Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Mindful and Commuter Puzzles

Do you find yourself puzzled, perplexed, confused, confounded and scatter-brained?

Welcome to humanity!

All of us get caught up in everyday problems and frustrations.  Few of us can just stop everything we’re doing, hop on a plane or boat and escape our problems-anything for a distraction from life’s doldrums.

I’ve discovered the best way to relax my brain and focus is to challenge my intellect.  I’m not talking about dealing with home or work problems.  It needs to be something relaxing and fun.

Carlton Books has the perfect solution with two new puzzle books: Mindful Puzzles and Commuter Puzzles.

What better way to clear your mind and prepare for work than to stimulate your mind, cognitive abilities and critical thinking skills?

In Commuter Puzzles, fun puzzles (crosswords, etc.) provide effective stress relief for the journey to work.  

Try it, you’ll like it.

For stimulating and visual puzzles to help you de-stress pick up a copy of Mindful Puzzles

Mix and match, dot-to-dot and others help you regain your stamina and vitality by harkening back to the puzzles you loved as a kid.

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, #741, January/February

Monday, December 24, 2018

Wrinkles, Brain Boosters, The Cold War and Flight

It’s hard to believe but in just a little over a month from now I’ll be 66 years old.  Where did the time go? 

Mentally I still feel like a young man.  My body says otherwise.  Ouch!

Carlton Books feels my pain and has released two new books addressing getting older.

In Wrinkles Wiser & Wittier (really?), writers Allison Vale and Alison Rattle offer readers (where are my glasses?) a whimsical collection of quotations from entertainingly experienced individuals.

I’ll translate: it’s a bunch of Smart Alex remarks from old folks such as myself!

We old folks may be loosing our brain cells and our bodies are falling apart but at least we have our humor.  I should hope so-we don’t have much else left.  And even if we did, we’re too tired to take advantage of it.

Equally hilarious is Wrinkles Growing Old Disgracefully (I hardily agree!) by Mike Haskins and Clive Whichelow, which proves that growing older doesn’t necessarily mean growing up.

As my old boss used to say, “I may be getting older, but at least I’m immature!”  Amen brother!

Just because someone is getting older doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy life and have fun.

I’m getting older.  I’m not dead-yet!

Older people are enjoying more activities today than ever before.  Dancing, extreme sports and other activities deemed suitable for the ‘younger generation’ are no longer off-limits to the aging.

Of course, as the book suggests, not everyone is ready for party hardy, go to the beach, cause a ruckus and fashion failure old folks.  Trust me, I’ve seen the look young people give me when I ‘don’t act my age.’

One of the secrets to staying young is to challenge your brain. Try new things, follow your dreams and train your brain to solve problems.

A good way to do that is with Brain Boosters Beginner Puzzles that is for training busy brains.

The book contains over 200 puzzles of all sorts that start off easy and get more difficult. 

Sudoku, riddles, Latin Squares and code-braking are just of the few fun activities that challenge your gray matter and help boost your memory, cognitive skills and problem solving capabilities.

For most of my life I lived under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust.

The Eastern and Western Blocks were on a face-off scenario that pitted East against West in a dangerous game of nuclear Russian Roulette where nobody would win.

Fortunately in 1989 all of that stopped, but the horrible memories still remain.

In Norman Friedman’s The Cold War Threat, Paranoia And Oppression readers discover how it all started and ended.

Journey from the Iron Curtain to the collapse of Communism in a fascinating and often disturbing visual and written journey when Armageddon was a real possibility.

Learn about the Cold War from all sides.

Archival photos, charts, propaganda and other documents combined with engrossing text to make a powerful statement about the threat of nuclear war.

From the creation of the Iron Curtain, the Berlin Airlift, and the Korean War, nuclear proliferation, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Berlin Wall and on to the falling of the Wall, discover the politics, espionage and near disasters that brought near catastrophe and thankfully an end to the hostilities-for now.

I’ve always been interested in aircraft.

In Flight The Evolution Of Aviation, by Stephen Woolford and Carl Warner, the swift evolution of balloons and gliders to heavier than air aircraft starting with the Wright bothers, to WWI, WWII, commercail flight, to the Jet Age and onward are presented as the book follows the progress of man in flight.

Photos, illustrations, documents and comprehensive text all combine to make this an absorbing read.

Learn all about the pioneers of flight, key and historical events, the development of war aircraft, breaking the sound barrier, airships and much more in this remarkable account of man’s successful attempt to fly.

Hitler, Laurel & Hardy and WWII

Without a doubt Adolf Hitler ranks as one of the most evil men in history.  

His German Nazi Party terrorized Europe pre and during World War II, the S.S. performed unspeakable acts of cruelty and horror and his plan to eliminate the Jewish people and anyone else who he deemed as a threat demonstrated just how perverted and evil he was.

Mill Creek Entertainment examines the mad dictator in the Secret Stories Of Hitler DVD/Digital Combo containing three documentaries along with filmmaker discussions, a propaganda featurette and interviews.

In Swastika filmmakers look at Hitler’s personal life via home movies by his lover Eva Braun.  In it viewers see Hitler at play, on picnics and taking part in other day-to-day activities.  It’s difficult to believe such an evil man joked with friends and went to social events.

Hitler: The Untold Story is a 6-part documentary tracing Hitler from his youth up until his death.

Viewers learn about his early days, the events that molded his life and the propaganda that painted quite a different picture of the ruthless dictator’s life.

U-Boats: Hitler’s Sharks examines Hitler’s mad plan to rule the seas using submarines.  His plan was to stymie any attempt by the Allies to provide supplies to the British Isles and Europe.

On a lighter note: the Laughable, Lovable Legends The Laurel & Hardy Comedy Collection DVD/Digital Combo spotlights the famous comedy duo who so influenced comedy actors that followed them, even to this day.

Their comedic genius shines through in a series of shorts, features and solo films.

Although most of their films were filmed close to a century ago, Laurel & Hardy are just as hilarious, outrageous and funny today.

WWII Behind The Front lines Of The War That Shook The World brings viewers right into the battle field with first-hand accounts, filmstrips and films taken from the front lines.

Authentic footage follow the foot soldiers, pilots and sailors that fought the good fight regardless of their personal safety and loss of life.

Learn all about The Finest Hours Of WWII, Combat Aircrafts and the Waves Of Freedom.  Never forget!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Red Vs Blue The Shisno Paradox

HALO fans are sure to get all exciting about the release of the entire 16th Season of the Red Vs. Blue: The Shisno Paradox in a brand new Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack courtesy of Rooster Teeth and Cinedigm.

Who would ever imagine that a simple trip to get a pizza would wind up as a time travel tale and a battle royale between the Gods and Titans?  They should have stuck to their valley battle.

Things go from ludicrous to ridiculous in some of the most bizarre adventures and encounters ever imagined.  It’s no wonder the series is such a hit with fans.

So suit up, power up your weapons and get ready for some of the most exciting, full of surprises and downright fun imaginable in the latest adventures between the reds and Blues.

What really happened to Donut?

Remind me to have my pizza delivered!
Also included are several featurettes about making the fan epic, bloopers, a commentary and more.

Superman and Super-Villains

Capstone/Stone Arch Books proves itself to be a ‘super’ publishing company as evident by its DC Comics’ Superman and Super-Villains books drawn and written especially for kids.

Superman has his hands full as he takes on some of the most nefarious alien super-villains imaginable in eight new ‘A Solar System Adventure’ series of exciting books

The dynamic duo creative team of writer Steve Korte and artist Gregg Schigiel has created some high action, in your face, colorful and downright fun to read Superman adventures complete with glossaries and special sections spotlighting different planets in our solar system.

In Trials Of Jupiter Superman tackles the ultimate DC bad guy when Darkseid and his nasty minions decide to take over the solar system.  No so fast stoneface! Superman has other plans.

General Zod and his rogue Kryptonians have taken over Saturn and its up to Superman to send them back to their Phantom Zone prison.  It’s a Showdown At Saturn.

That madman of mischief: Mr. Mxyzptlk unleashes his Fifth Dimension magic on Mars resulting in total chaos.  Can Superman manage to get him to say his name backwards and end the Mischief On Mars?

Brainiac has sent his robots to attack Earth.  The super-computer maniac has his brain set on conquering Earth.  Superman must match his wits against the mechanical genius and stop his Invasion Of Earth.

Can Superman hope to defeat the creature that killed him in the past: Doomsday?  Fists fly and fury is unleashed as the two battle it out for the fate of Neptune in Nightmare On Neptune.

Leave it to Bizarro to try to turn Pluto into his idea of paradise in Utopia On Uranus. It’s Superman against his villainous clone in a cosmic slugfest like no other.

Lobo The Main Man hightails it to the Earth’s fiery cousin in Menace On Mercury.  The space-going bounty hunter has his sights on Superman and Mercury is their battleground.

Mongul and Draaga are out to  capture Superman. Landing their spacecraft on Venus the Villains On Venus get more than they bargained for.

All eight Superman books feature stellar art reminiscent of the Superman animated series and solar system facts incorporated into the text pertains to particular planets.

Kids have fun reading and learning at the same time!

Three new DC Super-Villains books encourage kids to read, ask questions and stat discussions.  It's fun to learn!

Joker On The High Seas pits the Criminal Clown Prince Of Crime against the Dynamic Duo: Batman and Robin inva high seas face-off that winds up with the Joker’s hijacking being all wet.

Lex Luthor And The Kryptonite Caverns finds the brilliant criminal mastermind up against the Man Of Steel.

Unfortunately for Lex his cache of hidden Kryptonite has had an advense affect on some dessert creatures.  It’s up to Superman to save the day much to Lex’s dismay.

Green Lantern’s arch nemesis Sinestro plans to control the universe using his Yellow Lantern Corps and fear in Sinestro And The Ring Of Fear.  

Traveling planet to planet Sinestro’s plan works until Hal Jordan and the other Green Lanterns step in.  It’s a face-off between fear and no fear in an interstellar fight of wills.

Laurie S. Sutton, J.E. Bright, Luciano Vecchio, Shawn McManus and Lee Loughridge are the writers and artists on the various books.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Batman Tales Of The Batcave and DC Comics Super-Villains

Writer Michael Dahl and artist Luciano Vecchio have turned out a wonderful new series of illustrated kids books based on the heroes and villains of DC Comics.
Written so kids can easily follow along and comprehend the stories are packed full of action, valuable lessons and humor.  Capstone/Stone Arch Books has every reason to be proud of these delightful and fun new books that use exciting adventure stories to encourage kids to read and write.

Luciano Vecchio’s art reminds me of the classic Warner Bros. animated DC Comics kids’ shows such as Batman, Superman, Justice League, etc. 

His style captures the look and feel of longtime DC Comics animation artist Bruce Timm.  The characters are very streamline, the layouts clean and uncluttered and the coloring is bright and solid and complement the inks.

Michael Dahl successfully emulates writer/producer Paul Dini’s writing style and yet adds a unique touch all of his own.

Currently eight Batman Tales Of The Batcave are available with more to come.  They include:

The Clown Prince Of Cards starring the diabolical clown of crime the Joker recounts how the giant Joker Card that resides in the Batcave came to be.

All of the Batman Tales Of The Batcave books explore the various artifacts that decorate the many rooms of the Batcave.

In The Crushing Coin readers discover the reason the giant Lincoln Penny stands as one of the predominate display pieces in the Batcave representing a near death encounter with Two-Face.

Just where did the Giant Dinosaur statue come from? Could the Riddler have anything to do with it?  Find out in Dino Death-Trap.

The Jaguar’s Jewel can only be attributed to the ultimate cat burglar Catwoman. 

Harley Quinn provides the giant top hat in Harley Quinn’s Hat trick.  It a topper!

The Villainous Venus Flytrap almost makes a meal out of Batman and Robin, courtesy of Poison Ivy.

Mr. Freeze chills out with The Frozen Zone Freeze Ray as he tries to put Batman and Robin on ice-permanently!

Is that rain outside? Whatever they do Batman and Robin certainly don’t want to use The Penguin’s Power Parasol.  That pesky fowl fiend is out to rob some very special items and only the Dynamic Duo can stop him
What fun stories! I felt as if I were watching some classic Batman animated cartoons in print.

Each book includes a glossary, questions for discussion and a Q & A section encouraging kids to write about each adventure.  What a great way to stimulate and motivate kids to read, write and use their cognitive skills.  Teachers take note!

In Black Manta And The Octopus Army, written by Jane Mason and illustrated by Luciano Vecchio, Aquaman takes on his arch nemesis Black Manta in a thrilling tale of conquest, crime and chaos.  Part of the DC Comics Super-Villain line of books it also includes a glossary discussion questions and writing prompts.

This book is sure to be a big hit with kids as the new Aquaman movie is now hitting movie theaters.

Also part of the DC Comics Super-Villains book lineup is Captain Cold And The Blizzard Battle that pits the frozen felon against the Scarlett Speedster-the Flash, written by Scott Sooneborn with illustrations by Shawn McManus and Lee Loughridge.

Teaming up with other Flash Rogue’s, Captain Cold devises a super-flu to thwart the Flash.  Can the Flash stop him before he contracts the deadly flu?

All of the books reviewed offer a great to encourage kids to read, write and use their critical thinking skills. 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

A Beautiful Planet and Journey To The South Pacific

Nature lovers rejoice!  
In today’s busy, day-to-day survival and turbulent world we tend to ignore the beauty of nature all about us.

Whether you believe in evolution or the creativity of God, the world and its wonders deserve to be appreciated.

Look around, breath in the air, feel the breeze on your skin, marvel at the lush flora all about and delight at the hilarious hi-jinx of animals, the roar of the ocean, the awe-inspiring majesty of mountains, fertile valleys, desolate deserts, frozen tundra and the earth-shattering power of the Earth itself.

Mill Creek Entertainment appreciates what natural wonders abound and has released two 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray/Digital and IMAX Enhanced collections that give nature and our marvelous planet their due.

Jennifer Lawrence narrates A Beautiful Planet that explores our globe from space via cooperation with NASA.  Viewers get to see the Earth from a unique perspective.

You can’t help but come away awed and aware of the fact that the Earth is a living, breathing organism with multiple systems all working together to perpetuate our special home.

Cate Blanchett narrates the tale of Jawi, a young boy who lives in West Papua.

Travel along as he explores his lush tropical home and encounters exotic animals, plants and locations both above and beneath the ocean waves.

It’s a breath-taking journey few people get to take. Journey To The South Pacific is a visual delight and wonderful tale of hope and celebration.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Ronin and Mile Morales

I don't normally do this but I'd like to make a couple of comic book purchase recommendations.

I'm stay away from reviewing each title.  Instead I'm giving you the reasons to find and purchase each.

In the upcoming Avengers movie there is a quick shot of Hawkeye in his Ronin outfit.  The first comic book appearance of Hawkeye as Ronin appeared in The New Avengers #27.

Get one now before the price skyrockets.

Another title sure to hike up in price is Ultimate Fallout #4 which features the first appearance of Mile Morales-the second Spider-Man.  He's starring in the new Spider-Man Into The Spider-Verse movie from Sony.

Get it while the getting is good.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Oddbods Buddies: Newt and Fuse

Target Stores proudly announces its exclusive Oddbods Buddies plush toys from the Netflix/One Animation kids show.
They’re big, soft, cuddly, squishable and make the perfect fuzzy friends for kids everywhere!

Watch youngsters cuddle up with their new OddbodsBuddies.  They even make noises-just like n the TV show!

Give them a squeeze, rattle, hug or drop them or get them close to other Oddbods Buddies and they make the craziest, grumpiest and strangest noises imaginable-and they’re the only ones who understand what they are saying!

He’s red, he’s grumpy and tough and he has the bandage on his face to prove it!  He’s Fuse.

With his frown, big black eyebrows and grumpy eyes and mouth Fuse likes to show off his five white and red strip horns!

Only his face and arms are flesh color.  His big flat feet keep him stationary and he can even stand on his own. 
Just flip on his hidden switch (batteries are included) and before you know it his big, gruff voice sounds off.  But be careful! Don’t get him too close o other Oddbods Buddies-there’s no telling what he’ll say!

Check out the two big red buttons on his back decorated with equal signs, his special tattoo  and three sets of reds heavy strings so he can be picked up or even hung up for safe keeping.

Like the other three Oddbods Buddies in the set Fuse is securely attached to a heavy-duty box that cradles his big, 24 inch, fluffy body.

Happy Go Lucky Newt comes with a big smile on his face, big eyes and a cute twisty top pink fuzz ball on the top of his pink and white stripped antenna.

Look for two purple buttons with equal signs, three sets of cords for picking up or hanging up and a fuzzy pink body perfect for hugging, rough-housing and cuddling.

Both figures are made of tough and durable material, are perfect for kids to play with and make great fuzzy friends.

Like their namesakes, the Oddbods Buddies toys are full of mischief, get into all sorts of trouble and love to explore.