Sunday, December 20, 2020




Written by Ryan Holiday 

Review written by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, December 18, 2020

This is the fourth Ryan Holiday book I have read.  The other three were Ego is the Enemy, The Obstacle is the Way, and Conspiracy.  Like those three books, this book is an excellent read as well.  I especially like the way in which Holiday writes.  He makes his points using historical figures and events to do so and his writing style is easy to read and understand.

Disclaimer.  I am well aware of how many people who should know about such things recommend that people SHOULD engage in stillness or meditation.  I have tried and have failed primarily because when I attempt at stillness and quietness, my head wants to explode because of the long-time suffering from Tinnitus, the ringing in my head that never ceases and is enhanced whenever I am in total silence.  It is very depressing to say the least. Yet even for me, this book is God-sent because it reinforces a life you would want to live by. It is extremely difficult for me to imagine someone reading this book and not improving their outlook on life. It is that good.

That aside, I still found Holiday’s book fascinating.  The following quote from book explains why YOU should read it as well as anyone who you value in life: “Confucius and his followers spoke constantly of the cultivation of wisdom, saying that it is achieved in the same way that a craftsman develops skill: by putting in the time.”  Everyone could benefit from reading this book but I would suggest that everyone over the age of four should at least read the chapter titled Limit Your Inputs.  Holiday is so very much on target and when you read just this one chapter you KNOW that he is and you can probably see yourself in the people he describes and trust me, that is NOT a good thing.

Holiday’s book is a well written “how to” book on creating a better life not only for you but also for the people that surround you that you love and who love you.  A quote from the book is right on point when it comes to defining the value of maintaining a personal journal: “That is what journaling is about. It’s spiritual windshield wipers, as the writer Julia Cameron once put it.”  

Who should read this book?  From the book: “People who don’t read have no advantage over those who cannot read.”  If YOU read this book and just practice some of Holiday’s advice, your life would be a better for having read it. If two read it, double the results.  But if an entire country were to read and practice its lessons, the world would truly be a better place to live for eternity!   Everyone should read and practice this book.

Would I read it again?  There would be no need, except to locate specific quotes from people throughout history that you may want to use.

Would I give it as a gift?  ABSOLUTELY!

Friday, December 11, 2020

A Golfer Predictions from 1892?



Written by Jay McCullough 

Review written by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, December 8, 2020

Some books are just fun to read and this is definitely one of them.  I was attracted to the book simply because it was about golf plus a European Television Golf Announcer talked about a book written in 1892 (that is not a typo, it was written in 1892) about playing golf in the year 2000. 

This is definitely a book of fiction.  It involves time travel but like the story of Rip Van Winkle, the main character of the book falls into a mysterious coma.  His family, as it is described much later in the book, had set him up with supervisor doctor visitations, money that accrues interest over 100 plus years, and a home for his still living but comatose body to rest in.  He suddenly and for no apparent reason, awakes 108 years later much to the surprise of the homeowner who was then charged with taking care of him while lie in a coma. 

I had to continually remind myself that this book was written in 1892.  Our character writes about the many things that have changed since that date and surprisingly he was spot on in regards to some of the developments he describes about golf and golf equipment and how people watch golf on BIG SCREENS as if they were present on the course.   Other descriptions, especially about women, he was not wrong but he was also not correct.  You will have to read the book to figure out what that means.

This is a short book that can be found on Amazon for just 99 cents as a Kindle read.  If you are into time travel, novelty fiction, historical fiction or just want a quick and easy fun read, this book is for you.

Who should read this book?  Anyone looking for something fun to read or who loves the game of golf

Would I read it again?  No, there would be no need.

Would I give it as a gift?  For 99 cents, why on Earth not?

Monday, December 7, 2020



By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, December 8, 2020


The following is from   Coast Guard buoy tender WHITE ALDER was the former U.S. Navy lighter YF-417, one of eight YF-257-class Navy lighters acquired by the Coast Guard and converted to buoy tenders. With generous cargo space, an open deck, a large power plant, and a boom for lifting large objects, WHITE ALDER proved a capable short-range aids-to-navigation (ATON) buoy tender. From 1947 until 1968, the buoy tender was stationed in New Orleans. During the buoy tender’s more than 20-year career, its primary mission was tending river aids-to-navigation, but also performed traditional Coast Guard missions, such as search and rescue, and law enforcement.

On Saturday, December 7, 1968, WHITE ALDER was steaming down-bound on the Mississippi River. At approximately 6:30 p.m., it collided with the up-bound motor vessel Helena, a 455-foot Taiwanese freighter. The accident occurred above Head of Passes near White Castle, Louisiana, causing the 133-foot buoy tender to sink in 75 feet of water with three of its crew surviving.

Immediately after the accident, divers located the buoy tender and recovered the bodies of three WHITE ALDER crew members. However, sediment from the swift current of the Mississippi River buried the wreck site so quickly that continued recovery and salvage operations proved impossible. 14 WHITE ALDER crew members were entombed in the sunken cutter, which to this day remains sealed in the river bottom.

After the WHITE ALDER accident, the Coast Guard suffered the loss of Cutter CUYAHOGA in 1978, and buoy tender BLACKTHORN in 1980. Soon after the loss of BLACKTHORN, the service made sweeping improvements to cutter policy, doctrine, training and standardization. It created the prospective commanding officer (CO)/executive officer (XO) afloat course, mandated that all COs, XOs and officers of the day (OOD) pass the deck watch officer examination, required prospective COs and officers in charge (OINC) to conduct underway familiarization rides, and promulgated commandant cutter navigation standards. All of these steps improved the proficiency and safety of afloat operations and resulted in higher levels of cutter and crew readiness.

On December 7, 2020, the 52th anniversary of the cutter’s loss, please pause to remember WHITE ALDER and its lost crew members:

Seaman Apprentice Walter P. Abbott, III
Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Michael R. Agnew
Chief Warrant Officer Samuel C. Brown, Jr.
Seaman Frank P. Campisano, III
Fireman Maurice Cason
Quartermaster 2nd Class John R. Cooper, Jr.
Seaman Richard W. Duncan
Seaman Apprentice Larry V. Fregia
Seaman Apprentice Ramon J. Gutierrez
Seaman Roger R. Jacks
Seaman Steven D. Lundquist
Yeoman 2nd Class Joseph A.R. Morin
Commissaryman 2nd Class Charles R. Morrison
Engineman 3rd Class Walton E. O’Quinn, Jr.
Engineman 1st Class John B. Rollinson
Chief Engineman William J. Vitt
Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Guy T. Wood

Wednesday, December 2, 2020




How the News Media Taught Us to Love Censorship and Hate Journalism!

Written by Sharyl Attkisson

Reviewed by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, December 3, 2020

WOW!  That pretty much sums up my opinion of the latest book by Sharyl Attkisson.  I have read all of her books and they are all extremely enlightening regarding the underbelly of American Journalism. 

Attkisson confirms in her latest book what I have personally suspected for some time.  Of late I have completely stopped watching the news because I felt it is no longer news that is being presented or worthy of being watched, at least by me.  No matter what television channel or what news program you tune into, you are getting nothing but information that “someone” wants you to hear and see instead of the news that is actually happening and that can also be verified as being true.

I have read and watched Attkisson’s news programs for decades and have always felt that I received the factual news and I was permitted to make up my own mind in regards to the news story being covered.  As time went on programs and specials like hers have disappeared from our news media.  Attkisson points out from an “insider’s” point of view how what we see and hear on our television sets have been doctored and changed to create a “narrative” (her word) which is what I would refer to as an agenda.  If you are told that 2+2=5 enough times you tend to believe that is true.  When you hear others refute that proposition and who are then targeted by their fellow so-called journalists, the idea that 2+2=5 becomes more and more valid and eventually becomes what you personally believe to be true.  That is what has happened to our, with the emphasis on the word OUR, news media, electronic and print.  We are being fed “stories” and not being introduced to the news. 

Attkisson goes even further to point out the unabashedly bias of the journalists we see and read who fail to just do their job.  There was a time when it was almost impossible to determine the political slant of a television journalist (Walter Cronkite), not to be confused with a television commentator (Sean Hannity).  The news consisted of verified facts and lacked obvious opinions inserted into the stories we are now being told.  That is exactly what they are, STORIES with enough facts interspersed to make them appear real and truthful.  Attkisson gives example after example of news media bias; unverified and false news reports and she is not afraid to call out the perpetrators by name and company affiliation.  At the end of the book she identifies the number of serious untruthful stories printed about President Trump. This is not a book about Trump but instead the media coverage of Trump only is used to demonstrate how far the media has fallen in the eyes of the American viewers and readers.

The only part of the book that I disagree with is when Attkisson attempts to paint a picture of where and how the media might correct itself.  She identifies news sources that she feels go the extra yard to present the facts and not opinions or “stories.”  I, contrary to her hope for the future, feel we as a country have reached the tipping point on “our” press and therefore “our” journalists.  Journalism as I once knew it to be is dead.  I am far more pessimistic in that regard; I do not think it can ever become what it once was – a trusted AND UNBIASED source of news.

As bad as the news media is portrayed in Slanted, I still fault my fellow citizens even more than the media because we appear to be focused on one to two-minute sound bites to form our opinions and then move on.  Unfortunately, those two minutes are probably the worst spent two minutes of most of our lives when we form opinions that become beliefs based on lies, misdirection’s, personal agendas and personal narratives all designed to mold the viewer/readers mind to believe what the journalist wants you to believe.  When we stop thinking for ourselves, we have become the sheep defined in the book, 1984 written by George Orwell.  Like it or not, we have become brainwashed and 1984 has become 2020 with our unconscious approval.  As for 2+2, it equals 5 just as Orwell predicted in his book!

Who should read this book?  That’s easy.  EVERYONE unless you don’t care that you are being brainwashed by opinions, narratives and untruths.

Would I read it again?  Probably not except to look up specific instances of news media biases.  Re-reading it would not bear any fruit at least for me.  Hard to be any more disgusted over our failing news media.

Would I give it as a gift?  I like to think that if I give someone a book as a gift, they would read it.  Sadly, so many Americans today have no desire to learn the truth and therefore the gift would be meaningless if they refused to read it to its end.