Wednesday, December 5, 2018

the Sushi Review - 18 and Asian Sushi Bar

The Sushi Review:
18 Asian and Sushi Bar

9935 Rea Rd Charlotte, NC 28277 
(704) 845-1801

The location of this sushi spot is ideal for those living in or around South Charlotte. Located at 9935 Rea Rd. near the Blakeney area, it is in the perfect place for an early dinner or an after-shopping unwind. The décor is very attractive and the staff is friendly. My main divochka and I sat at the bar because it looked very inviting and cozy in a display of contemporary style. It is also typically the best way to get faster service for 1 to 3 people and ask any questions about the menu to get an immediate answer.

We ordered several different varieties of Maki rolls, including the infamous "Soundboy Roll" (ask for the Philly roll - tempura) and they were all above average. The tempura was done in the crispy-crumble style as opposed to the overly-rich batter fried style, which is healthier I'm sure. The negative reviews that I read about their sushi prior to my visit were about the rice being "mushy". These were from people who were probably used to dried-out rolls or pieces with under-cooked rice. However, that is how some people actually enjoy their sushi and I say to each his/her own. Much of the material we (especially as writers) share about our experiences is subjective. Opinions will of course vary from one individual to the next, so it's best to identify with the author as much as possible.

The beer selection was good and the house Sake was great - when it was hot, so don't fool around and let it cool off too much. The big can of Sapporo can split 2 ways and chases the Sake with ease. My recommendations are the "Green Monster Roll" if you are an avocado fan, or play it safe with the spider roll and the shrimp tempura. Overall the sushi was good and the atmosphere was very inviting. The ambient music was not bad, but a great soundtrack could really turn this spot into a "must try". The prices are slightly above average compared to some other places in the area but that is a reflection of the area itself. Compared to Uptown, Midtown or SouthPark however, the prices are very reasonable. Overall, I recommend it.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Where to Find Cheesesteaks in Charlotte NC - Part One

Cheddar Provolone Cheese steak with seasoned fries
When I am on the go on a weekend evening, I want to eat something substantial that can be prepared quickly, yet still relatively whole and unprocessed. Types of fats and calories don’t really concern me at that point, because I am just looking to assist my stomach with soaking up various excess macro-brews and cider. Cheese-Steaks fit squarely into my overlapping agendas. I decided to check out a few places around town and give you my thoughts. Here is part one of a two-part list.

Luigi's Pizza
Shops at Whitehall Commons 
8170 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28273 
(704) 504-2015
I heard these guys didn’t fool around when I comes to subs and so forth and this intelligence was most definitely confirmed. I ordered my sandwich and sat through a considerable wait, due to several gigantic pizzas being made. But when it arrived, the wait was worthwhile. The sub was ridiculously hot, but that also means it's fresh and once it cooled down I sprinkled some Parmesan on it and tucked in like I was waiting on a bedtime story. It was authentic NY style, just like the pizza. I recommend stopping by.

Steak & Hoagie Shop
903 Eastway Dr. - 3401 South Blvd. - 1542 Stallings Rd.
This place has been an old standby location since Time immemorial. They have an entire Greek menu as well, formerly known back in the day as “Greekos”, which has now been absorbed into the unified Steak N' Hoagie name. I always customize my order, even though they have a lot of sandwich options, and I typically order the Chicken Philly but I stuck with the steak format and ordered a small “south street” and a small “New Jersey” so I could flip the ingredients around a little on either. Both were good and worth the moderate wait. 

Letty's on Shamrock
2121 Shamrock Drive Charlotte NC 28205
(704) 817-8702
I heard about this place from some friends who live in the area and it looked so down-home comfort style that I decided to give it a try. I read that they had a cheesesteak on the menu and when I called to order it I spoke directly with the cook who described it very well. The wait was moderate, but the atmosphere is old-school and pleasant, so I enjoyed a bottled domestic beer, which was on special, while I waited. I have to say that it was one of the best cheesesteaks I ever had. The cheddar cheese on top of the provolone set it off straight like that. Even the fries were good (they were seasoned) and I don’t usually eat fries. If you are in the area I highly recommend them for takeout or stay for a quiet casual meal for two. 

Jack Beagles
3213 N. Davidson St. Charlotte, NC 28205
(704) 334-5140
I was strolling around NoDa after some meetings and was looking to cop some lunch with a cold beverage. I walked into Jack Beagles and sat at the bar. It was very inviting and the staff was friendly. As I checked out the menu, I noticed that they gave many of the dishes colorful nicknames. That could really go either way, I thought to myself, just as I saw the cheesesteak they had called “the stugots”. Italian slang for a variation of “stu cazz” or “stu cazzo” i.e. “My d*ck” or “my balls”, or “my d*ck and my balls” used interchangeably to express defiance or disbelief. It featured grilled pepperoni in addition to the steak. How could I pass on that? I asked the chef to add green peppers as they were not listed in the description. The result…sha-boong. It kicked off like a loose forward. JB's has a good beer selection as well. Highly recommended.

American Deli
3126 Milton Rd, Charlotte, NC 28215
(980) 585-1237
This place is near my house and it's almost always busy. It's located in East Town Market, which makes it a destination location for me unless I need sneakers or baby clothes or overpriced domestic beer from Compare Foods. Traffic is always nuts and people drive and park like a blind monkey with no arms. But none of that matters when you cop hold of this mid 90's meat-fest they call a sandwich. I actually felt bad for my colon. But that's the way the news goes. The wings are pretty good too.

3124 Eastway Dr, Charlotte, NC 28205
(704) 568-7933
There are several Portofino's locations around town, but to get the best cheesesteak, visit a location in a more ethnically diverse area (Sorry, gentrified slapsters). To get the full effect you have to visit a location where the pizza literally sticks to the box. If they hand you a bag with grease spots on it, you know you have something there.

All of the places mentioned have chicken-philly sandwiches and they are just as good as the steaks.
Stay tuned for part two!

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

How to Become Your Own Bank

Become your own Bank using whole life insurance. 
A powerpoint text and AV presentation by Skip Pulley

 The benefits of borrowing against whole life insurance:
○ A guaranteed tax-free death benefit for your beneficiaries (important!) 
○ Cash value that grows at a guaranteed minimum crediting rate, with no risk of market loss. 
○ Tax-free growth 
○ Tax-free withdrawals 
○ Tax-free loans 
○ Annual dividend payments (provided your carrier is a mutual insurance company, owned by policyholders). 

Be Your Own Bank - Part 1

Be Your Own Bank - Part 2

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hi Defamation: the Suppression and Exploitation of HDTV

Hi Defamation: the Suppression and Exploitation of HDTV
by Skip Pulley

Some people who watch television would tell you that it is their main recreational activity. As TV would have high priority and importance in this situation, most advertising seems to focus on the actual quality of the picture programming, i.e. “high definition”.
There has been a constant theme among advertisers of this breakthrough technology that “more” and “bigger” is definitely better. The question no one seems to want to explore is the better for whom? A specific advertising campaign by Dish Network encourages television watchers to abandon their current system, whatever it may be; in favor of one that has more channels, more “on demand” choices and better picture & sound. I understand that entertainment will always play a big role in the structure of society, but is this the best use of available technology? If so, what purpose does it really serve?
Most of the rationale for the dish network ad is that this technology and resulting products are so desirable that they don’t really have to sell it, they just have to offer it within reasonable terms for a reasonable price and everyone who watches television will automatically want to buy it. The biggest problem for consumers is that there is no set formula to determine what is actually reasonable. There are consumer forums and guides written from different perspectives but they are all influenced by either the companies who make the equipment or those who offer the broadcast services. The target market for HD is men age 25 to 45 much more so than women, 70 % to 30% - mostly in relation to sporting events and HD home media such as movies and video games. “About 40 million U.S. households now have at least one HDTV set, and LRG forecasts that this number will double over the next four years,” says Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG. “While more people now than ever before own HDTV sets, [the task of] educating consumers on HD programming remains an issue” (leichtman).

HDTV is short for high-definition television, which offers clear, precise images with rich colors and contrasts. A traditional standard-definition television uses up to 480 lines per picture. In comparison, HDTV can deliver lifelike picture quality with either 720 or 1080 lines per picture, plus digital sound and wide-screen viewing. More lines per picture results in crystal-clear, true-to-life images (Twombly). The featured advertisement does not explain this to the viewer in any detail whatsoever other than to loudly exclaim that the digital service is broadcast at “1080i”. As both a marketing tactic and an advertising ploy, having a celebrity talk confidently about arbitrary number and letter sequences or made-up phrases is very successful in terms of sales. In another commercial for the same product from a different company female pop singer Jessica Simpson states: "You're not going to get the best picture out of some fancy big-screen TV without DIRECTV. It's broadcast in 1080i. I totally don't know what that means but I want it” (Swann).
This was the same strategy Chrysler used in 1976 when they had Ricardo Montalban describe the soft “Corinthian” leather that came standard in their new luxury automobile called the “Cordoba”. Of course there is no such thing as Corinthian leather (wikipedia) and it was later rumored that Chrysler executives flipped through a Bible and pointed to the first marketable word they read. The difference is that 1080i and 1080p are real, but if we don’t know what it does or how it works we have no other choice but to take their word for it. The elements of race, gender and economic class are combined in a very clever yet sometimes annoying way in this ad with the portrayal of caricatures by a celebrity impersonator. This adds the element of comedy and entertainment into the advertising strategy and increases the size and depth of the target market. This also sells the product by having the product “sell itself” by providing entertainment as a distraction (Caliendo). By combining relevant pop culture topics with recognizable celebrities, the message reaches the subconscious mind at different levels.

There is really no ethical issue raised by the ad, other than possibly excess due to the cost, which is no longer even seen as a negative by most sociologists. But the appeal is very strong in relation to peer pressure and sense of belonging such as a “keeping up with the Jones” type mentality. Our fear of not being equal to our neighbors, co-workers and friends is played upon by promoting the product and service as the greatest innovation in the history of television and not owning it will make us seem like an outsider. Our sense of belonging is greatly manipulated by limiting the options of non participation in lobbying to making the alternative illegal. On February 18, 2009 “full power” television stations will stop analog broadcasting and transition to digital broadcasting. This decision was made by The National Telecommunications and Information Administration – or NTIA of the U.S. Department of Commerce (

This administration is controlled indirectly by lobbyists who work for the telecommunications industry. They report only to the regulatory agencies of the US Government who receive a portion of the fees assessed to the consumer in the sale of HD products such as digital-to-analog TV converter boxes. After the transition, those who do not subscribe to cable or satellite services will need either a television set capable of receiving DTV programming, or a digital-to-analog converter box. The administration is developing an application for households to obtain coupons that can be applied toward the purchase of converter boxes, but even that has guidelines. The overall impact of buying into the technology through the advertising is that the ultimate goal may never be realized completely without total commitment. It would be like eating one potato chip and closing the bag. If you buy hi def TV, you have to get hi def cable or satellite service, hi def DVD player, hi def video game, hi def camcorder and so on to get the same effect, not to mention equipment compatibility. The viewer is already spending all of their disposable income on commercial items seen on their crystal clear HDTV, now they are pressured to overhaul their entire system.

So why should the consumers not want to buy the best products and services available if they can afford it? They should. That’s not the problem. Those consumers, who want the technology and can afford it, are informed and understand the process. They rationalize the commitment regardless of advertising. The problem is the viewers who are bombarded by the ads in every media format with no knowledge of what these things are, how they work or why they should have them. The ads don’t explain that you may have to upgrade your entire home entertainment system and neither do the salesmen who sell them. If the average consumer is disappointed at their $300 desktop computer becoming obsolete in 1½ years, how are they going to react to their $2000 television set not being up to specs when the next technological breakthrough is authorized by a congressional committee?
So why shouldn’t the government regulate the sale, distribution and development of HD technology? A better question is why should they? - At least in terms of profit through lobbyists and corporate subsidies. The most obvious reason given by the government is supposed anti-terror. It is true that cell phones can be used in the creation of explosive devices, but so can coffee makers and digital alarm clocks. Why would a potential bomber buy a traceable Hi def TV or video game to make a bomb when they could rig a radio transistor or processor chip from a laptop that could never be traced? This raises suspicion that all of the taxes and fees on an HD subscriber’s bill add up to more than a concern about terror. By regulating communications, the government could conceivably move the industry in the direction of a monopoly. There are only a handful of cable and satellite TV providers in this country. By making analog broadcasting illegal, they are forcing independent media outlets, who can’t afford the government broadcasting license, to collapse. This could be easily interpreted as intentional, but there would be no way to prove it under the present system of trade and commerce.

Not to mention that this business seems to be thriving in the midst of a full blown recession. But that is probably more of a reflection of the developing market than the product itself. There is the point that because of the weak economy, home entertainment is taking the place of traditional family outings. It is therefore not unreasonable to expect to spend more for quality home theater experiences. Cable programmers for instance, are opting to show rather than tell when it comes to marketing their high-definition channels. That’s because industry experts believe hi def television sells best by word of mouth: someone checking out the game on a neighbor’s new HDTV set for the first time or doing a double-take when James Bond orders a dry vodka martini on a big screen in a Planet Hollywood restaurant. However, consumer confusion still exists about hi def programming. Some consumers buy hi def TV’s but don’t sign up for programming. Tammy Timmons, senior programming manager for EchoStar says, “the focus of marketing on the notion that hi-def is part of a package and not a separate or add-on service is more of a positioning statement, there is still a lot of confusion in the marketplace. Customers often still assume they are getting HD even if they aren’t” (Whitney). 
In any case, as with all electronics, the supply will eventually exceed the demand. This will hopefully bring prices down to the point of making the advertisers actually make an effort to sell the product rather than make the consumer feel guilty for not buying it. If held economically accountable, they may actually have to start explaining what these products do and how they compare in relation to others like it. Broadcast systems will actually have to give incentives and provide information other than celebrity impersonations and pop diva endorsements. It is unclear as to an alternate use of the technology, so for now we will have to assign it to enhancing “Spiderman” and the “Fiesta Bowl”. If consumers can afford this HD phenomenon, they should spend time researching it on their own, with no influence other than their desire to see clearly.

Mandela Effect EXPLAINED - Risky Business & Moonraker

The sunglasses are basically what ties together most people's memory of that movie in general, because they were iconic to Tom's character at the end of the film. HE DID NOT WEAR THEM IN THAT DANCE SCENE.  If anyone did a parody of that scene or dressed up in that outfit without the sunglasses, no one would know who the hell they were referencing. It would just be a dork in socks and underwear.

Dolly never had braces. I head from someone that at one time there was a commercial spoof of that scene and the actress in the commercial had braces (maybe it was for dental insurance or oddly specific dating, I have no idea) But her character in the film did not have them, Also.......Hi! genius, the actress who played the role of Dolly, Blanche Ravalec, is still with us. She in her early 60's. JUST ASK HER ABOUT IT. I'm sure she will straighten you out.

So far, the "effect" seems to cause obsession in those who take a lot of meds or have some type of psychological or emotional issues. In which case, there are more serious problems in the world to deal with rather than crying about movies, logos and tv shows not being the way you remember them. Grow up and stop being so insecure.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Mandela Effect EXPLAINED - Eli Whitney

He's white, obviously, but there is an interesting story about the cotton gin, the irony of its invention and who deserves the credit. Footnote: **the "brass ankles** mentioned in the video were mostly Cherokee and Catawba families who claimed status as african american in the NC/SC census so they could own land (my maternal grandparents folks). NC does not have any federally recognized tribes or reservations, only those on the state level. The **Melungo** were my paternal grandparents folks, Croatan/Roanoac, who were closely related to Seminole and Gullah communities.
***Update*** Catherine Greene did NOT free her slaves, she and her new husband had over 200 at the dungeness plantation in GA. Hopefully, they all ran away after her fat ass died.

Mandela Effect EXPLAINED - Scarecrow's Gun

This one is actually pretty interesting. The scene in which they were carrying weapons was sometimes cut from the tv versions of the film, mostly due to time and advertising. My oldest sister remembers scarecrow having a gun when she first saw it on tv, but I remember when she watched it with me years later, she remarked that some scenes had been cut out. Also, the gun is a really obvious fake looking prop with no barrel, so it's easy to ignore it or mistake it for something else. I think that may also contribute to the memory mistakes.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Male Supplements Review - Improving Sexual Performance

There are dozens of male sexual potency supplements currently on the market that are available over-the-counter and online. The big problem is, they all claim pretty much the same thing. They all promise the exact same results which always seem greatly exaggerated if not too good to be true. So how are we to know what works and what doesn’t? I’m glad I asked. Luckily for all of you, I – as your humble narrator, have some additional leisure time, a modest yet relatively disposable income and some willing and attractive lady-friends. So I took upon myself the burden of experimenting with several different supplements to see which ones provide the most desired results. Of course, your experience may and probably will vary (sometimes drastically) so it’s best to be patient and keep an open mind. There is also the psychological and emotional x-factor to consider, that contributes not only to the quantity and quality of intercourse but also overall male sexual well being. 

In two prior articles; foods that increase sexual performance and workouts that increase sexual performance, I outlined a few dietary and lifestyle routines that may help you reach your desired goals. As with that research, I have to state that I am not a physician. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or herbal supplement program. If you are experiencing any type of erectile dysfunction at any level, I likewise recommend seeing a doctor (preferably an ND [naturopathic doctor], but it's your equipment). Most importantly, you must be familiar with your own body. The more you understand your concerns, the easier it is to solve any problems you may have. The first thing you need to do is clearly define your goals. If you are in a relationship, spend some time talking with your partner about your sex life and how it can be improved if necessary. This is crucial, because lack of communication can greatly impact the aforementioned psychological x-factor. 

For me the objectives are simple; stay strong & last long - the same basic philosophy that applies to any physical activity over 40. In addition, as we age, our partners’ level of pleasure becomes more important to us. For most men, attaining a maximum level of pleasure has never really been an issue. Most of us could probably attain a high level with some Wesson oil and an inflatable armchair. If sexual pleasure were “a can of mixed nuts” (no pun intended), male pleasure would be like filberts and female pleasure would be more like the smoked almonds; scarce and more satisfying. This is a refreshing truth, but it also includes a complex dynamic of actually performing well as a lover which involves much more than physical intercourse. There is also the age-old question, “does size matter?” Most of the women I have talked to agree that it is of some, but often secondary importance. Although I can’t say with any certainty that in all cases it does or doesn't matter, I can tell you that strictly from a physiological perspective, "width beats length" – every day of the week and twice on Sunday - against the spread (no pun intended). So, with all of the physical, emotional and psychological factors aside, here are the results of highly anticipated “research” and reviews of a few popular products.

Enzyte – I have mixed emotions about this product. I have purchased it more than the rest because I like the formula, which in my opinion is the most important factor when purchasing any supplement. I have to say that on occasion it did seem to boost my overall feeling of sexual well being. At other times it seemed to be a complete non-factor. I attribute this to the possible bio-chemical reaction to some of the ingredients during different times of the day, month or year. For example, the supplement seemed to work more effectively during warmer months or at a higher body temperature, but that could also be a natural reaction to other environmental changes, such as skimpy outfits and cocoa butter. Overall, the jury is still out but I do not think it is nearly the scam it has been made out to be. (The manufacturer was accused of falsifying data for marketing purposes. But dig this, all manufacturers manipulate clinical data, in fact some even create data out of thin air.) *update* Supposedly some government agencies including the FBI have raided the Enzyte HQ and seized their assets along with imprisoning the owner. All that effort tells me that the product actually works, at least to some degree. Government agencies don't bother with so-called "scams". They couldn't care less. Scams are part of cyclical consumption within the system. They do however raid Wellness centers, Naturopathic Doctors, Natural Medicine clinics and other "alternative" remedy sources because they obviously work, at least in part - and are therefore a threat to the pharmaceutical establishment.

Extenze – I saw commercials on television for this product constantly which annoyed the hell out of me. I tried it more out of spite than curiosity. Anytime you see a sexy, young lab assistant holding a test tube and saying something is clinically proven, you know there is a pole-cat in the hen house. The only visible results I saw from this product were a slight tingling sensation and mild nervousness much like that produced by ginseng from a gas station or too much instant coffee. I did feel a slight momentary boost in overall sex drive, but not enough to match the advertised results or the cost in comparison to some other supplements I tried. It is what it is. The glass is still half full. The $20 I spent on this was more justified than $20 I might have spent on any Michael Bay film ever made. They may equally contribute to an aggravating, pointless waste of 2 hours.

Zyrexin – This product is endorsed and possibly recommended by Pornographic Superstar Ron Jeremy. Needless to say, I had to try it out. It was considerably cheaper than some of the other supplements, which gave me a slightly negative first impression. But after taking it once daily for a week in the mid-afternoon, I did see results; Firmer erections with stronger orgasms. Yeah, I know, I can’t believe it either. The main drawback is that it does not seem produce immediate results, or any at all until 3 to 5 doses. It also usually takes at least an hour or two to take effect. But I have to say, I was impressed. If I had to guess as to the reason I would say it’s the formula and measurement of key ingredients. It’s just like baking a cake; the more precisely you stick to the recipe, the less likely it will taste like a foot. The quantity is small, (10 capsules per bottle) but for the price, I would definitely recommend trying this product. 

Libido Max – I like this product despite the lack of delivery on most of its’ advertised results. The key ingredients in this formula mesh together very well. It seems to be a very good supplement for overall energy and everyday physical stamina. Ironically, it is one of the least expensive products I tried. Even more ironically, the 12 pack of tablets found at discount stores for an average price of $3 to $5 produced better results than the 60 capsule bottle found at larger stores for around $15 to $20. The drawback is that the soft gel capsules are freaking huge. They look like Mike & Ike’s on steroids. I recommend having a big bottle of water or cup of juice to wash them down. I suppose you could break them or chew them up, but I don’t think you would enjoy it. In general, things that are good for you don’t usually taste very good. If sexual potency herbs were delicious, all men would have a backyard boner garden.

Maximum Pills – This product is endorsed online by porn star Peter North, who is as dumb as a bag of pine cones but who also I'm sure gets more twang than a Buck Owens guitar solo. I know that the women in porn are paid to do the films but that’s because they should be. No one wants to see volunteer homemade porn, besides those are the best kind of sexual partners; because before, during and after sex they sound more like someone you don’t mind being around for an hour and less like a flock of geese that you can’t get away from. I am not condoning any type of prostitution at all, but if you ever have a chance to make it with a legitimate porn star, take it. Take it and never look back. As far as the supplement in question, it does have a large amount of the amino acid L-Arginine and the mineral Zinc, both of which help produce spermatic fluid, which is the main reason for Peter’s porn popularity. I have to admit, the one benefit of this overpriced supplement it is that is does deliver on that point. My happy ending was like blasting a shotgun full of hot yogurt.

Magna RX – I only bought this product because there was a drawing of a cobra on the box. I have no real excuse for that. When I am in a shopping mall, my mind always rolls back to puberty. As it turns out, the cobra drawing was the best thing about it. (It has since been changed from a snake to a white couple. Symbolism? Probably.) I did feel a little warm and tingly after using it, but that was all. Just as with some of the other supplements, the feeling was just about the same as drinking an energy drink or a few cups of coffee. I do remember that while taking it my testicles would get really hot arbitrarily. It felt like I was sitting on a douche-bag full of warm water. (I have never really done that but it seems like that would simulate the experience.) This supplement was definitely nothing to write home about, for me at least. Again, results may and probably will vary. 

Super Male Plex – I was happy with this product for its overall effects on energy and stamina. The sexual benefits were less impressive, but at a $10 price point for a 60 count bottle how could anyone possibly complain. It’s basically a pimped out multivitamin. It has some key herbal ingredients that I personally endorse and it is made by a relatively trusted company. I would recommend this supplement for men in decent or above average physical shape who need a slight boost in their daily libido and level of potency. I also recommend it as an addition to any training or workout regiment due to its overall energy enhancing properties. 

V Shot – I really like this supplement. It was a lot less expensive and the formula did not have the same level of ingredients as some of the others, but it made me feel great. In addition, because it is a liquid it seemed to work quickly. Perhaps I was severely dehydrated when I tried it or it could have been the refreshing cool blueberry deliciousness, but I think this supplement actually worked just as well as some of the male supplements in pill, capsule or tablet form. It is marketed as a “male endurance formula” which essentially just describes the effects of the individual ingredients, most of which are found in energy and workout supplements. Surprisingly, this one is a formula that I would recommend. Just don’t drink more than two per day. That goes for any energy supplement I think.

My personal recommendations are as always to stay natural and go straight to the source: Multivitamins, Yohimbe, Horny Goat Weed, Bee Pollen, Royal Jelly, Ginseng, Zinc, L-Argentine, Tribulus Terrestris, Maca, Ginkgo Biloba, Almonds, Oats, Pistachios, Honey, Cherries, Watermelon, Green Tea, Olives, Avocados and if necessary – in moderation, lean poultry and fish. 

There are a ton of male enhancement supplements out there that you can purchase without a prescription. Many of them even have a money back guarantee; which is not a major concern because the companies that manufacture them know that most men are not going to go out of their way to return something that costs less than $50. (Packing materials and shipping may sometimes cost up to half of the price you paid for the supplement.) This small sampling of over-the-counter and online-store products will hopefully be part of an ongoing research trial, which of course is by no means clinical in any way. I basically just knock back a few pills, wait a little while, initiated some foreplay then zero in and go straight for the Baku Rubles (women enjoy quality pornography more than you think, although it often differs from the type that men watch ). I can tell you first hand that attractive women in their early thirties though their late 40's generally have a healthy and sometimes insatiable sexual appetite. I think it’s great, but it sometimes leaves little margin for error. I am in no way naive or delusional about the fact that I can always be replaced. However the fact that I am aware of this possibility gives me the advantage. Always remember, there are more women than men in the world, making women the “supply” and men the “demand”, so to speak. If she knows she can get quality turgid fruits and veggies at any nearby market, she's not going to put up with your mushy limp ones. (sorry for the analogy, but it's apt) This is where older women have an advantage over younger ones, who generally have to deal with a lot of stupid and confusing feelings & emotions that they can't control or don't understand. Simply put, older more mature women do what they have to do - to get what they have to get. This is also why keeping fit after 40 is a huge advantage for men. Our choices vastly improve for attractive women of a wider age range. 

In conclusion, be careful taking these supplements guys, especially if you have a heart condition or may be allergic to certain herbs or extracts. As always I recommend trying your best to get in shape and always consult a physician before starting any diet or exercise program.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Low Carbohydrate Vs. Low Fat Diets

A Breakdown and Comparison of Low Carbohydrate Vs. Low Fat Diets
by Skip Pulley

When I am training or trying to keep fit, I sometimes experiment with diets and exercises. When the low-carb craze started, I began to eat a lot of pork rinds, beef jerky and seafood wrapped in bib lettuce. After a week, my sodium level shot through the roof until my body was like a giant salt-lick. I had to look over my shoulder for deer while jogging in the woods. I felt like a slim Jim floating in the dead sea. On the other hand, when I drastically reduced my fat intake, I instantly realized that fat is what makes food taste good. If I closed my eyes it was hard to tell if I was eating a plate of food or the plate itself. I understand that these things should be done in moderation, but who has time for that? Besides, my bad carbs came from refreshing adult beverages and my bad fats came from things I should limit regardless. So I hit the gym, cut out the nitrates and "bada boom"; case dismissed.

So you can make an informed decision, here is my breakdown of the comparison.
Low carb diets usually provide faster weight loss than low fat diets, however the overall results and long term health effects are questionable. To help understand the debate, let's examine the way each one works. Low fat diets limit your intake of fat decreasing the amount that will end up being stored in the body. By keeping outside fat sources low, the body will more likely use its' own fat stores when that type of fuel is needed, thus reducing body weight. Low carbohydrate diets limit the intake of carbohydrates. "Carbs" are the body's preferred source of fuel. When carbs are limited, the body utilizes more fat instead. This in turn leads to weight loss.
With all the resources available for individual research, it seemed as if the debate on low-carbohydrate vs. low-fat diets for weight loss would never end. Fortunately, there is now more extensive data on the results of the diets.

A recent review of multiple studies examined the findings of controlled clinical trials involving people on low-carbohydrate diets and low-fat diets. At six-months, those on the low-carbohydrate diet lost more weight. However, by the end of the year, followers of both diets had lost comparable amounts. The results from this meta-analysis also showed that people on the low-carbohydrate diet had statistically significant increases in both total and harmful LDL cholesterol. On the plus side, their protective HDL cholesterol also rose significantly. A major concern in following a low-carb diet for an extended period of time is that high protein, high fat diet can potentially cause a rise in cholesterol levels, but neither of these may have any long-term effect, since most people discontinue low-carbohydrate diets after a relatively short time.

So if either type of diet leads to comparable amounts of weight loss, what are the long term health effects? Many, including the late Dr. Robert Atkins, have promoted the idea of restricting carbohydrates instead of fat to lose weight, although not everyone is convinced it's a good idea. A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine provides evidence that in the short term, a low-carb diet helped people lose weight without any adverse effects, and improved some indicators of health. One study followed severely obese people with a high rate of diabetes and high risk for heart disease for six months. They found those people lost more weight on a low-carb diet compared to the low-fat diet. The low-carb group also had improvements in insulin sensitivity and lower triglyceride levels, an important risk factor for heart disease.

In this study, bad cholesterol and blood pressure were not significantly raised. However, by the end of the year a lot of weight had been regained, so that the difference in weight loss between the two diets was not significant. Although the study shows that a low-carb diet does result in short-term weight loss and has some short-term health benefits, the verdict on the diet's long-term benefits is debatable. The number of participants in that study was relatively small, and the researchers did not follow up to see what the longer-term weight loss and health effects were. The problem is that people tend to put the weight back on over time. In any case, exercise is also needed for a healthy lifestyle. Eating fewer calories while increasing physical activity are the keys to controlling body weight. Eating less and exercising more is the most effective way to lose weight and/or body fat in the long term.

Not surprisingly, some physicians have completely endorsed low-carb dieting. This is mostly because the companies that produce low-carb diet products such as foods and beverages, and media - such as books and videos - financially reward those physicians who find positive results from low-carb dieting in their studies. So, is losing weight faster an advantage? According to most studies and my own research and experience, slow weight loss is more effective in the long term, but fast weight loss is easier and more appealing. If weight loss were a sprint, the low carb diet plan would win hands down. It is not completely certain why people lose weight faster on low carb diets. One of the most likely explanations is that they are better at suppressing appetite making it easier to cut calories.

Is losing weight on a low-carb diet really safe from the standpoint of heart attack, cholesterol, stroke, and diabetes? We don't really know for sure. In the short term there are some favorable metabolic effects such as lower triglycerides and less insulin resistance. However, it is still unclear if this is a product of the actual diet or the resulting weight loss. In general, cutting back on food is what works best. There are many different paths to weight loss. You need to find a plan that works for you. One that you can stick with that includes healthy foods. Cutting back on sugar, refined and white flour are very important.

So which diet is more effective for long-term weight loss, low fat or low carb? In my opinion, the jury is still out. I recommend moderating your eating habits. Choose healthy, nutrient rich foods while limiting consumption of fats and oils, combined with moderate physical activity. No single diet is appropriate for everyone. Just remember to eat whole, natural foods, drink plenty of water and get regular moderate exercise so you can burn more calories than you consume.

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Men's guide to Dating and Relationships with Women

A Men's guide to Dating and Relationships with Women
by Skip Pulley

Part 1
Women don’t know what they want; but they do know what they don’t want – and they know what they need. It sounds too simple to be true, but that is the basis for understanding every single woman you will ever know in your life beginning with your own mother. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no doubt that women are complex. That’s why I am intentionally keeping it simple and down to earth. That’s the first general rule on this topic, “keep it simple”.
For centuries, men have made the mistake of trying to understand women by judging them based on what our idealistic version of what a human female should be - using ourselves as a prime example of human behavior. Not only is that completely mistaken it may also be detrimental to male interpersonal development. You only get one life. If you form any type of concrete opinion at an early age about how a woman should behave, you are unlikely to change that opinion as you get older.
Women outnumber men worldwide. Based on that fact; most men should stand a good chance of finding at least one suitable mate during their life. Unfortunately, almost half of men do not, because they refuse to adapt their adolescent perception of women to the actual reality, which is a pure dualism of mankind. In other words, their being is opposed to their way of being. In other words, women are easy to understand but often difficult to deal with. Men are the opposite, we are difficult to understand but easy to deal with - all the time. We always know what we want but we usually have no idea what we need. There is a reason for that. Simply put, human males are merely the smartest monkey on earth – and ¼ of us are not even that. My friend Angelo Moore once wrote “give a monkey a brain and he will swear he is the center of the universe”. I’ll be dammed if that isn’t exactly what happened. We have to realize that the differences between men and women are not just physical and biological, but also chemical and emotional. Women have instincts and feelings we could never imagine. Even women who have never had children possess nurturing and preservation instincts that we do not. That’s also why since the dawn of time mankind refers to the earth as our Mother; because it is all giving with no expectation of anything in return. It is also why humans personify God as a Man – because after all, as the smartest monkey, men cannot conceive of an all-powerful creator who gives without any thought of taking whatsoever. I’m not naive. I know there are other factors to consider, especially related to human development. Because a man’s sexual organs are on the outside, we are constantly reminded of sex. Although men’s bodies are designed for specific types of physical activity, we are much less adaptive to temperature and environment than women and so forth. Women understand the differences better than we do. Most importantly, they understand how men and women function together in society – because society itself is the great equalizer. What I mean by that is even simpler to understand. Some people live most if not all of their lives without ever being happy; although they have completely convinced themselves that they are. Women are much, much better at this than men. Keep in mind, women know what they need, and they know what they don’t want. That’s a very wide frequency that can make just about any interpersonal relationship work. Men on the other hand have a harder time pretending to be happy because again, we almost never know what we actually need, so we spend most of our lives looking a gift horse in the mouth, eating our cake while having it too and getting the hell out of Dodge.
In some cases it seems not to make a difference, because no matter how much we screw up, there is always going to be a woman out there somewhere who will accept us. This is proof of female complexity and a point of fact to which they do not receive enough credit. Women understand love, commitment and relationships. Men understand food, sex and solitude. No one ever said life was fair. But understanding female behavior is all a matter of understanding wants vs. needs. If you can’t understand it, you had better at least acknowledge it.

Part 2
Women are not genetically predisposed to monogamy. Let me repeat that. Women are not meant by the laws of nature to be monogamous. To understand this you must first realize and accept the simple and undeniable truth that there is no such thing as human nature – only human behavior. Two-thirds of our all the things we do as human beings are reactions to our environment. Only appearance and physical tendencies are hereditary; i.e. I walk, talk and look like my parents, etc. Keep in mind, a human baby is the only mammal that if not picked up and held at the time of birth, will die. That is a reaction to the child’s environment not shared by any other mammal. Another example is that almost 90% of prison inmates were abused as children. We have a continual lifelong reaction (adaptation or not) to our environment. This reaction, combined with a woman’s instinctive chemical or hormonally based understanding of her needs is why women biologically and sometimes unconsciously seek out a new mate when the perception of her current mate is no longer ideal. Let’s simplify it again. During the Stone Age, a woman’s top priority was keeping herself and her children fed, clothed and sheltered. If the man she was with could no longer (or refused to) provide those things, she would instinctively gravitate toward a younger stronger male who could – or was willing to do this. It had nothing to do with feelings or emotion or the fathers biological attachment to the children - it was a purely a reaction to her environment to best suit her needs. The burden then fell on the original male to go out and get more food and make more adequate shelter in order to keep the women and children with him. By bringing a woman food, we as men are demonstrating our ability to remain useful. It’s just that simple. That is also why to this day we take women out to dinner on a first date. We are demonstrating the very same principal on an unconscious level; that we are able to provide for them if necessary.

Keep in mind, self-consciousness in society is the equalizer. That’s the main reason many women deny their needs and fight their instincts. Some women have never in their life had an orgasm. Isn’t that nuts? (No pun intended) I met a woman who had been married 30 years and her husband had never seen her without make-up. Another lady I know was married 40 years and her husband had never seen her naked – and they had 4 children together. I’m not putting her down, 40 years of marriage is unimaginable for me. When I was a teenager, I never even thought I would be alive for 40 years. In his defense, it’s probably for the best that he never got a good look at that naked body. Take it from me, the formerly younger and stronger temporary replacement. I don’t mean to imply that all women are promiscuous or desire multiple partners based solely on their biological instincts, but I do want to illustrate the importance of needs. To be fair, that rationale cuts both ways. Women have learned over the centuries that it’s possible to start a family with what they may think they want while taking their needs for granted. For example, out of the 30 or so SINGLE female friends I have ages 24 to 36, only four do not have children. That is important because if you are a man over the age of 27 and you want to start a family, it will become more and more difficult to find a woman that has not had children. If you think that is a surprising statistic, you probably shouldn’t because it is becoming the norm. Keep in mind, there is also a growing percentage of men who are content to start a new family every few years – all their life. We generally refer to them as “grown boys” rather than men. Sure, I know that sometimes things just don’t work out, but overall there seems to be an underlying expectation of a woman’s needs being met, regardless of circumstances. The irony is; I like the ones with children so much better. They seem to have a sense of sacrifice and humility that the other girls lack. It could be that I am more attracted to the idea of just having a family than I am to actually starting one from scratch. I do want a wife and children of my own someday - but the clock is ticking. At the same time I am reluctant to get into a situation that can be completely destroyed by doing something dumb. Let’s be honest, men do dumb things all the time - for no reason. Families take years to build but only moments to wreck. But I guess that’s all part of the dynamic. Families are - and should be the biggest reason not to do something really dumb. But even with that, sometimes things just don’t work out. Again, the general rule is “keep it simple”. If it’s really over, the question is, did she give up on you, or did you give up on yourself? (If you actually ever have to give up on her, it’s because she is completely bananas and your mom was right about her and you are better off.)

Part 3
Women are vindictive. There are feelings that they will never ever let go of under any circumstance. Women are also typically more critical than men – at least heterosexual men - and they also tend to be more sensitive than men. None of these character traits mesh very well. But again, these are part of the contrasts and contradictions that make women so complex. Once again we need to refer to the general rule of keeping it simple. Here are a few guidelines:
  1. Don’t Argue. It’s pointless. There is nothing that you stand to gain that would offset what you could potentially lose. You can debate, if it’s healthy and on topic but make sure she understands that you are stating your opinion – not an absolute fact.
  2. Don’t ask her if something is wrong unless you are prepared to listen to the entire answer. It may be valid. It may be important, but it’s usually a nonsensical rambling complaint about something you know nothing about. No matter what her response is, my best and only advice is to say two words, “I understand”. If you are really feeling your minerals that day, wait until she’s finished and ask the follow up question “Can I get you anything?”
  3. At the end of the day, no matter what kind of day you’ve had, ask her “How was your day?” Even if you know that all she did was watch television and talk on the phone. At this point, she just needs to talk. You don’t even really have to listen, especially if you offer to get her something. But don’t offer unless you are willing do actually do it.
  4. No matter how much a woman loves you, there are things that she will never tell you. It’s a fact. Don’t take it personally. They are usually the things you don’t want to know. It has nothing to do with being comfortable. Women know that there are things only other women can understand. If it involves you in any way, she will eventually tell you about it.
  5. Personality Reflection and Admirable Self-Denial are your most powerful assets. If you need to be honest, ask her first; “Can I be honest?” Preface your statements with “I love you” (unless you don’t) but never ever, EVER say “I really like you” unless you are on a first date - because she is not going to listen to what comes next, no matter what it is. Especially if it’s followed by the word “But”.
No one can re-discover the wheel when it comes to women. All you can do is use your common sense and try to face reality as often as possible. If you are a total bum or a weirdo and you have a smart, attractive woman, you’re not a player – she’s just into bums and weirdos (you know who you are). If she is way hotter than you – that’s good. You want that. She should be the pretty one in the relationship. Again, humans set themselves apart from other animals (animal males are almost always more attractive; look at a lion, or a peacock) If she’s insecure about something, it’s up to you to provide the security. Answer questions with questions whenever possible, such as “I’m not sure, what do you want for dinner tonight.” If you know you’re right about something but she’s really getting on your nerves about it - let it slide. If you can’t say something positive in a conversation, just ask simple questions. Always keep it simple. It’s about wants, needs, and biological differences. If she’s just plain nuts, let her go. And most importantly, if she doesn’t love you – and she doesn’t need you, no amount of money will keep her. Women are unique in this way. At this point, you may be asking “Why do you think you know so much about women?” That is also simple. Almost all of my friends are women. Most of them have a very high opinion of me. It’s not just because I tell them what they want to hear, it’s because I understand them. And now, so do you.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Midinight Train to Georgia - A Critique of the Russo-Georgian Conflict

The International Georgian Conspiracy
by Skip Pulley

To better understand the lies we are now being told about Russia, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, China and Cuba, one should more closely examine the 9-day conflict in the summer of 2008 in which the Russians handed the US/UK/Israeli/Turkish-backed puppet-government proxy state of Georgia a complimentary and symbolic ass-whooping. 

There is no actual “free” press in the US, although we are led to believe otherwise. As a result, my research into the Russo-Georgian conflict using global independent media sources has revealed a massive plot by the US and Israel to wage war on Georgian progressives who were being recognized by Russia as “independent” citizens in “open” cities near the Black Sea. This plan was set in motion to coincide with the Olympic Games to divert any skeptical free thinkers who would question the validity of such an “unprovoked” attack. The idea of a conspiracy is not far-fetched; the Georgian Special Forces trained in the US, In addition, “Blackwater” and “Mossad” personnel were reportedly present during the fighting. From the moment Georgia launched a surprise attack on a Russian peacekeeping force in the tiny breakaway region of South Ossetia on August 8, 2008 prompting a fierce Russian counterattack, Israel and the US have been trying to distance themselves from the conflict. This is understandable: with Georgian forces in retreat, large numbers of civilians killed and injured, and Russia's fury unabated, the US and Israel's deep involvement is severely embarrassing. The collapse of the Georgian offensive represents not only a disaster for Georgia and its US-backed leaders, but another blow to the myth of Israel's supposed military invincibility. Worse, Israel fears that Russia could retaliate by stepping up its military assistance to Israel's adversaries, including Iran. So the big question is why the US and Israel have an interest in Georgian politics?

The Baku-T’bilisi-Ceyhan or “BTC” pipeline was built with the intention of carrying oil from the Caspian to the Mediterranean Sea for shipment to the West. The pipeline does not adhere to any formal environmental standards and has been a source of social and political conflicts across Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey for the past 20 years. Financiers (mainly US & Israeli corporations) were criticized for their lack of monitoring the construction of the project, which facilitated a conflict between Russia and Georgia over Chechen rebels sheltering in the Pankisi gorge. Former Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement that Russia had considered sending troops into Georgian territory to flush them out came just before of the official start of construction of the BTC pipeline. In part, Moscow’s saber-rattling could have been interpreted as an attempt to focus global attention on the construction of the pipeline.

Russia has never been particularly enthusiastic about the BTC pipeline, given that a major goal is to ensure that future Caspian crude oil exports come through Russia. There is no doubt however that the Pankisi gorge was a lawless zone, well beyond the control of the Georgian authorities. At the same time, Russia was also growing increasingly irritated at US opposition to their taking action. This was especially offensive considering the US efforts to secure Russian support for military action against Iraq as part of a spurious UN resolution. As Vladamir Putin merely announced the possibility of military action, he also drew an explicit link between the situation in Pankisi and that of so-called Al Qadea to emphasize the US hypocrisy. This an example of traditional US military/political strategy; to simply take that which benefits the US Corporations by force of arms; Mexico, Guam, Cuba, Vietnam, Afghanistan, etc. The Russians above all are aware of this tactic.

As the entire Caucus region tries to recover from the war that erupted over South Ossetia, questions are being asked as to how the conflict started on the night of August 7-8. Everyone agrees that the Georgian army launched an attack at 11.30 pm that night. The key question is to what degree the Georgians were facing a direct threat. The outbreak of full-scale war on August 8 had been preceded by several weeks of skirmishing in South Ossetia. In the first few days of August, many families evacuated their children from Tskhinvali as the fighting intensified. When the first television pictures were shown of Ossetian civilians leaving the area, Georgian officials responded angrily, saying that it was a sign South Ossetia was gearing up for a war. The Ossetians put pressure on the Georgians to return to negotiations under the multi-lateral Joint Control Commission, which includes the Russians but the Georgians said they wanted to have direct talks with the Ossetian side. Several people died in the first days of August. Manana Magradze, now a refugee from Georgian village Nikozi near Tskhinvali, told IWPR, “There wasn’t a single quiet day in August. We would wake up to the sound of explosions or shots.

During the last week of July, Georgian authorities cut off the water supply to Ossetia leaving hundreds of thousands without fresh water or use of sewer facilities. As Russian peacekeepers came in to distribute supplies and first aid, they came under attack by the Georgian military. But international officials said that by the time they were told about the start of hostilities it was already too late to stop them. A Georgian soldier, who took part in the fighting of August 7-8 and did not want to be named, told IWPR that the situation had been boiling over for weeks, but he thought that the Georgian leadership had “not thought for long” about taking the final step. If the Russians did plan to go on the defensive, there are questions as to why US satellites did not pick up Russian troop movements in North Ossetia. In addition, the US administration intentionally sent “mixed messages” to the Georgian government, which were interpreted as a green light for Georgian officials to believe they had American support for their operation.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had accused unnamed US figures of provoking the Georgian conflict to influence their forthcoming presidential election, as Moscow slipped deeper into diplomatic isolation over its recognition of independence for South Ossetia and Abkhazia. China and four of Russia’s closest Central Asian allies refused to endorse the decision to recognize independence for the breakaway State. “It is not just that the American side could not restrain the Georgian leadership from this criminal act. The American side in effect armed and trained the Georgian army,” Mr. Putin said in a television interview. “The suspicion arises that someone in the United States especially created this conflict with the aim of making the situation more tense and creating a competitive advantage for one of the candidates fighting for the US presidency.” Most analysts agreed that a “prolonged international crisis” would favor Republican candidate John McCain over younger Democrat Barak Obama because of McCain’s “experience”. Russian troops still hold positions well inside Georgia, after they crushed Tbilisi's attempt to regain control of South Ossetia. Georgia called the Russian actions an invasion, while Moscow says it was only protecting its citizens, having given most South Ossetians and Abkhaz passports. At least several hundred people were killed and tens of thousands displaced by the fighting. Although NATO has denied massing warships in the Black Sea in response to the conflict, Russians claim that 18 of its vessels were in the region or on the way there.

I think it is very difficult to know with any certainty what happened exactly, but we can draw inferences from the results. According to the South Ossetian Interior Ministry, on August 7 Georgia started ground fire and shelling of the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali from the village of Nikozi. Then, according to Tskhinvali, the shelling and shooting at the South Ossetian village of Khetagurovo started from the Georgian village of Avnevi. About 10 people were killed and another 50 received various wounds. The Georgian media, however, reported that the South Ossetian side had been shelling the Georgian villages of Avnevi and Nuli for three hours. According to the information of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces in the conflict zone, it was the Georgian side that started firing first. Also, there were verified reports that Russian peacekeepers were fired on. On August 8 Georgia started military operations in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone. This blatant attempt to vilify the Russian community was part of a bigger conspiracy to promote unrest in the region to boost oil profits for the Financiers of the BTC pipeline and to provide an excuse for military intervention by NATO, very similar to that which occurred in Bosnia. 

For additional information on this unsuccessful US-sponsored coup d'état, follow this link:

Skip Pulley
Editor in Chief 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Godfather - On the Edge of an Era

The Godfather: On the Edge of an Era
A revisionist critique of Mario Puzo's book and the resulting film directed by Frank Coppola
by Skip Pulley
[citations in brackets] 

It's Spring TV movie season again, so undoubtedly there will be weekend movie marathons of critically-acclaimed modern American film classics. Among them, the seminal neo-noir portrait of a family in the midst of continual and existential ebb and flow of American dreams as well as American nightmares.

Mario Puzo’s best selling novel the Godfather became a stunning success in the wake of America’s renewed fascination with crime drama during the late 1960’s. The popularity of that type of fiction was significant in that era as a means of escaping larger social issues projected in mainstream media, such as civil unrest and political turmoil. The book depicted classic characters in a classic literary style similar to that of pre-WWII literary fiction in that there was a hero, however ambiguous, a clearly defined villain and a set of identifiable circumstances that made the outcome of the story uncertain. The film based on the novel however, directed by Francis Ford Coppola ushered in a brand new age of cinematic style. In both comparison and contrast to the book it marked the beginning of a new kind of filmmaking, presenting classic literary characters and traditional storylines in a contemporary context. 
The story of the Godfather is that of a post WWII Italian family in a generational saga of morality, survival, social-political economics and assimilation into American society. The concept of the classic stereotypical “mafia” family is revisited with a degree of reverence, old world charm and mystique that is essential to the appeal. [Coppola] The term “mafia” is actually an acronym, made up of the first letters of the surnames of the five families who formed an organization called the Cosa Nostra. [Puzo 1]
In reading the book and watching the film, they have many obvious similarities. For instance, the time period of the late 1940’s and the overall dark subject-matter are both depicted in the same style. The cultural enlightenment and/or culture shock, the reflection of a changing society and the importance of a system of values are also similarly represented. There are also differences. Some of the character depth is more apparent in the film. The character or Michael, played by Al Pacino in the film comes across as having many complex sides to his personality. In the book he is more of an evolving creature of necessity and a survivalist. Near the beginning of the story, there is an episode that occurs in the bedroom of a wealthy and powerful Hollywood producer, a character named “Woltz”, in which his prized one-half million dollar racehorse has been decapitated and the head placed in the same bed with him. [Puzo 1] The now famous scene from the movie differs slightly due to the interpretation of the director. In the book, the horse’s head is directly in front of Woltz as he wakes up to the sensation of warm animal blood on his skin. In the film, the suspense is built up by having Woltz uncover blood-soaked bedding to reveal the horses head lying at the foot of the bed. [Coppola]

The overall comparison appears to highlight the similarities between the author of the book and the director of the film. Mario Puzo, author of the book and Francis Ford Coppola, director of the film came from similar ethnic Italian backgrounds in similar circumstances. Although they were both working in the industry they were technically at opposite ends of the professional spectrum, Coppola being new to film and Puzo being a relatively experienced novelist, yet they were able to unite under ideal conditions. Puzo was encouraged by his publisher to sell the rights to the book to Paramount Pictures. The young director Coppola was brought on board to direct because of his familiarity with the subject and his academy award winning screenplay for the movie Patton.

The irony is, had the book become more successful prior to the decision to make the film, Coppola probably would not have been hired as the director due to inexperience and Puzo would not have been eager to sell the rights to the novel in July, 1968. [Puzo 2]
The book is written as an epic in dramatic literary style, modeled upon or imitating the style or thought of ancient Greece and Rome. For example the 17th and 18th century novelists were obsessed with classic ideals. An epic is pertaining to a long poetic composition, usually centered upon a hero, in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style. In contrast, the film immediately departs from the standard formula of presenting classic characters in a typical grand “Hollywood” manner. Actors such as Al Pacino, John Cazale, James Caan, Diane Keaton and Robert Duval who were cast in most of the leading roles were relatively unknown at that time. With the addition of Hollywood wildcard Marlon Brando, the film was one of the first of its kind to stray from the proven formula of casting big name celebrities to insure box-office success. [A decade under the influence] There is also a similarity between the intended markets of both the book and film. The book is set in New York City. The types of readers who identify with the setting either belong to a similar environment or are attracted to the dramatization which may represent a foreign culture and atmosphere, thereby engaging some type of fantasy. Likewise, the film was shot on location almost entirely in and around New York City. The cast is a reflection of a movie-going public who are less preoccupied with seeing big Hollywood stars in leading roles than they were with being fascinated by talented performers who capture the essence of the book.

At the time the book was published, the early 1970’s, Americans had been going through a transformation of what was seen as normal in society for almost a decade. No period in recent U.S. history stands in greater contrast to the present, or seems to have held more possibilities for radical transformation, than the sixties. [Echols] The Indochina wars and the struggle for civil rights cast a long shadow over world affairs.  Their legacy for the United States was substantial, interacting in complex ways with internal developments in American society. A feeling of general disillusionment was echoed by the entertainment media. The book’s portrayal of graphic violence, although written in a classic format and context was a departure from previous crime genre novels that dehumanized the characters and ignored the social elements of organized crime. Likewise, the film was brutal in its’ visual imagery of violence and the emotional impact of death and betrayal. Thanks in part to the new filmmaking style of young directors, the film was able to capture and translate both the horror of a violent culture and the importance of values in an ethnic community, regardless of whether it is stereotypical or not. [A decade under the influence]

The reasons behind the publication of the book and production of the film were financial, but not completely the same. The book publishers wanted to take advantage of a decline in traditional values held by many ethnic societies in the wake of the drug culture and corrupt political idealism. [Echols] The raw factually based theme of the book would set it apart. Prior novels involving organized crime were based more on an outside view of the culture, depicting main characters as either good or bad guys representing nameless groups motivated by righteousness or evil. [Puzo 2] The film was also financially motivated, but for different reasons. Films that are based on published works of literature are generally regarded as a good investment. In addition, during late 60’s era of filmmaking, the big blockbuster films were a drain on the studio’s resources and often times a box-office disappointment. [A Decade under the influence] A film of this nature however, could be made inexpensively and already had a degree of familiarity with a certain audience because of its connection with the book.

The argument about which of the pop culture giants, the book or the film, is actually better must be completely subjective. In my opinion, readers who enjoy stories told in a traditional manner with an element of ambiguity will prefer the book. Moviegoers who prefer an edgier more raw form of storytelling will prefer the film. I enjoy them both equally but not in the same way. I feel that the novels style is its most interesting quality from a literary point of view whereas the films substance is most interesting to a movie enthusiast. What they share is a consistency of theme; the unknown actors, the ambiguous nature of the main characters, the ethnic symbolism, the classic yet cutting-edge style and the influence on novelists, screenwriters, directors, actors and producers. Both the book and the film had an incredible impact on not only pop culture, but also the way media would be produced and received from that time forward.

Skip Pulley
Editor in Chief

Works Cited

Puzo, Mario The Godfather. New York: GP Putnam & Sons, 1969
The Godfather Papers. New York: GP Putnam & Sons, 1972
Coppola, Francis Ford, Dir. The Godfather. 1972. Paramount Pictures.

Echols, Alice “We Gotta’ Get Out of This Place”: Notes toward a Remapping of the Sixties. 

Cultural Politics and Social Movements Ed. Marcy Darnovsky, Barbara Epstein and Richard Flacks. Ambler, PA: Temple University Press, 1995

A Decade Under the Influence, The 70’s films that changed everything. Dir. Richard LaGravenese and Ted Demme. DVD. DocuRama, 2003.