REVIEW: Humanity triumphs on every page of Elizabeth Warren's "A Fighting Chance" (ISBN: 9781627790529). Her life story is inspirational but it's her goals -- fairness, a level playing field, justice -- that are crucial to our country's future.
REVIEW: Glenn Greenwald's excellent "No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State" (ISBN: 9781627790734) is not only about Edward Snowden and the NSA; it's also about power. Who gets to watch you? Who gets to know your life's decisions? Who gets to monitor your activities? And who is watching the watchers?
REVIEW: With an eye-catching title, Elijah Wald's "How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll: An Alternative History of American Popular Music" (ISBN: 9780199756971) is an off-kilter look at the progression of music from ragtime to rock to rap, with lots of insights on swing, jazz, folk, and blues. Consistently interesting and fun to read, the book pays special attention to what the media and the American mindset have done to influence the music we hear today.
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REVIEW: Peter Schuck's "Why Government Fails So Often: And How it Can do Better" (ISBN: 9780691161624) takes 30 pages of brilliant observation and crams it into 412 pages of text. His combination of garrulousness and impenetrable language makes it a very long and extensive and extended and elongated and lengthy and protracted and time-consuming and boring read.
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BOOK REVIEW: Peeling back the thick tapestries of privacy shielding the odious Koch brothers, Daniel Schulman's "Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty" (ISBN: 9781455518739) is consistently compelling and a good read. There's a lot here: the Koch's anti-American politics, their disgusting waste of personal wealth, their in-fighting and lawsuits, their dysfunctional family life, and their attitude of total warfare against people in the middle class.
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BOOK REVIEW: Spies! Treachery! Deception! Camels! With an eye for detail and a love of intrigue, Scott Anderson plunks you down in the desert for 'Lawrence in Arabia' (ISBN-13: 978-0385532921). The author unleashes a rip-snortin' tale that ultimately reveals a lot of the backstory on the muddle that is today's Middle East.
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ADSP Chapter 25: God can be found inside many things: The sun, moon, and stars; a child's simple wisdom; a lover's kiss. And at one nightclub on one sultry summer evening in Southern California, god was in the fingers of Derek Trucks.
ADSP Chapter 24: The blues will never die. Here's one reason: Audiences have a visceral response to the music, even if it's done merely adequately. And when it's done well, the audience reaction can be amazing. Either way, when somebody is playin' da blooze it means that guys will be drinking and girls will be dancing. In other words, a good time will be had by all.
REVIEW: The Barbarians, The Vikings, The Goths, The Vandals, and The Huns are not just great names for rock groups, they were also terrific periods for artistic creation. Thanks to the 4-part DVD entitled 'The Dark Ages: An Age of Light,' you and your family can see the art they made while touring the world in the company of a very entertaining host.
ADSP Chapter 23: When hired guns go solo, the results can be "meh" or "yowza," but studio great Carl Verheyen ("ver-HIGH-un") consistently wows the crowds. Los Angeles is full of guitar aces for hire and one of the best has a name you can't pronounce. You have heard quite a lot of the work of Carl Verheyen even though you may not be aware of it.
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ADSP Chapter 21: Some guitarists play at lightning speed but it's the tone, the style, and the aura of magic that define the true heroes of the electric guitar. Joe Satriani. You've heard his work or you've heard his name, and he's either the greatest thing since sex or he's simply a technical master who goes through his shtick very well but has no true worth. (I look forward to your letters.)
ADSP Chapter 22: Blues guitar virtuoso Buddy Guy succeeds on every level from soul to sizzle to showmanship. Sitting in his trailer before taking the stage for a festival performance, Buddy Guy is philosophical about his place in the pantheon of blues guitarists.
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Adventures in Self-Publishing: Teen Poet Aaron Ozee on His Experiences with Publishing His First Works
ADSP Chapter 2 -- God of Guitar: A Visceral Reaction to Jeff Beck -- There are 6,189 seats in the Gibson Amphitheater and guitar players are in 5,133 of them. Girlfriends of guitar players are in the rest. The occasion is a rare appearance by Jeff Beck, a somewhat reclusive Englishman whose stunning fret-board work has influenced pop, rock, heavy metal, blues, R&B, and jazz-rock fusion.