Book Review: VHS Video Cover Art

VHSVHS Video Cover Art is a book dedicated to the lost artform of VHS Tape cover art.  Most of the covers featured are from the 80s and 90s, when selling and renting videos was at it’s peak.  The book is broken down by Action, Horror, Sci Fi, Comedy, Kids and Thrillers and features some great covers.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Video cover art is a unique and largely lost artform representing a period of unabashed creativity during the video rental boom of the 1980s to early 1990s. The art explodes with a succulent, indulgent blend of design, illustration, typography, and hilarious copywriting. Written and curated by Tom “The Dude Designs” Hodge, poster artist extraordinaire and VHS obsessive, with a foreword by Mondo’s Juston Ishmael, this collection contains over 240 full-scale, complete video sleeves in the genres of action, comedy, horror, kids, sci-fi, and thriller films. It’s a world of mustached, muscled men, buxom beauties, big explosions, phallic guns, and nightmare-inducing monsters. From the sublime to the ridiculous, some are incredible works of art, some are insane, and some capture the tone of the films better than the films themselves. All are amazing and inspiring works of art that captivate the imagination. It’s like stepping back in time into your local video store!

Book Review: Black Sabbath: Symptom of the Universe

sabbathBlack Sabbath: Symptom of the Universe is all about the band Black Sabbath and their career over the years. They were basically a bunch of dummies who were just trying to make some money to get out of the slum.  They were always fighting and always had their share of drama going on within the band.  Ozzy split from the band early on and then did various reunions with the band afterwards. Ozzy’s image was changed when he did his reality TV show with his family.  The book has a lot about sex, drugs and rock n roll – which I guess is to be expected 😉  The book has very long chapters and is full of a lot of great information about the band.  The end of the book has some great photos of the band through the years.

This is a really thorough book and has just about anything and everything you’d want to know about the band.  I received a free e-copy in exchange for this review.

About The Book

Decades before reality television was invented, Ozzy Osbourne was subversive and dark. Ozzy was the singer in the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, and they meant business. In an era when rock bands were measured by how ‘heavy’ they were, no one was weightier than Black Sabbath. All four founding members of the original Black Sabbath grew up within half-a-mile of each other in a tiny Birmingham suburb. Though all shared a deep love of music–The Beatles for Ozzy, the Mothers of Invention for Geezer, the Shadows and Chet Atkins for Iommi, and Gene Kruppa for Ward– they formed their group “as the quickest way out of the slums.” This is the story of how they made that dream come true–and how it then turned into a nightmare for all of them. At the height of their fame, Sabbath discovered they’d been so badly ripped off by their managers they didn’t even own their own songs. They looked for salvation from Don Arden–an even more notorious gangster figure, who resurrected their career but still left them indebted to him, financially and personally. It finally came to a head when in 1979 they sacked Ozzy: “For being too out of control–even for us,” as Bill Ward put it. The next fifteen years were a war between the post-Ozzy Sabbath and Ozzy himself, whose solo career overshadowed Sabbath so much that a reunion was entirely on his terms. Or rather, those of his wife and manager–to add a further bitter twist for Sabbath, daughter of Don Arden –Sharon Osbourne.

Book Review: Michael Landon

landonMichael Landon is a biography on the great actor.  Michael was always one of my mom’s favorite actors so I remember watching lots and lots of episodes of Highway to Heaven and Little House on the Prairie as a child.  Michael was born Eugene Maurice Orowitz to a mother that was suicidal. Michael didn’t often like to be home so he would run off and beg for money to help out the other beggars (it was easier for a kid to get money than adults) and used a lot of his experiences growing up when he was writing later in his career.  Once he left his character on Little House on the Prairie, his daughter actually had a part on the show.  Michael died of cancer in 1991.  This book focuses on his professional life and not so much on his private like a typical biography does, but he had such an amazing career that you won’t want to miss out reading all about it.

I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for this review.

About the Book

MICHAEL LANDON: Actor, Writer, Director, Producer For over three decades, Michael Landon’s creative gifts touched millions of viewers around the world on Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, Highway to Heaven and in several other productions. This is the first detailed examination of his work both in front of and behind the camera, including information about every Landon script. Among the illustrations are some rarely seen photographs. “I am grateful that one of Michael’s greatest admirers has devoted an entire book to a serious study of his productions, and I hope readers will appreciate David Greenland’s efforts as much as I do.” – CINDY LANDON

Book Review: After Snowden


After Snowden is a book of essays analyzing the effects of Snowden in the information age.  There are 7 essays written by various experts looking into: The Press, Protected News in the Era of Disruptive Sources, What Should We Do About the Leakers, Judging State Secrets: Who Decides – And How?, The Future of Privacy in the Surveillance Age, and Secrecy, Surveillance and the Snowden Effect.

I admittedly have not really been following this as closely as I probably would have been had it happened several years ago when I was in college and studying Journalism. However, I think that the essays all make very good points and certainly gave me a lot to think about in regards to what ramifications there will be based on these leaks.

I received an e-copy in exchange for this review.

About the Book

Was Edward Snowden a patriot or a traitor?
Just how far do American privacy rights extend?
And how far is too far when it comes to government secrecy in the name of security?
These are just a few of the questions that have dominated American consciousness since Edward Snowden exposed the breath of the NSA’s domestic surveillance program.
In these seven previously unpublished essays, a group of prominent legal and political experts delve in to life After Snowden, examining the ramifications of the infamous leak from multiple angles:
• Washington lawyer and literary agent RONALD GOLDFARB acts as the book’s editor and provides an introduction outlining the many debates sparked by the Snowden leaks.
• Pulitzer Prize winning journalist BARRY SIEGEL analyses the role of the state secrets provision in the judicial system.
• Former Assistant Secretary of State HODDING CARTER explores whether the press is justified in unearthing and publishing classified  information.
• Ethics expert and dean of the UC Berkley School of Journalism EDWARD WASSERMANdiscusses the uneven relationship between journalists and whistleblowers.
• Georgetown Law Professor DAVID COLE addresses the motives and complicated legacy of Snowden and other leakers.
• Director of the National Security Archive THOMAS BLANTON looks at the impact of the Snowden leaks on the classification of government documents.
• Dean of the University of Florida Law School JON MILLS addresses the constitutional right to privacy and the difficulties of applying it in the digital age.

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