Category Archives: Book and Music Reviews

The Indiana Jones of Iodine

A review of “The Iodine Trail: Exploring Iodine Deficiency and its Prevention around the World” by John B. Stanbury. Review by Kenn Amdahl

John Stanbury is the Indiana Jones of iodine researchers; his life would make a great movie. Over decades, he traveled to dozens of countries, meeting stars and dictators and local tribesmen while documenting and studying the effects of iodine deficiency in local populations. This book is only partly about the science. It feels more like his journal, his letters, his notes. If you read it with the mind set that you have opened a box of notes that Indiana Jones’ transcribed while on adventure and can use those to write the blockbuster screenplay, you’ll love it. If you’re hoping for an action packed adventure story itself, or a scientific abstract about iodine deficiency, you’ll be disappointed. It’s sort of in between. Continue reading →

Remembering Ann Sheridan

I mentioned to my father, who is 88, that I’d seen the movie “The Man Who Came to Dinner.” Sometimes he recalls things from long ago better than more recent things; I thought maybe he’d seen it in his youth and we could talk about it.  He didn’t think he ever saw the film. I ran through some of the cast members to remind him, saying it was fun to see them when they were so young. Bette Davis and Jimmy Durante seemed like kids. When I mentioned the young siren Ann Sheridan, he stopped me. “I saw her once,” he said. “In person.” Continue reading →

The Color Green

Every so often, I google my own name. Mostly this is to locate people who have scanned one of my books and are selling the PDF without the inconvenience of paying me a royalty. I am not kind to those people. I get too many hits (some days 50,000, some days 12,000. No idea why it changes so dramatically)  to look at each of them (and let’s face it, most of them come from this website and Facebook). So I restrict most searches to mentions made within the last week. Today’s search contained some eye-openers. Continue reading →

E.B. White visits Vegas

Last week in Las Vegas  I did something I never do: I bet 20 bucks on today’s Bronco game. I don’t really have a “problem,” I can stop whenever I want. But it demonstrates that I do have a dark side, no matter how delightfully perky my image is with other people. Even though I’ve now dipped my toe into Tony Soprano depravity, I desperately hoped that at least the calories you eat in Vegas stay in Vegas, but it appears that at least ten pounds worth of them travel home with you. Apparently, one cannot believe everything one sees on TV. Continue reading →

More Free Books

So, the experiment of giving away free books to readers of this blog in hopes they’d consider posting reviews on Amazon or their own blog worked very well. Several very nice reviews resulted. Thank you very much to all who participated. Your kind words made me feel like a Real Writer, for a while at least.

I did not get many requests for the two math books. Interesting. Can it be possible that people would rather read a funny novel than learn about calculus? Who would have thought?

At any rate, both Algebra Unplugged and Calculus for Cats could use more recent (favorable) reviews. Therefore, if you know some student who is struggling with either subject and who likes to read, let me know and I’ll send them a free copy. If they like the book, perhaps they could post a brief review on on Amazon or Barnes and or any blog, magazine or newsletter to which they have access. All I’d ask is, if they DON’T like the book, they just don’t post anything.  If you’ve been secretly curious about algebra or calculus yourself, I’d send you a copy on the same conditions. It will arrive in an unmarked brown envelope to prevent embarrassment.

Obviously, I can’t afford to just give away free books forever, so this offer is only good until I change my mind.