The Four Feathers is pretty amazing. You should read it.  It is the story of Harry Feversham, who leaves  the army right before his regiment gets shipped to war.  Consequently, people in his regiment send him feathers, which is the symbol of cowardice.  Harry doesn’t really like that, so he goes to the Soudan anyway to prove his friends wrong. That’s the story in a nutshell.

These camels always take naps at the most inopportune times!

My favorite thing about this novel is the exploration of fear as a theme.  Harry is afraid to go to war; but he shows repeatedly that once he is in a dangerous situation, he isn’t afraid. He is, in essence, afraid of being afraid; which is not quite the same thing.

This is a great war novel as well, but oddly enough, there aren’t a lot of war scenes. It is mostly intrigue and mystery about where Harry is, what he is doing, and how different characters change their perception of him. A.E.W. Mason was a great writer, and his 1902 novel The Four Feathers still stands up as a great adventure tale. The movie with Heath Ledger is pretty good, too. Check it out!

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Touted as “one of the greatest monster movies ever made” by New York Magazine, The Host turned out to be pretty good. I was quite surprised. Usually when I find a monster movie on Netflix that isn’t a spoof, it turns out to be horrible. But oddly enough, The Host was worth watching if you don’t mind reading your movie and like monster movies.

The Calamari is mad we keep eating its children!

Basically a gigantic fish-monster is created by the government and terrorizes everyone, capturing a little girl. The girl’s family decides to hunt down the creature and get her back. Matters are made more complicated by the government, which is trying to quarantine everyone because of a new virus, which they say is hosted by the monster.

I would describe this movie as a gritty Godzilla that is a bit easier to believe. The effects are pretty decent, and except for the head doctor, most of the characters are pretty believable, too.  The most unbelievable thing in this movie is the way the government behaves; which becomes a big theme in this film.

At the end, we are left wondering just who the monster is. Is the monster the government, who created the creature, or the creature itself? The film strongly pushes for the former. All in all, however, if you like creature features, check this movie out!

How do you do a book review on the Iliad? It’s a classic, so whether or not you like it, it still remains an integral part of the literary canon (and rightly so).  Suffice to say, I wish to speak on the Robert Fagles translation of the Iliad (Penguin 1998 ed.), with very little commentary on how good or bad his translation is. I have no idea how close or far his translation is from the orignal language, nor am I sure it even matters.  All I know is that I could understand it and it seemed quite poetic, and that’s good enough for me.

I always feel slightly disappointed when I read the Iliad.  I always feel like I did a lot of reading for a minimal amount of story. I mean, we have the Trojan War going, but no real progress in the war is made by the end of the Iliad. Hector is dead, and Patroclus, but that’s about it. No other casualties that the general reader really cares about.

I think my biggest annoyance with the Iliad, however, is the death of Hector.  He is running around the walls of Troy (away from Achilles), and not one Trojan can pick up a bow and shoot at Achilles?! And no other Trojan will go out and help Hector? Hector just routed the entire Achean army! You would think they could at least make Achilles work for the kill. Maybe I read it wrong, but it always seems that Achilles and Hector are fighting it out alone in front of the gates of Troy.

The Iliad is a classic; so just be aware that if you read this, you’re reading the Iliad. It is good for what it is; but it didn’t get any better (or worse). If you’re in the mood for some poetic killing, check it out! Rage – sing the temper tantrum of Achilles!

The new (hi-fi) record by KJ-52 entitled Dangerous is a solid effort, and well worth a listen.

If you are familiar with any previous work from KJ-52, this CD is different; but not in a bad way. His tunes here are all more “groovy,” and generally would be well suited for any dance club. 7 of the 12 tracks (“It’s Goin’ Down,” “They Like Me,” “Shake ‘Em Up,” “Brand New Day,” “Superhero,” “Speed That Light,” and “Go,”) will make you want to jump around and show off your best moves.

The album also includes a song called “Facemelt,” which is a harder rock/rap combo tune (again with a dance bent) where we get strong electric guitars and rock worthy riffs.  KJ proves he can slow down the tempo and craft nicely melodic tunes, as well, as evidenced by “So Far Apart” and the title track, “Dangerous.”  He also tops himself in silliness with the odd “Do the Bill Cosby.”

Lyrically, this is a great record overall (with exceptions being “Bill Cosby” and “It’s Goin’ Down,” which are basically fun dance tunes anyway.

KJ’s line in “Brand New Day” seems to hold true for this record as well; “I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not where I used to be.” A solid effort with a lot of good tunes.  If you like dance/rap, or like any of KJ-52’s previous records, get it!