ANDY WARHOL FILMS AND PAINTINGS: The Factory Years By Peter Gidal (Da Capo Press, Paperback, 164 pages, $14.95) Many consider Andy's factory years to be his most creative. At the height of the sixties, Warhol made underground films and changed the world of art by painting things like Campbell's soup cans. This book is about those works of art and I learned about many works that had previously been unfamiliar. Tons of illustrations will make Worhol's early work come alive for you too. (Netta Gilboa)
THE BEST OF BYTE: Two Decades on the Leading Edge Edited by Jay Ranade and Alan Nash (McGraw-Hill Inc., Paperback, 640 pages, $24.95) The Best of BYTE provides a representative sampling from this ground-breaking magazine for personal computer users, begun in 1975. Part history, part technical information, the overriding impression left with the casual reader is that BYTE was there at the dawn of PCs, taking it all down and daring to publish all this in a newsstand format, long before a audience had been proven to exist for the information. From the perspective of 1994 that may not look as adventurous as it was, but at the time it was an expensive gamble.
The entire history of the personal computer industry is included in this massive book, in one manner or another. Essays on all of the computer manufacturers, their technical people, advancements in hardware, software and marketing are between the covers. These are the original articles, not re-written for today's audience. Reading articles of historical interest about Apple II, for example, are doubly fascinating considering the leaps of technological faith we're all undergoing today. The Best of BYTE is a wonderfully interesting historical document. (John Koenig)
BILLY NAME: Stills From The Warhol Films Edited By Debra Miller and John G. Hanhardt (te Newes Publishing Company) Paperback, 130 pages, $29.95)Billy Name was the official factory fotographer back in the sixties. He helped promote 25 Warhol films and this book shows off his stuff. Of particular interest are the still from screen tests for Bob Dylan, The Velvet Underground's John Cale and seven others. The book also serves as a good guide to films like The Chelsea Girls, The Nude Restaurant, The Fuggs and The Holy Modal Rounders, etc. If you're interested in the underground art scene of the 1960s, this is not to be missed
BILLBOARD TOP 1000 SINGLES 1955 - 1992 By Joel Whitburn (Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation, Paperback, 144 pages, $9.95) Was Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" really the greatest single of all time? There are many different criteria one can consider, but the most "official" way to analyze this is to examine the Hot 100 chart in the music industry bible, Billboard Magazine. And yes friends, at 14 weeks at #1 (longer than the nine weeks for "Hey Jude," ten weeks for Olivia Newton-John's "Physical," and even longer than the previous high water mark - 11 weeks at #1 for Elvis' "Hound Dog/Don't Be Cruel"), it conclusively is.
Listed are the top 1000 hits (all reached #1 or #2) and the number of weeks each spent in the Top 10 and Top 40. Other listings include the definitive Top 40 for each year, a color section for the Top 100 albums (#1 all-time is the Soundtrack to West Side Story, which spent an amazing 54 weeks at #1 in the early 1960s), and some other miscellaneous charts. Great for industry people and amateur chart enthusiasts alike. (Alan Sheckter)
BLUEGRASS: A History By Neil V. Rosenberg (University Of Illinois Press, Paperback, 454 pages, $18.95) If bluegrass music interests you, this book traces its history and offers photographs, bibliography, discography and draws from interviews with 19 relevant people. The chapters begin with Hillbilly music and The Monroe Brothers and cover folk festivals, religion and fiddle music, and the state of bluegrass today. Well done. (Netta Gilboa)
A CENTURY OF WOMEN CARTOONISTS By Trina Robbins (Kitchen Sink Press, Paperback, 186 pages, $16.95) Cartooning has always been a male dominated field, but you wouldn't know it to look through this book. Included are pages from romance comics, underground comics, daily newspaper strips and rare instances of women illustrating men's comics such as Aquaman and Spider-man. Also included are photos of women cartoonists and a discussion of how the themes of women's artwork varies from men's. Highly recommended to comic collectors, feminists, artists and historians. (Netta Gilboa)
CLAIMS TO FAME By Joshua Gamson (University of California Press, Paperback, 260 pages, $14.00) If there's one thing I learned since starting Gray Areas, it's that celebrities have all sorts of similarities regardless of specific occupation. This book focuses on "celebrity in contemporary America." It includes interviews with various entertainment personalities, publicists, talent managers and media representatives as well as common people who discuss the relationships between celebrity and audience. Well done. (Netta Gilboa)
COCAINE TRUE, COCAINE BLUE By Eugene Richards (Aperture, Hardcover, 165 pages, $40.00) Although most of us know somebody who messed up badly after doing too much cocaine, little has been done to document the harm it has done to society. This book documents a traveling exhibition of photography showing people in different cities having different experiences with cocaine. There are pictures of pipes, powder, police, guns, distorted eyes, needles, funerals, broken dreams, gangs and overdoses. The book includes interviews with gang members, addicts, dealers, parents, children, the elderly, sex workers, police, and the clergy. Superb. (Netta Gilboa)
THE COMPLETE BEATLES LYRICS (Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation, Paperback, 224 pages, $14.95) There's a big resurgence of interest in the Beatles this year, the 30th anniversary of when they first hit America and the stage of The Ed Sullivan Show. This book will answer any lyrical questions one has about Beatles songs. With about 20 full-page black and white illustrations showing the fab four in various stages of their career, the songs are listed in chronological order as they were released in Britain, from October, 1962's single "Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You" to "For You Blue" on May, 1970's Let It Be album. Only Beatles originals are included. Covers like "Twist & Shout" and "Roll Over Beethoven" are not. From the early simple words like "She loves you yeh yeh yeh; with a love like that, you know you should be glad..." to the more psychedelically complex lyrics like "Words are flying out like endless rain into a paper cup, they slither while they pass, they slip away across the universe," this high quality book has 'em all. (Alan Sheckter)
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO GENTLEMEN'S ENTERTAINMENT By Kinsley D. Jones and William A. Harland (OSJG, P.O. Box 568, Quincy, IL 62306, Paperback, 336 pages, $16.95) 2300 nude, topless and go-go clubs in North America are profiled here. About 10% of these clubs move, go out of business, or change their name every six months. However, the industry is growing. According to the authors, there are 30% more listings in this edition than last year's. Enjoy. (Netta Gilboa)
COSMIC RETRIBUTION: The Infernal Art Of Joe Coleman Edited By Adam Parfrey and Pat Moriarity (Fantagraphic Books, Paperback, 138 pages, $22.95) This very gray artist is praised by everybody from Charles Manson to Robert Crumb. This collection of his work features lavishly illustrated color pages of Coleman's best work. Coleman specializes in capturing deviants such as killers, whores, biker types, unhappy families, etc. His work personifies horror and rage, and it's no surprise he's been hired to do art for films like Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer, and the book cover for Apocalypse Culture. A great talent, although not for everyone. (Netta Gilboa)
CREATE YOUR OWN DESKTOP PUBLISHING SYSTEM By Harley Bjelland (Windcrest/McGraw-Hill, Paperback, 368 pages, $24.95) These are the 90s and anyone with a PC can be a desktop publisher, whether their goal is a single page flyer, newsletter or larger publication. The possibilities are endless, directly related to the sophistication of your computer equipment.
This book focuses on the choices you have to make regarding size of your hard drive, extra hard drives, CPU memory capabilities, CD-ROMS, scanners as well as the importance of a high-res monitor and printer for maximum WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). There are also excellent descriptions of upgrading your motherboard (going from 386 to 486), adding memory and other do-it-yourself changes.
Overall, this exhaustive, all-inclusive, everything-you-need-to-know book gives you the ability to analyze just exactly what components you need for your own desktop publishing system. The author does, however, acknowledge that it is still your creative mind that is necessary to combine all of these elements. But with this book, you can save on the consulting fees one would charge to build your system. (Alan Sheckter)
THE CREDIT REPAIR RIP-OFF By Bob Hammond (Paladin Press, Paperback, 194 pages) Today, everyone in America knows how important it is to keep a good credit rating. If that rating should slip, it is very tough to get a loan, buy a house or car, or even get a credit card. But the toughest thing may be to undo that bad rating. Shortcuts are always tempting, and in the last five years, "credit repair" services have come out of the woodwork with promises of erasing any bad credit whether it be from late payments, bankruptcy or foreclosures. Many of these are scams.
Hammond is here to educate us on what these companies will really do for you. Often they do nothing, or they'll break the law and charge you a hefty fee to do so. Give a credit repair service some cash and they're liable to scam the credit bureau into changing records, swapping your credit info with someone else with the same name who has good credit, or other wrongful tactics. The book tells you legal ways to help turn your rating around, and gives you addresses of TRW, Trans Union and Equifax (the big three credit companies). Hammond has written three previous books on credit and credit restoration. This one could be very useful to you by saving you lots of money and legal headaches. (Alan Sheckter)
CREDIT: THE CUTTING EDGE By Scott French (Paladin Press, Paperback, 252 pages) While the previous book warns you about scams in the credit repair business, this book is about legally repairing your damaged credit rating, focusing on little-known credit facts, as well as giving you a peek at devious tricks and how to deal with collection agencies. You'll have to sift out what is useful and what is not, but there is a plethora of information here on secured credit cards (where they hold your money as collateral), credit card applications, credit crimes and even starting your own bank (all you need is 200 willing investors)!
This book will help you organize your strategies. Useful, but be careful! (Alan Sheckter)
THE CULT OF INFORMATION By Theodore Roszak (University of California Press, Paperback, 270 pages, $10.00) Roszak, a college history professor has written many fiction and non-fiction works including 1969's The Making Of A Counter Culture. This time, in The Cult Of Information, Roszak takes a critical look at the unbelievable amount of information now publicly accessible through our home computers and the Internet. Is there possibly too much information and technology available? How valuable is all that data anyway? Are computers in elementary schools necessary or merely "a solution in search of problems"? What is the place of the good old public library in today's age of information through computing? Roszak is worth listening to as he answers these and a myriad of other questions. (Alan Sheckter)
DEFYING GRAVITY: The Making of Newton By Markos Kounaikis, photographs by Doug Menuez (Beyond Words Publishing, Hardcover, $29.95) Newton the product is barely in the marketplace, yet a sumptuous book approaching coffee-table status has been published. Defying Gravity pulls off the trick, however. Blending imaginative documentary-like photographs and always - moving - forward writing, the story of the Newton project is captivating. The peek into the processes at Apple, the meetings, the impact of John Scully, all combine for an extraordinary trip through a heretofore hidden but wondered-about series of events.
Whether Newton as it exists today is successful as a consumer product is beside the point. Defying Gravity is about excitement in the computer industry; it's full of imagination, of dreams becoming reality. From the cover through the layouts inside, real design is at work here. Mixing arty photos and layouts with clean and crisp page design results in a most beautiful volume. An important chapter in the continuing saga of Apple has been chronicled, proving once again that daring, intelligent entrepreunership is alive and well at Apple Computers. (John Koenig)
ESTIMATED PROFIT: The Grateful Dead Bootleg Albums (A.P. Delaney, Postfach 254, 91543 Dinkelsbühl, Germany, Paperback, 130 pages, write for price) Yes, the title is spelled right. That's "profit" not "prophet," a profit that the Grateful Dead themselves won't see a dime of. While the free underground bootleg taping scene consists of trading; bootleg albums and CDs are different. They are always intended to be sold.
The book is well done when it comes to being chock full of information on each album including record label, source date and arena, track list, as well as additional comments about the cover, special colored vinyl and sound quality. There are dozens of pages devoted to approximately 5" X 5" reproductions of the covers themselves. Some are dazzling, some are really bad, virtually all being copyright and trademark violations.
Always funny with bootleg listings of any type are the misnaming of songs. Some gems you can find listed on Dead bootleg records include "Hell In A Basket," "I Was Born In The Desert," "Cumberland Mine" and "West Texas Cowboy."
Amusing (because of all the bootleggers mistakes), interesting (seeing the album art and the huge numbers of records out there) and infuriating (they're all illegal). (Alan Sheckter)
THE GIRL WANTS TO Edited by Lynn Crosbie (Coach House Press, Paperback, 272 pages, $19.95) Although this is filed away in either the Literature or Women's Studies sections of book stores, you should make the effort to track it down. It's an anthology which combines cartoons, poetry, photographs, fiction and real life experiences about "women's representations of sex and the body." Included are contributions from Pamela Des Barre, Xaviera Hollander, Lydia Lunch, Erica Jong, etc. A masterpiece of varied interpretations of female sexuality. (Netta Gilboa)
GOING GOING GONE By Susan Jones & Marilyn Nissenson (Chronicle Books, Paperback, 175 pages, $18.95) This delightfully nostalgic book looks at items that were part of everyday life only a few years ago that are rapidly becoming obsolete. Wonderfully illustrated, Going Going Gone covers the obvious (vinyl records, rotary phones) and the obscure (marbles, penmanship, slide rules) among its 71 subjects. Remember blue laws? Carbon paper? Civil defense shelters? House calls? Great recollections from the not-so-distant past. (Alan Sheckter)
GRAPHICS FOR THE DESKTOP PUBLISHER By Bruce Paddock (MIS Press, Paperback, 436 pages, $29.95) Author Paddock has written an extraordinarily clear and easy-to-understand general guide for beginning to slightly-experienced computer users with publishing ambitions. Written with both IBM and Macintosh formats in mind, the twenty-six chapters concentrate on the general areas that will be of most interest to intermediate experience computer people attempting to make buying decisions. Factors such as storage media, monitors, printers, and software are closely examined and discussed. Paddock brings an experienced point of view to his writing and his opinions, adding a good dose of common sense to the discussions.
Probably of greatest interest to readers other than rank computer beginners is the explanations concerning draw and paint programs, clip art programs, scanning images, and working with service bureaus. Many books involve themselves with extensive help for design and layout; providing work in a format that service bureaus can utilize efficiently and to greatest effect is a critical area for desktop publishers often ignored in otherwise helpful books.
Graphics For The Desktop Publisher is an interesting and easy read that will help any but the most expert computer oriented publishers. (John Koenig)
THE GREAT CARTOON DIRECTORS By Jeff Lenburg (Da Capo Press, Paperback, 264 pages, $14.95) Eight animation directors are profiled along with complete filmographies for each. Included are Walter Lantz (Woody Woodpecker), Bob Clampett (Beany & Cecil), Hanna and Barbera, Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng (Bugs Bunny), Dave Fleischer (Betty Boop), Tex Avery and Ub Iwerks (Mickey Mouse). Each chapter discusses how they came up with their characters and how they managed to keep them fresh and unpredictable. (Netta Gilboa)
GREENWICH VILLAGE: Culture and Counterculture Edited By Rick Beard and Leslie Cohen Berlowitz (Rutgers University Press, Hardcover, 420 pages) This marvelous anthology captures the neighborhood and residents of New York's premier bohemian neighborhood. There are articles on the writers who have lived there, the Italians, the gays, the architecture and even the tourist trade. Lots of historical illustrations prove the hippies gravitated here for a reason in the 1960s. This neighborhood has always been particularly tolerant and diverse. Don't miss this if you're into architecture, gay rights or have spent a lot of time in the Village. (Netta Gilboa)
GUITAR MAKING: Tradition And Technology By William R. Cumpiano and Jonathan D. Natelson (Chronicle Books, Paperback, 390 pages, $24.95) This reference book explains how to design and construct steel-string folk guitars and classical guitars. The reader is taken through every step of the process with photos, diagrams and instructions. While I doubt that my work would look like theirs, musicians will appreciate knowing how the instruments they love are constructed. Believe it or not, this is the first book to provide this technical reference material. A must for guitar players of all ages. (Netta Gilboa)
HOLUSION ART (NVision Grafix, Inc., Paperback, 40 pages) Here's a whole book full of those 3D pictures that you look at until hopefully a hidden image appears. Ideal for those who feel under too much stress trying to focus on a poster in a busy retail store or for those who are so passionate about this fad that they wish to turn on all their friends. The book is sold wherever the posters are. Look for it. (Netta Gilboa)
HOT WACKS BOOK: SUPPLEMENTS 1 & 2 (The Hot Wacks Press, Paperback, 200 pages, $9.95 (#1), $11.95 (#2)) From Abba to ZZ Top, these are supplements to the constantly growing bootleg record and CD rating guide and discography. Like the original Hot Wacks Book (800 pages for $16.95), each entry is full of detailed data: bootleg title, tracks, recording date and venue, bootleg record company and sound ratings. Amazing how many new bootlegs come out every year, not just from artists like U2, Springsteen and Dylan, but modern rockers like Morrissey, NIN and L7.
Very gray indeed is the five-page monster list of bootleg videos FOR SALE (at $33.00 each) in the back of the book. (Alan Sheckter)
HOW TO BEAT "HONESTY" TESTS By Sneaky Pete (Loompanics Unlimited, Paperback, 56 pages, $5.95) Employers have turned to asking applicants to fill out answers to psychological tests in the hopes they can weed out fundamentally dishonest people before they get hired. Personally, I've failed every one of these tests I've ever taken and remember being infuriated that the fact I was a female who had visited adult bookstores and read porn magazines counted against me. You might wonder what such a question even has to do with managing a retail store, but that gives you a clue as to why we need books on these gray value judgment oriented tests. Not surprisingly, the book explains that truly honest people are certain to fail these tests. Explored are the history of these tests, how they are scored, how to keep your answers consistent and a critique of the most commonly used tests out there. Worth a look if you're job hunting. (Netta Gilboa)
HUSTLING: A Gentleman's Guide To The Fine Art Of Homosexual Prostitution By John Preston, (Masquerade Books, Inc., Paperback, 180 pages, $12.95) Believe it or not, there has never been a book on this subject before. This awesome work explains who hustles, how they find customers, who buys sex, how to set yourself up in business and even why you shouldn't do it. Our favorite chapter (of course) was the one entitled "Gray Areas" which covered things like sex with the boss, adopted sons, hustling in bars and sugar daddys. Highly recommended if the subject interests you. (Netta Gilboa)
INCREDIBLY STRANGE FILMS (RE/Search Publications, Paperback, 230 pages, $17.99) Cult movies are the theme here including genres such as bikers, beach parties, women in prison, educational, sexploitation, mondo, industrial, jeopardy and LSD. There are interviews with directors Herschell Gordon Lewis, Russ Meyer and essays on people like George Romero and films like Wizard Of Gore. This is a great introduction for those who've only seen one or two of these flicks as well as a reference work for aficionados. A must if you have a weakness for "bad" movies. (Netta Gilboa)
INCREDIBLY STRANGE MUSIC Volume 2 Edited By V. Vale and A. Juno (RE/Search Publications, Paperback, 200 pages, $17.99) This lavishly illustrated book is a continuation of neglected records from the 1950s to the 1970s that might be found at garage sales. Included are people like Jello Biafra and Ken Nordine, who speak about their favorite obscure records. A must for record collectors and cult movie collectors. (Netta Gilboa)
LED ZEPPELIN LIVE: An Illustrated Exploration Of Underground Tapes By Luis Rey (The Hot Wacks Press, Paperback, 336 pages, $16.95) More than just a listing of Zeppelin concert dates, this gives details of every known Zeppelin show from their September, 1968 Scandinavian tour (as the New Yardbirds), to July 7, 1980's final show in Berlin, Germany. All shows are covered. Each gig is accompanied by a detailed tape/concert review and I was astounded by the journalistic completeness of the documentation. Also included are 29 pages describing each song, A to Z, from "Achilles Last Stand" to "Your Time Is Gonna Come," as well as many "live-only" ditties in between. Amazingly comprehensive. (Alan Sheckter)
LOVE IN VAIN: A Vision Of Robert Johnson By Alan Greenberg (Da Capo Press, Inc., Paperback, 272 pages, $13.95) Drawing from myth, legend, on-the-scene research and his recordings, Greenberg explores the world of Delta blues musician Robert Johnson. Presented as a screenplay that reads like literature, this is a must to read if you're interested in the blues or in life in Mississippi in the early 1900s. Look for this book to be made into a movie to be directed by Martin Scorsese. (Netta Gilboa)
MODERN PRIMITIVES Edited By V. Vale and Andrea Juno (RE/Search Publications, Paperback, 212 pages, $14.99) Subtitled "An Investigation of Contemporary Adornment & Ritual," this shocking examination from RE/Search deals both narratively and pictorially with tattooing, body piercing and scarification. One of the "subjects" examined, famed body experimenter Fakir Musafar, explains his fascination with body modification (stretching the neck and genitalia, forced slimming of the waist with a metal belt, etc.), dates back to his days as a child, reading encyclopedias and other illustrated reference materials about primitive rituals and viewed them "not as objects of derision, but as role models signifying a forgotten direction for future development and evolution. Other spellbinding subjects (there are 24), include sword-swallowing, fire-eating Captain Don, tattoo sideshow spectacle Tattoo Mike, underground piercing and tattoo video producing couple Genesis and Paula P-Orridge as well as respected San Franciscan tattooist Lyle Tuttle. A serious work for those intrigued by these daring practices. (Alan Sheckter)
MY LIFE AS A PORNOGRAPHER & OTHER INDECENT ACTS By John Preston (Masquerade Books, Inc., Paperback, 266 pages, $12.95) This is a serious, not sleazy narrative work from famed sexual non-conformist and pornographer John Preston. Most of his writing, essays and articles deal with gay pornography, though some passages tell tales of S/M and dominatrixes. Among other topics covered are gay pride, sexual health, the state of pornography and even underwear as pornography. Perhaps Preston's scholarly, yet non-conformist views can be best summed up in the closing sentence in the book - "...The future of gay erotica is in your hands. Release it. Let it come. Give yourself over to be used as artistic inspiration... The way to get better pornography is to give pornographers better sex." (Alan Sheckter)
NATIONAL 800/900 TELEPHONE SERVICE CODE BOOK By Kenneth Sperry (CRB Research Books, Inc., Paperback, 80 pages) This concise book mostly contains explanations and definitions of the first three numbers in telephone numbers having 800 and 900 prefixes. Noting that with 800 numbers 000 through 199 are not used, some examples are that any 1-800-288-XXXX number is routed through MCI and 1-800-624-XXXX are through AT&T. (Both MCI and AT&T utilize many numbers). 286 is Southern New England Telephone, 865 is routed through the Hawaiian Telephone Co., etc. 900 numbers, only around since about 1980, also have the same system of assigning the first three digits to a long distance company. While this is somewhat interesting, it would be more so to see a directory of unusual 800 and 900 numbers (such as 1-900-909-NASA where the caller can hear live conversations between astronauts and mission control as well as other commentary and updates during space shuttle missions). That's the book I want to see! (Alan Sheckter)
NETIQUETTE By Virginia Shea (Albion Books, Paperback, 160 pages, $19.95) Okay, you're a big shot executive at your company. You have a state of the art PC and a modem that you know will act as a gateway not only for communications within your company, but to that information superhighway, the Internet. Sometimes, one forgets that even though modern day computing and communicating is a fairly new thing, there are manners and social graces to be followed, thus Netiquette.
With one varied bit of punctuation, your whole message and attitude may be misinterpreted or taken the wrong way. Learn how to let someone know you are kidding with them, when to make public comments, when not to and how to flame someone (yell at them). Before jumping on the Internet bandwagon, wither have someone carefully show you the ropes, or - buy this book. Hell, buy the book anyway. Shea's done a great job! (Alan Sheckter)
NEXT TIME, SHE'LL BE DEAD: Battering & How To Stop It By Ann Jones (Beacon Press, Hardcover, 272 pages, $22.00) Wife abuse was a trendy media topic for a while. Sadly, it's no longer discussed much. This powerful book explains the problem well to those unfamiliar with this complex subject. It focuses on how we unwittingly encourage violence against women. Most of the book addresses what happens when women try to leave and shows the reality that they are often still beaten, raped and murdered after they've left. Well done. (Netta Gilboa)
NOTES AND TONES: Musician-To-Musician Interviews By Arthur Taylor (Da Capo Press, Inc., Paperback, 300 pages, $13.95) This is a re-publication of the original 1982 book, with the addition of a new intro and some never before published interviews.
Arthur Taylor was a musician himself, drumming with folks like Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk and John Coltrane. His proximity to these men made for insightful and sometimes shocking comments from these black musicians, especially since many of these interviews were from the racially unequal times of the 1960s and early 70s. Some wonderful photos accompany the no holds barred interviews. An eye opener that helps the reader visualize what these jazz musicians saw and felt. (Alan Sheckter)
THE ORIGINAL UNOFFICIAL JOINT SMOKING RULES By Simon Worman (Self-published, see ad in this section, 165 pages, $17.95 ppd.) And now for something completely different. Rules - there are 75 of them according to Worman. This hilarious book (printed on hemp paper, I might add), is a great conversation piece for those who fondly remember their "getting stoned" days or those who are still living 'em.
Some rules are very obvious, like Rule #3, The Fire Rule, which states "you must have some fire to light the joint. Otherwise you cannot smoke it." Then there's the "Rolling A Joint That Won't Smoke Rule," where the penalty is that you have to re-roll the joint and you won't be allowed to partake in it, as well as the "Letting The Joint Go Out Rule," which states that if you can't pay attention to a lit object in your hand, you don't need to be smoking a joint. The most harsh rule is definitely Rule #28, the "Knocking The Tray Over Rule," where the penalty (especially if you just knocked over someone's entire stash onto high-pile carpet) may be death.
A glossary in the back includes words like baked, bunkweed, kind-bud, shotgun, etc. Cool, comical illustrations accompany each rule. Whimsical, one of a kind work. (Alan Sheckter)
OUTLAWS, LAWMEN AND BAD WOMEN By Arthur Winfield Knight (Potpourri Publications Company, P.O. Box 8278, Prairie Village, KS 66208. Paperback, 56 pages, $5.00) Interested in some of America's best loved outlaws? We don't usually review poetry, but we made an exception for this well-researched book by one of our reviewers. There are poems on Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Doc Holiday, John Wesley Hardin, Geronimo, Wyatt Earp, etc. Suprisingly good use of historical detail. Unique! (Netta Gilboa)
THE PHOTOSHOP WOW! BOOK By Linnea Dayton and Jack Davis (Peachpit Press, Paperback, 196 pages, $35.00) Adobe Photoshop continues to be regarded as the most powerful and useful software program for processing photographic images in the personal computer. Wow! devotes the first portion of itself to a basic tutorial on Photoshop fundamentals. More clearly written than many manuals, current users will still benefit from reading this material.
Following that are 150 pages of tips and techniques set up to help you receive the most useful instruction for Photoshop 2.51, the latest version. Best yet, the disk bundled with Photoshop Wow! contains five filters from the acclaimed Kai's Power Tools, along with several other filters, sets of macros, and utilities. This disk alone is worth the price of the book, especially for any current user who doesn't already utilize Kai's Power Tools. Suffice to say that if you have any hopes of desktop publishing, you'll find Adobe Photoshop necessary. This book will help you get ahead of the learning curve. (John Koenig)
PRISONER OF WOODSTOCK By Dallas Taylor (Thunder's Mouth Press, Hardcover, 246 pages, $22.95) Taylor played as CSNY's drummer and then became a junkie. He recovered and became a successful counselor working with addicted youth. In 1989, he was diagnosed with terminal liver disease and in 1990 his old friends reunited to raise enough money to save his life. There's lots of trivia here about CSNY members, but the real story is about surviving and learning that it was friendships, not drugs, worth remembering from the 1960s. Highly recommended. (Netta Gilboa)
PROFESSIONAL STUDIO TECHNIQUES: Imaging Essentials with Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Dimensions and Adobe Premiere. (Adobe Press/Hayden Books, Paperback, 120 pages, $39.95) A tremendously useful volume for relatively advanced graphics and scanner users. Many people can go a long ways only knowing a little bit about how to use powerful graphics programs such as Adobe Illustrator. Imaging Essentials takes you further into the programs, one step closer to mastering these tools of design.
Hundreds of photographs provide a superb primer for the next logical advancement in your computer design education. If you use any of the above graphic tools in your work, you owe it to yourself to study Imaging Essentials closely. The cost of the book will come back to you many times over as reflected in improvements in the quality of your work. (John Koenig)
PSYCHEDELIC SHAMANISM: The Cultivation, Preparation And Shamanic Use Of Psychotropic Plants By Jim DeKorne (Loompanics Unlimited, Paperback, 163 pages, $19.95) Here's all the technical information you'll ever need in one place if you're on a quest to explore "innerspace." This book has chapters on psilocybin, mescaline, belladonna, alkaloids and many, many more. There are beautiful photographs, a superb bibliography, and even information on dosages, typical reactions, dangerous combinations, etc. (Netta Gilboa)
ROCK ALBUMS OF THE '70s: A Critical Guide By Robert Christgau (Da Capo Press, Inc., Paperback, 472 pages, $15.95) Former music editor for The Voice, Newsday and columnist for Esquire, Christgau listened to everything that came out, inspiring him to compose ratings and 1-2 column reviews/opinions of thousands or records from that memorable decade - the 1970s. Written in 1981, it's relevant now with the renewed interest in bands like Cheap Trick and continued interest in those 20+ year old supergroups.
It makes for a comprehensive, yet highly opinionated work (that's a good one, huh? One reviewer calling another opinionated). A very wide range of artists are reviewed. Joe Jackson and Michael Jackson's records are side by side, as are Diana Ross and Roxy Music, and that makes for a nice variety.
An exhaustive work that gives equal time to both the famous and the infamous. (Alan Sheckter)
SAD MACS, BOMBS, AND OTHER DISASTERS By Ted Landau, (Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Paperback, 640 pages, $24.95) Everyone who spends much time with their computers knows the sinking feeling of drive crashes, bombs on the screen (Mac users), and the lost hours or days spent on the phone with tech people. Sad Macs, Bombs, and Other Disasters provides Macintosh users with a resource to get back in the saddle on your own and correct many of the problems you'll encounter at one time or another. Generous use of message box and screen reproductions helps the reader determine just what problem they are dealing with. Often that's half the battle, figuring out what's really happening.
Step-by-step descriptions provided by Landau are clear and helpful. More complex situations such as system errors, startup and disk problems and all manner of other weird problems are also addressed. Most impressive in this veritable fountain of knowledge is the reader's feeling of security gained after reading whatever section you're working through. You won't feel like an idiot because you don't know what to do. Author Landau takes you by the hand and freely provides assistance. This is a valuable reference book that should be kept within easy reach of your computer desk. (John Koenig)
SCANNERS & SECRET FREQUENCIES By Henry L. Eisenson (INDEX Publishing Group, Paperback, 322 pages, $19.95) This awesome book deals with the gray world of scanners, including how to buy and operate one and how to modify it to pick up things it shouldn't. There are chapters on amateur radio, CB radios, telephone conversations, advanced scanning to grab faxes and data, etc. The book also has a glossary, list of clubs and associations and a bibliography of relevant publications. This is by far the best book on the subject. (Netta Gilboa)
SCREENING THE SEXES: Homosexuality In The Movies By Parker Tyler (Da Capo Press, Paperback, 365 pages, $15.95) This academic work goes through Hollywood's history and divides homosexual roles in films into categories. There are chapters on transvestites, homosexuals as fatal killers, funny gays, people wearing uniforms, etc. Re-examines the way many popular films are perceived, making this of great interest to film buffs. It has 22 pages of unusual pictures including a great one of gay manners and mannerisms from The Boys in the Band. (Netta Gilboa)
SECRETS OF A SUPER HACKER By The Knightmare (Loompanics Unlimited, Paperback, 224 pages, $19.95) There have been very few books published from a hacker's point of view. This one gives away secrets and takes you inside the author's mind with him. There are chapters on the history of hacking, passwords, social engineering, BBSs, relevant laws, public access computers and how to keep from getting caught. If every security expert and system administrator read this book, we might make some progress in securing all of the systems hackers can presently exploit. Hopefully it will also inspire other hackers to want to write books of their own. No matter what follows it though, Secrets Of A Super Hacker is one of those landmark books destined to become a classic. Highly recommended if our articles on hacking have piqued your interest. (Netta Gilboa)
SECRETS OF METHAMPHETAMINE MANUFACTURE By Uncle Fester (Loompanics Unlimited, Paperback, 202 pages, $24.95) In this very gray book, every step of manufacturing speed is covered from purchasing chemicals and lab equipment to keeping out of trouble with the law. Lest you think very few people would want such a book, the proof of its popularity is the fact that this is the third edition. Assuming you are actually going to manufacture these substances, the author promises that "great emphasis has been placed upon the use of over-the-counter medicines and hardware store chemicals as starting materials." (Netta Gilboa)
SEEDS OF THE SIXTIES By Andrew Jamison and Ron Eyerman (University Of California Press, Hardcover, 248 pages, $25.00) Everybody and their mother has written about the '60s. This book takes an unusual approach by focusing on specific individuals often ignored in other discussions of the era. Credited with "the reconceptualization of culture," are Allen Ginsberg, James Baldwin and Mary McCarthy. The chapter on "Making Politics Personal" covers Saul Alinsky, Dorothy Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Others highlighted include Rachel Carson, Margaret Mead, Herbert Marcuse and Eric Fromm. This unique approach finally answers the questions about who planted the intellectual seeds that brought Sixties radicalism about. (Netta Gilboa)
SEXUAL PORTRAITS: Photographs Of Radical Sexuality By Michael A. Rosen (Shaynew Press, Dept. GA, P.O. Box 425221, S.F., CA 94142, Paperback, 66 pages, $28.00) Piercings, bondage, tattoos, restraints and leather gear are the focus of these unusual and provocative photos. After you look at the people and think you know what they're about, you can read the short interviews which will invariably send you back to look at the photos once again. The gray areas of power, restraint and mixing pain with pleasure are explored in such a manner as to leave the viewer curious and full of thoughts as opposed to a dry textbook promising all the answers. Very graphic photography reproduced on quality paper. (Netta Gilboa)
THE SHORTWAVE LISTENER'S Q & A BOOK By Anita McCormick (TAB Books, Paperback, 160 pages $12.95) Ideal for beginners, this book discusses the history of shortwave, equipment to buy, how to tune in, where to get frequencies and broadcast times and how to write reception reports. This is so lavishly illustrated and simple to read that you can become an expert in about an hour. Highly recommended if you're curious about this hobby. (Netta Gilboa)
SKINHEAD STREET GANGS By Loren Christensen (Paladin Press, Paperback, 234 pages) This book is written through the eyes of a police officer, which Christensen was in Portland, OR. Partially because the press referred to her as a national expert on neo-Nazis and then took a crash course to quickly become an expert, she also watched the streets of Portland in the late 80s as waves of skinhead vandalism, graffiti, harassment, intimidation and assault were increasing. A special Gang Enforcement Team was created.
The is the first scholarly, complete, in-depth book I've seen on the subject and it's a top notch, thorough effort. Areas of focus include the race war, tactics, skinhead hate targets, crossburning, the role of women skinheads and the importance of boots (to kick with). Excellent photographs (many taken by or confiscated by police) greatly illustrate the hair, tattoos, clothing and pieces of propaganda from this fringe group. (Alan Sheckter)
STRANGE & UNEXPLAINED MYSTERIES OF THE 20TH CENTURY By Jenny Randles (Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., Paperback, 144 pages, $14.95) Maybe it's because the 20th Century has had the most modern methods of spreading news, with satellites and cable. But for whatever the reason, this century has had its greater than average share of supernatural or un-explainable mysteries. Many of these (as well as centuries-old mysteries like the Loch Ness monster and Big Foot are explored here, many with great photos.
The book is set up chronologically from February, 1900's mysterious disappearance of two girls and a teacher during an Australian school outing, to a September 1993 case of a Dublin couple whose baby alarm device emitted mysterious screams, music and machinery noises. There are dozens of mysteries explored here, well documented and well researched. Recommended. (Alan Sheckter)
TECHNIQUES OF THE PROFESSIONAL PICKPOCKET By Wayne B. Yeager (Loompanics Unlimited, Paperback, 74 pages, $12.00) You surely realize there are people who make their living stealing your wallet. This book covers how criminals accurately guess which pocket has your money, three ways to silently slip pockets open, how to bump a wallet out of a pocket, using accomplices to create distractions and even how to steal a watch right off someone's wrist. It's definitely worth a look if you carry lots of cash, want to learn more about your safety or if you've ever been a victim and remain confused about how they did it. (Netta Gilboa)
THE TELEVISION GRAY MARKET By Henry L. Eisenson (Paladin Press, Paperback, 162 pages, $23.75) Here's the real scoop about cable TV converter boxes, satellite TV signals and scrambling, and copy protection on videotapes. Sold "of course" for educational and entertainment purposes only, there's also much here on the gray market dealers, consumers and law enforcement activities in this field. Finally, there is also a resource list of suppliers, specialized periodicals and a glossary. The best book around, if this subject interests you. (Netta Gilboa)
TEX AVERY: King Of Cartoons By Joe Adamson (Da Capo Press, Paperback, 242 pages, $15.95) Tex Avery is the animator who created Bugs Bunny. Here's the gray story of getting the Looney Toones cartoons off the ground and into the public eye. Avery's cartoons were filled with sex and violence which is discussed at length. Wonderful pictures and a filmography make this worth owning. Well done. (Netta Gilboa)
THIS IS THE MAC: It's Supposed to be Fun! By Arthur Naiman, John Kadyk and a cast of thousands (Peachpit Press, 800-283-9444, Paperback, 350 pages, $15.00) Aimed at beginners with Macintosh computers, this is a much smaller, easier to digest version of The Macintosh Bible. The entire introduction from that book is included, as well as the material on Mac basics that's proven so popular. Then the latest hardware offerings for the Mac are wrapped into the package. In only 350 pages are contained much of the most logical and immediately helpful information Mac users could ask for. If you know someone who has recently come into ownership of their first Mac, buy them this book. (John Koenig)
THIS WHEEL'S ON FIRE: Levon Helm and the Story of The Band By Levon Helm with Stephen Davis (William Morrow and Company, Inc., Hardcover, 320 pages, $22.00) Levon Helm has been a force in music for over 30 years now. Playing with Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks from the late 1950s through the early 1960s (with future Band-mates Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson), and The Band since 1965, as well as many stops along the way, Helm's life and times are chronicled here in a wise, humorous and often touching way.
The book starts out with the sad tale of March 1986, Richard Manuel's final appearance on Earth, then moves back to 1947 when Levon was a seven-year-old working on his daddy's farm near Turkey Scratch, AR.
More than just a boring biography, This Wheel's On Fire certainly shows that Levon had an important and interesting place in American music (even though most of The Band was/is Canadian).
There are insights and remembrances of Bill Graham, Martin Scorsese and The Last Waltz, playing at fellow Arkansawyer Bill Clinton's inauguration, and of course, Dylan. Nice section of glossy photos, too. A must read! (Alan Sheckter)
THE TOP SECRET REGISTRY OF U.S. GOVERNMENT RADIO FREQUENCIES: 8th Edition By Tom Kneitel (CRB Research Books Incorporated, Paperback, 274 pages) If you own a scanner, it's legal to listen in to anything broadcast with the exception of cellular telephone calls. This book assumes you want to listen to interesting stuff, and so it provides information on frequencies used by the military, NASA, USDA, USAF, U.S. Army, FAA, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs Service, DEA, FBI, U.S. Dept. Of Labor, National Park Service, USPS, U.S. Secret Service, Veterans Administration, etc. You might have to move around with your scanner to hear all of these agencies, but it doesn't take much thinking to figure out the value of owning a scanner and this book if you are actively breaking the law on a large scale and wanted to monitor whether they're on to you. The book also addresses the ethics of using the information you've heard and offers a brief glossary to help you figure out the lingo in what you're listening to. Happy hunting! (Netta Gilboa)
TUNE IN ON TELEPHONE CALLS: Scanner & Shortwave Frequency Directory By Tom Kneitel (CRB Research Books, Inc., Paperback, 160 pages) A recently developed, gray pastime is to listen in on people's "private" telephone calls. Direct line conventional telephones are not being invaded much, but calls made on the more modern apparatus, like car phones and cordless telephones can easily be overheard. Anyone with a shortwave receiver, police scanner or other deviously converted equipment can listen, whether they be a hobbyist, crook or law enforcement representative.
This book acts as an awareness enhancer for possible victims, but mostly it gives info and lists frequencies for you to zero in on cordless calls, pagers, ship to shore calls, wilderness two-way calls, railroad calls and others. If you like to eavesdrop, this book is for you. (Alan Sheckter)
UFOS: The Final Answer? By David and Therese Marie Barclay (Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., Paperback, 192 pages, $9.95) Eight authors and researchers critique the current state of UFO knowledge and discuss where the field is likely to head in the next century. There are chapters on the history of UFO sightings, psychological motivations for the belief and disbelief in UFOs, and another chapter asserting that while 90% of all UFO claims have natural causes, there are still thousands of sightings that cannot be dismissed so lightly. (Netta Gilboa)
THE WAR WITHIN: America's Battle Over Vietnam By Tom
Wells (University of California Press, Hardcover, 712 pages, $30.00)
Wells was a college professor who is biased against U.S. intervention
in Vietnam. Well traces the history of how anti-war activists
resulted in the U.S. ending its longest war. Much attention is
paid to Nixon's lack of understanding of anti-war protesters.
Worth reading if you were around back then or are too young to
remember any of it. (Netta Gilboa)