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When I first saw this book, I picked it up because the name was familiar, since I used to live in southeastern Massachusetts, and I wondered what Bob Tasca had to say. Now I know, and I feel that I got good value from the book. And that's his point, in part. But it's -his- book, so let -him- say it to you.
Would I buy a car from this man? You bet. (review from reading the hardcover edition)
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Oh wait... I'm supposed to be talkin' 'bout the Pinto repair guide, ain't I?Well, lemme start it off by tellin' you the story of how I got my copy of it It was given to me for free by the supervisor of a local repair shop where they replaced a worn flywheel-thingy on my rear-end detonator. The guy said that I should learn to do my own repairs more, and then mumbled something about my presence in the shop 'creeping out' alla' the mechanics working there. They were really good mechanics, too-one of 'em said the repair time would run about four-and-a-half hours, but it only took 'em three! And I should know, 'cuz I was in the waiting room the whole time, watchin' 'em doing the fix-up! Talk about service!
But anyway, after looking through this neat-o book, I was quite amazed by how many parts there are in a Pinto! And I don't just mean the radio dial knobs and the window-roller knobs either! Heck, the motor and other stuff under the hood is made up of all sortsa things! Heck, there's even things inside the things, according to the cross-section illustrations I looked at! From the alternator to the universal joint, you got a whole lotta pieces with really weird names that I have a tough time tryin' to understand! Heck, I'm even thinkin' of takin' my Pinto completely apart and then-- with the aid of this manual-- put it all back together again! Now I know what I'll be doin' on my next vacation break-- all three hours of it!
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but blaming me is blaming God,
Could I create myself anew
I would not fail in pleasing you.
If I could reach from pole to pole
or grasp the ocean with a span,
I would be measured by the soul -
the mind's the standard of the man.
I bought this book many years ago, unfortunately I made the mistake of lending it to someone and I never got it back. This is a remarkable book. I was touched by Joseph Merrick years ago. For the past nine years, I have been running the Joseph Carey Merrick Tribute Website. It is a site dedicated to Joseph, the person - not Joseph, the disability. I'm presently heading a London and Leicester (UK) campaign to have a commemorative plaque erected in his honour. He deserves to have a permanent tribute. He has done a great deal to advance medical science, through his skeleton, and thanks to him, there will one day be a cure for Proteus Syndrome. It's time the world said 'thank you'. Please give your moral support by visiting the site. I'm not sure if web addresses can be mentioned here, so simply type the following in your web browser: Joseph Carey Merrick Tribute Website
Joseph Carey Merrick was the real Elephant Man not a fictional character. Joseph had a loving mother that died when he was a child and his father moved and remarried. His step-mother didn't like him and scorned him for his looks and his inability to find work due to his lameness, telling him that what she fed him was more than he earned. Eventually he refused to return home for meals because he didn't want to listen to step-mother barate him anymore. His father stopped looking for him, but did get him a hawker's license to hawk wares on the street. But people were afraid of him and would not buy his wares, and he acquired a gathering of curious people around him. His uncle gave him shelter for a while, but Joseph left there too. He worked in the workhouse a place of refuge and work for the poor and destitute for 3 years, but hated it and left. He ended up being exhibited as a sideshow freak under the name of "The Elephant Man" because his congenital deformity made it so that he resemble that of an elephant (or so the posters showed him to resemble). When he was at Whitechapel Road, across the street from the London Hospital Dr. Treves saw him for the first time and brought him to the hospital to examine him. Over the next few years Joseph was exhibited, his managers robbed him of his life savings and left. Joseph went back to Whitechapel Road and to the care of the only friend he knew . . . Dr. Treves. He spent his remaining years under the friendship and care of the staff at the London Hospital.
I loved this story. Michael Howell and Peter Ford told a true and compassionate account of Joseph Merrick's life. A man who was like any other human being with hopes and dreams with one setback.. His congenital deformity that prohibited his ability to be like, and experience and sleep lying down on his back like other people. Through all of years and hardships, Joseph was scared, but kind and kept a calm serenity inside himself about his condition. He had so much gratitude for the staff and his new friends who helped him, he made cardboard models and sent these things to those people who saw to his care in his appreciation for their help. The book also includes pictures how Merrick looked when he was admitted to the London Hospital, and a display of his skeleton after death.
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As Salwa Bakr notes in The Wiles of Men women are often seen as silly and crazy when they have psychological disorders.
Although the depiction of the war may not be as detailed or accurate as many wish, that is not what Al-Shaykh is trying to convey with this novel.
She is showing how the war is a catharsis for poor Zahra. While everyone's attention is towards the gory and war fears, Zahra is not pointed out as crazy and strange, she is able to live her own destiny.
This book is a page turner...highly recommended
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What you can't see from home is that the book is truly tiny, about a quarter inch thick and six inches square. It's only 144 pages long; the last 35 of those pages are a John Ford filmography and the first 35 are a Bogdanovitch essay.
The interviews in between are similarly miniature, and in typical Bogdanovitch fashion they revolve more around anecdotes and personalities than film making and theory. For instance, here's what Ford says about my nominee for his best film, My Darling Clementine:
"I knew Wyatt Earp. In the very early silent days, a couple of times a year, he would come up to visit pals, cowboys he knew in Tombstone; alot of them were in my company. I think I was an assistant prop boy then and I used to give him a chair and a cup of coffee, and he told me about the fight at the O. K. Corral. So in My Darling Clementine, we did it exactly as it had been. They didn't just walk up in the street and start banging away at each other; it was a clever military maneuver."
And that's it. A good story. But a short one. Not much about the film itself, though, is there? The longest statements go on for about one full page.
Ford's thoughts on film making are scattered throughout, and it's good stuff:
-On his dislike of close-ups: "We've got this big screen - instead of putting a lot of pockmarked faces on it...play a scene in a two-shot. You see people instead of faces."
-On actors: "If you get the first or second take, there's a sparkle, an uncertainty about it; they're not sure of their lines, and it gives you a sense of nervousness and suspense."
-On film music: "I don't like to see a man alone in the desert, dying of thirst, with the Philadelphia Orchestra behind him."
Ford talks about almost every film he ever made, including most of the silents that no one's ever seen. You can read the book in one sitting, and by the end you'll have a sense of who John Ford was and what he was all about. Since Ford hated giving interviews, but was very patient with Bogdanovitch, this one is something of a standout.
It's a good book, I just wish there was more of it.
(A poster below slags the Hitchcock/ Truffaut book; don't listen to him, that book is marvelous.)
John Ford was quite an elusive character. He was considered a great artist inside and outside of Hollywood during his life. This short book isn't a bad attempt to have him comment on those films most precious to him and to us. Unlike Orson Welles, who made only a few films over 40 years, and spoke on them extensively with Bogdanovich, Ford speaks just a sentence or two or maybe a paragraph on some of the greatest films of all time. Grapes of Wrath? "I liked the idea of a family going out and trying to find their way in the world." She Wore a Yellow Ribbon? "I tried to copy the Remington style there." The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance? "I think they were both good characters and I rather liked the story."
I hope I haven't made it sound too simplistic, because Ford actually reveals the most important parts of his films with very few words. Just reading a sentence or two and watching the film gives you the idea of what Ford was trying to convey. It may even give these films new meaning.