Profile for Gerald Parker > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Gerald Parker
Top Reviewer Ranking: 151
Helpful Votes: 156

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
Gerald Parker "Gerald Parker" (Rouyn-Noranda, QC., Dominion of Canada)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Page: 1-10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21-30
pixel
Bomba the Jungle Boy
Bomba the Jungle Boy
by Roy Rockwood
Edition: Hardcover
5 used & new from CDN$ 19.31

5.0 out of 5 stars A Valourous and Lovable Kid in the Jungle, but So Resourceful That He Is Its White Boy Junior King!, March 21 2013
This review is from: Bomba the Jungle Boy (Hardcover)
In my early teens I avidly read, re-read, and read yet again the first ten boys' novels in the Bomba the Jungle Boy series, about this intrepid young adventurer and human Caucasian denizen of the Amazonian jungles. (The later novels place an older Bomba in Africa.) Okay, okay, so he's "teenage Tarzan" fare; Bomba outdid Tarzan for this once (long ago) pubescent teenage reader and Bomba's search to learn more about his parents (which he does, bit by bit, from one novel to the next) makes his story all the more personal and touching.

Wikipedia discusses the real authorship of these novels. The wonder is that they cohere so well as they do from one to another. Bomba even made it to comic books, to the movies, and to early TV, but it is the novels which best immortalise the valiant and intrepid lad. The unthinking racism (assumed supremacy of white men over native races) of all of the Bomba books is enough to rouse the fury of readers whose sensibilities are too obsessed with "political correctness". It is better to recognise that the Bomba author(s) meant no harm and simply reflect the values and assumptions of their era. The Bomba adventures, indeed, date far back into the early decades of the 20th century. The fact that the books are set in primitive surroundings makes these books, apart from some incipient racism, seem timeless and about as topical as they would if set in later times.

One thing that can be disconcerting is the amount of wildlife that Bomba slays along the way in his adventures, pumas, jaguars, caymans (or "alligators" as usually called a bit mistakenly in the novels), giant snakes, and other fearsome critters. (Yet Bomba has an astonishing ability to befriend many animals and to converse with them.) In the series Bomba occasionally slays, as well, a number of non-white men, those who are among jungle enemies of himself and of old Cody Casson, his mentor, and of his mysterious parents.

Even the 1950s editions/printings that I read as a young teen nowadays are collectors' items, and there were many printings from earlier decades that are more collectible still, especially if any of the books of any date have their marvellously evocative paper sleeves. A publisher of today should bring out all ten of the novels of the initial Bomba series in new editions, sturdy enough, of course, to withstand a youthful reader's reading (or multiple readings) of them, with the texts unaltered, and in attractively presented, hopefully vintagely illustrated editions; updating these novels only would detract from their charm.

Bomba the Jungle Boy and the Lost Explorers
Bomba the Jungle Boy and the Lost Explorers
by Roy Rockwood
Edition: Hardcover
4 used & new from CDN$ 54.00

4.0 out of 5 stars So Satisfying Is It To Know, Finally, How Bomba's Days in the Amazon Jungle Lead Him, at Last, Back to His Parents, March 19 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
In my early teens I avidly read, re-read, and read yet again the first ten boys' novels in the Bomba the Jungle Boy series, about this intrepid young adventurer and human Caucasian denizen of the Amazonian jungles. This review of the tenth and last of the first series of the Bomba books relating his adventures in the Amazonian jungle, is not much different than my review of the first Amazonian Bomba book. (The later Bomba novels place a somewhat older Bomba in Africa.) Okay, okay! so he's "teenage Tarzan" fare; Bomba outdid Tarzan for this once (long ago) pubescent teenage reader and Bomba's search to learn more about his parents (which he does, bit by bit, from one novel to the next) makes his story all the more personal and touching. In "Bomba the Jungle Boy and the Lost Explorers" the lad finally discovers his origins and, wonderfully for him, his very father who, needless to say, is one of those Lost Explorers! At novel's end he is about to meet his mother, too. To give more details than that would spoil the avid reader of Bomba's adventures the pleasure of knowing the outcome, after ten books worth of Bomba's adventures, exploits, prowess, and so forth.

Wikipedia discusses the real authorship of these novels. The wonder is that they cohere so well as they do from one to another. Bomba even made it to comic books, to the movies, and to early TV, but it is the novels which best immortalise the valiant and intrepid lad. The unthinking racism (assumed supremacy of white men over native races) of all of the Bomba books is enough to rouse the fury of readers whose sensibilities are too obsessed with "political correctness". It is better to recognise that the Bomba author(s) meant no harm and simply reflect the values and assumptions of their era. The Bomba adventures, indeed, date far back into the early decades of the 20th century. The fact that the books are set in primitive surroundings makes these books, apart from some incipient racism, seem timeless and about as topical as they would if set in later times.

One thing that can be disconcerting is the amount of wildlife that Bomba slays along the way in his adventures, pumas, jaguars, caymans (or "alligators" as usually called a bit mistakenly in the novels), giant snakes, and other fearsome critters. (Yet Bomba has an astonishing ability to befriend many animals and to converse with them.) Bomba slays a number of non-white men as well, those who are among jungle enemies of himself and of old Cody Casson, his mentor, as well, especially in this last book of the series, of the explorers and of his parents. Some of these iniquitous folk, as well as some more sympathetic figures, reappear, the reader having encountered them in earlier books the Bomba Amazonian series.

Even the 1950s editions/printings that I read as a young teen nowadays are collectors' items, and there were many printings from earlier decades that are more collectible still, especially if any of the books of any date have their marvellously evocative paper sleeves. For whatever reason, "Bomba the Jungle Boy and the Lost Explorers" seems to be the most elusive of the Amazonian series to find. A publisher of today should bring out all ten of the novels of the initial Bomba series in new editions, sturdy enough, of course, to withstand a youthful reader's reading (or multiple readings) of them, with the texts unaltered (despite all that putative "racism"), and in attractively presented, hopefully vintagely illustrated editions; updating these novels only would detract from their charm.

Webster's New School and Office Dictionary
Webster's New School and Office Dictionary
by World Publishing Company
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dictionary of Solid Quality, Albeit without Many Lexicographical "Frills", to Help the Intended Adult Medium-Level Reader, March 6 2013
I always feel a pleasant sensation of affectionate recognition and memories when I see this modest, but well edited dictionary with the nicely designed cover and binding. It is the first dictionary that I owned, having bought it at some dime-store's or drug store's book section in the early 1950s. Not too many years afterward, of course, I progressed through a few better and more adequately adult dictionaries, but this one never was far away, though not used so much as when I was in elementary and junior high school. The earliest copyright date on the verso of the title page is 1943, the year of my birth, and the dictionary remained in print for a long time, not really all that much altered (the pagination totalling the same nicely round sum of 900 pages in "editions" separated by entire decades being one of several clues to that!), as I have noticed when I have come across this dictionary in second-hand shops or at used bookstores.

World Publishing Co. (at first based in Cleveland, Ohio, its editorial offices moving later to New York City when another firm bought out World Publishing) put out numerous such dictionaries, mostly to sell in the book concessions in drugstores, dime-stores, or in book sections of stores of middling quality of all sorts, as well as in existing bookstores, a market to which World Publishing Co. targeted all of its book publications. As World Publishing improved somewhat its line of popular dictionaries such as this one, the company eventually set the gold standard when it released the 1953 College Edition of its justly famous "Webster's New World Dictionary", a truly trend-setting publication whose original editors included David B. Guralnick, which eventually was taken up by other firms (as revisions came along) starting with Simon and Schuster, the firm which at one point acquired all of World Publishing's line of dictionaries. Nonetheless, World, then Simon and Schuster, continued to distribute and to sell World's more modest and bargain-priced works even after the pace-setting "Webster's New World Dictionary" had appeared, such as this "Webster's New School & Office Dictionary". Joseph Devlin (the lexicographical drudge whose "A Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms" remained in print for decades on end, despite it being of only middling utility compared to much better works, even in paperback, of the kind) had seen the World Publishing Co. issue, well before the first of the definitive "New World" dictionary editions were to appear, one of his lexicons formatted on merely 701 large-size pages, "Webster's Giant Illustrated Dictionary", in 1940. There even already had been, before 1953, suchlike dime-store dictionary marvels from World with the phrase "Webster's New World" as part of the title!

What sets this conscientiously workaday dictionary apart from similar such products, like C.M. Stevans' lexical efforts, an example being his "Standard Home and School Dictionary" (published by Leslie-Judge Co., New York) in the first half of the 20th century, is World's better quality of editing, the definitions less slapdash brief and merely "common sense" than in Stevans' and many other lexicographical hacks' work, World's staff actually researching vocabulary at a some reasonable level of sholarship competence. There are no refinements as etymologies, however, in the one or the other of the popular level dictionaries being compared! These were dictionaries to use in reading the newspaper or pop level fiction or non-fiction of the period, not to consult while reading works of literary status or of high intellectual attainment. However, a mere school lad could have done a lot worse than "Webster's New School & Office Dictionary"!

Music Lovers' Cyclopedia; Containing a Pronouncing and Defining Dictionary of Terms, Instruments,
Music Lovers' Cyclopedia; Containing a Pronouncing and Defining Dictionary of Terms, Instruments,
by Rupert Hughes
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 62.61
3 used & new from CDN$ 62.61

4.0 out of 5 stars Homey and Familiar, but Also Still Useful, Lexical Handbook of Music, Feb. 28 2013
The main reason that any practising musician or other music professional of any real sophistication would continue to use this venerable old handbook and dictionary, frequently reissued over the last (20th) century, is for the sake of its biographical section. An edition of this enchiridion from the early 1950s, by then bearing the slightly divergent title, "Music Lover's Encyclopedia", is the one which I used as a young music student from early adolescence onwards; later in life I acquired also one of the earlier editions or printings, dated 1912 with "Cyclopedia" as the third word in the title proper. There are numerous other such seemingly superannuated music dictionaries (especially in German and in English), and this one is not even among the very best of suchlike (if one were to make comparisons of it, for example, with similar works, such items as, among them, "Baltzell's Dictionary of Musicians" or back editions of "Kürschners Deutscher Musiker-Kalender"), but it remains useful, as others of the kind do for much the same reasons, and, unlike many such others which are even more desirable to track down for purchase than Rupert Hughes' compendium happens to be, his work is relatively easy to find for sale, usually inexpensively, in used book stores in the Dominion of Canada and in the U. S. of A.

The entries in the biographical section (which endures as the portion of Rupert Hughes' handbook the most abidingly of interest) are rather perfunctory, succinct, and usually accurate, but that part of the guide, happily, includes the names of many minor composers, musical editors, performers, once widely respected (but now largely forgotten) pedagogues, and others, especially of the 18th and 19th centureis, for whom one seldom encounters entries in later music biographical or general music dictionaries and cyclopaedias. For tracking down such musical "lesser luminaries", even if one might wish that more more ample information about them were included, at least what the modest entries provide makes for a good departure point for learning, at the very least, the "bare essentials" (dates and so forth) about these figures, and often a bit more as well.

As for musical terminology, which is in another alphabetically arranged section of Rupert Hughes' handbook, one really should acquire a later, more scholarly work, such as any edition of the Harvard Dictionary of Music; even a concise (abridged) paperback edition of that work will suffice a student, most of the time, up to and through the first two years of college, university, or conservatory studies. For his part, Hughes, at least, does not get things so wrong as similar works by many popularisers of his kind, then or now, sometimes do. The miscellaneous articles that make up the balance of the volume, even if of lesser significance, are welcome, in some cases even of lasting value. The various editions across the years of this humble book, all of it or of the separately published parts of it, continue to be worth having at hand.

Peguy, Soldat De La Liberte
Peguy, Soldat De La Liberte
by Roger Secretain
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Study Worthy To Read about an Important CatholicConvert = Étude substantielle sur Charles Péguy qui vaut se lire, Feb. 22 2013
N.B.: Reviewed here in English and in French = Critique ici en anglais et français.

This book offers a substantial study and reflection (the 1941 first edition, first printing being 364 pages in length) about Charles Péguy, the famous poet, also an important intellectual figure of socialism, then, having become a convert to Catholicism, of Christian faith. It is rather surprising that the scanty list of works about Péguy in his Wikipedia entry had not mentioned already this rather important book, before I contributed a minor edit to the article.

This is one to read if one has an interest in this main of history and of the Church. He is an intellectual worth rediscovering in our 21st century times!

------------------

Ce livre offre une étude et réflection substantielles (l'édition et imprssion de 1941 étant de 364 pages) sur Charles Péguy, fameux comme socialiste devenu converti catholique. Il est surprenant que la trop brève liste d'ouvrages à son sujet de Wikipédia n'avait pas cité cet ouvrage assez important avant que j'y ai contribué une citation comme révision mineure.

À lire si l'on s'intéresse à cet homme d'histoire et d'Église, une figure à redécouvrir aujourd'hui au 21e siècle!

Poseidon
Poseidon
2 used & new from CDN$ 5.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Up, Over, and Flip Uside Down Goes the Poseidon, Then a Group of Passagers Climb and Crawl Through It at Great Risk, Feb. 21 2013
This review is from: Poseidon
I love movies about the sea, i.e. especially about power-driven ships, big or small. (The sailing ships are less interesting to me, unless, of course, any of them should happen to have a pirate crew aboard! Errol Flynn still "rocks"!) Nonetheless, ultimately I guess that I have to go to the 1972 movie, "The Poseidon Adventure", or to this 2006 remake, titled simply "Poseidon", for some real ship-kicking fun. My experience on ships as a young sailor was with those of Second World War vintage, and these modern vessels, like the Poseidon sort or any such cruise ship now, are mystifying, with all of that advanced technology. Then, atop that, things are mostly upside down, of course, once the ship has capsized completely! Those factors bewilder, as well as the fact that cruise ships have come to look, and to operate for the passengers, more along the lines of floating hotels (with or without casinos) than more recognisably like "real" sea-going vessels!

Still, it's fun going through the guts of any ship as the actors do in this film, so I was happy that most of the film takes place not in the ballroom and passenger cabins, but deep within the ship, right to the bottom of its overturned hull. For those who like the "innards" of ships most of all, this is fun to watch, as, for the same reason, so much of "Ghost Ship" was, too. The actors mostly are okay, and it is nice to have a talented little boy passenger among them, instead of adults entirely. I'll be watching this again!

Poseidon [Import]
Poseidon [Import]

4.0 out of 5 stars Upside Down and So Modern, This Ship Looks Strange, but It Makes for a Great Adventure on and through It!, Feb. 21 2013
This review is from: Poseidon [Import] (DVD)
I love movies about the sea, i.e. especially about power-driven ships, big or small. (The sailing ships are less interesting to me, unless, of course, any of them should happen to have a pirate crew aboard! Errol Flynn still "rocks"!) Nonetheless, ultimately I guess that I have to go to the 1972 movie, "The Poseidon Adventure", or to this 2006 remake, titled simply "Poseidon", for some real ship-kicking fun. My experience on ships as a young sailor was with those of Second World War vintage, and these modern vessels, like the Poseidon sort or any such cruise ship now, are mystifying, with all of that advanced technology. Then, atop that, things are mostly upside down, of course, once the ship has capsized completely! Those factors bewilder, as well as the fact that cruise ships have come to look, and to operate for the passengers, more along the lines of floating hotels (with or without casinos) than more recognisably like "real" sea-going vessels!

Still, it's fun going through the guts of any ship as the actors do in this film, so I was happy that most of the film takes place not in the ballroom and passenger cabins, but deep within the ship, right to the bottom of its overturned hull. For those who like the "innards" of ships most of all, this is fun to watch, as, for the same reason, so much of "Ghost Ship" was, too. The actors mostly are okay, and it is nice to have a talented little boy passenger among them, instead of adults entirely. I'll be watching this again!

Poseidon / Le Poséidon (Bilingual)
Poseidon / Le Poséidon (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Kurt Russell
Price: CDN$ 7.49
38 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting, but a Ship Like This Is Disorienting for an Old One-time Sailor!, Feb. 19 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I love movies about the sea, i.e. especially about power-driven ships, big or small. (The sailing ships are less interesting to me, unless, of course, any of them should happen to have a pirate crew aboard! Errol Flynn still "rocks"!) Nonetheless, ultimately I guess that I have to go to the 1972 movie, "The Poseidon Adventure", or to this 2006 remake, titled simply "Poseidon", for some real ship-kicking fun. My experience on ships as a young sailor was with those of Second World War vintage, and these modern vessels, like the Poseidon sort or any such cruise ship now, are mystifying, with all of that advanced technology. Then, atop that, things are mostly upside down, of course, once the ship has capsized completely! Those factors bewilder, as well as the fact that cruise ships have come to look, and to operate for the passengers, more along the lines of floating hotels (with or without casinos) than more recognisably like "real" sea-going vessels!

Still, it's fun going through the guts of any ship as the actors do in this film, so I was happy that most of the film takes place not in the ballroom and passenger cabins, but deep within the ship, right to the bottom of its overturned hull. For those who like the "innards" of ships most of all, this is fun to watch, as, for the same reason, so much of "Ghost Ship" was, too. The actors mostly are okay, and it is nice to have a talented little boy passenger among them, instead of adults entirely. I'll be watching this again!

Read 'Em and Weep: The Songs You Forgot to Remember
Read 'Em and Weep: The Songs You Forgot to Remember
by Sigmund Gottfried Spaeth
Edition: Hardcover
10 used & new from CDN$ 68.74

5.0 out of 5 stars Good Source for Tracking Down Some Songs Which Are "So Bad That They Are Good" (in a Way---), Feb. 19 2013
This book, and some others about popular songs of yore, by Sigmund Spaeth, a once famous music populariser, remains useful to track down "tacky" songs of tawdry sentiment, outrageous humour, and so forth, especially for their lyrics. The "over the top" texts of some of these old-time pop songs, many of them from the pre-First World War years, especially the "Gaslight Era", can cause them to surface from obscurity at the most surprising times. So, if you are a nostalgia pop buff, you need this book, as well as some others by Spaeth, to help you to identify them and to learn a bit more about such marginal repertory. Professional music librarians, especially (but not only) those who work in large public libraries, know very well how much help some of Spaeth's books still can be.

Here is an hint: It also helps to have some songbooks from colleges and universities, usually published during pre-W.W. II years for the sake of fun-loving campus fraternities, and, to top that, the songs in the best of such volumes are harmonised, i.e. with accompaniments or harmonium. A couple of my favourite such songsters of the sort are from McGill University, but there are other similar ones from the big American "Ivy League" schools and from some of the more prestigious American state universities. Grab these publications if you come across them! Keep them, which is good advice to do, too, regarding Spaeth's books on pop music. Such books and songsters are marvellous for "pop trivia" quizzes or just to sit and read the words or to play and sing the music yourself, for the sake of innocent merriment, or with your "boon companions" or sports and drinking buddies!

No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars The Biographical Cyclopaedic Work of Rupert Hughes Holds More Lasting Interest Than His Other Lexical Endeavours, Feb. 17 2013
The main reason that any practising musician or other music professional of any real sophistication would continue to use Rupert Hughes' musical handbook, "The Music Lovers' Encyclopedia", has been for the sake of the biographical portion, here available separate from the rest of Hughes' venerable old handbook and dictionary, frequently reissued over the last (20th) century. An edition of this enchiridion, including not only the biographical part but the terminology lexicon and the rest of it (forming together that "Music Lovers' Encyclopedia"), from the early 1950s, is the one which I used as a young music student from early adolescence onwards.

There are numerous other such seemingly superannuated dictionaries of musical biography (especially in German and in English), and this one is not even among the very best of suchlike. If one were to make comparisons of it, for example, with similar works, such items as, among them, "Baltzell's Dictionary of Musicians" or back editions of "Kürschners Deutscher Musiker-Kalender", Hughes' work would be of less intensive usefulness. Nonethess, Rupert Hughes' work remains useful, as other older works of the kind do for much the same reasons. Unlike many such others which are even more desirable to track down for purchase than Rupert Hughes' compendium happens to be, his work is relatively easy to find for sale, usually inexpensively, in used book stores in the Dominion of Canada and in the U. S. of A.

The biographical entries (which are in the portion of Hughes' larger work that is of the most abiding interest) are rather perfunctory, succinct, and usually accurate, but that part of the guide, happily, includes the names of many minor composers, musical editors, performers, once widely respected (but now largely forgotten) pedagogues, and others, especially of the 18th and 19th centureis, for whom one seldom encounters entries in later music biographical or general music dictionaries and cyclopaedias. For tracking down such musical "lesser luminaries", even if one might wish that more more ample information about them were included, at least what the modest entries provide makes for a good departure point for learning, at the very least, the "bare essentials" (dates and so forth) about these figures, and often a bit more as well.

Page: 1-10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21-30