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  • gilwilson 6:36 PM on October 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 45, alec baldwin, parody, politics, saturday night live, ,   

    You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody) By: Alec Baldwin, Kurt Andersen 

    39802005You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody)
    By: Alec Baldwin, Kurt Andersen
    Narrated by: Alec Baldwin, Kurt Andersen, Oliver Wyman
    Length: 5 hrs and 57 mins
    Release date: 11-07-17
    Publisher: Penguin Audio

    So what has started out as a Saturday Night Live skit has become a regular job for Alec Baldwin.  This book is a parody of the 1st year in office for #45.  Baldwin should at least get another 2 years out of this.  But only if he can freshen it up a bit.

    I’ve heard a lot of people complain that I don’t write bad reviews.  Well I don’t write bad reviews because I don’t read bad books.  I will put a book down when it starts being bad.  This one may be the slight exception to that rule.  It started out pretty funny and then kinda wavered from there.  Much like watching Saturday Night Live they put their best skits first then just before the end of the show, you get a bunch skits that probably should not have aired.  Sure they may be mildly funny, but never enough to end the show with a bang.  This book is much like an episode of SNL.  It starts out pretty funny but as it ends you are ready to turn off the TV set and go to bed.

    A good chunk of the first half of the book is Baldwin doing his impression of Trump.  That’s what makes it funnier, but as the book progresses he stops the Trump impression and reads as himself.  He (as Trump) even says he’s turning it over to Baldwin.  Then Baldwin turns it over to his co-author, Kurt Anderson who in turn turns the narration over to Oliver Wyman and finally back to Trump.  Listening it sounds as if the authors lost interest in the material and just threw in some bits based on the events in Trump’s first year.  I was ready to turn off the set and go to bed.

    I stuck with it and while there were a few funny moments sprinkled through the latter halfm this followed the guidelines of SNL and got pretty boring after the first appearance of the musical guest.  Maybe they should have had a musical guest in the audiobook to liven up that last half.

    If you are a fan of Baldwin, SNL and parodies of Trump you’ll enjoy this book, especially the first half.  I cannot really recommend the book but I did enjoy parts of it.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Political satire as deeper truth: Donald Trump’s presidential memoir, as recorded by two world-renowned Trump scholars and experts on greatness generally.

    “I have the best words, beautiful words, as everybody has been talking and talking about for a long time. Also? The best sentences and, what do you call them, paragraphs. My previous books were great and sold extremely, unbelievably well – even the ones by dishonest, disgusting so-called journalists. But those writers didn’t understand Trump, because, quite frankly, they were major losers. People say if you want it done right you have to do it yourself, even when ‘it’ is a ‘memoir’. So every word of this book was written by me, using a special advanced word processing system during the many, many nights I’ve been forced to stay alone in the White House – only me, just me, trust me, nobody helped. And it’s all 100 percent true, so true – people are already saying it may be the truest book ever published. Enjoy.”

    Until Donald Trump publishes the ultimate account of his entire four or eight or one and a half years in the White House, the definitive chronicle will be You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump. Trump was elected because he was the most frank presidential candidate in history, a man eager to tell the unvarnished truth about others’ flaws and tout his own amazing excellence. Now he levels his refreshingly compulsive, un-PC candor at his landslide election victory as well as his role as commander in chief and leader of the free world.

    There are intimate, powerful, mind-boggling revelations throughout. You are there with him during his private encounters with world leaders, a few of whom he does not insult. You are there at the genius Oval Office strategy sessions with his advisers. You are there in his White House bedroom as he crafts the predawn Twitter pronouncements that rock the world. And, of course, you are there on the golf course as Trump attempts to manage the burdens of his office.

    President Trump explains each of the historic decisions that have already made America great again and how he always triumphs over the fake news media. You’ll learn what he really thinks of his cabinet members and top aides not related to him, of the first lady and the first daughter and the additional three or four Trump children.

    You Can’t Spell America Without Me is presented by America’s foremost Trump scholar, Kurt Andersen, as well as America’s foremost mediocre Trump impersonator, Alec Baldwin.

    ©2017 Alec Baldwin (P)2017 Penguin Audio

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  • gilwilson 6:13 PM on August 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: clinton, democrat, hilary, politics, republican,   

    “Insane Clown President” By Matt Taibbi 

    33895023“Insane Clown President”
    By Matt Taibbi
    Narrated by: Rob Shapiro
    Length: 9 hrs and 19 mins
    Release date: 01-17-17
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    Don’t let the title fool you, this book is not a Trump bashing romp, rather it is a horrid look at the way American politics has been on track to becoming a freak show/travelling circus since back to the Clinton presidency and election process back in 1992.  Whether you are down with the clown or not this book should be on your reading/listening list for, if nothing, else as a warning for how politics do not have the common man in mind.  The circus that was the 2016 campaign (for Democrats as well as Republicans) was nothing but a clown car on tour or even better, sticking with the book’s title, more of the circus that is the tour of the Gatherings of the Insane Clown Posse’s fans, the Juggalos.

    This book highlights the battles within the Republican Party and the fall of both parties through the years to actually fight for the interests of the people and making the campaigns all about who can yell the loudest.   Many points are made where the candidate will say or do something, like mocking a disabled reporter, and then deny it happened.  Even though the event is on recorded via video.  It’s amazing how quickly the public will respond to soundbites and not facts.

    If you are planning on voting in the next election cycle, use this as your prep material to weed out what needs to be weeded out.  While many supporters from both sides will argue against the facts pointed out, they should first look at the source material and then realize, that the job of the media is to present facts.

    Rob Shapiro is a standout narrator for this book and definitely keeps an already crazy book even more interesting.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Dispatches from the 2016 election that provide an eerily prescient take on our democracy’s uncertain future, by the country’s most perceptive and fearless political journalist.

    The 2016 presidential contest as told by Matt Taibbi, from its tragicomic beginnings to its apocalyptic conclusion, is in fact the story of Western civilization’s very own train wreck. Years before the clown car of candidates was fully loaded, Taibbi grasped the essential themes of the story: the power of spectacle over substance or even truth; the absence of a shared reality; the nihilistic rebellion of the white working class; the death of the political establishment; and the emergence of a new explicit form of white nationalism that would destroy what was left of the Kingian dream of a successful pluralistic society.

    Taibbi captures, with dead-on, real-time analysis, the failures of the right and the left, from the thwarted Bernie Sanders insurgency to the flawed and aimless Hillary Clinton campaign; the rise of the “dangerously bright” alt-right with its wall-loving identity politics and its rapturous view of the racial “holy war” to come; and the giant fail of a flailing, reactive political media that fed a ravenous news cycle not with reporting on political ideology but with undigested propaganda served straight from the campaign bubble. At the center of it all stands Donald J. Trump, leading a historic revolt against his own party, “bloviating and farting his way” through the campaign, “saying outrageous things, acting like Hitler one minute and Andrew Dice Clay the next.” For Taibbi, the stunning rise of Trump marks the apotheosis of the new postfactual movement.

    Taibbi frames the reporting with original essays that explore the seismic shift in how we perceive our national institutions, the democratic process, and the future of the country. Insane Clown President is not just a postmortem on the collapse and failure of American democracy. It offers the riveting, surreal, unique, and essential experience of seeing the future in hindsight.

    ©2017 Matt Taibbi (P)2017 Random House Audio

     
  • gilwilson 2:10 PM on May 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: politics, ,   

    “Time Is Irreverent” by Marty Essen 

    38463380Time Is Irreverent
    by Marty Essen
    244 pages
    Published: February 7th 2018
    by Encante Press, LLC

    I’m a huge believer in synchronicity.  You know, the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.  The author, Marty Essen sent me this copy to review a few months ago.  Well, I just finished reading a book about the top 100 Rolling Stones songs and the next book on my list was to be another top 100 (Springsteen, this time) or a musicians biography.  I decided I needed to do something different and saw the cover, and decided a good sci-fi should be fun.  (the understatement of all understatements, this book was extremely fun).  So I get done with the Stones and start reading this.

    First thing that happens is the Earth man “Marty” finds he cannot pronounce the name of the race of aliens or their individual names and begins renaming them.  The race of aliens become the Keithrichards and the captain of the ship is Captain Jagger.  So I’m guessing the universe was telling me this book was the right one to read next.

    As it happens the aliens are needing to change Earth’s history,  because the current leadership of crazy in the world is a mad man that likes to drop nukes to show that his hands are bigger (yeah you know what I mean).  To do so they must send Marty back to the year 31 AD to stop Christianity.

    Numerous jumps takes our hero through the cretaceous period where he becomes the first person to picnic on Earth.  Then he falls in love with one of the strange aliens only to have another of the aliens, in a fit of jealousy, launch him far into the future.

    The fun, the pop culture references (as well as the musical references) and political humor all are combined by Marty Essen to give you a sci-fi / comedy extravaganza that is a bit of fun to read.

     

    Publisher’s Summary

    An irreverent, liberal, twisty, time travel comedy!

    What if you could make a change to history that would eliminate the Spanish Inquisition, American slavery, World War II, global warming, and an egomaniacal US president who thought he was smart enough to drop nuclear bombs here and there without negative consequences? What if that change also made the United States and 5 billion people poof from existence? Would you do it?

    When alien time travel specialists, the Krichards, learn of President Handley’s game of dodge the mushroom cloud, they race to Earth to investigate. For them, the question of whether it’s worth it to change history is easy to answer, but they will only proceed if the human they deem best qualified to represent Earth agrees to make the change. Erasing Handley’s nuclear annihilation would require a quick jump to AD 31 to make a simple correction to the past. If the Krichards had selected a brilliant scientist or an elite athlete for the task, Earth might be in good hands. Instead they selected Marty Mann, a mildly successful travel writer, whose only superpower is not taking life too seriously. What could possibly go wrong?

    Spanning from the Cretaceous period to 2056, Time is Irreverent is a hilarious, thought-provoking satire, with unpredictable twists, colorful aliens, huge dinosaurs, a smokin’ hot lesbian from the future, and a cameo from Jesus Christ himself!

     
  • gilwilson 3:46 PM on October 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: dirty politics, , , , , , , politics, richard ferrone, silken prey   

    Audiobook Review: “Silken Prey” By John Sandford 

    silken

    Audiobook Review: “Silken Prey”

    By John Sandford

    Ready by Richard Ferrone

    Published by Penguin Audio

    Approx. 12.5 hours

     

    Once again John Sandford intrigued me through a 12.5 hour mystery.  I was eager to hear what happened next all the way to the very last word.  This book is another Lucas Davenport mystery filled with murders, lies, politics and shady characters.

     

    One thing I have noticed when listening to the Lucas Davenport novels is that every character has such depth and realism written into the character that no matter how extreme the circumstances their reactions make the situation real and surrounds the listener/reader in the story.  This realism makes the listener/reader unable to stop the story until the very end.

     

    The reader, Richard Ferrone, has a vocal delivery that is able to interpret the words of Sandford and make the story come alive.  While he doesn’t perform major vocal gymnastics to give each character a different voice, the listener has no problem differentiating each character’s voice and actions.  Ferrone’s voice perfectly matches what would be expected to be the voice of Lucas Davenport.  Mark Harmon should take heed.

     

    The book opens with a Minnesota political fixer answering his doorbell. The next thing he knows, he’s waking up on the floor of a moving car, lying on a plastic sheet, his body wet with blood. When the car stops, a voice says, “Hey, I think he’s breathing,” and another voice says, “Yeah? Give me the bat.” And that’s the last thing he knows.

     

    The main story then opens with the Minnesota Governor (a Democrat) calling Lucas Davenport and requesting he investigate what is an obvious smear campaign of  Republican Senator, Porter Smalls.  The Governor fears that this smear could completely rock the Minnesota political scene.  Smalls computer was discovered to have kiddie porn by one of his aides, but the means of discovery seems just too easy.

     

    During the investigation a missing political fixer’s name keeps coming up and the finger seems to not only point at him but also at the Democratic Senatorial candidate Taryn Grant.  Grant, is a super wealthy heiress who seems to let nothing stand in between her and the Senate seat.

     

    As Davenport uncovers others involved they end up dead and Davenport has to solve this politically tied murder and setup before any more people die.

     

    A thriller to the very end and with action that will put the listener/reader on the edge of their seat, this John Sandford novel is perfect for any mystery lover.

     
  • gilwilson 10:49 PM on September 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 1%, , , , , , democrats, economy, healthcare, james carville, middle-class, , politics, , stan greenberg, United States of America   

    “It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!” by James Carville and Stan Greenberg 

    “It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!”
    by James Carville and Stan Greenberg
    Read by the Authors
    Published by Penguin Audio
    Approx 7 Hours

    I’ve always been told that unless you want to start an argument, you should never start a conversation about religion or politics. In this age of social media, I have seen this statement prove to be so true. When someone tweets or posts on Facebook something immediately their “friends” will start debating the post. I find it a bit fun to post and just watch the emotions rise. Until now I have pretty much kept my blogs pretty neutral, but after listening to this audiobook, I’m siding with these die-hard democrats, James Carville and Stan Greenberg.

    James Carville, seems to be the one to come to when discussing anything democrat. He is an American political consultant, commentator, educator, attorney, media personality, prominent liberal pundit and even an actor. He was the lead strategist of the 1992 presidential campaign of Bill Clinton, that alone makes him one of the go to men when it comes to the Democratic party. He is married to Republican political consultant Mary Matalin, and I’ve always wondered what their dinner conversations sound like. As a reader of this book he is fun to hear. At times he gets pretty emotional about the subject matter and it shows, this makes his segments the good part of the book. Now, that being said, he is also from Louisiana and anyone north of Shreveport, may have a bit of a problem understanding his speech through his accent, especially when he gets really emotional about the subject matter. That may annoy some people but I wouldn’t have anyone else read the book, so if that gives you fits, bear through it, by the time it is done you will completely understand the accent and at the same time get a great political education.

    Stan Greenberg is a Democratic pollster and political strategist who has advised the campaigns of Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry and hundreds of other candidates and organizations in the United States and around the world. He’s a political scientist he has a Ph.D. from Harvard and taught at Yale. His study of Reagan Democrats became a classic progressive political strategy. His credentials are impressive and he’s yet another great representative of the Democratic party. Like Carville, he has moments where he gets caught up in the emotions of the material and speaks too fast or drops some word endings. His delivery was not due to a Louisiana accent but rather the speed of his delivery. After listening for a while I got used to it and again would not have had anyone else read the book.

    So there we got the delivery out of the way,  let’s talk about the material. Ask anyone what it would take to get this country back on track and you would probably get the number of different ideas equal to the number of people you ask. This book does present several ideas that if they were instituted sound as though they could get this country back on track, but, how do you get them instituted? My feeling is that no matter who is in office, unless you get all representatives looking to help the country rather than themselves, nothing will get done. This is especially true when it comes to legislation and policies that concern the middle class.

    As discussed in this book, the Middle Class has taken a hit for the last 30 years in this country. While productivity has increased wages for the blue-collar workers (middle class) have decreased (even more dramatically when adjusted for inflation, etc.). So with productivity increasing that means more money for the companies, but where does it go? You could say some goes back into the company for research and development, after all, the last 30 years have seen some of the most innovative products being created, but if you follow the money you will find that while middle class wages have decreased,even working longer hours with less benefits, C.E.O. wages and bonuses have increased exponentially.

    With the weight of this country being held up by the middle class; products and goods consumed or exported, tax base for the fiscal stability of the country, and our armed forces being manned by middle class families, it only stands to reason that policies that affect the country affect the middle class even more so. So as the authors of this book suggest, all our policies and legislation should only be discussed after the question, “How does this affect the middle class?” is asked.

    Topics such as healthcare, equal taxes, wages, benefits and even employment creation are all discussed in this book in very down to earth terms that make it seem as though everyone should be thinking this way. Unfortunately those making the political decisions have forgotten the middle class and as the large part of the constituency, the middle class need to remind them we are here.

    Check out this book and get a glimpse as to what could be the perfect set of ideas to get this country back on track. No matter what your political affiliation, you will find that this book makes sense.

     
  • gilwilson 8:53 PM on July 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , metrocles house, political humor, politics, , , , , ,   

    “Raise the Gipper” by John Barnes 

    “Raise the Gipper”
    by John Barnes
    Published by Metrocles House
    213 Pages

    With the birth of the Kindle the readers of the world have been treated to a plethora of Independent authors and publishers. No longer having to pay the high printing costs a writer can get his work out into the public’s hand faster and cheaper and sometimes to readers that would probably never get the chance to read their works. The other aspect of that same trend is that authors can get their works out faster. The latter is more of the case here.

    While I probably would have gotten around to reading something by John Barnes having the ability for him to send me this book and immediately load up on my kindle made it a sure thing I would read his work. According to his wikipedia page he has been publishing since 1987 in the science-fiction and Young Adult reading realms. This book is perfect for the Kindle because it is very timely, involving this years Republican National Convention, and the faster readers can read it, the funnier it will be.

    I have recently not been able to sit down and read, but when I did, I couldn’t wait to get back to this book. This is the first ever book that tackles head-on today’s politics and runs it through an industrial mixer with some sci-fi, and some horror and instead of getting a pink slime meat substitute, you get a hilarious zombie/alien invasion of the G.O.P.

    The story revolves around the idea that this election year (and the last one, if you really look at it) the Republican party cannot find someone worthy enough to adequately represent their values. The last Republican really worthy was former and the late President Ronald Reagan. According to Barnes; the pledged delegates are refusing to vote for Mitt Romney on the first ballot, because of three important reasons:

    1) they don’t feel he adequately represents their conservative views,
    2) they feel that a dull gazillionaire has no real chance in November,
    3) they’d rather work at an old folks home cleaning underwear by chewing it.

    In steps Dr. Bayle Brazenydol, political guru deluxe and extreme, who presents them with an alternative … their dream candidate … a man who is perfectly what they want except for three little problems:

    1) The candidate has already had two terms as president
    2) The candidate happens to be very, very dead
    3) Dr. Brazenydol himself is secretly controlled by a monstrous alien bent on taking over the Earth and devouring every living thing.

    Is the Republican party evil enough to make a pact with the Undying Faceless just to get a good candidate? In short, and really no spoiler here, yes they are. But in order to save the world a group of four must team up to stop the brain-eating/body-snatching evils. Those four are 2 witches, one a liberal protester, a right-wing blogger, and a carpenter who happens to always be at the right place at the right time and has a knack for feeding many with nothing.

    This hilarious political zombie romp will take you through the adventures of Reagan eating Gingrich’s brain (he wasn’t using it anyway), Rick Santorum becoming pregnant and Sarah Palin becoming the V.P. nominee, and the debates from Fox News as to how great it will be to have Reagan again and anyone who thinks otherwise is merely hating the Temperature challenged.

     
  • gilwilson 9:13 PM on October 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , enron, , , , lucy prebble, politics, ,   

    “Enron” by Lucy Prebble 

    “Enron”
    by Lucy Prebble
    a full cast audio performance
    starring Greg Germann, Gregory Itzin, Amy Pietz and Steven Weber
    Directed by Rosalind Ayres.
    Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles in October, 2010
    Produced by L.A. Theatre Works
    1 Hour 51 Minutes

    One of my latest treasures I’ve found are the classic theatrical productions in audiobook form produced by L.A. Theatre works.  I’ve been listening to plays by Shakespeare, Arthur Miller, Chekov, Oscar Wilde and others.  Listening to the classics is fun but this time around I was curious to see what LATW had to offer in the more modern theatre genre.  I was intrigued by this play, “Enron,” due to the fact that as the Enron scandal unraveled I was was working on a Business format radio station and at the time and this was all big news, and I heard most of it unfold live on the air with our in depth coverage on “Business Radio 1190 KPHN.”  What I didn’t know then was how this would affect our economy today.

    This play not only points out the greed and political underhandedness of the time and of the company but also gives great insight as to how the world economy today has fallen into the state it is in.  The interesting aspect of this play is that it, at times, takes an absurdist look at the situation and company.  For example, when the company develops a way to make losses seem like profits they illustrate the feature by feeding dollar bills to Raptors, yes in the performance you hear actual dinosaurs eating money.  The raptors soon become too much to handle and must be released or killed.  Another fun feature of the play is that it has song and dance numbers.  A musical about greed…too much.

    When Enron slumped into bankruptcy in December 2001, Lucy Prebble was a 20-year-old English literature student at the University of Sheffield in northern England.  She tossed around the idea for a few years and eventually got to do her show making it into this musical adventure that actually puts into plain language the cryptic language of finances and Mark to Market financing that gave Enron the edge.  So with a little British humor the average listener is able to understand the disaster that came crashing down on Enron and the U.S.   Informative, entertaining and frustrating, you’ll find yourself laughing with disgust at big business.

     
  • gilwilson 2:40 AM on September 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bill clinton, , , , politics   

    “My Life” abridged audio version By Bill Clinton 

    mylife“My Life” abridged audio version
    By Bill Clinton
    read by author
    Produced by Random House Audio
    Approx 6 hours

    Ever since I heard that President Bill Clinton wrote a book that was just over a thousand pages in length I was curious to find out what all he wrote.  Clinton did serve two terms as President pretty much covering the 90s as president.he fought to balance the federal budget, presided over a government shutdown, beat back a conservative cultural backlash, skirmished with an ornery  Saddam Hussein, ended a genocidal crisis in Bosnia, accelerated the Mideast peace process until its eventual collapse, and began to deal with the budding threat posed by Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. But what Clinton is most remembered for are the scandals that plagued his efforts. Beginning with Gennifer Flowers in the 1992 campaign, to Whitewater, Travelgate, the FBI file scandal, Paula Jones and ultimately the Monica Lewinsky affair that led to his historic impeachment, Clinton endured what then First Lady Hillary Clinton termed a “vast right-wing conspiracy” to push him from office.  So I’m guessing he may have had a lot to say and maybe a thousand pages could be filled.

    I then took the easy way out and listened to the the abridged audio version of the book.  Usually I steer away from abridged versions of a book but this time I wanted to know but at the same time the size of the book scared me off a bit.  I do wish I had read the full version now and will probably be picking up that book sometime soon.  But for now I think I got a good insight.

    The book does do a great job of covering the decade of the 90s in politics.  Many things that went through the White House affected America culturally.  This book would be a nice primer when studying history and wanting to tackle the politics of the 90s.  Keep in mind this is from one point of view and many of the issues were hard to look at in a black and white view.  It was nice however to get his take on many of the scandals and controversies that surrounded his political career.

    The book being read by President Clinton himself, seems like that could be the only way.  It is nice to hear the emotion in his voice during the reading.  Whenever he would talk about Ken Starr you could tell there was a touch of animosity toward Starr.  As a piece of history this is a privilege to have a president speak of his presidency and life.

    Speaking of Ken Starr, one of the many insights learned in this book I learned was that there was more to Ken Starr than just investigating the Monica Lewinski matter.  Ken Starr was doing constantly trying to find bugs in the Clinton White House, and the Lewinski was the only thing he could find that would smear the President.

    So, if you are interested in the book but afraid to tackle the full thousand or so pages give the audio book a try, I’m glad I did.

     
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