Archive for the ‘Non-Fiction’ Category

NailedNailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All

By: David Fitzgerald
Paperback: 248 pages
ISBN-10: 0557709911
ISBN-13: 978-0557709915
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
I first heard about Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All while listening to The Dogma Debate. The Dogma Debate is an absolutely outstanding Spreaker internet radio show hosted by David Smalley, the author of Baptized Atheist (and his partners in crime Daniel Moran and Shayrah Akers). The show explores Atheist subject matter in a professional manner, free of the condescending attitudes that close the door on intelligent debate. By the way, I am the 4th listener. The author of Nailed, David Fitzgerald, was a guest on the show and was just as compelling on air as he is in his book.
Nailed explores the legend of Jesus in the same lens that we explore so many other things in history, with facts and rationality. There is no way that any sane mind can come away from reading Nailed with the believe that Jesus ever existed, was influential in that time, or that there is even evidence that his story coincides with what is know about the first century. There is no doubt that apologists will continual to dismiss the evidence presented by Fitzgerald. If only they could be so critical in their self analysis because if the empirical evidence that Jesus never existed isn’t enough, I can not see any way possible to argue that Nailed does not demonstrate that the Biblical stories about Jesus never happened.
Sadly, there will never be anything that completely proves that Fitzgerald is right because you simply cannot kill what never existed. Some will walk away from reading Nailed and say, “AH HA it doesn’t prove Jesus didn’t exist, only that your SCIENCE doesn’t prove that he did!” Well, okay then, let Jesus join the ranks of Santa Claus, Leprechauns, The Easter Bunny, and whatever other mythical creatures of folk lure that you can think of.
If any of this offends you, then please read Nailed and come back to comment on here.
Some of my favorite things that a reader needs to contemplate…
Why does no one else in history document the biblical events, despite many with tremendous motivation to do so?
Why did the Christians feel that it was necessary to forge so many things and destroy so many others that may have shed light on the subject?
Why is there so much Christian anger?
Why is it that despite the millions who claimed to be Christians, I have never met a single one that followed anything Biblical?
Some problems with Nailed
Jesus (pun intended), why is it so expensive? I read the Kindle version because, despite buying many books, I couldn’t justify the paperback price. The benefit of having the paperback would have been being able to break it out in debates with the blind to reference, but I have many like this and the blind will fight you before they try to listen for a moment.
It is very dry and held my intention only because of my personal interest. You need to be wanting this knowledge to read it all, but hey, the knowledge is worth it.
Please, I am begging you, no matter what your back ground, read Nailed. If you are stuck on being Christian, you can learn where Atheist are coming from. If you are Atheist, you will understand more of why you are, and if you are just curious, the break down here is excellent. Everyone benefits from taking the time to learn.

Fell in Love with a Band: The Story of The White Stripes
By:  Chris Handyside
Paperback, 226 pages
ISBN13: 9780312336189

Overall: 3 out of 5 stars
The main reason I read this book and the main reason that it was bumped up to 3 stars is because I am a completely biased White Strips fan. To me, Jack White is a rock god. Other than a handful of people, all living musicians shall bow down before this living legend. Reading the story of Jack’s evolution to stardom was extremely entertaining, but admittedly, only because I am such a huge fan. See the thing is, Jack is a product of nothing but extremely hard work and dedication. There is no crazy Hollywood story, no drama, nothing. Jack played, and continues to play, whenever, wherever, however he can. He is a machine, never stopping, and seeking constant improvement.
Jack’s dedication seemingly began from birth, as he listened to his older siblings jam out on an almost daily basis. His upbringing played a huge role in who Jack has become. The Detroit home that he was raised in, not only blared out the sounds of his siblings playing, but placed Jack in an environment of isolation. That isolation, from being in the racial and cultural minority, allowed Jack to focus on his own person and not be distracted by the trappings of society. When you listen to Jack play today, despite his huge popularity, you can still hear that boy playing alone with his instrument, oblivious to the world and its judgements. The best part of Fell in Love with a Band was its ability to convey the world in which Jack came from.
It was additionally very cool to find some unknown musical treasures that Jack participated in.
Creativity: 1 out of 5 stars
It certainly does not take much creativity to write a story about a legendary figure. The investigation into Jack’s world is told through factual information and from those around Jack and Meg White. The words of Jack and Meg are sorely missing.
Characters: 2 out of 5 stars
Chris Handyside had to do a lot of work to catch up with all of the characters that grew up knowing Jack and Meg, but the inability to get their first hand input was a big hindrance on the complete picture.
Spelling and Grammar: 4 out of 5 stars
Nothing that I noticed, but not like I was blown away by its perfection or eloquence.
Execution: 3 out of 5 stars
If not a fan of The White Stripes to begin with, I believe this would be quite dry and maybe boring. But if a fan, there are some stories that further endear you to both Jack and Meg.
The unbelievable luck that follows Jack, like when there was a manufacturing SNAFU that led to the last minute vinyls being made as red and white swirls, really?!
The love that he and his fans share, like when Jack lost a rare (because cheap and weird) guitar and a fan tracked one down and replaced it for him, giving it as a gift at a concert.
Some stories from Jack and Meg’s friends growing up.
All in all, I have to say it again, if you are a fan of The White Stripes, you will enjoy it, if not, probably not.


Posted: August 28, 2012 in Non-Fiction

Baltimore: Anatomy of an American City

Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator By: Ryan Holiday
Hardcover, 288 pages Published July 19th 2012 by Portfolio Hardcover
ISBN13: 9781591845539

Overall 3 out of 5 stars

My system is set up to review fiction novels, so I will have to adapt a bit. I received this copy of Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator in a giveaway, which I have been having some good luck with lately, enough to have a hard time keeping up on reviewing them. I received a signed copy, so I guess I feel pretty cool right now.

It’s not that there is anything wrong with this book that I am giving it 3 stars, it simply did not entertain me enough to warrant higher, or lower. Ryan Holiday built most of his reputation and education working in public relations with Tucker Max, author of I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, and for American Apparel. Holiday tells some of the behind the scenes stories of “news” stories that have grabbed the spotlight in recent years. This behind the scenes look includes how he has manipulated the system to grab positive attention for his employers and fend of negative attention, as well as how the world of blogging is flawed in its fundamental structure.

A lot of what Holiday reveals about the underbelly of internet media is shocking to say the least. It’s not as if we don’t know how it works, but when Holiday lays it all out so you can easily see the cause and effect, you will be left with no desire to ever read an internet blog again. This subject was quite interesting to me because, being an aspiring author without a publisher or literary agent, I need to find a way to get my work out there on my own. I was hopeful that maybe there was some dark magic to be revealed in Holiday’s writing, but sadly not for me. I even tried one of Holiday’s techniques without any success, no that it did not work in his world, but these are not universal tactics.

It would be grand if Holiday ended this on a positive note, but he couldn’t even if he wanted to. No matter how much he reveals, the internet world of page views and advertising will keep us all being feed gossip, lies, and half truths as long as people keep clicking on the headline, and they will.

Creativity 3 out of 5 stars

Again, it’s not has if Holiday had to come up with a gripping fiction plot, he is just telling his version of some events that he has been a part of. It is like my police leadership guides, you really can’t give me creativity points for writing about what I do for a living, can you?

Characters N/A

Spelling and Grammar 4 out of 5 stars

Some of the normal run on sentences or confusing sections that had to be re-read but certainly nothing distracting like some books I have read that are so bad, you just start looking for the errors instead of reading.

Execution 3 out of 5 stars

Holiday worked with what he had. Ironically, just like he talks about in the book pertaining to people simply not being very interested in fact based news that is supported by evidence, he subject just isn’t sensational enough for me to get all giddy about. That is quite a sad truth that Holiday repeatedly comes back to in the book and I give 3 out of 5 stars to support his beliefs. Holiday often repeats himself in the book and I assume that is because he believes in what he is saying and really wants to make people understand.

I enjoyed Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator as I think anyone that is into social media, blogs, self-promotion, advertising, conspiracies, et cetera would also enjoy giving this a read, maybe in ebook or something though, I can’t see forking over hardback money for this.

Learning From the Octopus: How Secrets from Nature Can Help Us Fight Terrorist Attacks, Natural Disasters, and Disease
By: Rafe Sagarin

Overall: 4 out of 5 Stars

First and foremost, this book should be required reading and studying for every single military and law enforcement member in the U.S. and our allies, we do not want our adversaries adapting these lessons.

In Learning From the Octopus, Rafe Sagarin makes some extremely compelling arguments for the lessons found all over nature that can enhance public safety in a multitude of fashions. I make this evaluation from a point of experience, as I have been a police supervisor in Baltimore, and a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. From the inappropriate allocation of resources of the TSA to the mismanagement that is rooted in law enforcement, Rafe Sagarin finds examples of successful implementation of more efficient and better management that has already been proven to work, in nature.

I don’t think that the subject matter of better management is anything revolutionary, scholars and successful businesses have been showing law enforcement the better ways to manage for a long time now. What Rafe Sagarin does that is special is bring it down to simple examples that can be understood by all education and experience levels. From the patrol officer just out of the academy to the federal czars, there are simple lessons that can make citizens safer and utilize their money more efficiently.

Creativity: 5 stars
I have spent a great deal of effort in my personal writings to try and find a way to break through the wall of comfort that is found in law enforcement. I sincerely hope that this new angle of speaking to those working to protect us can help open their eyes to the mismanagement that is everywhere. Law Enforcement especially is extremely afraid of change, which is why they keep doing the same things over and over, with the same pathetic results. Rafe Sagarin does an excellent job of presenting a creative new way to encourage a change for the better.

Spelling and Grammar: 3 stars
Rafe Sagarin is not an author, he is a marine ecologist, so given that, he did a very good job at presenting his case. I did not discover any obvious errors, but the writing is educational in nature and thus, does not flow like a book. There are sections that repeat and sections that can speak over the head of the target audience, but he does the best that he can.

Execution: 4 stars
Overall, I am in awe of the work that Rafe Sagarin has put together her. This execution gets knocked down to four stars because of the occasional speaking over our heads and the biggest flaw in the whole book, a glaring hypocrisy. Granted Rafe Sagarin is a marine ecologist, has a love and respect for the environment, and by nature of his profession has been force-fed liberal agendas, but if he is going to speak to us in public safety about thinking on a new level and appreciating history, he must do the same, else his lessons fall on deaf ears.

Rafe Sagarin makes some humorous and intelligent insights into how religious beliefs are a key factor in many of the poor decisions that humans make or beliefs that they hold dear, even when all evidence points to the contrary. While I agree with him, I cannot overlook that his religion of global warming has blocked some of his own thinking.

Here is an example on pages that sit next to each other:

Page 150: “And we ignore over 100 years of collected scientific wisdom while we watch human-induced climate change alter our entire planet.”
Page 151: “If we convert our years as humans on Earth to words in a book, analyzing security only in the context of the past few thousand years of human history is like trying to understand all of War and Peace by reading only the last word.”

Page 151 is where Rafe Sagarin speaks to us, page 150 is where I can’t help but dismiss him. Mr. Sagarin, if the past thousand years of human history is the last word of War and Peace, then looking at the last 100 years of weather patterns is like reading the last word in the entire library of congress.

Michael A. Wood Jr.

“The Critical Critic”