no fondness for cults or anti-Christian practices" (p.11), who admits that the sight of a parked Acura makes him "irritated at my poverty and chain of failures,"(p.20) finds out that his friend Ollie "has been studying and Ascending with a group of monks who belive they are following the true but hidden teachings of John--and of Christ" (p.11).
Ollie meets a violent death--struck by a car--and the narrator travels to the Ishaya monastery with a love interest and an academic doctor, where the three of them learn that a group of monks "wanted to keep [the teaching of Acension] a secret for monks only; they belive it's too good for average people and belongs only to those who give up all worldly desires and dedicate their lives completely to God." (p.24) The three of them and the monks struggle with the decision to make this knowledge "from the Apostle John" (p.76) available to the public.

What is not in this book: Tables, charts, or easy-to-read lists of the Seven Spheres. This is because in a conversation with Boanerge, Son of Thunder, the narrator learns that "a 'how-to' manual simply wouldn't work in today's world" (p.239). Also, "there'd be a lot of superficial people, just skimming through the pages, not trying the techniques to see if they worked. And, once you'd printed the Attitudes, they'd become public knowledge, there'd be no more confidentiality."(p.238-239)
This is a bold choice, as a dialogue between the everyman, the love interest, and the embodiment of modern scholastic knowledge exploring the teachings that are "most assuredly" from the Apostle John (p.73) could be insightful and enlightening in the hands of a skilled author. However, they risk coming across as repetitive and leaden, with little to break up the pages and pages of discussion if laid out in the inept prose of someone just pushing an agenda.

Would you recommend this book to Lion-O? Possibly, but he would need at least need a "Cats - HO!" and preferably two more instances of thunder if he wanted to get serious about activating the Eye of Thundera in the Sword of Omens to rally the other Thundercats.

Would you recommend this book to Hulk Hogan? Maybe. These meditations are supposed to bring about paradise on earth, but it is unclear as to whether that paradise contains a bitchin' high-tech boat.

What is interesting about this book: The factual liberties taken by the author "to enable those who prefer to belive this book is just a novel to be able to do so easily" (afterword). These include Ollie's death, an explosion in Skala harbor, and the deaths of 105 of the Ishaya monks during the India-Pakistan war. They also help to tone down the electrifying and potentially controversial nature of the Seven Spheres Teachings, which would be completely riveting if separated out on their own:

"Use Cognition after each repetition of each of the Attitudes. Praise Attitude, Cognition; Praise Attitude, Cognition; Praise Attitude, Cognition. Then Gratitude, Cognition; Gratitude, Cognition; Gratitude, Cognition. Then Love, Cognition; Love, Cognition; Love, Cognition. Like that." (p.274-275)

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December 2, 2007

Book Review: Everybody's Talking 'Bout Crop Circles

The Talk of the Galaxy: An ET Message for Us? by Paul LaViolette, PhD (Starlane Publications, 2000, ISBN 0-9642025-3-0)

This book was written by: Paul A. LaViolette, who is the author of five books, and who holds a BA in physics from Johns Hopkins and a PhD from Portland State. According to his website,, Dr. LaViolette is the developer of subquantum kinetics, which resolves the field singularity problem, the wave-particle dualism, and the field source problem, and he is also co-developer of the Gray-LaViolette feeling tone theory which explains how the brain/mind forms creative thoughts. His website also states that "He is the first to discover that certain ancient creation myths and esoteric lores metaphorically encode an advanced science of cosmogenesis. His contributions to the field of Egyptology and mythology may be compared to the breaking of the Rosetta Stone hieroglyphic code."

What is in this book: A discussion of pulsars as artificially created by an advanced galactic society to indicate key points and events within the galaxy. Dr. LaViolette makes this argument by showing that pulsars themselves are too regular (or not regular enough) to occur naturally. Although the individual pulses of a pulsar are irregular, "precise regularity emerges only when many pulses have averaged together to produce a time-averaged pulse profile," (p.10, emphasis the author's) which looks absolutely identical to a time-averaged pulse profile made up of the average of a number of other pulses made by that pulsar. If the fact that these time-averaged pulses are all occurring at exactly average intervals and have an exactly average duration is not enough to convince skeptics, "the highest concentration of pulsars is not found near the galactic nucleus, as one might expect if pulsars were natural stellar objects born out of supernova explosions."(p.20) Instead, these location of these pulsars indicate "a network of beacons [that] would have meaning only from our particular Galactic locale with its particular perspective for viewing the Galactic center direction."(p.25, emphasis the author's) Dr. LaViolette uses "star lore mythology"(p.48) to show how these beacons commemorate a catastrophic event that occurred around 14,000 BC, by appearing in constellations like Orion, who is "a memorial set in the sky to honor those who died in this global catastrophe."(p.88-89)
The same technology that created these pulsars may also be in use by aliens to make crop circles "as a way of giving us blatant demonstrations of the technology that we hopefully will one day develop ourselves to protect our planet." (p.149)

What is not in this book: Indecision regarding the course of action that needs to be taken regarding with advanced technologies. The Starburst Foundation research institute, of which Dr. LaViolette is president, "has advocated that governments who are developing microwave phase conjugate technology for military warfare instead redirect their efforts toward setting up a force field shield for the purposes of planetary defense. The project could be called Project Centaur, named after the Centaurus constellation which depicts a Centaur with raised shield, presumably protecting our solar system from the onslaught of superwave cosmic rays and cosmic dust." (p.148-149)

Would you recommend this book to proponents of Intelligent Design? Maybe. Dr. LaViolette himself writes that he "began to consider the possibility that pulsars might be a natural phenomenon and that their conveyed message might reflect the presence of a high intelligence permeating the universe and attempting to make its presence known to us on a grand scale"(p.123). However, he "thought of a different method of generating pulsar signals that made it possible to once again reconsider the hypothesis that pulsars might be artifacts of Galactic civilizations,"(p.123) so they might have to throw down over whether pulsars are generated by god or aliens (unless they were closet Raelians).

Would you recommend this book to someone with a speech impediment? Yes. It might give them solace to know that while their problems making themselves heard are dwarfed by the communication problems that these aliens have been facing.

What was interesting about this book: The author's diagrams of advanced technology, like figure 45, the proposed schematic of a phase conjugate microwave resonator and associated aerial plasmoid. (p.133)
Also of interest is the author's proposed course of action:

"We may already know enough about the galactic core explosion message of the pulsar network to allow us to devise a return message that would let nearby Galactic civilizations know that we are aware of their transmissions. We could recreate the Crab-Vela pulsar arrow [....] Since our transmissions would symbolically be laying out an arrow along the ground, we should be prepared to expect a close encounter or landing somewhere beyond the tip of our "Vela pulsar" transmitter. It would perhaps be prudent to mark out a specific landing site using an array of landing lights."(p.151)

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December 1, 2007

Bitterly Books: What is in this Blog?

Bitterly Books takes caustic, uncomplimentary tours through ill-advised and poorly executed nonfiction. Because nonfiction is where it's at.

Sure, you could piss your life away reading about assorted Beowulves and Kings Lear, but they'd never teach you how to earn a six-figure salary or cope with a loved one's video game addiction.

Has Harry Potter ever explained what to do if you're big, beautiful, and pregnant? Do you think that kid from Twilight is going to know why men and women talk differently?

It's true that various bawdy pilgrims and green knights have their place in a well-rounded education, but you've also got to educate yourself about the secret message hidden in your hands and why the American Economy is now, and will always be, in great shape.

You'd better get started.

That's why Bitterly Books presents this guide to nonfiction. It's arranged by the following categories:

Books about Personal Growth: All books help you grow and develop as a person, but these books make a special effort to help you step outside your comfort zone and take the risks necessary to more fully realize your potential. Whether you're focused on earning a bigger salary or fulfillment of a more spiritual nature, this category--the site's largest--will have something to meet your needs.

Books about Cutting-Edge Science and Health: There's so much medical advice out there that it's difficult to know who you can trust. Fortunately for us all, the publishing industry always views the distribution of safe, reliable health information as more important than crass money grabs dressed up in Ph.D. credentials. That's why you can assume that anyone who has published a medical-themed book has done so from a desire to further the cause of science. You may not have known that water will kill you, or how to deal with being overweight and pregnant, but now you're both forewarned and forearmed (unless you lost your forearms in some kind of industrial accident, which would be a terrible shame). This category also holds the site's number one destination for people who use the search term "kat von d nip tats".

Books on Parenting, Family, and Relationships: We could all use an instruction manual for those potentially frustrating, often uplifting, and always complicated interactions with others. Where do you turn for advice on dealing with your difficult daughter? What if you wanted to know what your pet was thinking? And wouldn't it be nice if someone else finally agreed with you when you said that newborns are ugly? These books will help you prepare for adolescence, kindle a romance when you're easily distracted, and get to doin' it in front of your kids.

Books about the Universe: Oh, the truth is out there, all right. And the truth is that aliens are trying to talk to you, if they haven't already taken over your body or sent their emissaries to meet you. You may also be interested in looking at the books in this section to learn that the Big Bang never happened, and sometimes aliens are indistinguishable from schizophrenia.

Books about Religion and Spirituality: Is your life missing something? Have you been collecting material possessions at the cost of your soul itself? These books will share the secret teachings of Montana monks, wisdom of the Aztecs, and even the Catholic Church's advice on strengthening your marriage through divine assitance. See how you can guide yourself through spiritual emergency or visit a magical island of thought.

Books about Mental Disciplines: From the Confucian wisdom of the far east to the new-age spirituality of the west coast, these books draw from a number of sources to help you learn fringe skills like psychokinesis and telepathy or practical techniques like lie detection and memory enhancement. This section includes books on losing stress and manifesting miracles.

Books about Government and Laws: Do you want to know what it's like to go to prison, or what really happened on September 11? These books include works on a new world government for the new millennium and what the church has been up to.

All Books. Really, why limit yourself? Follow this link to read every Bitterly Books profile ever written. Go ahead, knock yourself out. We don't judge here.

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November 25, 2007

Book Review: No Soul Hurricanes Here

The Call of Spiritual Emergency: From Personal Crisis to Personal Transformation-How to deal with the disorientation that can accompany death, illness, injury, childbirth, drug experiences, sex, meditation, and all life-transforming experiences by Emma Bragdon, PhD (Harper & Row, 1990, 0-06-250104-6)

This book was written by Emma Bragdon, who states that she does not fear death because she knows that it "would be a passageway into the ultimate peace that [she] had felt when [she] nearly drowned." (p.12) Dr. Bragdon "went from being an art student to being a Zen Buddhist Nun" (p.16) at the age of 20, and is ""not only a sensitive receiver, responding to the stimulation of others, but an organism looking for ways to express itself." (p.18) She has also undergone Neo-Reichian therapy while pursuing a life devoted to meditation so that now she "can help people to integrate their spiritual experiences with their ordinary reality, to reach levels of development beyond ego," (p.23) this is due in part to the fact that, "life and death, the archetypal opposites, had made love on [her] doorstep." (p.22)

What is in this book: "Guidance and reassurance in understanding your spiritual experiences." (p.9) The term spiritual emergency is used in this book not to describe emergencies in the sense of soul earthquakes, essence fires, or spirit floods, but rather to describe "critical points in the process of spiritual emergence" (p.15). This book has been written because people with emerging spirits may suffer from "a framework that classifies their experiences only as evidence of mental disease."(p.8) Since "intense spiritual experiences and inspired states of mind often look similar to psychosis," (p.16) and "the difference between psychosis, which is a breakdown, and spiritual emergency, which is a breakthrough, can be very subtle," (p.214) this book is necessary to let people at those critical points know that they're not going crazy.

What is not in this book: Permission to go crazy. "Psychotic states that are pathological, rather than gateways to higher functioning, are very real, and need to be treated by health professionals" (p.16). Dr. Bragdon notes that the way to tell the difference between inspired state and psychotic break is that "visual and auditory hallucinations, delusions, and inability to communicate" (p.16) are clear symptoms of psychotic behavior, and illustrates the difference by providing accounts of spiritual emergence from individuals who have heard eerie whistling noises unlike anything they have known (p.120), have had wild hawks land on them (p.146), see visions of purple orbs taking up all of space (p.95), and who are so overcome by their spiritual experiences that they don't want to communicate with those around them (p.142).

Would you recommend this book to cheerleaders? No. This book will do nothing to help for either spirit rallies or spirit week.

Would you recommend this book to either Carrot Top or Ed O'Neill? No. Spiritual emergence does not "dial down the center" when it calls, and is not interested in learning how to do so.

What was interesting about this book: The excerpts that Dr. Bragdon has included from sessions with her clients, describing their own moments of spiritual emergency. One client, "Louise," had "wanted to experiment with MDMA, a psychoactive drug, when it was still legally available [...] Since many of her patients had abused drugs, Louise wanted to try a drug "trip" once, because she felt it would help her understand her patients in more depth." (p.26) Louise states that after she began her experience with MDMA, her husband "knew that if [she] was taken to the hospital, they would give [her] antipsychotic medictaion to stop the process, so he decided to be with [her] at home."(p.26)
Also of interest is the section at the end of the book on how to help in a spiritual emergency. Of interest to those who have friends or family members undergoing a spiritual emergency, it offers helpful tips like "A woman who is mistrustful of men may be more comfortable appealing to a feminine personification of divine energy such as Kuan Yin, the goddess of compassion, than appealing to Jesus Christ or a masculine God"(p.206).

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November 7, 2007

Book Review: Newborns Are Ugly

Birth Without Violence: The Book That Revolutionized The Way We Bring Our Children Into The World by Frederick Leboyer (Healing Arts Press, 1995, 0-89281-545-0)

This book was written by: Dr. Frederick Leboyer, who studied traditional childbirth practices in remote areas of India unaffected by Western-style obstetrics. He graduated from the University of Paris School of Medecine, where he served as Chef de Clinique, and has written this book to explore the termination of the relationship "between the uterus and its prisoner."(p.62) His love of children is clearly conveyed through his lyrical, almost poetic style of writing, such as the passage where he discusses how there should be no external light at birth, since "in the darkness, the mother will be able to make out her child's features only faintly. And this is all to the good, since newborn infants are almost always ugly."(p.37)

What is in this book: A re-examination of birth, focusing on the fragility of infants and the sensations that they experience. Their skin, "thin, fine, almost without a protective surface layer--is as exposed and raw as tissue that has suffered a burn."(p.19) Furthermore, "the air, which enters and sweeps through the trachea, and expands the alveoli, is like acid poured on a wound."(p.20) After establishing why current birthing methods are traumatic, he offers alternatives that include giving birth in darkened rooms and immersing newborns in water.

What is not in this book: Graphic descriptions of axe kicks, inverse piledrivers, and turnbuckle stomps performed in the delivery room. Apparently, the violence Dr. Leboyer is writing about is largely metaphorical and/or symbolic.

Would you recommend this book to Marv Albert? No. This is a book about birth without violence, not conception without violence.

Would you recommend this book to a classical musician? I'm not sure. The author does not discuss his stance on birth without violins.

What is interesting about this book: Dr. Leboyer's description of how one should touch a newborn baby. While he acknowledges that some may find his methods overly sensual, "making love is the sovereign remedy for anguish: to make love is to rediscover peace and harmony. In the cataclysm of birth is it not fit that we should call upon this sovereign comfort?"(p.64) He is unapologetic in the advocacy of his methods.

"Without rediscovering this visceral slowness that lovers rediscover instinctively, it is impossible to communicate with the child.
But, people will say, you're making love to the child!
Yes, almost."(p.64)

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October 29, 2007

Book Review: OWD (Sorry, WWE, not NWO)

One World Democracy: A Progressive Vision for Enforceable Global Law by Jerry Tetalman and Byron Belitsos (Origin Press, 2005, ISBN 978-1-57983-017-5).

This book was written by: Jerry Tetalman, who registered as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War. He is president of the Citizens for Global Solutions of San Diego.
It was co-authored by Byron Belitsos, a poet and the CEO of origin press. His involvement with the world democracy movement started in 1986 when he joined the World Federalist Association; he is now a board member of one of its successor organizations, the Democratic World Federalists.

What is in this book: A cry for a single government serving the entire world, since "we can say categorically that the UN has failed to bring the peace and stability that the broadening of sovereignty has been shown to confer upon humankind"(p.14). Before we can commence said broadening, “something must fill the vacuum that is created by the absence of a world government to enforce global law to keep the peace. And given the failure of the United Nations, that role will, by default, fall to the world's largest military and economic powers”(p.33). According to the authors, global government isn’t just something that can happen, it’s something that will happen, whether we like it or not, and “in the absence of a democratic world government, a ‘new world order’ will be provided by default by the world's largest superpower"(p.34).
We may as well opt for the omnipresent and all-powerful government of the New World Order that we democratically elect, which will be way better than the omnipresent and all-powerful government of the New World Order that is forced upon us. The book then adroitly soothes the fears of separatists, militiamen, and other individuals afraid of “Big Brother.” These individuals can read the following excerpt in the calm, rational style for which they are famous, entirely without searching for any hidden subtext or noticing anything alarming or ominous about the phrases that I have emphasized on my own:

"Eventually, all nations of the world would join of their own free will due to the numerous advantages of membership. They would quickly see how they would be protected from foreign invasion and terrorism by the power of the law backed by global government; they would be relieved of the burden of large military budgets; and they would gain the economic advantages of free trade and fewer restrictions within the governed area."(p.103)

What is not in this book: The gradual results of this world-spanning government redefining new and more aggressive powers for itself, or granting legislative favors to corporate patrons. While the authors warn about the dangers of corporate influence on civil government, they state that one thing "more powerful than corporate bribery is public outrage"(p.187). While in theory, this outrage works equally well against governmental abuses of power, there is no discussion of how this outrage has fared against illegal wiretapping programs, the awarding of no-bid contracts to favored corporations, or the indefinite detainment of individuals at Guantanamo Bay.
Also, no space is devoted to resolving the truly critical issues that would face such a global undertaking, such as what color the one world government should choose for its law enforcement army's uniforms, whether the supercomputer of the centralized bureaucracy in charge of tracking and monitoring all citizens should run Windows or Apple software, and if it would be better to have our identity chips implanted in our foreheads or in our right hands.

Would you recommend this book to Pat Robertson? No. At first, he would agree with the authors when they say that "war and anarchy can be eliminated only when a new sovereign source of law is set up over and above the old clashing groups," (p.14) because he'd think that they were referring to the power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. However, the authors' later statement that "the new world government can endorse no religion; world public opinion should strongly discourage international political parties based on religious ideology"(p.199-200) might rub him the wrong way.

Would you recommend this book to Lou Dobbs? Yes, but only after explaining to him that under the new system, he could keep the Mexicans from sneaking into our country by telling them that they're already in our country. The authors note that "the best thing the U.S. could do to stem the tide of immigrants coming from Mexico and other developing countries would be to launch a massive campaign of foreign aid for development, political reform, and family planning assistance"(p.166), and go so far as to suggest that the same amount of money we have spent on border security could be used to fund these programs with far more tangible results.
In fact, such a plan could produce significant savings since border guards expect steady salaries, but government assistance can be promised for years and then quietly cut from the budget without actually being paid.

What is interesting about this book: The opening phrase of the book is, “imagine an old Star Trek series like this:"(p.3).
There are also some interesting figures regarding the word choices used in this book that would probably be of no interest to either militiamen or separatists:
-In the first 5 chapters, not counting chapter or section headings, words like "democracy," "democratic," and "democratically," are used 91 times over 91 pages.
-The phrase "New World Order" only appears 4 times in the entire book, counting one time where it describes a "New Democratic World Order."
-Neither the words "zionist" nor "conspiracy" appear at all in the book.

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October 16, 2007

From Beyond

From Sirius to Earth: A Therapist Discovers a Soul Exchange by
Evelyn Fuqua, PhD and Athor (Inner Eye Books, 1997, ISBN 1-880666-65-0)

This book was written by: Dr. Evelyn Fuqua, a Rosicrucian and (semi-retired) Marriage and Family Therapist who was a board member of the Association of Past Life Research and Therapies for 6 years. Dr. Fuqua writes that she started studying for her PhD in psychology at age 48 because she "wanted to have as many credentials as possible in order to be credible,"(p.xvii) but that she couldn't write her dissertation on past-life therapy because "the person teaching the class on dissertation writing insisted that there was no such thing as a past life and steadfastly refused to approve my proposed research" (p.xvii). She completed a PhD program in Psychology in 1983 from the Professional School of Psychology.
Athor is "an aspect of a Being of Light, a member of the Council of
Twelve on the star system Sirius
Athor's host, described as "Rose" (not her real name), suffered from Environmental Illness and experienced difficulties interacting with society. She had also been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, which resulted in a period of hospitalization.

What is in this book: Transcripts of Dr. Fuqua's hypnotherapy sessions with Rose/Athor, along with background information and autobiographies to put them in context.
At the age of 2, Rose exchanged souls with Athor, a voluntary process that both souls agreed to before birth. However, Athor experienced difficulties adapting to life on earth which were not unprecedented, as evidenced by the time that Athor "attempted to incarnate in a fetus during the time of Christ but the Athor vibrations were too high and the fetus exploded"(p.106). Additionally, Rose never completely vacated the vessel, and the two souls continued to experience difficulties through their entire shared life.
Dr. Fuqua has helped the Rose soul move on to the next level so that the Athor soul can have complete control of their previously shared body. Their work is presented in this book as a resource to help other Soul Exchange Entities, and as a repository of knowledge on past lives, the reincarnation process, and the Sirius Council of Twelve.

What is not in this book: Pulled punches. Everything that Rose/Athor thinks the reader needs to know has been written down in this book, regardless of how it may affect the public's opinion of her. For example, she offers proof of reincarnation by writing that "I was a woman in my twenties who was suddenly experiencing full-blown sexual feelings and explosions of loving recognition toward an eleven-year-old boy! Evidently, the young boy was experiencing the same." (p.44)

Would you recommend this book to Maureen Flannigan? Yes. Both Maureen and Athor are out of this world.

Would you recommend this book to a member of the Better Business Bureau? Not until the Council of Sirius starts clearly printing their soul exchange policy on their receipts.

What is interesting about this book?
Dr. Fuqua's refusal to take the easy way out. Although she writes that her Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) "defines paranoid-schizophrenia as a type of schizophrenia dominated by persecutory delusions and or hallucinations with persecutory or grandiose content," (p. 53) she is convinced that Rose/Athor's issues stem from a soul exchange even after Rose/Athor makes the following statements:

"Strangers on the street often turned around to look at me as I rode by in a car. Store patrons stared at me at the end of an aisle, as though I had just been beamed down from a spacecraft." (p.11)

"George, my future husband, was a musician romantically involved with a local negative witch who had an avid interest in necromancy. [....] We discovered that she wanted George's virgin teenage son as a sacrifice for her Satanic rituals."(p.43)

There is also chapter written by Rose/Athor where she describes being chased by the mafia, getting locked in an apartment by a pimp who wanted to add her to his stable, and barely escaping from four rape attempts, including one where five men "were going to knock me unconscious, drag me off for a gang rape, and probably kill me later."(p.12) All these events occur over 5 pages of text. Luckily, the worst was averted by Athor, working in concert with Rose's own heightened psychic abilities.

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September 27, 2007

Book Review: Tubular Tykes

Radical Parenting: Seven Steps to a Functional Family in a Dysfunctional World by Brad Blanton, Ph.D. (Sparrowhawk Publications, 2002, ISBN 978-0970693822)

This book was written by: Brad Blanton, Ph.D., a psychotherapist and CEO of Radical Honesty Enterprises, which offers workshops to help apply the principles put forth in this book. Dr. Blanton has been "biological father of six children in the last five decades and the responsible parent of five,"(p.11) which only took him four marriages to accomplish. The fact that he gave them names like Elijah, Carsie, Shanti, and Amos should in no way be held against him. This also doesn't count the son that Dr. Blanton didn't know about until after the child's fourteenth birthday, when the mother sued him for child support.
Dr. Blanton has an extensive career in conflict resolution, possibly dating back as far as when he fractured his stepfather's skull, "breaking three of his ribs, before leaving home."(p.8) He writes that "After that therapeutic event, and a few more like it with my stepfather-and sixteen years of psychotherapy-I'm almost over having my reactions to how I was parented completely run my life." (p.8)

What is in this book: An indictment of our environment as "A sick society, in which control and money are the primary considerations of value,"(p.11-12) and one of "culturally-endorsed child abuse."(p.12)
Dr. Blanton feels that to properly raise children, one must create a new community of more nurturing principles, which he does in his book by drawing heavily on the work of others, discussing the experiments of Stanley Milgram, spending the balance of chapter 12 quoting Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon's A General Theory of Love, having his ex-wife Amy Sliver write chapter 18 ("The Alternative to Preparing and Repairing"), and accepting help from his daughter Carson.

What is not in this book: Advice on the best way to ollie with toddlers, do kickturns with newborns, or thrash with grade schoolers. Also missing are instructions on grinding with children, which is just as well since it sounds like it should be illegal.

Would you recommend this book to Tony Hawk? maybe. He's a pretty radical dude, and I hear he's also a parent.

Would you recommend this book to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Absolutely not. Partly because the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are in no way ready for the responsibilities of parenthood, but mostly because all they ever seem to eat is pizza, and a child left in their care would end up dangerously malnourished.

What was interesting about this book? The views expressed in the chapter "The Family Bed - A Limbic Service Station." (p.131). In this chapter, Dr. Blanton advocates sharing a bed with your newborn, and on page 132 he states that although "one objection to the family bed is the lost opportunity for sex," the solution he proposes is for parents to "have another place in the house to go in order to make love, after the children are asleep in the family bed. Do it on the altar of your meditation room. Do it in the room you have set up for the child to move into when he leaves the family bed." Alternatively, you can "put a pillow between you two and the baby and go to it," even though "we don't actually know what effect the parents' making love nearby has on the baby's consciousness."

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September 25, 2007

Book Review: The Two Towers

Inside Job: Unmasking the 9/11 Conspiracies by Jim Marrs (Origin Press, 2004, ISBN 1-57983-013-7)

This book was written by: Jim Marrs, who, within two months of 9/11, "had gathered much of the material in this book and presented it as a proposal [...] under the title The War on Freedom"(p. xviii). It was not published immediately because "some force existed that did not want this information available to the general public"(p. xviii).
Jim’s professional accomplishments, according to the back of the book, include owning “several newspapers before becoming an independent writer”.

What is in this book: Lots of questions. Was the Pentagon hit by a missile? “Could there have been multiple conspiracies wrapped together, involving both domestic and foreign players, each perpetrating portions of the crime with an eye to their own special agenda?”(p.135) Is the U.S. Government unwilling to discuss training exercises scheduled for September 11 because “someone in high authority must have passed this information and its timing to the terrorists?”(p.12)
Occasionally, he puts forth facts rather than questions, such as when he discusses “the seemingly outlandish suggestion that remote-controlled planes were crashed into American targets [that] is backed by several intriguing facts”(p.110). Said facts include a news release that mentions the type of technology he describes, and “after all, as all experienced aviation and military persons well know, if a technology [that allows remote control of passenger airplanes] such as Global Hawk is publicly revealed, it most probably has been in secret use for many years”(p.111).

What is not in this book: Answers. Not necessarily because Jim can't find them, but because he wants his readers to find them for themselves. The information in his book “points to the possibility that the 9/11 attacks may indeed have been a conspiracy wrapped inside another conspiracy,”(p.13) and that “planning for the 9/11 reaction was indeed set into motion long before September 11”(p.9). This is evident because “the suspicious stock market trading indicating foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks only added to the ever-growing proof that people in high positions knew what was coming in September 2001”(p.93).
Jim's hope is that by asking these questions, he can urge "persons of good heart and conscience to stand up and regain the country handed down to them by men and women who fought for a free and democratic republic by risking their very lives and fortunes"(p.141).

Would you recommend this book to George W. Bush? No, I would recommend that he read his Daily Briefing Memo titled "Bin Laden determined to attack inside the United States.” You know, back on August 6, 2001, when it was originally issued.

Would you recommend this book to journalists? Yes, as an inspirational example. If your life is anything like Jim's, that reporter job could be just a foot in the door to greater things like owning your own newspaper. If you are inclined to think bigger, you could end up teaching college courses about the assassination of JFK as well as publishing books about UFOs, psychic powers, and the hidden conspiracies that really shape world events. You might even wind up as a guest on The Montel Williams Show.

What was interesting about this book? The fact that Jim’s theories don’t really get rolling until the last chapter of his book, “What do we know now?”(p.134) For example, he doesn’t conspicuously mention the New World Order until page 137, when discussing an aspect of the attacks that “seemed to indicate a schism within the ranks of the New World Order proponents”. Once he starts, though, he points out that “it is also well worth noting that in many ways, the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks fits the same template as the aftermath of the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963”(p.139), and goes on to note that “today’s big-time criminals no longer worry about what the government might do to them because, in too many cases, they are the government. It therefore becomes essential to identify and connect the inner core elite of the world’s secret societies, to demonstrate their ownership and interlocking control over the multinational corporations, and the shadow-government cabals that dominate our national life”(p.140).
True to form, his book ends with more questions, including “Will the American people [....] finally take a look behind the green curtain of media spin to identify the globalist elites and secret societies who own and control the mass media as well as the government and, hence, the military?”(p.143)

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August 20, 2007

Book Review: Pet Locksmiths

Unlocking the Animal Mind: How Your Pet's Feelings Hold the Key to his Health and Happiness by Franklin D. McMillan, D.V.M. with Kathryn Lance (Rodale Press, 2004, ISBN 1-57954-880-6)

This book was written by: Dr. McMillan is a Los Angeles veterinarian who has treated the pets of celebrities like Bob Barker, and consulted on the sets of films. Dr. McMillan establishes these credentials at the start of the book by having Bob Barker write the foreword, and relating in the first chapter how he was working on the set of Dr. Doolittle, when an animatronic robot standing in for the live dog that he had been working with had him "completely fooled" (p.2).
Kathryn Lance is a freelance writer whose co-writing credits include The Botox Book and Total Sexual Fitness for Women.

What is in this book: Dr. McMillan's assertion that since animals feel pain, they must feel other emotions as well, because the idea "that evolution would have created just one feeling in nonhuman animals defies any reasonable logic" (p.9). Doctor McMillan also draws connections between the physical ailments in animals and the emotional stresses brought on by their environment, arguing that in some cases a change to an animal's emotional environment will correct its physical illness.
Then he talks about when it's okay to kill your pet, because "when all other efforts fail to adequately protect your pet from a life dominated by persistent unpleasant feelings, we still have [euthanasia as] a tool that assures him full protection" (p.274).

What is not in this book: Instructions on the correct use of drills, nitroglycerine, stethoscopes, or autodialers. Unlocking the animal mind is completely unlike unlocking a bank vault.

Would you recommend this book to a locksmith? Yes, if the locksmith was interested in reading about a cat who, when signaling his desire to be petted, "would plop down on his side next to any hand he could get near and, reaching with both his front paws, grab hold of the nearby person's hand and pull it onto the top of his head, as if he were putting on a hat" (p.161).

Would you recommend this book to a serial killer? I would recommend that a serial killer keep the hell away from me.

What is interesting about this book? The inference drawn from the foreword and the opening chapter that "during the last 20 years"(p. vi), Bob Barker has entrusted his pets to a man who is fooled by mechanical dogs.
The book is also full of animal stories, both in sidebars and worked into the text, like the story about a cat that saved its kittens from a burning building (p.38), and the sheepdog who was used to long bangs blocking his eyesight, and ended up terrified of everything he could see after a new haircut (p.64).
Dr. McMillan does not feel the need to make sure that these are all happy stories, and also writes about animals like the cat who was so stricken by grief that euthanasia was the only course of action (p.76), the dog who never got over being traumatized by an earthquake(p.81), and the cat that was hit by a car and dragged itself home to die (p.106).

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August 9, 2007

Book Review: Self-Esteem Raps

Rap to Live By: Positive Rap for Kids on Love, Friendship, Self-Esteem, School, Money, Sex and much more... by Don Roberts (Hampton Roads Publishing, 1993, ISBN 1-878901-55-9)

This book was written by: Don Roberts, a TV News anchorman for WAVY-TV. When he "noticed his older daughter memorizing some intricate and questionable lyrics," he knew "something had to be done" (p.9). In response, he wrote "uplifting, positive raps that adults can use to teach their children" (back cover). "The trick," says Roberts, "was coming up with topics, writing them up in rap form that's easily adaptable to a jammin' beat, then performing them at the appropriate time."(p.9) The message of his book is that "all kids are reachable if we simply try harder to speak their language" (p.10)

What is in this book: Lyrics. Some titles include:

Love Myself (rap-a-long for elementary) (p.28)

Love Myself (rap-a-long for middle & high school) (p.29)

Fringies (Fringe benefits- reasons and rewards for not using drugs) (p.49)

Black, White, Other? (Thoughts about my brother's marriage to a German woman- shared with an organization of interracial couples and families) (p.95)

What is not in this book? Phat beats. Not that this calls into question the relative tightness of the lyrics, it merely points out that you will have to provide your own jammin' beats.

Would you recommend this book to middle-class white suburbanite youths who spend their parents' fortunes on FUBU gear and bling? Certainly. It is the number one demographic in desperate need of important lessons on respecting themselves and others.

Would you recommend this book to schoolteachers trying to reach out and make a difference in the lives of their charges? Sure, as long as they're not caught reading it.

What was interesting about this book? The topics Mr. Roberts has chosen, as well as his rhyme scheme. Here is a brief sample from his work, 10 (p. 48):

Here are 10 reasons why
You should be a drug dealer!
Crimeline will pay me big bucks when I squeal-a on you!


The population-
In prison-like old dealers Jake and Earl?
They'll make space for you cause you'll be their girl.

And in my world-
When I write about the good news that's "class"...
I'll love reporting how the neighbors kicked your ---.

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July 23, 2007

Book Review: Diplomatic Immunity

The Melchizedek Ambassadors Training Program, by Anrita Melchizedek (Dolphin Ray Productions, 2003, ISBN 1-903248-01-9)

This book was written by: Anrita Melchizedek, who "had two Angel friends, both little boys, one with a dove on his shoulder, who were her constant companions for just over two years. She further communicated with Nature Spirit Intelligence, seeing fairies, as well as communicating with animals. Through this plane of dualities, Anrita chose a multi-colored weaving in preparation for her light work, including drinking and drugs." (p.421)

What is in this book: "An accumulation of Mystery School teachings that have previously been taught in ancient Egypt and Atlantis. These teachings are now being shared through an experimental understanding of the Eye of Horus and Tantric Immortality to bring about One Unity Consciousness."(p.xi)
We need One Unity Consciousness because we "requested that the Spiritual Hierarcy allow [...] laggard souls to incarnate onto the Earth plane," so we could "assist them to move forward into the light." Unfortunately, as is so often the case in these situations, "through the accumulation of negative energy of these laggard souls around the Earth plane on an astral level, the Christ Consciousness grid around the Earth plane began to dim."(p.37) Things go so bad that Arcturian Emissaries of Light, the "most celestial, Angelic Beings of Light," "chose to no longer incarnate onto this Earth plane due to the denser dimensional frequencies." (p.38)

What is not in this book: Name-calling, mudslinging, and other criticism. The book uses positive reinforcement to remind us of the greatness that we once possessed, and seem to have forgotten after our universal paradise of learning and enrichment got crapped up by the trash we accepted from all ends of creation. Does this sound at all familiar, New Jersey?

Would you recommend this book to Jenny Craig? No, she works with a different kind of light being.

Would you recommend this book to a citizen of the former Soviet Socialist Republic state of Uzbekistan? Most definitely. Preferably before an ill-fated sea voyage together. I would get a chair near the purser's office, so I could begin my harrowing tale of survival with the phrase, "Before the wreck, I was sitting on the deck when an Uzbeck Melchizedek tried to cash a check..." Depending on the buffet options available at the time, I might also be eating speck.

What was interesting about this book? The warning printed on the back of the title page. "Using these guided visualizations will create physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual change. If you have any conditions that might make participation unwise, or if you are currently taking anti-psychotic drugs, we advise you to reconsider participating in these guided visualizations."

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July 7, 2007

Book Review: It's Not Your Fault She's Damaged Goods.

For Mothers of Difficult Daughters: How to Enrich and Repair the Bond in Adulthood by Charney Herst with Lynette Padwa (Villard, 1998 ISBN 0-679-45765-8)

This book was written by: Dr. Charney Herst, whose teenage daughter got the whole family brought up on drug charges by growing marijuana in the rose garden. Standing before the judge in court, "at that moment, a mother's advocate was born."(p.xiii) Mothers need an advocate like Herst, since "daughters have a whole society - not to mention most therapists - supporting their claim that they were damaged by mom" (p.19).
Lynette Padwa is a professional collaborator who has spent 20 years in publishing to become "a pro at every phase of writing and editing manuscripts" (her website).

What is in this book: Dr. Herst sees 3 types of difficult daughter, the dependent daughter, the dissatisfied daughter, and the distant daughter, so she has written a book on how to deal with the problems that their mothers face. Either that, or this is only volume "d" in Dr. Hearst's alliterative encyclopedia on dealing with family members, including problem parents and worrisome wives, soon to be followed by veterinary guides on dealing with complicated cats and daunting dogs.
Herst's advice is that too many people are ready to blame the mother for the problems of the daughter, and sometimes the best thing a mother can do is to put her own needs first.

What is not in this book: Practical steps you can take to get your daughter to stop stripping, or to see that the loser she married is never going to get off the couch and get a real job.

Would you recommend this book to Samuel L. Jackson? No. Mr. Jackson has already worked very hard to become one bad ass mother. He does not need any advice.

Would you recommend this book to Dina Lohan? No. That ship has not only sailed, but is unloading its cargo at its next port of call while its sailors are drinking, gambling, and raping their way through their shore leave.

What was interesting about this book? The personal stories about specific problem children, like the daughter who "gained a lot of weight, and wears flowing robes that make her look like she lives in an ashram,"(p.66) or the daughter who demanded her inheritance money while her mother was still living so she could fund a foundation for abused children. "Goodbye, Mother," was her response to her request's refusal, "When you decide to be a human being, give me a call."(p.197)
Dr. Herst has also developed a set of flash cards that moms can use to assist them in dealing with their daughters, that are reminders like "I will not gossip about my daughter to other family members" and "I will question all reports of mysterious diseases my daughter claims to have"(p.267).

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June 14, 2007

Book Review: Mind the Power

The POWERMIND(tm) System: Twelve Lessons on the Psychology of Success (Kiefer Enterprises International Press, 1995 ISBN 0-9645934-0-8)

This book was written by: Michael Monroe Kiefer, M.S., who graduated college with "two high technology science degrees" and "vowed [he] would never read another book again."(p.XI) He was in danger of spending the rest of his life as an "overweight cynical sleepaholic"(p.XII) until his life hit a turning point. And then another turning point. And then five more turning points after that. In his prelude ("The Author's Amazing Transfiguration"), he discusses how these seven turning points led him to develop the POWERMIND(tm) system.

What is in this book: A collection of techniques designed to help anyone become a hyperintelligent superachiever, living dreams and seizing success. After a self assessment, the book moves on to set goals and teaches powerbonding to ensure that you can properly harmonize your triune mind, which may grant you superpowers. After all, your superconscious mind is "connected by a belt to what most people call God"(p.199), and if your mind "can communicate with or invoke a higher power [....] any ESP-type abilities will stem from this source by way of the superconscious mind"(p.199-200). The final section of the book shows how to use what you've learned to achieve your goals, and these methods have to work because poverty is only "a disease of mind"(p.119).

What is not in this book: Self pity. “You are personally responsible for the way your life works out”(p.402). Presumably, this includes cancer, earthquakes, missing car keys, lines at the bank, genocide, and rape.

Would you recommend this book to power lifters? Yes, provided that they lift this book by the case.

Would you recommend this book to masterminds? Yes, both criminal and otherwise, if they are in need of something to boost their self esteem.

What was interesting about this book? There is a section on scientific prayer(p.384), and instructions on reading a book that has one tracing a finger over the repeated phrase "The POWERMIND system helps all and hurts none" (p.342). It also includes "It's your fault: a personal responsibility self-awareness poem,"(p.401) which is 13 lines with no discernible meter or rhyme scheme that imparts this nugget of wisdom:.
"If you decide never to read a self-help book and then suffer dramatically because you are ignorant of success principles, it's your fault." (p.401, emphasized by the author)

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Book Review: Ice Pyramids of Doom

Today’s book is 5/5/2000 ICE: THE ULTIMATE DISASTER by Richard W. Noone (Harmony Books, 1986 ISBN 0-517-56142-5)

This book was written by: Richard W. Noone. Part prophet, part detective, Noone has "learned to see ancient astronomy in terms of observational techniques based on measurements of the actual size of the earth, rather than on church-inspired concepts of the universe."(p.v) He has dedicated his book to the rational soul of the world.

What is in this book: Detailed explanations about how the pyramids are actually massive warning signs left for us by our incredibly advanced ancestors, warning us about an upcoming polar shift on 5/5/2000. Noone's narrative exposes the freemason roots of the United States' founding fathers, explains how orgone energy is another name for the power harnessed by the ancient Egyptians, and elaborates on how the astral alignment of certain planets on 5/5/2000 will result in massive buildups of ice at the earth's poles, triggering the apocalypse. He does so by using the highly scientific techniques of drawing connections between people with similar initials (p.308), and adding years together to get significant numbers ("The numbers in the year 1967 again equal twenty-three, the number Robert Anton Wilson in his book Cosmic Trigger believes guided him to 'a network of adepts that extends far beyond our earth.'"(p.308))

What is not in this book: a denouncement of global warming as a pseudoscience hoax perpetuated by the liberal media.

Would you recommend this book to doomsay fetishists? Absolutely. The fact that Noone's 2000 deadline has elapsed should in no way dampen their enthusiasm for this book. If, as Noone asserts, our preconcieved notions of history can lead us to deny the sophisticated technological accomplishments of our ancient ancestors, then it's entirely possible that a massive pole shift caused millions of deaths in 2000, and we're denying it today. "We much each decide what is true for himself" (p.77).

Would you recommend this book to Al Gore? Sure, if he's not too busy hugging trees or something.

What was interesting about this book? The "200 charts, maps, drawings, and photographs" that the author has chosen to illustrate his points. These include a photograph of the Atlanta V.A. Hospital (p. 113), painting of the caliph of Baghdad (p.94), Jean-Frederic Maximilien Waldeck's drawing of the tower at Palenque (p.70), a painting of George Washington as a mason (p.282), an image of a bare-breasted Cleopatra (p.240), and a photograph of the Egyptian room of a Masonic temple in Philadelphia (p.188). The maps and diagrams are equally interesting, including a pole shift diagram (p.321), and a map showing the continent of Mu (p.35).

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Book Review: Federal Prison (Camp)

Surviving Federal Prison Camp: An informative and helpful guide for prospective inmates by Gerald J. Luongo, PhD. (Mallon Publishing, 2005 ISBN 0-9763418-6-7)

This book was written by: Gerald J. Luongo, PhD. Gerald held a job as a school principal before entering New Jersey politics, where he apparently made some enemies. In the "about the author" section of the book, it states that "unable to unseat him fairly at the polls due to his popularity and leadership, [Luongo's] adversaries took the political low road." These adversaries "involved the FBI, which, with the help of an aggressive and trophy-hunting prosecutor, gratuitiously made a wasteland of his life." Convicted of subscribing to false income tax returns, Longo was assigned to the federal prison camp that inspired him to write this work.

What is in this book: An overview of conditions at federal prison camps, based on the author's personal experience. It also contains checklists of things to do before going to prison to make sure that your finances are taken care of and your family is provided for.

What is not in this book: Practical instructions for making a shiv, brewing liquor in a toilet bowl, or surviving the showers.

Would you recommend this book to anyone who plans to be sent to prison? No. At a little under half an inch thick, you would not be able to hollow it out to provide a hiding place for your contraband.

Would you recommend this book to families of the incarcerated? Yes. It is just thin enough to prop up an uneven table or chair leg, or the pages can be torn out and used to stop drafts until the incarcerated family member returns home and is able to perform more permanent repairs.

What was interesting about this book? Stories about people setting beds on fire and trying to steal each other's wives (on the outside). I was also interested in reading the author's opinions on a variety of topics connected to the criminal justice system, like "the right of any government to force an individual into labor, paying you pennies a day,"(p.69) and his comparison of federal prison camps to other methods of incarceration, since (emphasis the author's)"many of these local and county facilities are inhumane. They house every kind and variety of street trash and, frankly, any decent person may not survive the ordeal."(p.10)

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Book Review: Protect Yourself With Psychics

Psychic Protection by Ted Andrews (Dragonhawk Publishing, 1998 ISBN 1-888767-30-8)

This book was written by: Ted Andrews. Ted has written over 30 books. His author information mentions this along with his musical skills, his interest in ballet and kung fu, and his state and federal permits to work with birds of prey. He also wants you to know that "in his spare time, he enjoys hanging out with his menagerie of animals, horseback riding and ballroom dancing."
Ted is qualified to offer advice on psychic protection because back in the early 70's, an astrologer friend of his was being targeted by an ex-boyfriend who was part of "a true occult group" that was "very organized, very well trained, very large, and very secretive. They were after power and control (spiritually and politically), and they employed ancient rituals, sexual magic, and other occult techniques." (p.109-110) He stepped in "as a kind of psychic white knight," (p.109) and had to defend himself. Psychically.

What is in this book: A discussion of psychic influences and phenomena, suggested tools and techniques to protect and strengthen yourself through psychic means, and a few words on using your abilities responsibly, all colored with some of Ted's personal observations.

What is not in this book: How to gain riches and power by contacting that occult group in Texas that specializes in tormenting ex-girlfriends. Also, how to stop scanners from detonating your head like a latex sack full of dog food and rabbit livers that's been blasted with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Would you recommend this book to psychics? I think they already know the answer to that.

Would you recommend this book to gullible rubes and/or damaged individuals in search of completion? No, I would recommend that they hand their $12.95 directly over to me.

What was interesting about this book? The section on "distinguishing psychic junk" (p.303) that steers readers clear of the more obvious psychic scams, and the refreshingly honest admission that "a good 75 percent of those who seek out psychics do so because of real problems and do not necessarily need psychic input."(p.327)

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