Archive for the ‘K9ZW’ Tag

A Good Read – “Aloft – a Meditation on Pigeons & Pigeon-Flying” by Stephen Bodio

Aloft Book Cover - courtesy

“Aloft – a Meditation on Pigeons & Pigeon-Flying” by Stephen Bodio is an outstanding account of the art & sport of Pigeon-Flying told in a way that shares the passion with reader.

Stephen is a gifted outdoors writer that amazes me with his “writer’s reach” – his ability to touch the reader from his written word.

The book is a personal account of a passion for things Pigeon. The link on the title is to which is where I bought my copy. The reviews there do a better justice to this well told book than I can.

You can also read more of Stephen Bodio’s ponderings at Stephen Bodio’s Querencia Blog.

Highly recommended!



A Good Read – Life Tools Series – The Seven Laws of Money by Phillips & Rasberry

Seven Laws Cover

“THE SEVEN LAWS OF MONEY” is the second recommendation in the “Life Tools Series” – a book important enough that you really should read it and own a copy.

The following laws were published in 1977 in ‘Seven laws of Money’ by Mike Phillips. Mike, a Bank of America banker, was instrumental in developing Master Charge.

1. Do it! Money will come when you are doing the right thing.
2. Money has its own rules: records, budgets, savings, borrowing.
3. Money is a dream – a fantasy as alluring as the Pied Piper.
4. Money is a nightmare – in jail, robbery, fears of poverty.
5. You can never give money away.
6. You can never really receive money as a gift.
7. There are worlds without money.

This one is easy to track down as it is in print and available from Amazon –

Consider this the Economics “Life Series Tool” book.

Highly recommended!


A Good Read – Life Tools Series – How to Keep Score in Business by Robert Follett

“How to Keep Score in Business – Accounting and Financial Analysis for the Non-Accountant” by Robert Follett is the first of my “Life Tools Series” of recommendations.

Alpine Guild LogoAvailable via the Alpine Guild or secondhand book sellers. (Note Alpine Guild is Robert Follett’s business to sell business books, set up after he retired as CEO of Follett a multi-billion dollar multi-national firm.)

“The purpose of HOW TO KEEP SCORE IN BUSINESS is to teach you the fundamentals of keeping score in business, so that you can be successful in business despite your lack of formal accounting education. The book will help you read, understand, discuss, and use a balance sheet, an income statement, and other financial reports.In business, the score is kept in dollars. The system of accounting provides the rules for keeping score. Some people don’t understand keeping score in football. They get mixed up about touchdowns, safeties, field goals, and points after. And when there is talk of sacks, percentage completions, and yards per carry, they go blank.

A lot of people don’t understand keeping score in business. They get mixed up about profits, assets, cash flow, and return on investment. Discounted cash flow, current ratio, and book value per share leave them blank.”

Cutting to the chase, the book is the first of my “Life Tool Series” recommendations – books that do their topic area so well that any other books is just a restatement, and a book that everyone should read.

If you have a business to run, a pension to invest, or even just track projects as a volunteer, this book holds the information that is key to your understanding the numbers financial scores are kept in.

Highly recommended!


Life on Both Sides of the Wall – Gunther Skaletz’s Epic Life in His Own Words

EDIT Jan 2009: (From a Comment to this review I posted in 2008):

A couple of comments relating to how much of the book is stories that have grown over time, taking issue with timelines, and how much readers have read into the book beyond what was actually written, have been left for moderator.  I have also received emails and letters from people with concerns that Gunther’s Story is not Autobiographical, rather a mix of facts & tales.

I am not able, nor willing, to post these as I lack the resources to mediate or do independent research.

If this book were presented as a work of complete Fiction, or as a Semi-Autobiographical work it would still stand as a good read – a well told story.

Any disagreement or conflict is for somewhere other than this minor review.  As Gunther and his publisher are easily located, perhaps that would be a great place for any discussion to start.

Again, if the book were presented as just a tale – even as Historical Fiction or a Mash-Up –  I would have enjoyed reading it.




“Gunther Skaletz’s Epic Life in His Own Words” is a personal account of such WWII importance that a reader is well rewarded to hunt down a copy.

Gunther Skaletz is one of those people who have lived adventures, including horrors, almost unimaginable while holding true to the values & drive that to this day make him a “Friend of the Community” where ever he goes!

Polish born German speaking the youthful Gunther first hand lived the sharp edge of WWII, the Gestapo, imprisonment in Auschwitz, the bombings of Berlin, arrest & interrogation by the KGB & their tortures, death labor gang duty under the Russians, death train escape, escape over the “wall” to West Germany, and much much more. does a better write up than I can, and has pictures of Gunther at a recent book signing.

Currently on in private printing, LaDeDa Books can arrange to ship you a copy.

The book is printed by Prompt Printing in Two Rivers, WI which is a story onto itself.

A eleven page extract of the draft of “Life on Both Sides of the Wall” was published in 2005 to introduce the project. In 2006 the production copy was ready and a private printing was arranged.

As the book is fully about overcoming challenges perhaps it isn’t such a surprise that a health crisis at Prompt Print had caused production to halt with the book somewhere between typesetting and binding. Though the crisis was eventually to pass, family & friends of Prompt Printing and of Gunther & Elaine came together to somehow produce enough copies for orders on hand.

Yet one more time Gunther had adversity put in the way of his life & projects, and again with his drive and help from friends it was overcome.

It should be mentioned that along the way Gunther added languages, qualifications and ever moved westward, including serving the USA as the White House Chef for President Johnson. The book as a project started when President Johnson told Gunther “Mr Skaletz, you must write a book.”

The book bring personal memories, as my military service was Cold War in defense of part of the Iron Curtain Gunther so bravely crossed. Unusual for the time I was allowed on several occasions to stand with the toes of my boots inches from the border between West & East – between the American Zone and the Russian Zone. The clearing full of mines, razor wire fencings with explosives, guard dogs and elevated observation/gun stations lay right in front, with small crosses on the western side remembering those who tried to cross and failed.

Tales often intertwine, as part of my family (also ethnic Germans) lived near where Gunther was born, though they had left for America 80 years earlier.

Back to the book, while highly personal and stylistically “a diamond in the rough” Gunther’s life tale directly touches the soul and inspires.

Very Highly Recommended.


Bad Monkeys – great new read by Matt Ruff

Author Matt Ruff has a new romping mind twist novel out “Bad Monkeys”

Themed around his “OMNES MUNDUM FACIMUS” slogan the novel a dystopian mix of “Catcher in the Rye” meets “1984” mixed with a bit of “V is for Vengeance” vigilantism and a good dash of “The Matrix” – oh did I mention the mind twist?

Not wanting to spoil the plot it is enough to say that few of the characters real end up as what they seem.


He has a cool website running just for the booK:

The super-secret Bad Monkeys web site is now open to visitors:


Come by and snoop around. You might win something.

Any books that has feature lines like “Well, it all started when I figured out that the janitor at my high school was the Angel of Death...” well … just has to be cool!

My copy came from Amazon, in a strange sealed brown mailer from some mysterious sounding “fulfillment operation” which is likely just coincidence – a sort of serendipity – but then reading “Bad Monkeys” perhaps it was not!

I’ll write a bit about Matt Ruffs other novels later in the year.

“Bad Monkeys” – a recommended read!



The Rambing Series: Quick and Dirty Tips Podcasts

Quick and Dirty Tips

Quick and Dirty Tips is where you will meet “Grammar Girl, Money Girl, Traveling Avatar, Legal Lad, Mighty Mommy, Mr. Manners, and Get-It-Done Guy” by the way of 3 to 7 minute Podcasts each sharply focused to a specific topic.

These short topic podcasts are exceptional in their “get to it” and “resolve it” presentation of information.

From their website:

About Quick And Dirty Tips

Quick and Dirty Tips creates and distributes digital content that offers short, actionable advice from friendly and informed authorities that will help you succeed at work and in life. Whether you want to manage your time and money more efficiently, communicate more effectively, observe the correct rules of etiquette, or improve your performance in other home and workplace endeavors, Quick and Dirty Tips are here to show you that education and entertainment can go hand in hand, and that learning can still occur no matter what stage of life you’re in if you’ll just invest five minutes of your time. Quick and Dirty Tips content is available in the following formats:

  • Podcasts read by a host
  • Transcripts from the podcasts which are available on
  • Audiobooks
  • Books – look for the Grammar Girl book coming in 2008