Book Review: But Not for Me (2017)

A 1930s Kansas City ‘star’ detective novel by Jack Kline
Reviewed by Brian R. Wright

A sign of the times… or a rallying cry to break us free from the times? That is the question. What first-time-novel author Jack Kline has accomplished with But Not for Me is on par with any of the greats of the private eye genre—Dashiell Hammett, John D. MacDonald, Tony Hillerman, Mickey Spillane, Stephen J. Cannell (TV: The Rockford Files),  and, of course, Elmore Leonard. Well, okay, these are my favorites, anyway… in an admittedly rather large universe of outstanding detective-story writers that I know very little about. Thus the question, for me, is will Kline’s uniquely splendid, soulful voice break thru the conforming conventional literary fare we’ve become used to these days and start yet another fertile and fun whodunit universe for ordinary yet uncommon blokes like yours truly?

I vote yes. With all the proper praise to Mr. Kline’s mentors and writers’ groups—or from wherever or whoever he was led to initiate the novel vocation—Kline and his first book are a wholly unexpected diamond of pure originality. He’s that good. that different, with that towering a potential. There is a very special quality in play with the But Not for Me creation that transcends its technical superlatives.

What is it that makes a novel good? Most readers and writers will answer with some combination of (appealing or well-executed) plot, character, dialog, evocation of setting, the writing itself (its sharpness, emotional depth, original phrasings, fitness to subject matter), and something I’ll just refer to as ‘sociological richness.’ BNFM has all these in spades. Plus, as a bonus, it’s completely politically incorrect, a throwback, really, to the old school, “man’s world” of hard-drinking, hard-smoking, hard-and-soft relations toward the fairer sex. Continue reading

Movie Review: Bobby (2006)

Bobby (2006)_______8/10
A touching (Robert) Altmanesque tribute

Directed by Emilio Estevez

Harry Belafonte…. Nelson
Joy Bryant…. Patricia
Nick Cannon…. Dwayne
Emilio Estevez…. Jim Fallon
Laurence Fishburne…. Edward Robinson
Brian Geraghty…. Cooper
Heather Graham…. Angela
Anthony Hopkins…. John Casey
Helen Hunt…. Samantha
Joshua Jackson…. Wade
Ashton Kutcher…. Fisher
Shia LaBeouf…. Jimmy
Lindsay Lohan…. Diane
William H. Macy…. Paul
Svetlana Metkina…. Lenka Janacek
Demi Moore…. Virginia Fallon
Freddy Rodríguez…. José
Martin Sheen…. Jack
Christian Slater…. Timmons
Sharon Stone…. Miriam
Jacob Vargas…. Miguel
Mary Elizabeth Winstead…. Susan Taylor
Elijah Wood…. William  

Movie critics have been all over the map on Bobby, some measuring it against the gold standard of ensemble-casted, social-ennui movies of Robert Altman, e.g. Nashville.  Well, it is that type of movie, a slice-of-life, journalistic recreation of an important day in history.

This is another nostalgic visit for me of a vein in the ideological gold mine I didn’t tap too much, but was aware others were deeply exploring.  I didn’t have the sensitivity in those days to appreciate what a fine and decent human being Bobby Kennedy actually was.

The fatal flaw, as far as I am concerned, for Bobby and many of the others on the Left is expressed in the following quote:

Do not ever say that the desire to “do good” by force is a
good motive. Neither powerlust nor stupidity are good
Ayn Rand
Continue reading

Guest Column: First Amendment Note

Even ‘fake news’ is vital to our liberty
By Bob Livingston [Full original column here]

Part 2 of 2. Read the first part, “1st Amendment written to protect ‘fake news’

Although the term “fake news” was not part of their lexicon, the Founding Fathers understood quite well the concept. As I discussed last week in “1st Amendment was written to protect fake news,” highly partisan editors used the power of their presses to disseminate their views with little concern over whether they were being truthful or even upheld basic standards of decorum.

Newspapers, pamphlets and broadsheets provided nourishment to both spark the American Revolution and keep it alive. Doubtless King George thought the ongoing lists of grievances colonial editors proclaimed against the crown were at best overblown if not outright lies.

As Ken Burns notes in his book , Infamous Scribblers: The Founding Fathers and The Rowdy Beginnings of American Journalism:

Certainly the war would not have begun as soon as it did without the encouragement of the press. As New York Journal editor John Holt said on one occasion to Sam Adams, “It was by means of News papers that we receiv’d & spread the Notice of the tyrannical Designs formed against America, and kindled a Spirit that  has been sufficient to repel them.

And almost certainly, the war would not have ended with an American victory in a period of seven years from the first shot to signed treaty had not the newspapers – and some pamphlets – constantly reminded the colonists of the cause they shared, thereby inspiring the valor of soldiers and the patience and support of civilians.

The British knew it, too. The Boston Gazette was the only paper on their hit list before the war began, but as battles raged and patriot prose became ever more the tie that bound the colonies into a makeshift nation, the British set upon print shops as they did stray battalions of colonial militia. Sometimes, rather than wrecking the supplies and equipment, they stole them and delivered them to Tory publishers for more sympathetic use.

Continue reading

Brian’s Column: Three Dreams

Sharing three powerful dreams behind First Principles and Independent Being
By Brian R. Wright

My latest project(s) are the First Principles Foundation, First Principles’ grand juries, and the corresponding Independents’ Movement…. all of which ideas were hinted at in my 2016 novel, The Truman Prophecy. Immediately upon waking from each of the sleep sessions, I felt an incredible release of energy, as well. I have a ‘muse,’ Robingale, who lives in the Free State (NH). We chatted shortly after the third dream and she helped me to grasp much more fully what they all mean. I’ll provide a paragraph on that below.

Here’s the text of the dreams and thoughts directly induced and written down:

Dream #1: 9/17/17 ~0500-0600

Conference on 9/11 in a major hotel venue—may already be happening via C. [Cynthia] McKinney, et al—everything is professional, good security, all respectful, MUCH REAL TRUTH!

I have a booth on First Principles Grand Jury for Justice 9/11 and justice in general. [The rest of this is not the dream, rather thoughts immediately induced by the dream and written down.] Idea for a book… “…Shall Empanel…” and I need to get with Peter Konetchy to read sources, develop plan. Continue reading

Book Review: America’s Survival Guide (2007)

How to … reclaim America’s First Principles and history
by Judge Michael Warren

America_Survival“Only lay down true principles, and adhere to them inflexibly. Do not be frightened into their surrender by the alarms of the timid, or the croakings of wealth against the ascendancy of the people….

“A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for a second, that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sin and suffering.”

— Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Samuel Kercheval (1816).

One of the best introductions to America’s First Principles, America’s Survival Guide is a primer for those principles, along with several practical steps that we as Americans must take to reclaim liberty in our country. The author, Michael Warren, an actual sitting circuit court judge in Michigan, spells out the mission statement of the book at the outset: Continue reading

Movie Review: The Misfits (1961)

Marilyn and Clark’s final flick is winner ___ 8/10
Review by Brian Wright

Roslyn: Did you ever think about gettin’ married again?
Gay: Oh, I think about it; never in daylight.

Roslyn: If I’m going to be alone, I want to be by myself.

Guido: You have the gift for life, Roslyn. The rest of us, we’re just looking for a place to hide and watch it all go by.

Directed by John Huston
Screenplay by Arthur Miller

Clark Gable … Gay Langland
Marilyn Monroe … Roslyn Taber
Montgomery Clift … Perce Howland
Thelma Ritter … Isabelle Steers
Eli Wallach … Guido
Kevin McCarthy … Raymond Taber
Estelle Winwood … Church Lady

This 1961 film is unique in several ways: a) it is the final film for Marilyn Monroe (that she completed) and Clark Gable (who died a few weeks after filming of a heart attack some attribute to doing his own stunt work), b) it was not a commercial success at the time of release but gained critical respect for its writing and acting, c) because of lack of control of production costs, the film was the most expensive black and white film to that time at $4 million, and d) adding to the troubles of production were the 108 degree heat of the northern Nevada desert and the imminent end of Monroe’s marriage to writer Arthur Miller. Continue reading