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Ray Lefebvre

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The Hunt for Zero Point: Inside the Classified World of Antigravity Technology
The Hunt for Zero Point: Inside the Classified World of Antigravity Technology
Offered by Random House Canada, Incorp.
Price: CDN$ 13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating..., Jan. 19 2014
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I certainly found this a page turner with its semi-detective story style. I admit it wasn't what I had initially expected, but what it is is right in the title: The HUNT For Zero Point, and not the CASE or PROOF of it.

The simple truth is much of what we take for granted today was once the realm of science fiction and fantasy to prior generations. And for quite some time now scientists have been telling us that reality and how the universe really works is much stranger than what our everyday experience otherwise suggests. At the quantum level (as I understand it) things don't behave according to Newtonian or perhaps even Einsteinian rules.

There is a compelling notion behind this narrative---that revolutionary ideas are often hidden away until certain powers decide when it's most advantageous for them to allow those ideas to see the light of day. And it's only today, in the past decade or so, that some of these ideas are beginning to surface in broader public forums. And much of it is in the realm of what many of us relegated to science fiction. But put in context, if zero point energy and antigravity, along with everything that goes with them, had actually been introduced in the 1950s-60s it conceivably could have completely undermined vast tracts of technological, military and economic infrastructure. Jet and rocket technology, electric and nuclear power as well as the oil industry could have been brought to their knees. Perhaps one could even make a case that society and the world wasn't yet ready for this science to go mainstream.

It's pretty much a given that many things are done away from plain view and such work creeps into the sunlight in a piecemeal fashion. This book illustrates that it's certainly not a new practice of the powerful and influential and never has been. The book doesn't make a case that zero point and antigravity are in fact for real, but that research for it has been going on for several decades and strongly suggests real fruit from that research. I found it particularly compelling when the author cites examples of possible actual antigravity techonolgy existing unrecognized right before our eyes.

Given enough years you come to realize that truth can often be much stranger than fiction. Things you can't possible imagine happening can often actually happen given the right circumstances. The book certainly does leave you with some question marks, but if nothing else at least it makes you think perhaps a little more critically.

Being Santa Claus: What I Learned about the True Meaning of Christmas
Being Santa Claus: What I Learned about the True Meaning of Christmas
by Sal Lizard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.00
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational., Feb. 18 2013
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I was drawn to this book because I started playing Santa about six years ago. The first year I was somewhat cajoled into it much like Sal Lizard was, and yet like him I, too, found I enjoyed it immensely. I enjoyed it so much I had a custom made suit made in an old-fashioned style. Unlike Sal, though, I'm not inclined to work shopping malls with their overly commercial setting and atmosphere. Still I found Sal Lizard's book to be inspirational and I could recognize many of his experiences as my own. There were, however, some of his experiences that I could only barely imagine: visiting with terminally ill children and his experience with one particular boy I found particularly heart-rending.

But overall the book does inspire, whether you ever choose to don a red suit and play Santa or not or whether you're just looking for a little genuine Christmas spirit as a buffer against the hustle and overt commercialism put upon us.

Batman Unauthorized: Vigilantes, Jokers, and Heroes in Gotham City
Batman Unauthorized: Vigilantes, Jokers, and Heroes in Gotham City
by Dennis O'Neil
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 19.95
12 used & new from CDN$ 4.27

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!!!, Aug. 12 2012
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I came across the mention of a book while following a discussion of the recent The Dark Knight Rises and the reference to it piqued my interest. So I looked it up and took a chance ordering it from Amazon.

I'm really glad I did as I've just finished reading it. It's edited by Dennis O'Neil (one of the great wriers for Batman in the comics) and is a collection of eighteen separate essays by various writers and their distinct views on various aspects of Batman and his world.

It was fascinating even when I didn't agree with what I read. Because above all it was thought provoking and all with a touch of humour. The articles touch on why Batman is such a great literary character and why he still fascinates us after more than eighty years existence. It's also apparent that all these writers like and even love Batman even when they're offering critical observations. In that it's similar to David Gerrold's book The World Of Star Trek.

There are articles on what it might really cost to be Batman, evaluating Bruce Wayne's psychology, a look at Batman's little remembered sci-fi era of the late 1940s to early '60s, what the campy '60s series really meant, the work of Frank Miller, the evolution of Batman and a helluva lot more. And you have to read "To The Batpole!" by Alex Bledsoe. I guarantee you will laugh yourself breathless even as you see the characters stay perfectly true to form! (-:

If you love Batman then I highly recommend this book.

Note this book was published awhile after Batman Begins (2005) and shortly before The Dark Knight (2008).


Introduction by Dennis O'Neil

"Keeping It Real In Gotham" by Robert Brian Taylor - reinventing and adapting classic heroes and Batman may be part of a small sub genre called "pulp noir."

"Two Of A Kind" by Lou Anders'- an interesting look at the Joker and his relationship to Batman.

"Frank Miller's New Batman And The Grotesque" by Geoff Klock - a look at Frank Miller's takes on Batman from The Dark Knight Returns onward.

"Holy Signifier, Batman!" by Nicak Mamatas - a new look at the Adam West television series and what it really means.

"The Cost Of Being Batman" by Darren Hudson Hick - in the real world what would it cost you to be like Batman?

"Ra's al Ghul: Father Figure As Terrorist" by Michael Marano - looking at the relationship between Ra's al Ghul and Batman.

"The Dubious Origins Of The Batman" by Alan J. Porter - who really created The Dark Knight?

"Why Doesn't Bruce Wayne Retire Already?" by Chris Roberson - why doesn't Bruce Wayne ever pass the torch and how is he kept going decade after decade?

"The Madness Of Arkham Asylum" by Paul Lytle - what is Arkham really good for and what it represents.

"Robin: Innocent Bystander" by Jake Black - why does Batman allow a youth to accompany him on his crusade?

"Batman In Outer Space' by Mike W. Barr - a look at the often dismissed sci-fi era of Batman's history and what worth there might be there.

"Gotham's First Family" by Mary Borsellino - the why and how of Bruce Wayne's parents and their role in creating Batman.

"What's Wrong With Bruce Wayne?" by Robin S. Rosenberg - questioning wheather Bruce Wayne is psychologically flawed.

"The Batman We Deserve" by Daniel M. Kimmel - looking at Batman's evolution through the years.

"To The Batpole!" by Alex Bledsoe - a truly amusing look at a significant moment in young Bruce's life.

"Heroes Of Darkness And Light" by John C. Wright - the differences between Superman and Batman and why the Dark Knight is sexier.

"Batman In The Real World" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch - why Batman is a truly iconic American hero.

"Batman, The Failure" by David Seidman - why Batman's crusade, his methods and his very existence is ultimately pointless.

Kolchak the Night Stalker: Compendium
Kolchak the Night Stalker: Compendium
by Max Allan Collins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 31.10
20 used & new from CDN$ 27.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying!, July 2 2012
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If you enjoyed the original TV movies and series of Kolchak: The Night Stalker then you will likely enjoy this collection of short stories. Many of the stories read as if they could have made for similar fine episodes if the series had continued for a second season. Once in awhile you might be thrown by references to cellphones and computers because most of these stories are set closer to the present day where Kolchak works for the Hollywood Dispatch, but there are a few stories still set back in the '70s with Kolchak still working for INS in Chicago.

Nonetheless I greatly enjoyed this book. Being short stories (and really a TV episode is also a short story in visual form) you can read one or two at a time and not feel compelled to continue like you might with a novel. And you don't have to read them in any particular order either. But however you read it you will feel part of Kolchak's world as he stalks the night.

Kolchak: The Night Stalker (3DVD)
Kolchak: The Night Stalker (3DVD)
DVD ~ Darren McGavin
Price: CDN$ 32.66
22 used & new from CDN$ 28.83

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic and fun!!!, May 19 2012
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I haven't seen this series or the two previous films since they ran in the '70s. Mostly I had a memory of enjoying them, but little memory of specifics. I'm so glad I took a chance and ordered this set. It was a wonderful revisit of a very cool show. I might even appreciate it more now then I did as a teenager. To me it seems hardly to have aged even if I can see some dated aspects in it. The series hit a wonderful balance of charm, quirky humour and creeping you out. And it's easy to see how this inspired the creation of The X-files twenty years later---there are a lot of similarities in concept and even some stories. Most of the twenty episodes I rate Good to Excellent. The few disappointments are not not bad, but only not quite as good as the rest.

The only real disappointment is the lack of extras and that the discs are double sided. What really should be done is a proper remastering as well as inclusion of the previous two made-for-TV movies all in one package. That would be the proper way to celebrate this wonderful show.

Thomas Nast's Christmas Drawings
Thomas Nast's Christmas Drawings
by Thomas Nast
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.18
26 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!, Dec 28 2011
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I really enjoyed getting this book after reading quite a bit of materiel on the history of Christmas and the history and evolution of Santa Claus. Nast's illustrations really underscore how many of the notions about Santa did not originate with the Coca Cola version made popular in the 1930s-60s, but rather all came from around the mid 19th century. I think one can credit Clement Clarke Moore's poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" (also known as "Twas The Night Before Christmas") and Thomas Nast's illustrations for firmly cementing much of what we know about Santa firmly in the greater public consciousness.

This is an excellent book!

A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 17.76
39 used & new from CDN$ 0.04

5.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating!, Dec 28 2011
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This review is from: A Christmas Carol (Hardcover)
All these years of watching different versions of Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" can lead you to think you know this story by heart. Well even the best adaptations of this story do diverge from the original text. I read this recently for the first time about a week or so before Christmas and it was a revelation. Firstly, I found it a thoroughly enjoyable read. But there are differences. Scrooge is described and illustrated somewhat differently than all the versions of the character I've ever seen. There are scenes in the book that I don't recall seeing in any film or television versions. Conversely there are scenes in the filmed versions that are not present in the original book or they're extrapolations of something only mentioned in the book but not elaborated upon.

The illustrations are a wonderful and appropriate enhancement that lend the story added dimension and a genuine sense of setting. They don't look like period illustrations (too contemporary looking in style) but they are very effective and well done.

I heartily recommend this version of Dicken's classic if you've never read it before and even if you have. It also serves to give you a greater appreciation of your favourite filmed version.

Christmas Story [Import]
Christmas Story [Import]
DVD ~ Hannu-Pekka Björkman
Price: CDN$ 13.26
19 used & new from CDN$ 6.58

4.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming!, Dec 21 2011
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This review is from: Christmas Story [Import] (DVD)
I watched this on a recommendation and I'm glad I did. This was a wonderful take on the origin of Santa Claus and I really like it's down-to-earth approach to the legend and mythology. Of course it's not definitive, but it was so much more satisfying than the excessive glitz and schmaltz we usually get from the Hollywood Christmas films, particularly when they deal with Santa. Hollywood has done Santa justice only once, in the original 1947 film "Miracle On 34th Street." Pretty much everything else in the vein of the Tim Allen "The Santa Clause" films and "The Polar Express" and the like is just way over-the-top.

This is actually a Finnish film, but it's eminently watchable with the English dubbing. There is no time frame stated explicitly in the story, but it could easily be set sometime around the 18th century give or take. And it lays out the story in such a way that it's credible how a legend and its elements could be started. The ending is rather ambiguous because we really don't know Nicholas' ultimate fate, which actually serves the story and the eventual legend.

I enjoyed the music, the low-key approach and the pervasive heartwarming charm. I'm glad that I've been able to make this part of my Christmas library.

Bishops Wife
Bishops Wife
DVD ~ Cary Grant
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 46.46
5 used & new from CDN$ 16.99

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable., Dec 7 2011
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This review is from: Bishops Wife (DVD)
I bought this on a whim after hearing and reading about. A lot of good holiday themed films came out of the 1940s and many of them have become classic to some degree or other. The Bishop's Wife is enjoyable enough in a quiet sort of way, but it didn't bowl me over like other favourites of the era such as It's A Wonderful Life, Miracle On 34th Street and Remember The Night. The performances are all good and there are sufficient smiles and amusing moments throughout the film, but it's so on the low-key side.

Enjoyable enough, but not that engaging.

Chinatown (Special Collector's Edition) (Bilingual)
Chinatown (Special Collector's Edition) (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Jack Nicholson
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 45.35
10 used & new from CDN$ 0.35

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, Dec 4 2011
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This is a really good film with fascinating atmosphere and great performances. I just regret it has taken me thirty years to get around to seeing it. In some respects it reminds me of more recent films such as L.A. Confidential and Hollywood, two films that also showed an underside to mid century California.

I highly recommend this!

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