Book Reviews

House by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker Review

House by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker
House – Paperback Cover

Today I finally finished this book that I didn’t know would take me so long to read. “House” by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker is a book that I picked up because of the cover. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by the cover, but that’s what I do. I judge a lot. That’s because I’m a visual design expert. Ok, I’m far removed from my years of graphic design, but I know good design and I liked the cover of this book. Now, I knew about Frank Peretti, and I’ve seen Ted Dekker’s books, both of which are “Christian” writers. This book, however, was in the horror genre, so I figured it wouldn’t be heavy on the Christendom. I can say that it’s not overtly preachy, unless you really seek it out, there’s actually not a lot about “Christianity” in this book, unless you’re a diehard and you really make it part of what you’re reading. There are elements of that, but not enough to convert, nor pain anyone that is not a believer. I found that to be comforting as the horror got turned up to 11 in the third act.

The Same Old Plot

At first, I didn’t like “House” by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. The reason why is simple, it’s absolutely derivative. The opening is exactly what you would find in a 1970s horror movie. A couple is arguing, only to get pulled over by a cop. He lets them go, but as they move towards their destination, they hit a spike strip and their car’s tires are flattened. They find an old creepy house, and decide to be innkeepers until the owners show up. They are a creepy family, with all the tropes that you’d expect from “House of 1,000 Corpses”. Throw in a new mix of people, and a serial killer on the loose and you have the same plot you’ve seen and read one thousand times before. In fact, I almost gave up on the story until things start to go way wrong in the second act. If this were directed by Eli Roth, the gore and blood would get turned up. But alas, this is a bit tame by secular standards, but there’s still some creep factor to consider.

Ditching The Christian Model

There is a sexual element thrown in here. A really perverse one if you catch it. A mentally deranged man is lusting after one of the characters, and is really leaning hard. If this were written by anyone else, there’d be a rape scene, no doubt. It doesn’t get that bad, but there is bondage, and submission throughout, even if it is not hyper sexual, it is definitely there. Think of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The New Generation”, and you get the point of what goes on with that. The full story takes the concepts of being trapped in a haunted house, with the same deranged ideas of slash movies, and then turns it into a supernatural element towards the end. The final chapters are all supernatural with a Russian roulette arc featuring a shotgun. Who is bad and who is good? A shotgun blast is sure to tell, and the tension gets really high at that point.

A Hard Read With Spiritual Undertones

I spent a lot of time in church when I was younger. I know what to look for in Christian literature, and I saw it in the final acts here. There’s an undertone that speaks to redemption, Christ, and belief in Jesus. I can’t complain too much because you spend nearly 300 pages getting wrapped up into a horror story, and then boom, the cross. Now, I say that only because I picked it up, however, the authors don’t overtly push that. They don’t push it hard, they just have it as part of the story arc. That being said, there’s no profanity here, the gore is turned down, while the supernatural elements are trumped up. There is a pretty good set of actions in the end, including an ax to the dome, which was classic horror, but other than a few spots here and there, this was not nearly as hardcore as I expected.

Star Rating For “House” by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker

If I didn’t know that the authors were Christians, and I never grew up in the church, this would be a good horror book. It was made into a movie that was rated R, so it translates well in that genre. However, I can’t give this more than 3 out of 5. I wanted to love it, but aside from a few chapters of gore and creep factor, it left me wanting more. I’m a big horror fan, and this is a lightweight in that genre. However, there is enough to satisfy, so if you have a week to read a classic horror throwback, then this one may very well do it for you. I enjoyed it enough, it just wasn’t my favorite.

You can purchase “House” by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker by clicking here, and ordering it via amazon.com.

Did you read “House” by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker? If so, drop me a line in the comments and let me know your thoughts.

Record Reviews

The Get Up Kids Live At The Granada Theater (2005) Review

get up kids live at granada theater
The Get Up Kids Live

When I was in high school I purchased 2 tickets to see The Get Up Kids with Hot Rod Circuit at the House of Blues. I paid $36 and was planning on meeting a girl there. That girl never showed up, so I ended up going into the venue and enjoying the show solo. Such is life, right? Well, that was in 2001, and fast forward 4 years to 2005 and the band would take on the live record thing and release “Live At The Granada Theater”. Is it worth your time? Did they play a good set? Should you download or buy it? Those are the questions I’m going to try and answer in this review of the record.

Live Records Suck

Let’s face it, the majority of live recordings from bands, even great acts are bad. Some of the worst records by famous bands like Nirvana are terrible. Unless you’re a diehard fan, you will admit that live recordings usually don’t capture the greatness of being there. I do like a few live records, however, and on that short list is none other than The Get Up Kids “Live At The Granada Theater”. That’s right, this indie, emo, alternative rock band managed to put on a showcase of their best work through some great production values. Perhaps this just captures the band at their best, right before they would take a break, go on hiatus, and then reunite for another tour this year.

The Classics Through and Through

The big thing about The Get Up Kids “Live At The Granada Theater” is that the set is somewhat safe. The band goes through their greatest hits, and they do it so well. You are not going to get a lot of improve, this is not Phish, this is not Dave Matthews Band, these guys play it safe and that’s ok. They play their songs like you’d expect to hear them on their studio recordings, and they do it so well. You are going to be singing along, and enjoying the straight forward progression of the set.

There are 18 songs total on this recording, with over 1 hour of music to keep your toes tapping. Some of the stand out tracks on this live record include what you’d expect from the band. Songs like, “The One You Want”, “Holiday”, “Action and Action”, “Martyr Me”, “Campfire Kansas”, “Ten Minutes”, “Don’t Hate Me”, and “Stay Gone” are all here, amidst other songs from their career. There are a few of my favorites missing, but this is a good line up of songs that will no doubt reach your heart strings if you’re a fan of The Get Up Kids.

Star Rating For The Get Up Kids “Live At The Granada Theater”

As far as live records are concerned, this is a great one. I love the tone on the bass guitar, the clear vocals, and the drumming which drives the tracks beyond the progression of the notes. You can’t really hear the keyboard on this one, but the vocals and drums get the most microphone time. The bass and guitars are a bit lower in sound, but that doesn’t kill the mood. I give this record a 4 out of 5, as it truly is one of the best live records from the underground.

You can buy The Get Up Kids “Live At The Granada Theater” via vinyl, CD, or mp3 download here, from amazon.com

Do you like The Get Up Kids “Live At The Granada Theater” or do you think it’s overrated? Drop me a line in the comments and let me know your thoughts on this Vagrant Records release from 2005.

Book Reviews

The Maltese Falcon By Dashiell Hammett Review

The Maltese Falcon Paperback
The Maltese Falcon Cover

“The Maltese Falcon” By Dashiell Hammett is regarded as a classic in the detective genre. It was published in 1929, and in 1941 it was made into a movie. The book had eluded me before this week, and I was able to finally sit down and read through it. What I thought would only take me a few days, took me a long time to get through, as this book definitely shows its age fast. However, there are a lot of good points to consider, and there’s a reason why this is called a “classic”. I’m torn about the whole thing, but perhaps I can make sense of it as I write this review on what some call the greatest detective novel ever written.

The Damsel In Distress

A Couple of private detective are hired by a lovely lady to help her find her sister. Through the course of the novel, however, our hero Sam Spade uncovers a bigger plot, and the twists and turns begin to unravel a bigger mystery. It starts with a missing person, and dives into a caper that you’d expect from modernity, not from a 1929 literary trope. The plot thickens and you are thrown into the same points you see pushed a lot in mystery novels.

For instance, a partner dies, the wife accuses his friend, an affair is revealed. The hero falls for the damsel, then has to remove himself from the situation, causes strife, is almost killed several times, but outsmarts the bad guys at every turn. It’s a formula you know is going to be occurring a great deal, and it’s telegraphed.

A Long Hard Drink

I had a terrible time reading through this novel. It was serialized originally, and perhaps that’s why it all feels so stiff. I also picked up some homosexual undertones throughout, but that was something that didn’t seem to be on par with the era, was it? I read later that it was in fact there. I mention that it because it stood out, not because I cared either way. In fact, the bigger picture of the “The Maltese Falcon” By Dashiell Hammett is that I never really cared for the characters. Sam Spade is a good hard boiled detective, trusting no one, asking questions, drinking, and smoking. However, I just didn’t care about what was going on, with the sole exception of the figurine and whether or not it was going to be found.

Star Rating For “The Maltese Falcon” By Dashiell Hammett

What can I say? This is a classic novel and I read it. Did I love it? No. I didn’t love it at all. It felt slow, it was hard to get into, and right when I started to sense something coming, it appeared. Maybe that’s because this is one of the early novels of American Literature, and therefore it’s meant to be a lot denser. Maybe it’s just that I’ve seen the movie a lot, or maybe it’s just that the story is a bit dull. I don’t know. There is enough intrigue here to get you going, but is it the “must read” novel that many say it is? No. I don’t think so. I give “The Maltese Falcon” By Dashiell Hammett a 3 out of 5. It should be read by everyone, as it is truly the archetype of the detective novel for years to come. I didn’t love it, but I also didn’t hate it completely. It just was so dense, and at times too linear for my own tastes.

Buy a paperback edition of “The Maltese Falcon” By Dashiell Hammett by clicking here to order it from amazon.com.

Have you read “The Maltese Falcon” By Dashiell Hammett? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Book Reviews

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

darkly dreaming dexter paperback
Darkly Dreaming Dexter PB

“Darkly Dreaming Dexter” by Jeff Lindsay is the first book in the series of books that made the Showtime television show so cool. The big thing here is that people always talk about how the “book” is usually better. I wanted to see for myself if that is the case with Lindsay’s book. Well, after reading this, I was pleasantly surprised by what is similar and what isn’t so similar. This is an interesting concept, but really pushes through a lot of elements you may not immediately see.

A Serial Killer With Two Personalities

There are two personalities to Dexter. The majority of which no one sees. The book calls it a dark passenger. This is skipped in the show, at least to the extent that the book makes it a much more pronounced element of the character. In the first season of the show, they do have a lot of elements that are found in this concept. However, you get more creative license with the show. If you saw the first season, then you read this book. That’s the big thing that you need to understand. There’s not a lot of difference at first and that’s something big.

The Show Is Better?

Here’s the thing, the show is way better for me. I know, this sounds insane. However, you really need to understand that “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” by Jeff Lindsay relies heavily on your own imagination. Once you’ve seen the series, you can’t unsee it. A lot of times in this book I just pictured the show, especially some of the frame for frame elements. The book and show can be looked at side by side at times. Then there are simpler themes, and nuance that is NOT particular to the show.

Faster Read Than Normal

This book took me 2 days to finish. It wasn’t that long. I thought it was longer, but Lindsay puts on a showcase that is so simple to read, that you just keep going. It really felt bigger than it was. I loved the pacing, and loved the juxtaposition of gore and drama. I also liked that Deborah wasn’t just a sexy cop, which they pushed a bit more in the show. In fact, she doesn’t get wrapped up in a B storyline. The sexy elements of this book are pushed in the final season of the show, rather than this one. This is a good start for sure.

Star Rating For “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” by Jeff Lindsay

I didn’t want to write a longer post today. The reason? Everything that could be said about “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” by Jeff Lindsay has already been said. I’m sorry. I don’t have a lot more to add to it. This is a good book, if you’re a fan of Dexter, the show. Otherwise, I didn’t find it that compelling. I liked it, but I already saw a ton of seasons of the show. I’ll tell you what, it’s a 3 out of 5. It’s good, but not great, and I don’t want to read it again. I don’t care to go further, I just don’t. Perhaps you will.

You can purchase “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” by Jeff Lindsay by clicking here, and getting it from Amazon.

Did you read “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” by Jeff Lindsay? Did you like it? Drop me a line in the comments. Thanks.

Book Reviews

Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

blue like jazz paperback
Blue Like Jazz

The full title of this book is “Blue Like Jazz: Non Religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality” by Donald Miller. I had been meaning to read this book ever since I heard about it in 2003. I was listening to Erwin McManus talk, and believe he recommended this book about spirituality and Christian thought. I finally took the dive to read it, and finished it one day. It’s only 256 pages, and it’s not a hard read at all. Donald Miller creates a reflective book about what it means to be spiritual in today’s world. I liked the premise enough, so I read through this one, and found a few things to relate to, but overall, it’s not very well written if you ask me. Of course, you didn’t ask, but that’s my preliminary thought.

Not Religion, Just Jesus

I’ve heard this a lot. The notion of spirituality without organized religion. I first heard about it while I was in Idaho. The people there were railing against what was called the “emerging church movement”, which seemed to have a “modern hipster” vibe to it. There’s a lot of people that do not like it. I’m not a big fan of it, as I tend to lean towards orthodoxy more often than not. However, I see why so many people like the idea.

The main ideas that are initially presented in this book follows a semi-autobiographic telling of Miller’s own story. He discusses his disillusioned about Christianity and teaching others. He wanted to go to a secular college and experience life amidst liberal individuals. He did, and he found his faith strengthened through community, and more. It’s an interesting conversion, with the root of the element still being the foundation of Christian thought, only presented in a new way.

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One

Despite Miller’s best efforts to create something new, I don’t buy it. The reason why is because I’ve heard it many times over in the 1990s. I went to a church that went into the “emerging” element long before this book was ever published. In fact, the change was so impactful that the name still brings stories from the southern California Christian church scene. If you were there, then you know the name New Heart, because the church took on the ideas of the emerging process and created it back then, with a youthful joy. I was left out.

I’m an outcast amidst the welcome. Miller is an intellectual, and never strays from the idea that he’s a Christian and that this book is a Christian book. He beats you over the head with it, but amidst doing so, he recognizes the flaws of the past. There are notes and ideas that seem to paint to a humanist view point, a self-loathing category, and quick turnaround after giving his “all to Jesus”. As I stated before, there’s nothing new about this book, and honestly, it’s the same story of the “Jesus Movement” told in a hipster packaging.

Star Rating For “Blue Like Jazz: Non Religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality” by Donald Miller

I’m not opposed to Christian thought, or books on religion. I reviewed “The Gospel According To The Simpsons” here. I enjoy reading about religious things, but Miller keeps saying that this is not religion, it’s spiritual. Well, buddy boy, Jesus was Jewish, Judaism is also a religion, so I guess by emulating and following the one they call Rabbi, would you not be conforming to religion? Just a thought. I give this book 2 out of 5 stars. I don’t know why Paste Magazine said this was one of the top 50 books of the decade. It’s not. There are a few fun stories, and it plays with the idea of faith and spirituality, but honestly, if you grew up in the church or have spoken to any mega-church pastor (Including Mark Driscoll) you already know what to expect. It’s an easy read, light, and at the end of the day, it tells you the same thing you’ve heard: pray, read the bible, find a church, get Christian friends, but also stay friendly with non-believers. Thanks for the reminder Donald Miller, I forgot that those were the foundational elements of Christianity to begin with.

You can purchase “Blue Like Jazz: Non Religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality” by Donald Miller by clicking here, if you’d like.

Did you read “Blue Like Jazz”? If so, drop me a line and let me know via the comments.  

Book Reviews

Always Running by Luis J. Rodriguez Review

Always Running by Luis J. Rodriguez
Always Running Paperback

I grew up around gangs. It’s something that I know quite well. I was never in one. But I have seen beat downs, shootings, and a lot of violence growing up in Southern California. I also have read and idealized a lot of that culture in many ways. My sister married someone that was formerly of that life. I’ve bought and sold this book several times in my life, “Always Running” by Luis J. Rodriguez. This is a book about gang life in East Los Angeles. Rodriguez doesn’t hold back, he gives his account of growing up in the hard way, and how changes needed to be made, or he would suffer the fate of many of his friends. This is an unflinching look at gang life, and it’s a heavy read.

No Punches Pulled

Rodriguez pulls no punches in describing his life. In fact, you’re going to find that this becomes a serious issue through the book. If you are expecting anecdotes and safe tales with a little mire here and there, you’re in for it. Rodriguez describes the bloody details, and even the X-rated sexual experiences that he went through as a member of a gang. He talks about getting jumped in, the cholo culture, and everything you could possibly want to learn about in regards to Latino gang life. Now, there are points of redemption, but not without going through a lot of severe experiences. Growing up in poverty, Rodriguez gets into gang life early on, and it’s not a friendly arena.

The Mexican Experience

I was an immigrant for many years. My experience was not as frantic or as difficult as what Rodriguez went through. However, it is immensely similar in some ways. I found that there were areas that I saw in my own life. I felt the poverty, I grew up in the hood, but was spared the fighting elements that were found. The experience of Rodriguez is a splintered and heavy handed one. Where violence reigned on him and anyone that attempted to assimilate during the 1960s and 1970s. He would eventually grow out of those areas and be given opportunities, but not without finding himself trapped in two worlds.

There Is No Loving Gang Life

Just like any other cautionary tale, you will find that “Always Running” by Luis J. Rodriguez speaks of the same devil. You get the highs and the lows, but mostly lows. As people around him are dying, he seeks out refuge in education, but is pulled back into gang mentality in different arenas of culture. He gets out of it, but not without serious scars. In fact, he details his conversion into regular life, meeting a woman that would stand up with him, and carry him at times, and what he is doing now. He lived a hard life, by choice. He is not a victim of innocence or anything, he absolutely pushed the limits, and this is a warning bell of a book.

Star Rating For “Always Running” by Luis J. Rodriguez

Overall, I have to give “Always Running” by Luis J. Rodriguez a 3 out of 5. I like the book enough, but it almost seems over run with the same tropes every other story from the gang world gives you. There’s no glamour here, mind you. However, there is a lot glossed over in my view, and some things just seem out of place. There is a lot, don’t get me wrong, but this short book definitely leaves you with something to be desired. It’s hard to put my finger on it, but this is not a long book. I liked it. It gives you a glimpse of gang life in southern California, but it doesn’t prove modern in some ways. I’m sure it has an audience, it’s been censored and debated a lot, but it’s a good read for those that are curious about gang life and want to learn more about history.

You can purchase “Always Running” by Luis J. Rodriguez by clicking here, and ordering it from Amazon.com

Did you read “Always Running” by Luis J. Rodriguez? Let me know in the comments below.

Book Reviews

Kiss Me, Kill Me by Ann Rule Review

Cover of Kiss Me Kill Me
Ann Rule’s Kiss Me Kill Me

A while back I started reading a book by Ann Rule and was in tears. The story gripped me, and I had to return the book to the library. Recently, I picked up a different book, this time around “Kiss Me, Kill Me” by Ann Rule. Ann Rule is one of the most famous of true crime authors, and rightfully so. She has a way of bringing vivid humanity to the page. With this release, another volume of her crime files series, she tells the stories of victims and murderers that were somehow involved with lust, love, and obsession.

Humans Are So Cruel

The main takeaway from the stories is that humans are cruel. The cruelty of love and obsession is absolutely insane. I can’t believe how insane some of the stories that I’ve checked out. Rule discuses cases of husband killing their wives, and women that were innocent, getting stalked and killed. There’s a touch of graphic details here and there. However, Ann Rule doesn’t highlight gore as often. She focuses on the matter of fact elements. She focuses on the case files as they are, and doesn’t really highlight the graphic nature of things.

In doing that, Rule presents a beauty to her writing. She adds a human, motherly touch. She is telling you a story as she writes that is somewhat familiar. She doesn’t seem to push the same kind of cold hearted, reading of a script that many other true crime authors push through. Instead, she focuses on facts, humanity, and when the gruesome comes, she does so calmly, and focuses on the bigger picture.

A Thick Book of True Crime

“Kiss Me, Kill Me” by Ann Rule is a long one. It took me all week to go through this set. I usually average about 2 or 3 books a week, but this one was hard to get through. The stories vary from different years, and scenarios. The ones that stuck with me were that of husbands killing wives when they asked for divorce. That was a tough thing to read. I went through a divorce, and did not ever once feel this way. Maybe it’s because I am normal, maybe it’s because my love was larger than any revenge. These stories are hard to read. The whole book is hard, when you realize that these are true. There is no sensationalism here, and that’s a great thing about what Ann Rule does with her books.

The book is 416 pages long, and it is quite hefty. I like how much is put into these books, but they are sometimes light on details. Ann Rule worked for the Seattle Police Department, and was able to write crime fiction in the 1970s and beyond. I love her work, and this is a great introduction for anyone that wants to read true crime. If you are used to “Investigation Discovery” on television, then you will no doubt love the way these shorter versions of larger stories are written.

Star Rating For “Kiss Me, Kill Me” by Ann Rule

Here we go, as far as true crime is concerned I give this book 3 out of 5. Why only 3? Well, it’s limited. These case file books are packed with information, and aren’t long form narratives. You get a long story up front, then shorter ones. The shortest that I recall was of a Seattle based punk rock singer and feminist in the community, Mia Zapata. She was killed and left in the streets in 1993. It was really insane. Sure, an arrest was made, but man, what a story. Because of the sped up versions of these stories, and the lack of details in some, I can’t give it more than 3 out of 5.

You can purchase “Kiss Me, Kill Me” by Ann Rule by clicking here, and getting it ordered from Amazon.com, as low as a penny no less.

Did you read “Kiss Me, Kill Me” by Ann Rule? If so, drop me a line in the comments.  

Articles, Collections

10 Reasons To Collect WWF Hasbro Action Figures

WWF Hasbro Action Figures Ad
Rare WWF Habro Ad

In the late 1980s and the 1990s there was a huge boom in wrestling popularity. Wrestling went mainstream, and everyone knew Hulk Hogan, The Macho Man Randy Savage, and others. I grew up in the 1980s and am a huge fan to this day. One thing that I have been telling people to consider when focusing on nostalgia is to collect WWF Hasbro action figures.  There are several reasons why I say this, and it’s not all about nostalgia, it’s about money. There are a lot of benefits and reasons why I encourage wrestling fans young and old to consider this, but I’ve narrowed it down to 10 total reasons.

WWF Hasbro Action Figures Are Cool To Look At

Let’s be honest, there’s a certain allure about these figures compared to modern offerings. One of the best things that you are going to realize is that they stand up on their own. If you are familiar with the WWF Hasbro line up, you know that they are made to stand up. They are about 4 inches in height, and they are bulky, but they stand up. They have a wide foot platform so that you can put them on a flat surface and let them hang out on a table, desk, or in your curio-cabinet. Modern figures do not do that well, unless you pay for the expensive limited releases. This style of action figure is not even made for other companies, it’s truly a sing of the time.

Hasbro Doesn’t Make Them Anymore

Somewhere along the way Hasbro stopped making WWF toys. Before they stopped, however, they put out the legendary figures for nearly every superstar, young, old, and on their way out. Even guys like Kamala got a figure, and they really were highly sought after. When I was a kid, I would buy the tag team packs so that I would have every team, as you would get 2 figures per pack. Then I picked up the standards, you know, Macho Man, Hogan, Undertaker, and Jake The Snake Roberts. There were a lot of different wrestlers that came through the Hasbro years, then the change came where Jakks Pacific made the figures and the style is absolutely different.

Some Are Incredibly Rare

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons why you may want to collect WWF Hasbro action figures. WWF Hasbro action figures are extremely rare. In fact, one Kamala figure with the moon on his belly can net you several thousand dollars if you have it in mint on the card. There are also WWF Hasbro action figures that are on the orange card that can net you the same results. Now, I don’t have those, but I have seen them floating around online. Sometimes, I will see them come through the WWF Hasbro action figures store found here. They don’t last long, as people are constantly looking for the rare options. You can sometimes find them for as low as 100 bucks, because people don’t know what they have, and well, that’s when you pounce. I don’t like eBay for this, so I check Amazon here.

wwf hasbro figures ad
Collect All WWF Hasbro

Finding Them Is Not An Impossible Task

When you want to collect WWF Hasbro action figures or any other type of figure, you will have a hard time finding them. There are a lot of collectors that just don’t sell them or have them. You will have to go through a lot of hurdles to try and find these in mint condition. Often times, you’re going to find them loose. I don’t mind them loose, as they still are worth a lot. Not only that, many collectors will pay you a good sum for the loose Hasbro figures to make customized solutions. They are not an impossible thing to find, if you know where to look. Just keep your eyes open and you’ll no doubt see them come through.

A Lot of WWF Hasbro Figures Are Well Made and Are Not Broken

Before you scoff at the notion of picking up action figures from the past WWF eras, you should know that most are in good condition. These were made a bit more rugged, except for those that had a spring loaded option. If you find options that have been well played with, the spring loading mechanism can be broken. However, you can replace that with a little spring from a craft store. Repairing these aren’t hard, as you will find that they have several screw points and simple elements to take apart. That’s why so many work with “custom” figures. Anyways, you will find that if they are broken you can still make money selling them, and if they are in good condition, people will pay you top dollar for them.

You Can Customize Them To Fit Modern Wrestlers

Let’s say that you were to get a lot of Hasbro WWF figures. You would be able to sand them down, or take the paint off of them and then create customized figures. I’ve seen custom WWF Hasbro figures of The Sandman, Tommy Dreamer, Rob Van Dam, and so many others. They can make you serious money too. You need to have a strong starting point, and that is sometimes a matter of simply buying a lot of WWF Hasbro toys online.

WWF Strike Force Hasbro
WWF Strike Force Hasbro

WWF Hasbro Figures Feature Action Movements

This is one of the cool reasons why you should look into WWF Hasbro figures, the movements. Today’s figures don’t let you have automatic movements. With the Hasbro toys, you had one major action movement. For instance, Hulk Hogan had a bear hug and a slam. Undertaker had a twisting punch, and Jake The Snake had a punch that was spring loaded. There were so many cool different movements that were automated, that you had to get them all to see what they did. One stand out was Brutus The Barber Beefcake and The Rockers, among others. These let you spring jump them and that was really cool at the time. New WWE toys do not have this, none of them.

The Nostalgia of Collecting Toys From Your Youth

For me, one of the reasons why I still collect these cool toys is because they are from my youth. The nostalgia of playing and collecting with WWF Hasbro figures really has a grip on me and other collectors. You may not play with them like you once did, but you can introduce them to your own kids, and remind them of your youth. You were a kid once, and these toys show that so well. Why not get a few of your favorites?

They Are Becoming More and More Valuable

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons to start your collection of WWF Hasbro figures is that things are starting to become valuable. There are some that are absolutely grand. However, right now, you can still invest without paying a deep sum. I found a few orange card figures for under 20 bucks right now. You can buy them online, through auctions, at flea markets and many other areas. They are cheap now, but if you wait, you’ll have a treasure chest waiting for you to sell off down the line.

Kamala rare Hasbro Figure
Kamala Worth Thousands

Some of The Rarest WWF Hasbro Action Figures Are Worth Several Thousands

The number one reason why you should be collecting WWF Hasbro figures is simple, some of them are worth thousands of dollars. Like I mentioned earlier, if you were to find that rare Kamala with the moon on his stomach, you could net several thousand dollars. If you find the Mega Powers, you have hundreds. Imagine if you had 10 rare figures at 100 each? That’s a cool 1,000 dollars. The costs associated to these are minimal right now.

Where To Find WWF Hasbro figures Cheap?

Here is where you will find some of the cheapest figures. First, you will want to check out eBay and look for misspellings and lots. That’s mainly for loose figures as they will be very inexpensive at first glance. The other option, however, is to look at this Rare WWF Figures store here. I’ve compiled rare WWF and WCW toys that you can look for, and buy out right. Why go with bids, when you buy things outright? Like I said, I found some great options by simply going online here. You can too. So collect away!

Book Reviews

Mob Cop by Fred Pascente Review

Mob Cop by Fred Pascente
Mob Cop Cover

While waiting for other books to come through at the library, I decided to go with this new release. It’s somewhat new, and I didn’t hear anything about it. The notion really had me intrigued. “Mob Cop” by Fred Pascente with Sam Reaves is an autobiographical tale about a police officer from Chicago. This is a story that no doubt will one day become a movie. I think it should be. The elements that are talked about in this book are similar to that from “Casino” for instance. Mob Cop” by Fred Pascente is a strong book with a lot of violence, and a tone that is simply, calm. Pascente seems to be smoking and drinking, telling you his life story. Fred Pascente talks about the amazing life he led in a familiar voice. He died of a stroke before this book took off. This is a cautionary tale, no doubt.

The True Heroes

If you have seen the movie “A Bronx Tale”, then you know about what it is like to see your heroes be something bad. In that movie, you get a young man that idolizes the wise guys. The same can be said about “Goodfellas”, and that’s what happens to Fred Pascente. Pascente grows up seeing the mob getting all the money, the girls, and that’s what he wants. He grows up as a bad kid, but things change for him when he joins the police force. In the police force he was a good cop, until he starts to let the money and bribes get to him. He starts to favor the mob guys, and well, that comes with a lot of pressure and benefits at the same time.

The Antihero

Fred Pascente is a true antihero. He regrets a lot of what he talks about. You can tell it from the way that the book is written. There is not a lot of focus on the grizzly details of what happened. There are terms like “Shotgunned to death” instead of any other gore. In fact, this is the case along many of stories that are written in this book. That to me, shows restraint. I’ve read other books where the violence is absolutely center stage. Pascente knows what he has done is wrong, and he openly talks about that. He is not a stone cold killer, but someone that just like you or I, gets caught up in making money to support his family and then finds himself in a position of power. Maybe power does corrupt.

The Unraveling

This is a tale that has a lot of ups, but the downs are insane. If you have seen the movie “Casino” then you most likely know the stories that are focused on. Well, Fred knows some of the real life characters and was there when hits were ordered, as well as when some of the main characters were killed. He is familiar and retells some of them. However, when he tells them, he points to the way that the Hollywood movie differs from what really happens. In that, I found great information pushed through this book.

Star Rating For “Mob Cop” by Fred Pascente

Here we go, what do you give a book that is so honest about crime and violence? I give it a 3 out of 5. I know that’s a bit lower than my usual ratings, but hear me out. This is a true story of a bad cop. He admits it. But I found that the details were too muted at times. Then there are moments where the stories seem to meander a bit. I do appreciate the work that Sam Reaves does to put together the stories in a narrative, but there’s a lot of jumping around and points that are a bit disjointed for me. I liked the book, and at times loved it, but some of this feels like it was treading on waters we already have read and seen before. That’s why I have to give this a 3 rather than a 4. It’s well written, easy to read, and definitely faster than others. However, it’s just not as good as others that I have read recently. “Mob Cop” is definitely a book you want to read if you’re a fan of mob stories, and true life details of bad cops and rogue heroes.

You can purchase “Mob Cop” by Fred Pascente by clicking here, and ordering it from Amazon.

Did you read “Mob Cop”? If you did, drop me a line and let me know what you thought about the book.

Book Reviews

Girl In A Band By Kim Gordon Review

Girl In A Band Paperback
Girl In A Band Paperback

Kim Gordon is a goddess. I love her. Of all the women in rock, I’ve always been excited to hear Sonic Youth and Gordon’s bass guitar playing on the records. When I heard that she was getting a divorce from long time husband Thurston Moore, I dreamed what it would be like to be older, in the rock scene, and perhaps even have a chance with Kim. I know, it’s a fantasy, but at the time I was dreaming of being with an artist, and well, it didn’t happen obviously. “Girl In A Band” by Kim Gordon is a book that details a career and marriage in rock in autobiographical format. It’s told in first person, and stories come from the years of rock and roll with Sonic Youth and beyond.

Not All About Sex and Drugs

The first thing that struck me about “Girl In A Band” is that it’s not all about sex like other rock stories. In fact, it’s very timid overall. Either Gordon didn’t get involved with the sexual exploits that other bands were in, or she didn’t write about it. The same can be said about drugs. As far as I can tell, Sonic Youth and lots of people around them weren’t really doing a lot of drugs like others. In fact, they seemed more like artists that were completely driven into creating musical, and physical artwork. I liked that about the story, it’s not stereotypical.

Gordon is a natural storyteller. She talks as though she’s smoking a cigarette, drinking coffee, and just your friend. She discusses things so well, and you can almost hear her talking to you in your home. The way that the writing works, it’s really well done, and you are taken with her through a tour of the formation of her youth, her family, and of course Sonic Youth.

A Beautiful Soul

You can’t help but fall in love with Kim Gordon. As you read through “Girl In A Band”, you see her vulnerabilities, her anxieties, and her thoughts on trying to play music in a man’s world. She never puts herself in a distressed arena though. She doesn’t play victim, and doesn’t put anything in place that makes you think that she ever was or felt as though she was a victim. She wasn’t. She was an artist, a beautiful soul, reader, and bass player. She seems honest, she seems sincere, and yet there’s a quietness that juxtaposes the noise that came out of Sonic Youth recordings. There’s an innocence to Gordon’s retelling of stories. Again, I was enthralled with the way she wrote. There’s purity, honesty, and music all in a love letter to a pen pal of sorts. There’s true emotion, she doesn’t stoop to being crass, she’s just flowing through her story like poetry, and I loved it.

The Music Is Not Missing

For those that are looking for more music talk, Kim Gordon dissects the sounds and favorites from the discography of Sonic Youth. Purists are not going to like that she doesn’t go track by track, album by album. This is not an encyclopedia. Instead, she talks about her favorites, and some memories from some of the works that she liked the best. It’s a very personal way to connect with the audience, and to describe the music that she was creating with Sonic Youth. It’s interesting in how she tells the stories, all of which are more professional than you’d expect from stories of Henry Rollins. Rollins, by the way, makes an appearance, at least in one killer story about seeing Black Flag at a southern California house show.

If you’re a fan of Sonic Youth, you will definitely enjoy the stories that are talked about here. You will have a new appreciation for Gordon’s musical journey, and struggle to be a mom, artist, and wife. There’s a disconnect at one point, but things change in life, and so does the band.

Star Rating For “Girl In A Band” by Kim Gordon

Kim Gordon writes a very interesting book. I loved it. I give it 4 out of 5. The downside that I found here was that there was more to it. There’s so much I feel was left out. But at the same time, Gordon unleashes a lot about herself and especially the end of her marriage. Thurston Moore doesn’t come across as a good guy in the end, and I was a bit mad at how it all worked out. It sounds like they tried, but Moore blew it all away. I’d give my left leg to have a chance to be with such a strong, artistic woman, or rather just Kim Gordon. I guess that’s natural for someone that loves an artist and reads their work. “Girl In A Band” ends with an odd story.

Gordon purposely doesn’t talk about sex, eroticism, and more. She doesn’t open herself up completely in that regards. It’s a breath of fresh air. However, the end of the book, she lets go, she lets you in on a make out session, one that could’ve easily lead to a fast romp in the sack, but instead, she pulls away again. She says she’s changed, she likes the make out session in the car, but pulls back. She leaves you with a last note, she tells you that she’s changed. She’s busy. She has to go. It’s like she kisses you hard, and then tells you she has to go. You never see her again. I loved it.

You can purchase “Girl in A Band” by Kim Gordon by clicking here, and ordering it online.

Did you read “Girl In A Band”? Do you like Sonic Youth? Let me know in the comments below.