Showing posts from February, 2013

Billy Joel's Greatest Hits - Volume III: A Quick Review

I got to admit it...I almost didn't buy this album.

When "Billy Joel Greatest Hits: Volume III" was released in 1997, I wasn't sure if I wanted to purchase it. I hadn't bought many of Joel's post-"An Innocent Man" albums (although a few good friends had given me "The Bridge," "Kohcept," and the "Greatest Hits: Vols. I & II" as presents); I'd heard the quality of the songs had veered from great to good to mediocre, and because I was building up my classical music CD collection, I wasn't about to spend my limited music-buying bucks on albums that would disappoint me. So when I read a review in my local newspaper that stated, in short, that Volume III wasn't exactly the most fitting "adieu" to pop/rock recording by "the Piano Man," I said to myself, "Nah, I better not waste my money on this CD; let's get Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of Saint Martin-in-the-Fields' Amad…

Star Wars: The Original Radio Drama (as reviewed way back in 2003)

5.0 out of 5 stars
Star Wars: The Original Radio Drama: A Brilliant "Tour de Force" of the Force on Radio
May 3, 2003 By Alex Diaz-Granados Format:Audio CD

At first, the idea seems bizarre, even ridiculous. Star Wars, a movie best known for its vistas of alien worlds and epic battles, as a 13 part radio drama? No way would it work, right?

Well, unless you have the cold heart of a Sith, Star Wars did indeed translate well from the silver screen to radio, thank you very much. Yes, Star Wars' visual effects are a big part of the magic of the saga, but the heart and soul of George Lucas' galaxy far, far away are the characters and the storyline. And while the movie is satisfying on its own, the radio dramatization written by the late Brian Daley takes us beyond the movie....beyond the screenplay...and even beyond the novelization. By expanding the movie's story beyond its two hour running time, the Radio Drama allows us to catch glimpses of Luke Skywalker's life BEFORE …

Karlie Tomica: Alcohol, Irresponsibility and Immaturity Mix Fatally

It's been a while since I last wrote about Karlie Tomica, the 20-year-old Nikki Beach bartender who killed  Stefano Riccioletti as she drove back home, drunk as the proverbial skunk, on the early morning hours of Jan. 29.

The passage of time has done nothing to assuage my anger about this case of a reckless driver who, as Miami Beach Police detective Vivian Hernandez tells the Miami New Times' Lanie Doss, was highly intoxicated.

In an article dated February 12,  The New Times' Short Order blogger writes:

MBPD Detective Vivian Hernandez confirmed the findings to Short Order. "Yes. She was three times above the legal limit." Hernandez also said that Tomica will have to appear in court and face additional charges. 

Though law enforcement officers had only charged Tomica with leaving the scene of an accident which resulted in death, they did so only to wait for the toxicology reports.  Tomica now faces serious charges, including one for driving under the influence.


John Keegan's The Second World War: A book review

The Second World War was the largest, bloodiest conflict in history. It was fought on three of the seven continents and involved every major power of the time. Some of the combatant nations (most notably France and Italy) changed sides at least once between 1939 and 1945, and by the time Japan surrendered on Sept. 2, 1945 over 50 million men, women, and children were dead, millions more were wounded and/or uprooted, homeless, and bewildered by the war's effects.

Indeed, those of us now living in the early 21st century are still living with the aftermath of World War II; many of the crises we now face can be traced to decisions made during or shortly after the war.

John Keegan's The Second World War is  a one-volume general history of the 1939-45 conflict, and it should be read more as an introductory text rather than a comprehensive "this-is-the-book-that-explains-the-whole-darned-thing" opus. It's too short (595 pages, not counting the bibliography or index) for t…

Hasbro Star Wars Legacy Comic 2-Pack Dark Horse Heir to the Empire #1: Review

In 1991, Bantam Spectra Books and Lucasfilm Limited joined forces to re-launch the dormant Star Wars franchise with the publication of Timothy Zahn's Star Wars: Heir to the Empire, the first volume of a three-book cycle known asThe Thrawn Trilogy.

Eight years had passed since the theatrical run of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, and only a few Lando Calrissian novels, a moribund Marvel Comics series and a West End Games role-playing game were "keeping the flame" for fans who wondered when - or if Star Wars creator George Lucas would complete the long-rumored nine-part saga made up of three Trilogies - the Classic, the Prequels and a Sequel Trilogy set decades after Return of the Jedi.

Heir to the Empire, which is set five years after the climactic events of Episode VI, not only updated readers on how the lives of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, C-3PO and R2-D2 have changed since the Battle of Endor and the deaths of Emperor…