Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wave of Terror

Wave of Terror Wave of Terror by Theodore Odrach

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"Wave of Terror", by Theodore Odrach, is a wonderfully scripted novel of the Russian occupation of Belarus in 1939. Most people are aware of the plight the Jews had as a result of the Nazis', but many are probably unaware of the plight of the people of Belarus, by the Red Army. People were taken from their homes in the middle of the night, never to be seen nor heard from again. Does that sound familiar? I was completely captivated by the story, and thanks to Erma Odrach, and her ability and willingness to translate her father's writings, we are allowed to learn of another horrible time in history.
The way the story is told is exceptional, as it takes a perspective from one persons point of view, that being Kulik, a Educational Director, in a small village of Belarus, known as Hlaby. We see the whole story through his eyes, and I'm sure that we are seeing it through the eyes of Mr. Odrach. Once you pick up this book and start reading, it will be difficult to put down. There is terror, romance and what might be considered comedy throughout the story.
Thank you so much Theodore and Erma for allowing this story to be told. It is a great read for anyone interested in history. This story even has a surprising ending.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

"From Peanuts to the Pressbox" by Eli Gold

"From Peanuts to the Pressbox," is a true story of Gold's ambition to become a Sports Reporter. Not only does he strive to become a Sports Reporter/Commentator, but he goes beyond by working his way to the top. First his ambitions take him on his journey as a young man, listening to sports broadcasts on the radio, as he attempts to bring about his own style of reporting while listening to the games via radio. Eli Gold tells the story of his rise from an inspired young man who knows what he wants to do with his life to a top-notch commentator. This story is interwoven with stories of Gold's trials to get what he wants through the dedication to his chosen profession. He will do anything involving sports including, quite literally, selling Peanuts at sporting events in Madison Square Garden. Along the way Gold allows the reader into his life and journey, from being an audio engineer, in a small radio station, eventually doing work with the likes of Howard Cosell and he even talks about coming up through the ranks with Bob Costas, just to name two well known Sports reporting/commentating figures. Gold himself made quite a name for himself, but you couldn't tell from the way he has written his story here. He is a very down to earth person. You will find yourself caught up in the world of both radio and television sports right along side Gold. He tells his story, sometimes in all seriousness, but you will also find many sections of the book filled with humorous anecdotes. You may ask what can be learned from a book like Eli Gold's? Gold shows that through a overwhelming desire, long and hard work, and a willingness to give up a lot to reach his goal, you can make it. I may not agree with the way he did this, but I do admire his ambition and steadfast work ethic. Eli Gold knew what he wanted, and through hard work, he attained his goal. Along the way he gained knowledge and acceptance, and in the world of sports, he has proven himself to be one of the top in the field.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Postmistress - A Captivating Story

"The Postmistress", by Sarah Blake, is a wonderfully captivating story which winds it's way into your thoughts. The characters are so vivid and real that you have to step back and make sure you yourself are not right there. Ms. Blake's writing style keeps you on the edge of your seat, by painting a picture through her story. This novel based on World War II prior to the United States entrance brings the war home as well as another story of the people of Franklin, Massachusetts and a War Correspondent, Frankie Bard, who is connected to Franklin, quite by accident, after she meets Will Fitch, a doctor from Franklin as he attempts to help in London, England during the Blitz. Sarah Blake as a bright future as an author, and you can expect to find her on the Best Seller List in the near future. Bravo!!!

I Got a First Look at Barnes & Noble.  Get Your Copy Now

Sunday, September 20, 2009

"Called to Worship" by Vernon M. Whaley

“Called To Worship”, by Vernon M. Whaley, is an essential for any Christian Library. This wonderfully scripted inspirational book is the inspirational book for all inspirational books. Whaley, take Scripture and uses it to explain worship. He breaks down the Bible into easy to understand terms, allowing the reader to understand and gain understanding through God’s Word. God wants us to worship Him through true worship. Whaley uses this knowledge of the Bible to help the reader learn how to effectively and affectively worship.
This book is broken down into three parts: Old Testament Principle of Worship, where we learn from those who lived and loved God with blind faith. We see the errors in our ways through these stories from the Bible, so that we can hopefully not make the same mistakes. We also learn that many in the Bible even seeing the miracles God showed, took Him for granted and fell victim to false worship. God shows that He loves us and wants us to worship Him with all our hearts.
Part II deals with New Testament Principles of Worship, where we see how the Gospels are used to teach us and keep us faithful in our worship. Finally Part III deals with Worship in Heaven, the perfect worship.
As I opened this book and started reading the Forward, I felt a connection and ever holding feeling come over me. I felt this book was going to be somehow different. Called To Worship does just that . It calls us to worship God in its truest form. Only by our use of the Bible can we gain a better understanding of exactly how to worship correctly. His Word is there for us to read and learn from, so let’s make it a point to worship correctly. Whaley uses his experiences along with scripture to captivate the reader and acknowledges that each of us needs to find his or her own personal way to worship fully and wholeheartedly. This book keeps the reader captivated throughout.
I highly recommend this book for inclusion in every library. It’s a wonderful study guide and can and should be used in conjunction with the Bible for any study of worship.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Fearless" by Max Lucado

"Fearless", by Max Lucado, grabs the reader right from the start. He utilizes Scripture along with common sense to guide the reader through everyday fears. This study guide allows the reader to face their fears head on knowing that God is there to protect and remove all fears. As the book cover states, " Imagine Your Life Without Fear." Each chapter and section is written with specific fears or circumstances which are confronted each and every day. "Fearless" allows the reader to look to God and recognize that our fears are nothing to be afraid of.
As I read each section I tried to picture myself in each scenario facing the situation and allowing the Scripture passages to sink in and calm the internal storms of my fears. Lucado, uses his literary expertise to its fullest. Not every one can use Biblical Scripture and the disciples in what could have been some rather interesting and maybe comical circumstances, as they followed and learned from Christ. They learned first hand yet as the book shows, they had their fears as well.
What I learned from the book, is that fear is within everyone, and once you realize it, you can then turn those fears into seas of calmness. How many times have each of us gone into a situation which we felt we could not or were not able to control. Our fears overtake us, and we freeze up or completely break down. "Fearless" is that guide which allows us to face our fears in any situation. It breaks down the fear into easily understandable passages and Lucado uses the Bible to illustrate those fears. Further, this book has taught me that anything and everything is possible once we give ourselves over completely the God. God is our salvation and in Him I will rest. Faith conquers all fear
"Fearless" is a wonderful study guide and I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever felt fear and anyone who is looking for guidance direction in their lives.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Gripping Tale - Under This Unbroken Sky, Shandi Mitchell

Posted 08/30/09: Under This Unbroken Sky, by Shandi Mitchell, is a gripping story about a family from Ukrainia that has migrated to Canada. This family goes through terrible times, first because Teodore goes to prison for stealing his own grain. Maria, Teodore's wife and the mother of his children holds the family together and also keeps Teodore's sister, Anna from collapsing emotionally. I found this story spell binding, but at the same time felt some of the descriptions exceptionally long and graphic. Overall, Shandi is a wonderful documentarian, and she definitely has done her research while compiling and writing this story. She also knows how to keep the reader interested and waiting to see what is going to happen to this family next. A good read for those who enjoy history.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Everyday Greatness" by Stephen Covey

This is a wonderfully compiled book of stories with inspiration and everyday development, which borders on, if not compels us, to think about our paths in life. “Everyday Greatness” is that collection of awe-inspiring stories, some from some famous people, but for the most part, they are the stories of the common person like me. Stephen Covey, has done a wonderful job of bring the best together and putting it out there for everyone to have the opportunity to read.
This is not the type of book that you will want to pick up and read all the way through, without stopping. It is a collection of stories, some heart rendering, but always inspiring. A reflection section and some simple questions the reader should ask themselves follow each section. These reflections give the reader the opportunity to look within himself or herself, to evaluate and correct ways in which he or she thinks and acts.
While reading these wonderfully inspiring stories, I found myself stopping and thinking about the ways I look at things and life. It made me think about how I look at life and the little things that I can do, to help or give a person a boost in their and my everyday life’s hurdles.
I highly recommend this collection to any and everyone. You will not be sorry and possibly, you too can make a difference in someone’s life and most certainly your life as well.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Superdove: How the Pigeon Took Manhattan ... And the World Superdove: How the Pigeon Took Manhattan ... And the World by Courtney Humphries

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I have just finished the unique story about pigeons. This lighthearted study of this bird gives the reader a new way to look at the pigeon and how it has impacted our lives.
Ms Humphries gives us her own personal look as she expresses her study of these birds, while keeping it light, she fills us with knowledge and the unexpected look at the value of these birds. If you are looking for something strangely interesting, this could be the book to pick up and read.

View all my reviews >>

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Motor Vehicle Alignment

In its most basic form, a wheel alignment consists of adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. The purpose of these adjustments is obtain maximum tire life and a vehicle that tracks straight and true when driving along a straight and level road.
Wheel Alignment is often confused with Wheel Balancing. The two really have nothing to do with each other except for the fact that they affect ride and handling. If a wheel is out of balance, it will cause a vibration at highway speeds that can be felt in the steering wheel and/or the seat. If the alignment is out, it can cause excessive tire wear and steering or tracking problems.
If you have ever had your motor vehicle aligned, you've may have heard the terms Camber, Caster and Toe-in.
Camber is the angle of the wheel, measured in degrees, when viewed from the front of the vehicle. If the top of the wheel is leaning out from the center of the car, then the camber is positive ,if it's leaning in, then the camber is negative. If the camber is out of adjustment, it will cause tire wear on one side of the tire's tread. If the camber is too far negative, for instance, then the tire will wear on the inside of the tread.
Camber wear pattern
If the camber is different from side to side it can cause a pulling problem. The vehicle will pull to the side with the more positive camber. On many front-wheel-drive vehicles, camber is not adjustable. If the camber is out on these cars, it indicates that something is worn or bent, possibly from an accident and must be repaired or replaced.
When you turn the steering wheel, the front wheels respond by turning on a pivot attached to the suspension system. Caster is the angle of this steering pivot, measured in degrees, when viewed from the side of the vehicle. If the top of the pivot is leaning toward the rear of the car, then the caster is positive, if it is leaning toward the front, it is negative. If the caster is out of adjustment, it can cause problems in straight-line tracking. If the caster is different from side to side, the vehicle will pull to the side with the less positive caster. If the caster is equal but too negative, the steering will be light and the vehicle will wander and be difficult to keep in a straight line. If the caster is equal but too positive, the steering will be heavy and the steering wheel may kick when you hit a bump. Caster has little affect on tire wear.
The best way to visualize caster is to picture a shopping cart caster. The pivot of this type of caster, while not at an angle, intersects the ground ahead of the wheel contact patch. When the wheel is behind the pivot at the point where it contacts the ground, it is in positive caster. Picture yourself trying to push the cart and keep the wheel ahead of the pivot. The wheel will continually try to turn from straight ahead. That is what happens when a car has the caster set too far negative. Like camber, on many front-wheel-drive vehicles, caster is not adjustable. If the caster is out on these cars, it indicates that something is worn or bent, possibly from an accident, and must be repaired or replaced.
The toe measurement is the difference in the distance between the front of the tires and the back of the tires. It is measured in fractions of an inch in the US and is usually set close to zero, which means that the wheels are parallel with each other. Toe-in means that the fronts of the tires are closer to each other than the rears. Toe-out is just the opposite. An incorrect toe-in will cause rapid tire wear to both tires equally. This type of tire wear is called a saw-tooth wear pattern.
If the sharp edges of the tread sections are pointing to the center of the car, then there is too much toe-in. If they are pointed to the outside of the car then there is too much toe-out. Toe is always adjustable on the front wheels and on some cars, is also adjustable for the rear wheels.
Four-Wheel Alignments
There are two main types of 4-wheel alignments. In each case, the technician will place an instrument on all four wheels. In the first type the rear toe and tracking is checked, but all adjustments are made at the front wheels. This is done on vehicles that do not have adjustments on the rear. The second type is a full 4-wheel alignment where the adjustments are first made to true up the rear alignment, and then the front is adjusted. A full 4-wheel alignment will cost more than the other type because there is more work involved.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

Posted April 9, 2009, 12:39 PM EST: Hello, I am a Barnes and Noble First Look Book Club member and have thoroughly enjoyed The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, by Katherine Howe. As I have not completely finished the novel, with a few more chapters to go, I can say the the book grabbed my attention right from the start and it has not lost any momentum. The Characters, are brought to life and the author has given a great insight into the lives of each character. Lots of twists and turns and well as some discoveries for each character. Even the Milk Street house, Garden and dog(Arlo) have their own unique characterization. This novel is enchanting as well as suspenseful. You can only guess at how it will turn out. I fully recommend this novel to everyone. Lots of history mixed in the fiction. Thank You so much Katherine, you have a real winning novel here.
I Got a First Look at Barnes & Noble.  Get Your Copy Now

Of Bees and Mist

Posted 06/25/09: I have just finished this wonderful novel by a first time author, by the name of Erick Setiawan. His introductory novel "Of Bees and Mists", is an intriguing, magical love story with many twists and turns. I absolutely found myself completely involved with each and every character. The first time you pick up this book, you see the cover and can't help but start to examine it, finding all sorts of interesting items hidden throughout the vines. Once you open and start reading, you will find yourself looking at a family, which appears to be dysfunctional at best. This book has love, magic, love lost, Escapism, and fascination beyond compare. I strongly urge you to pick up this novel. You won't be able to stop reading. Erick Setiawan is sure to go far and I'm sure that his first novel will soon be on the Best Sellers Lists everywhere.

Of Bees and Mist: I Got a First Look at Barnes & Noble. Get Your Copy Now

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tire Maintenance

Tire maintenance is as important as all other parts to your motor vehicle. By properly maintaining your tires, you can prolong the life of the tires and provide for a safer smoother ride.
Let's talk about tire pressure. Manufacturers recommend specific tire pressers for their specific makes and models of vehicles. You will want to check the decal usually located on the inside of the driver's door for the recommended pressures. In some cases they will recommend one pressure for the front and one for the rear, but generally speaking the tire pressure will be the same all the way around.
Proper tire pressure will provide for better gas mileage, and in today's economy with fuel prices on the rise, checking and maintaining tire pressure will help. If tire pressures are too low, excessive wear to the tire and you could be virtually dragging a tire while driving. The more even the tread is on the driving surface, the better it is for the tire and you. When the pressure is too low, you may also be driving on the sidewall of the tire. This is not good, as it could cause the sidewall to rupture, and loss of control of the vehicle.
On the other hand, you don't want to over-inflate the tires either. By doing that, only a portion of the center of the tire tread will be contacting the driving surface. So you see, by maintaining the proper tire pressure, you prolong the life of the tire as well as provide a safety factor for you and the other occupants of your vehicle.
One other thing to look for when inspecting your tires, is wearing to the inside and outside of the tread pattern. If you see this, you should take your vehicle in for service, as you may need an alignment. More on that in my next article.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ways To Help Improve Fuel Economy

At this time of year many people do most of the traveling, so I decided to post a few ways in which you may improve your fuel economy.

Drive Sensibly - Observe the speed limit, and use cruise control whenever possible. Avoid excessive idling. Potential fuel savings: 5 to 33%.

Check and Replace Air Filters
- Replacing air filters every 12,000 miles can improve fuel economy and help protect your engine. Potential fuel savings: up to 10%.

Keep your Engine Tuned
- Changing spark plugs, fixing faulty sensors, and maintaining your engine can improve your gas mileage. Potential fuel saving: up to 4%.

Keep tires properly inflated
- Under inflated tires can cause lower gas mileage. Follow your vehicle manufacturer's recommendations. Potential fuel savings: up to 3%.

Use proper Motor Oil
- The proper grade of motor oil along with changing the oil filter can improve fuel economy. Potential fuel savings: 1 to 2%.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Vehicle Maintenance (Part One) Oil Changes

Oil changes are vitally important for the smooth operation of your motor vehicle. Over time, oil breaks down and does not lubricate the important parts of the engine, which in turn can cause poor power, poor gas mileage, and overall harm to the moving parts of the engine. If not remedied what is left of the oil will evaporate, and not properly lubricate the engine, and you may have harmful byproducts in the engine, that will begin to cause problems in and with the engine, usually in the form of what may sound like sand rubbing on valves or a ticking sound, which is an indication of possible bent rods, damaged heads and other engine parts.
To prevent such events from happening, most manufacturers recommend that engine oil be changed every 3,000 miles. This is usually the life expectancy of oil for a couple of reasons. First of all the viscosity of the oil breaks down due to heat and cold, so when you get the oil changed in your vehicle, make sure that the proper viscosity i.e., 5w30, 10w30, or 5w20 oil, is used. The vehicle manufacturer will have the proper viscosity listed, somewhere in your owners manual.
Secondly, most oil filters are rated for 3,000 miles. If the oil is not changed at the proper intervals, the oil filter may not filter out contaminants. There are bypass valves in many oil filters and once the oil filter gets to dirty, the valve will close and for obvious reasons, the oil contaminants will not be pulled away for the engine parts. With this in mind, make sure that you are replacing the oil filter with every oil change.
Finally, once the oil change has been completed, make sure that the oil change reminder light is reset. That reminder light will come on approximately 2,500 miles into the last oil change as a reminder that it is getting close to time to change the oil. If you are not going to be changing the oil and filter yourself, choose a reliable mechanic/automotive technician, someone you trust, to do the work for you. Once you find that person, they can keep you up to date on what's happening with your vehicle.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Reading for Pleasure and Relaxation

A while back, my wife discovered a great Online Book Club from Barnes and Noble, known as The First Look Book Club. Barnes and Noble seeks out new authors and asks them to allow their group of readers to pre-read their book.
We must sign up for the opportunity to get an Advance Readers Copy of the book, and during the month we read the book and discuss it with each other. Finally, we each have the opportunity to write our own review of the book. Oh by the way, did I mention that we also get the opportunity to meet with the author and publisher during our discussion period?
Both my wife and I have now been involved with the First Look Book Club since 2007 and we have read a number of great books. We are about to start what appears to be another great read, entitled "Of Bees and Mist" by Erick Setiawan
Check out Barnes and Noble Book Clubs. at and you too can join in on future books.

Car Maintenance Basics

Many of us forget about our motor vehicles when it comes to basic maintenance. Like our bodies, our cars and trucks need periodic maintenance to keep them running efficiently.
As the economy is struggling, many people are opting to keep their current vehicle rather than purchasing new or previously owned vehicles. Here are some basics to remember that your motor vehicle needs in order to keep running:

1. Oil changes every 3 thousand miles or every 3 months, which ever comes first.

2. Proper inflation of tires. Over inflation or under inflation will cause the tires to wear unevenly, causing poor fuel economy, and the possibility of a blow out.

3. Regular tune ups, which include spark plugs, wires, air filter and cabin air filter replacement.

I will be covering the above items in the next few weeks, in depth so that you can keep that precious vehicle running smoothly. As time goes on, I will be adding to the maintenance list.