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Rama Rao "Rama" (Annandale, VA, USA)

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Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism from Hiroshima to Al Qaeda
Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism from Hiroshima to Al Qaeda
by John Mueller
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.07

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A liberal's view on world's nuclear proliferation, 6 Jan 2010
The proliferation of nuclear weapons is getting more dangerous than ever since Islamic nations such as Pakistan have acquired nuclear weapons, and Iran is on the verge of making one. The author also provides evidences for the moral and material support for Al Qaeda by Pakistani army and Pakistani physicists to help the Islamic terrorists to acquire these weapons. In spite of these disturbing reports, the author suggests that the fear over the use of such weapons is exaggerated, and our worries are unjustified. He observes that nuclear weapons have never been used since WWII despite the fact that a number of countries have them in their arsenal; hence we need not worry so much! The author's rush to this judgment is incorrect, because until now no Islamic nation possessed a nuclear weapon, but now one country has that, and another has acquired this technology. That means the whole dynamics changes. Since much of academics in universities and colleges are on the left; such a liberal bias is not unexpected.

The book is described in three parts. In the first part, the author argues that inventing nuclear weapons was a terrible waste of human talent, money, effort and a national tragedy, since a possible WWIII could be averted without them. The author argues that nations would have feared disastrous effects of even a conventional war let alone a nuclear war. The author has a short memory; ending of cold war between the two super powers, Libya's voluntary surrendering of nuclear program after Iraq war and the drone attacks on Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists in Pakistani territory have worked because US has nuclear weapons. The use of atomic bomb against Japan prevented further escalations of WWII.

The second part describes nuclear proliferation among nations and asserts that this tragedy was based on the wrong ideology that weapons and the arms race cause war, and not people; and militarily these weapons are useless since they are difficult to obtain, and never been used except for once. This sounds like an argument of a defeatist and an apologist, since he continues his argument by saying that chemical, biological and nuclear weapons (called weapons of mass destruction (WMD)) are a hysterical fear-mongering, because the damage of WMD in an actual war is not so far and wide as claimed. The author must tell this to a chemist or a biologist or even a physician; they will tell him the disastrous effect of radiation on the environment and on all living species. It is catastrophic even to think of such consequences.

The last part is the most interesting part since it discusses how terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and other rogue Islamic nations are trying to acquire these weapons, and how successful they are in producing them. The author provides a wide ranging reports that involves interactions between Pakistani nuclear physicists and Al Qaeda with the blessings of Pakistani military. It is the fear of United States retaliating against Pakistan that has prevented them to assist Al Qaeda and possibly Taliban. The author's analysis is jokingly simplistic and makes a mockery of seriousness of the issue. He claims that Al Qaeda can never be able to produce or acquire nuclear weapons; I hope the author's dream come true.

1. The Remnants of War (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs)
2. The Al Qaeda Connection: International Terrorism, Organized Crime, and the Coming Apocalypse
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 31, 2010 8:44 PM GMT

Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman
Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman
by Lisa Scottoline
Edition: Hardcover

2.0 out of 5 stars Lisa Scottoline on her life, 5 Jan 2010
This is a collection of over 70 vignettes from the author's column on the Philadelphia Inquirer. She tells her stories with a touch of humor from a woman's perspective. I found some parts of her book funny and worth listening to, but it gets a little boring as you scan through the tracks of her audio book. She connects with many women who are divorced and trying their best to recover from failed marriage, caring their kids and struggling with a job that is not enough to pay the bills. It gets worse as the author tries to put humor into her problems with her mother or being unhappy with her gaining weight or not finding the right man. Examples of her essays include; Being caught braless in the emergency room; Betty and Veronica's Life Lessons for Girls; A man's most important body part; Interrupting as an art form; A religion men and women can worship; Real estate ads as porn; Date a cougar dot com website; May - December romance, loving your dog (or a cat), spandex, garter belts, panty liners, and women's shoes.

I could not understand why the author chose this title for her book, but certainly male readers become very curious. If you listen to the author about date a cougar dot com website, she recalls her being asked for a date by a 20 year old kid who was young enough to be her son; she turns him down, but after few years she says that she regretted turning him down, and speaks in defense of May - December relationship in a woman's favor. The author blames the society since women didn't enjoy this privilege the same way as men. I am not sure that is a correct assessment, because women always wanted to be younger than a man when they went out on a date. They liked a man to be a little older for marriage, and thought that they made better fathers for their children (than a much younger man.) It makes me wonder if the author still likes her dog for a husband or a man. In another section on dogs, the author claims kissing on her dogs lips is OK; is this hygienic, since her dog also cleans himself with his tongue.

1. Lady Killer
2. Look Again
3. Daddy's Girl

It Happened on 5th Avenue [DVD] [2008] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
It Happened on 5th Avenue [DVD] [2008] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Don DeFore
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £3.69

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great Christmas classic, 23 Dec 2009
Every year during the Christmas season, I enjoy watching some of the best from my Christmas movie collection. It feels great to watch, again and again, such classics as; It's a Wonderful Life, Scrooge (starring Seymour Hicks), Miracle on 34th Street (starring Maureen O'Hara), White Christmas, Bishop's Wife, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, Home Alone2, Christmas Wife (starring Jason Robards) and even movies set in Christmas times, such as; Apartment, Holiday (starring Cary Grant & Katharine Hepburn), Little Women (starring Katharine Hepburn), Christmas in Connecticut, Meet me in St Louis, Desk Set and Night & Day. This movie, `It Happened on 5th Avenue' is set in winter in New York, partly around the Christmas season. This is reminiscent of Frank Capra-style dynamics; in some way similar to the all-time classic, "It's a wonderful life."

The story is set in New York during the housing crunch just after the WWII. Folks, including many war veterans, find any way they can to have an affordable accommodation, especially during the winter. A drifter named Aloysious T. McKeever, a.k.a. Mac (Victor Moore) solves his housing problem by staying in a luxury home belonging to a wealthy investor named, Michael O'Connor (Charles Ruggles), when O'Connor stays in Virginia during winter, and his ex-wife Mary O'Connor (Ann Harding) resides in Florida. The devious scheme of Mac work so well that he invites new homeless folks like war veteran Jim Bullock (Don DeFore), and his war-buddies, Hank and Whitey and their families. When O'Connor's daughter, Trudy O'Connor (Gale Storm) enters her father's house, the "free-loaders" think that she is a run-away. She plays along with them as another homeless girl, and soon starts to enjoy the company of the new residents, and eventually falls in love with Jim Bullock. When O'Connor arrives in New York and finds Trudy leaving for her new job at a music shop, he insists that she must go back to school. Trudy expresses her love for Jim Bullock to her father. O'Connor agrees to meet Jim, and reluctantly agrees to pose as a drifter, and becomes a "house guest," doing menial chores which he is not accustomed to. Finally O'Connor gets frustrated and tries to call the police, in the meantime Trudy sends for her mother. Mary O'Connor joins the household as another "hobo" and then rekindles her love for her ex-husband. On Christmas Eve, Mac encourages them to get married unaware of their true relationship. Eventually all turns well after Mary makes Michael O'Connor realize that money is not everything. He accepts Jim as his son-in-law, and helps him and his war buddies, Whitey and Hank to buy Camp Kilson and renovate the vacant army barracks into housing projects.

In the final analysis, in the spirit of Charles Dickens, the "Christmas-spirit of the Past" of O'Connor doesn't have much in his future. The "Christmas-spirit of the Future" scares him when he sees the "light" through the eyes of his wife and realize that he was immersed himself in his financial world and completely forgot how beautiful Mary is and what he missed all these years, the true happiness of married life.

I was hoping to see a little more Yuletide spirit; Christmas wreaths decorating the walls of churches, homes, shops, buildings and streets. Christmas trees, singing Christmas carols in the background, women and children shopping for the holidays in New York, and the whole atmosphere of celebration as we see in the movie "Home Alone." Unfortunately this is absent; director Roy Del Ruth missed a great opportunity to make this a true classic, but he is able to show the tender side of human nature using writers who have put their minds and hearts. Ann Harding and Victor Moore have offered brilliant performances.

1. It's A Wonderful Life (Colourised) [DVD] [1946]
2. Scrooge (1935) [DVD] (Digitally remastered in colour)
3. Home Alone [DVD] [1990]

Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (1932 And 1941) [DVD] [1931]
Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (1932 And 1941) [DVD] [1931]
Dvd ~ Fredric March
Price: £5.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A true horror film, 15 Dec 2009
This film, with a wealth of talent is directed brilliantly by Victor Fleming. A fine performance by Spenser Tracy in the lead role (as Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), makes this a worthwhile movie to watch in spite of the fact another version was made in 1932, with the lead player Fredric March was honored with an academy award in the best actor category. This movie is based on Robert Louis Stevenson's novella "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", first adapted as a play in the 1900s and filmed as a silent in 1920.

This story is about a physician named Henry Jekyll who incurs the ire of his older colleagues because of his experiments and views on separating the good and evil aspects of man's nature. Harry decides to take the serum, which he had invented himself and is briefly transformed into an evil alter ego named Mr. Hyde. When his fiancée Beatrix Emery (Lana Turner), the daughter of Sir Charles Emery (Donald Crisp) is out of town, Harry turns into Hyde using his serum and goes to a music hall where he meets a barmaid named Ivy Peterson (Ingrid Bergman); an attractive and sensual young woman whom he had rescued from an attacker few weeks ago. Later, Hyde manages to enslave her in a rented apartment. At the end of the movie everything goes wrong for Hyde as he kills Charles Emery and destroys property; the police will eventually catch him.

Lana Turner is charming, but Spenser Tracy and Ingrid Bergman have offered a fine performance in this horror movie appropriate for Halloween time viewing.

1. Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde [1981] [DVD]
2. Doctor Jekyll And Mr Hyde [1920] [DVD] [1921]

Ganesagita;: A study, translation with notes, and a condensed rendering of the commentary of Nilakantha (Disputationes Rheno-Trajectinae)
Ganesagita;: A study, translation with notes, and a condensed rendering of the commentary of Nilakantha (Disputationes Rheno-Trajectinae)
by Kiyoshi Yoroi
Edition: Unknown Binding

5.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy of Ganesha Gita, 10 Dec 2009
The Ganesha Gita consists of 414 stanzas in eleven chapters forming the Chapters 138-148 of the Uttara¬khanda of Ganesha Purana. Careful examina¬tion of these verses indicates that 90 % of it is from the Bhagavadgita. The author of this book makes an exhaustive comparative analysis to find the similarities between the two gitas. He also determines the possible date of Ganesha Gita as between 6 and 9 century AD. The book is described in two sections, the first section compares and contrasts the two gitas, and the second translates and summarizes the philosophical commentary of Nilakantha.

The story behind Ganesha Gita is that this song of God was revealed to the royal bard (suta-) at his request by the great sage Vyasa. This song reveals the yoga that has been given to Varenya, the enquiring prince, by the Lord Ganesha. It follows that having listened to these teachings proclaimed by the Elephant-faced One, Varenya abandons his kingdom and family to seek moksha, the release from the cycle of birth & death by means of the yoga taught by the Lord Ganesha. In Ganesha Gita, Ganesha takes the place of Lord Krishna, the teacher of prince Arjuna in the Bhagavadgita. With some changes (explanatory additions and omissions), the poet-author of the Ganesha Gita follows the order of the verses of the Bhagavadgita. Nilakantha, the main commentator on Ganesha Gita, is credited for establishing its philosophy, and he was a believer of Advaita Vedanta.

The philosophy expounded in the Ganesha Gita is essentially the same as that of Bhagavadgita. The only distinguishing feature of Ganesha Gita is that Ganesha is regarded as the Supreme Brahman and the all-pervading World Soul. Brahman, according to Nilakantha is the sole existence. It is also the pri¬mary ground or cause of all beings. It constitutes not only the individual soul of all beings, but also appears in the form of the phenomenal world. But as Brahman is immovable and unchangeable, it is also Nilakantha's opinion that the appearance of the phenomenal world is made possible by the illusory power called Maya. The illusory power mediates the physical reality of the world. Brahman, in his view has two aspects or gradations; 'conditioned' or 'with qualities', and 'absolute' or 'without qualities'. It is the 'absolute' Brahman which is identical with one whole reality, consciousness and bliss; while God is the 'conditioned' and lower aspect of Brahman, which is experienced as the World-Soul. God is from the practical point of view, merely an aid to finding the 'absolute' Brahman. But, from the stand-point of the Absolute, there exists only the 'absolute' homogeneous Brahman of the one nature of the highest bliss that is 'without qualities'. It is then according to Nilakantha, the final object of human pursuit must be to identify with this 'absolute' undifferentiated Brahman. Apart from the supreme Brahman, the phenomenal world which is characterized by dualism is unreal. It is neither a transformation nor an evolution of Brahman. It is wrongly imposed on the highest Brahman, and this super¬imposition to which also God as well as the individual souls belongs is caused by Maya. Nilakantha observes that world is a product of mind and if mind is restrained and brought to cessation through yoga, then the power of Maya disappears. When the illusion disappears, the yogin finds unity with highest undifferentiated Brahman. A yogin, who has found the highest Brahman, after having removed the illusion by means of the yoga, still has the body, but, according to Nilakantha, he is, as it were, bodiless. Similarly, he still has eyes, but he is, as it were, without eyes; because he sees the sameness (identity) of all (beings).This is the feature of a yogin who has attained Jivanmukti is purified, and then purifies all the worlds. A yogin, after identifying with highest Brahman, becomes a man who has done what he should do but still, as a benefactor, he performs actions for the welfare of all beings to the end of his life; because his release is not limited to himself, but is also for the good of all the worlds.

The author of Ganesha Gita may have advanced the thought of positioning Ganesha as equal to Shiva and Vishnu. It could be that he may have belonged to one of the six sects of Ganpatyas referred to in Shankaravijaya. Jnanesvara at the end of 13 century identified Ganesha as the supreme God in his book jnanesvari.

1. Sriganesa puranam =: The Ganesa purana
2. Gane'sa: Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings
3. Loving Ganesa: Hinduism's Endearing Elephant-Faced God (Rishi Collection)
4. Ganesa in Medieval Nepal
5. Ganesa: A Monograph on the Elephant Faced God

Filmmakers and Financing: Business Plan For Independents
Filmmakers and Financing: Business Plan For Independents
by Louise Levison
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A business plan for an independent movie maker, 10 Dec 2009
This is a very interesting book by an author whose business plan for the independent movie "Blair witch Project" was a huge success. This simply illustrates that the author knows the "tricks" of the trade, and she is good in communicating these ideas through this book. She starts with the basics, and provides step-by-step instructions as how easy (or difficult) it is to study, research, and then come up with a business plan for your project. The key steps are; information about your film company; the type of films you like to make; and the industry you want to be in, e.g., theatrical, cable TV, Pay-per-view, DVD industry, etc. The niche market you are going to target; for example, children's movie, environmental movie, action movie, religious movie, movie targeted to a particular culture such as Spanish movie, etc. Then you need to focus on the distribution of the movie to domestic and international markets. After the final analysis of the risk factors involved in your venture, you need to come up with a business plan to finance your project. Getting investors interested in your idea is a key step in making your dream come true. Selling your idea to a potential investor is essential for any type of business. In chapter 9, the author discusses this in a great detail stressing the importance of a business plan; a clear vision and avoiding mistakes is the key to secure an investor. The author interviews five successful film makers and fund raisers to relate their experiences when raising money from equity investors. I found this chapter very useful and interesting.

In chapter 11, the author provides a financial plan for two films from a fictional company to illustrate as how you can write your own business plan. The concept she uses is simple; the actual financial data from several independent movies produced around the time you want to make movies, e.g., 2008 and 2009, are considered, and then using the actual financial numbers of these films you can develop a projected income statement and projected cash flow statement for your film. In this example the author uses the income statement and cash flow statement for 14 independent films with varied genres, developed by three different companies between 2005 and 2007. The financial statements are crucial to interest a potential investor: A good return on his investment is the key motivating factor. The figures the author uses for the fictional films are a little sketchy and the forecasted returns on investments are rather high. She needs to provide a little more detail as how she came up with these numbers, and the reader is expected to have some basic knowledge of preparing and reading financial statements. The author's business plan does not have a balance sheet; the investors would be interested to know the liabilities and potential liabilities that this business plan may incur. The lack of this info is sometimes a self-defeating factor of the plan. There are many books about writing business plans and they are available at online bookstores; they all use the same general strategy. I did not compare this book with them; however, I very much enjoyed reading this book.

1. How to Write a Business Plan (Creating Success) (Creating Success): 49 (Creating Success Series)
2. How to Write a Great Business Plan (Harvard Business Review Classics)
3. The Best-Laid Business Plans: How to Write Them, How to Pitch Them (Virgin Business Guides)
4. The Definitive Business Plan: The Fast Track to Intelligent Business Planning for Executives and Entrepreneurs (Financial Times Series)
5. How to Write a Business Plan [With CDROM]

The Mom's Guide to Wills & Estate Planning
The Mom's Guide to Wills & Estate Planning
by Liza, Attorney Hanks
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars A Practical Guide to Estate Planning, 9 Dec 2009
This book is divided into 10 chapters with an appendix. From this book you learn to plan for your children, manage your children's inheritance, and create a will or living trust to make your choices legally binding. Review your retirement plans and life insurance policies to make sure that you are leaving it to the people of your choice, since wills do not supersede the beneficiaries stated in the insurance policies. The author also makes sound advices about critical healthcare and financial decisions for you, by your agent, in case of medical emergencies, through the Power of Attorney.

The discussion on preparing a Will is very informative. It helps you to prepare yourself to write a Will. The format used for a will is clearly illustrated with examples. The Living Trust is another legal document that is very important if you have children. The appendix is a working summary that provides step-by-step instructions to prepare estate planning worksheets. There are many books available in bookstores on writing wills; I did not compare this book with them, but I believe this book is helpful.

1. Private Client: Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning (CLP Legal Practice Guides)
2. Wills, Trusts, and Estates
3. How to Write Your Will: The Complete Guide to Structuring Your Will, Inheritance Tax Planning, Probate and Administering an Estate
4. Write Your Will (We've Made it Easy)
5. The Complete Living Will Kit [With CDROM] (How to Write Your Own Living Will)

Organic, Shaken and Stirred
Organic, Shaken and Stirred
by Paul Abercrombie
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.51

3.0 out of 5 stars Are we in the age of organic cocktail drinks?, 8 Dec 2009
This is a book of recipes for organic cocktail connoisseurs. Organic drinks are news for some consumers but not for green conscious mixologists and cocktail connoisseurs. The trend setting bartenders across the country are creating cutting edge drinks that use organic spirits and mixers. The concept behind this is to use organically grown (pesticide-free and fungicide-free) products to produce alcohol and use mixers such as; herbs, fruits, other alcoholic and non-alcoholic dinks from organically grown stock. The bars that cater to organic crowd are found predominantly in major cities, but consumers interested in organic drinks may buy the alcohol and mixing ingredients online. Some useful tips are provided by the author in this book.

The author discusses organically grown alcohol in the introductory part of the book. Organic vodka is perhaps the well known organic spirit, which is made at various locations across the globe and many vendors market this product. Organically produced gin, rum, tequila, bourbon, whisky and wine are also available from few sources.

The recipes are described in five chapters with the following titles; Fresh and Zesty, Lush and Fruity, Clean and Classic, From the Garden, and Punch and Pitcher. The cocktail discussed in the first chapter (Fresh & Zesty) uses some innovative ingredients such as; organically grown tamarind concentrate and rosemary leaves with Brazilian rum (among other ingredients of this cocktail) in a drink called "Mysterious Stranger." This is a fine and enjoyable drink. Another drink that interested me is "Coming in Hot" that contains Jalapeno pepper (peeled and seeded), lemon juice and tequila (among other ingredients of this cocktail). I would leave out nectar from the recipe. "Spicy Pepino" and "Peppered Angus" are also good cocktail drinks. These drinks are great if followed by a spicy meal.

Cocktails described in chapter two (Lush and Fruity) are predominantly fruit-dominant drinks. "Black Berry Mojito" containing black berries and mint spring (among other ingredients of this cocktail) is a delicious drink. I would use a touch of lime juice instead lime soda recommended in this recipe. "American Beauty" is another fine fruity drink which is somewhat mild that contains cranberry juice and bourbon. "Kentucky Christmas is another classic drink for Christmas time. A touch of orange juice makes this drink even better.

The drinks described in this book are easy to make. Before this book, I did not know we are in the organic cocktail scene, but does it make any difference? If you are not crazy about organic drink, then use the non-organic drinks and you can still enjoy great recipes in this book.

1. The 2007 Report on Organic Dairy Foods and Drinks: World Market Segmentation by City

Parker Lewis Can't Lose: Season One [DVD] [1990] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Parker Lewis Can't Lose: Season One [DVD] [1990] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Corin Nemec
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £26.61

5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the Top 10 TV shows of all time, 7 Dec 2009
This is a TV spin-off of John Hughes movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Both NBC and Fox networks tried to cash in on this successful teenage movie into TV series; NBC failed, and Fox won in their bids to make successful TV versions. Parker Lewis Can't Lose became a huge success during the early days of Fox network and produced 26 episodes in the first season of its three year run. The story revolves around three teenage high school kids (The Buds); Parker Lewis (Corin Nemec), Mikey Randall (Billy Jayne) and Jerry Steiner (Troy Slaten) who handle day-to-day problems/setbacks as a team. Their adversaries are school Principal Ms. Grace Musso (Melanie Chartoff), school special helper Frank Lemmer (Taj Johnson), and Parker Lewis's sister Shelly Lewis (Maia Brewton), and occasionally school bully Larry Kubiac (a.k.a. Kube; Abraham Benrubi). In the episode "Déjà Dudes," the buds crashes in on the HS reunion of principal Musso, and Parker's dad and his buddies compete with Parker and his buds to prove who is cool. In the episode "Radio free Flamingo", the buds use the school pirated radio station to unwittingly turn against one another. Rent a Kube is a hilarious episode in which Larry is hired to prevent shop lifting in his parent's video store and produce unexpected events, when Larry arrests Parker's father for shoplifting. In the "Human Grace" episode, Parker fixes up Musso with Dr. Pankow, a fellow school teacher, and Weird Al Yankovich has a cameo. "Parker Lewis Can't Win," "King Kube," "Citizen Kube" and "Heather the Class" are some of the funniest episodes.

Character study of Grace Musso, Frank Lemmer and Parker Lewis suggest similarities to Major Margaret Houlihan, Frank Burns and Hawkeye of TV show MASH in terms of antagonistic interactions, but there is no romance between Musso and Lemmer. Corin Nemec, in the lead role does a wonderful job as a cool kid, and Melanie Chartoff as the bossy school principal, Abraham Benrubi as the school bully and Maia Brewton as a meddling sister have provided great performances. I was disappointed when this show was nominated in the best series category for Emmy award during the first season. It is unfortunate that series went down hill in the third season as the creative content of the show failed. It turns out that first season is the best of the series and one of the top 10 shows of all time in my books.

1. M.A.S.H. - Complete Series 1-11 - The Martinis and Medicine Collection [DVD]

Eighty Is Not Enough: One Actor's Journey Through American Entertainment
Eighty Is Not Enough: One Actor's Journey Through American Entertainment
by Dick Van Patten
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars The fascinating life of Dick Van Patten, 1 Dec 2009
Dick Van Patten is no stranger to television viewers, especially the fans of "Eight is enough" and "I Remember Mama." The author narrates his life story beautifully, sometimes very engaging and sometimes very poignant when he describes the last few days of his dying mother on her hospital bed. It is also very touching when he narrates the very last few minutes in the life of actress Diana Hyland who died in the arms her boyfriend John Travolta who was almost 20 years younger. Travolta was dressed in his famous three-piece white suit from the movie "Saturday Night Fever," recalls Dick Van Patten. In fact that was Diana Hyland's last wish. We also learn from this book that their love for each other was genuine, sincere and strong. The author observes that John Travolta was devastated by the loss of Diana Hyland.

Dick Van Patten is at ease when describes life of his son whose meteoric rise in the professional tennis circuit or his experiences in Africa when he was on a humanitarian mission. His career is not limited to TV; he was also known for his work in theater and Broadway shows. He worked as a child actor with such icons as; Melvyn Douglas, Tallulah Bankhead, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. He narrates his own experiences working with numerous actors, actresses, producers, directors, and writers in Hollywood. There is one thing that is conspicuous about him is that he is a family man who loved his parents, his wife, children, friends and his country. He discusses such topics as race in America, and the turning point in US history when a black man becomes the president, gender issues, and North-South economic disparities.

The author encounters struggles in life from a very young age as an actor, as a working young man, but he does not complain about lack of opportunities in Hollywood or lack of suitable roles that fit his talents and personality. He portrays his optimistic outlook even in the face of tragedy and misfortunes. When he is speaking his mind, you find him very human, and very touching in his narratives. Dick seems to have a passion, a mission in his life; to find beauty and warmth in life. In fact he is not too different from his role as a mild mannered-dad of his TV show "Eight is enough." He is a fine example for an outstanding soul that helps us to see the light in our lives and find happiness with it.

1. Launching Your Child in Showbiz: A Complete Step-by-step Guide
2. Spaceballs [DVD] [1987] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
3. Big Brother Trouble [DVD] [2000] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
4. The Boy In The Plastic Bubble [1976] [DVD]

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