Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ten Best Books I Read In 2012

Reading remains one of my two favorite pastimes, which only writing could compete with. Indulging in this pastime, I had the opportunity to read thirty books between the time I was working on my previous list to the time I completed this one. There would likely have been more if it weren't for the roadblock of everyday life, but that isn't going away any time soon. Well, I'll just make the best of what I have here.

When it came to ranking the books that I did read, I was faced was one of my biggest challenges. Putting together a list of which books were the ten best was probably more challenging than it's ever been. The biggest challenge was naming the tenth, because while the upper part of my list just about came down to fitting them in the appropriate space based off of how much I enjoyed them, the lower part of the list was a matter of what was making the list and what wasn't. That is something that could get quite difficult.

Keep in mind that not all of these books, if fact, none of these books, were written in 2012. I did read books that were written this year, but none of them made my list. In my circumstance, it would be too much of an investment to buy books from this year, which are about $20-$30 a piece. While you do have the library, I like to read at my own pace.

I kept you waiting long enough, let's talk about what really matters. Chances are you already scrolled down to where you saw the bold list begin, because my introduction was becoming quite tedious. We shall begin!

#10- 75 Short Masterpieces by Various Authors, edited by Roger Goodman- Put together around 1960, this collection remains relevant to the new-coming literature connoisseurs like myself, who prefer reading from an area of choice (horror) and want to write in a specific area of choice (also horror), but want to know about the complete horizon of fiction. This book provides you with plenty of opportunities in doing so. These are short-short pieces, as none of these stories reaches ten pages. In fact, I think that if a story reached seven pages, that was a lot. I'm sure that you as the reader will quickly be able to pick out your favorites, but mine include, "Charles" by Shirley Jackson, in which a young kindergartner talks about a classmate named Charles who's always causing trouble in class, "A Wicked Boy" by Anton Chekhov, where a boy who spies on his older sister and her boyfriend gets what he deserves in a simply charming piece, "The Lottery Ticket" by Ventura Garcia Calderon, who in a clever piece tells the story of a minorities reaction to winning a lottery, "The Boy Who Drew Cats" by Lafcadio Hearn, in which all people, even if it's just drawing cats, can be useful to society, and the list keeps going on and on.

#9- It Happened In New Jersey by Fran Capo- I first learned about Fran Capo from her appearances on The Weakest Link and Dog Eat Dog, which promoted her as the world's fastest female speaker. She happens to also be an author who has written works such as the nonfictional piece about fascinating things that happened in the Garden State. When I mean fascinating, I mean things that were right in front of you fascinating, but it took further information to confirm that it was actually connected to New Jersey origins. Written with her signature sense of humor, she provides detailed, factual information about the oldest dinosaur being found in Haddonfield, the red-suited Santa Claus originating on an artist's desk in New Jersey during the Civil War, how Thomas Edison actually chased Hollywood out of New Jersey, a secret about Lucy the Elephant in Margate, and the list keeps going on. You will learn a lot about this state and the intriguing things it has to offer and if you're from or live in New Jersey, you will most definitely be interested.

#8- The Running Man by Stephen King- Stephen King wrote this book as Richard Bachman before Bachman's identity was revealed a few years later. This was a novel that I read back in eighth grade and didn't get as much of an understanding of it, as this was the time I wasn't fascinated with reading as I am today. I decided to give this book another read and I am sure glad I did. Ben Richards, the protagonist in the story, goes on to participate in a wild game show, which the title is named for, in order to provide for his wife and sick daughter. In this game, the object is to stay away from hunters that are looking to track you down and kill you. They even ask for viewers to participate and report the contestants to the hunters, thus the cards are against Ben Richards and other contestants like him. This kind of game show paints an incredible picture as to how the future may look, especially on the outlook of game shows (given that one such show includes people with heart problems and in wheelchairs participating on a treadmill-based show). The story remains a roller coaster ride all the way until the end, so you'll be hooked from start to finish.

#7- The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury- To honor the late and great Ray Bradbury, a genius in the science fiction field (and plenty of other fields to go along with this), I had to read something from his library. Since I have read Fahrenheit 451 (which I may consider reading again), Dandelion Wine, and Farewell Summer, I felt it was time to give this classic a read. In this brilliant novel, Bradbury explores different stories that are connected in the way that all concentrate on the Earthling's interest in discovering life on Mars. On top of that, it explores how it's quite likely that we will only screw things up on Mars as oppose to make things better when we get there. My favorite chapter in this book is "The Taxpayer," which tells the story of a man that believes he should have the right to participate in an early mission to Mars because he paid the taxes to fund it. As expected, he's left out. This segment explores how we are expected to pay taxes to plans we are prohibited from taking any part in. Bradbury will definitely be missed for his clever exploration into the unknown.

#6- Dracula by Bram Stoker- The suave, handsome-looking vampire who is known for sleeping in a coffin and longing to "suck your blood" originated in the 1890s tale by Stoker. Ironically, the most accurate version of this Dracula happens to be the one featured in Nosferatu, the 1922 German film in which Max Schreck portrayed an ugly, bald, frail looking creature, plus the story is most identical. In the novel, Jonathan Harker is assigned to sell a home to Dracula, who happens to be a blood hungry vampire. What's great about this novel is the "on your toes" tension and the clear point of view. Since this novel was written in diary submissions from different characters, you could easily tell who was contributing to the story. As for its horror element, it is one of the original, top of the line franchises. I just so happened to read it this year and I encourage any reader, horror fiction fan or literature enthusiast, to do the same.

#5- The Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson- One of the greatest writers of the psychological horror fiction writers has to be Richard Matheson, whom to those of the current age would be familiar with one of his notable works, I Am Legend (the film, not necessarily the book). However, one of his scarier, adventurous works has to be The Shrinking Man, which anyone with a fear of drastically shrinking would draw fear into their minds. In this particular piece, Scott Carey is exposed to a radioactive spray while on a trip with his brother. This causes him to slowly shrink, becoming smaller than his wife, then his daughter, then the cat, and eventually so small that a sponge is his bed and he's trying to escape a spider. Matheson is known for writing in the notion that's featured in Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone, which Matheson himself has contributed to, in the way that it ends in a twist. I will not point out the twist, but I will point out that this is something to check out. Not only does this novel provide an element of horror and science fiction, but it also provides the mental destruction of a man who is facing an incredible crisis and how as he shrinks physically, so is his impression in society. This is quite a tragic element to the story and a reason that you have to think outside the box with regard to the concept of a man shrinking due to exposure from a chemical-based fume. This is an under-looked gem in several genres.

#4- Maus by Art Spiegelman- So I included a graphic novel on my list. Well... I didn't count anything out and what I read is what I read. The only rule I make is that I completed it thoroughly enough to provide a good quality review. Maus is more than a good quality piece, it's brilliant! Maus tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, Art's father, and his struggles as a Jew living in Poland and coming across the Holocaust. To make things clearer and more clever, Spiegelman uses animals to represent each group of countries. Most importantly, the Jews are mice and the Germans are cats, which plays on the "cat and mouse" term. The story behind what Vladek Spiegelman had to go through was incredibly raw and he held back absolutely no punches as to what really happened to the Jews in Europe during the most tragic times in their history. Better yet, Spiegelman was able to appropriately add humor in ways such as the true interactions that he had with his father. He made no effort to hide the extra details that went along with his father telling the story. If you would rather read a graphic novel over one that is filled with words, then I urge you to check out Maus.

#3- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins- I am speaking of the first in the series and ONLY the first in the series. It's so incredible how a writer for shows on Nick Jr. like Little Bear can go on to create one of the darkest, most gruesome franchises in literature. The concept to The Hunger Games is that of a future North America that is separated into twelve (used to be thirteen) districts known as Panem. After a rebellion against the authorities, it was instated that one male and female teenager from each district would compete in a competition where they would have to kill their competitors and avoid being killed by their competitors. The last person standing would be deemed the champion, their prize being appropriate supplies of food and support, for themselves AND their district. Katniss Everdeen, an adventurous caretaker of her home, is forced into competing in the place of her sister. Here, she builds relationships and avoids not coming out of the game. The concept to this story is just incredible. The fact that society is holding a sadistic stance tells you the fascination that people have with reality-based events and getting involved in such. This is especially seen in how the competitors receive celebrity treatment and are expected to satisfy their viewers, only facing a little more than a 4% chance of coming out of this event alive. This is only young adult fiction, because it features young adults. This is a dark, gruesome, and ruthless book, and has no fear in killing characters off as they wish. I, for one, believe that this is one of young adult fiction's finest.

#2- The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson- Last year, I named The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo as my second favorite novel. This year, I'm naming this book as my second favorite novel, only the first of the series was great and this one was fantastic. What I liked more about this novel was that it excelled on the building blocks the original novel had to offer. In Dragon Tattoo, we are introduced to the characters and what they could do. In Played With Fire, we see them take their actions a step further and learn about the inspiration behind these actions. What is most special about this novel is that we learn about Lisbeth Salander's back story and what made her the person she was. We also come across a key antagonist of hers from the first book, Nils Bjurman, who used his position as guardian to squeeze out some sexual favors from Lisbeth. To say the very least, this is a roller coaster ride like no other. We learn about Lisbeth's sister and her father, who is going to play a key role throughout the remainder of the series. Her father is important in the way that his relationship with his daughter is what ignites much of her fury. With that connection, we learn about her institutional experience and how her therapist contributed to her struggles, plus a female that she exchanged in sexual relations with. If you enjoyed The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, you'll enjoy The Girl Who Played With Fire ten times more. Don't expect The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest to pop up on next year's list, because I read it this year and didn't find it as fascinating. It was more about preparing for the main event. However, since Swedish author Stieg Larsson intended to make this series ten novels instead of three before eventually dying prematurely, this is the way things work.

#1- Aesop's Fables translated by V.S. Vernon Jones as part of the Barnes & Noble Collection- While this is one of those selections you may be puzzled that I picked, the fact of the matter is, Aesop's fables are absolutely brilliant and they are a landmark with regard to literature and storytelling. While Aesop may be more than one person or simply a title used to categorize these fables, these fables use animals, people, gods and goddesses, among other things to create stories that carry a moral. This is where you find tales such as "The Tortoise and the Hare" and "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," the latter being known as "The Shepherd's Boy and the Wolf," where morals such as "slow and steady wins the race" and "a liar cannot be believed even when telling the truth" are expressed. I, for one, prefer some of the lesser known pieces, such as "The Wolf and the Crane," "The Fox and the Crow," "The Ass and the Lapdog," among other incredibly clever tales. These fables were intended to be comedic in that they were meant to make people laugh. Some of these are so true that they even make me let out a laugh and some chuckles. Whether it was Aesop or not, these fables were incredibly well put together and very hard to top when it comes to good storytelling. Whether you want to use a cliche, such as "good things come in small packages" or that it was "short, sweet, and to the point," this novel is the equivalent to a top of the line cheese platter of the literary world. If you've missed out on Aesop's fables, regardless who the editor was, you've missed out of a large percentage of what literature has to offer. As for this collection, it was very well organized and indeed an encouraging element to what made this subject excellent.

2012 seemed to be the year that I began to explore the many gifts that literature has to offer. I've dug deeper into my interest in the subject after making the decision to trek in the direction of wanting to write fiction. I created a literature club and exchanged literary brain food with those who are part of the club. Whether it be their suggestions or the things I got out of the new experience into literary exploration, that's what the year had to offer. Much of this, combined with my already present reading habits, is the direction I went with regard to reading.

Next year should be quite interesting as well. While my time may be limited with a busy schedule, I definitely intend to use open time to read. I already plan to read some horror fiction, bestseller fiction, and much of what the field has to offer, but I also intend to explore what foreign literature has to offer (of course, written in the English language). I have always held interest in exploring a world of no boundaries, which is a key trait of literature.

As for this list, these are gems I have come across and encourage that you take the time to explore. It's a wide variety, so I'm putting my wagers on the fact that at least one (if not, more, most, or all) will be something you thoroughly enjoy. Hopefully, this list will encourage you to shut down the laptop or computer and head on over to the bookstore, but at the very least, I hope this list has simply created sparks on your "to-read" list.

Hope you all have a happy, healthy, and safe 2013!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Let's Be Brutally Honest: The Term "Genre Fiction" Is Inaccurate

Literary experts have sorted fiction in the story or novel form into two categories: literary and genre. In essence, "literary fiction" is what you learn in school, as "genre fiction" is what you buy and enjoy during your off time. Shakespeare would be literary, while Harry Potter would be genre. My take on this: there are better terms that could be used to define both categories. I hold a grasp on the fact that what we learn in high school and college and what wins the Nobel Prize in Literature versus what we read for pleasure and brings in the money or media recognition is incredibly different. I know that two terms can be used to describe these, but I don't see literary and genre fiction being the two.

Literary and genre both make up each and every element in the creation of fiction. Literature is the art of written work. There is no specification as to what the written work be about, but it needs to be of strong enough quality that you could paint a picture into the reader's mind. Of course, some literature is of better quality than other literature. It all comes down to the elements that are included in the story.

A genre is a category. Categories in fiction can fall in categories such as horror, science fiction, mystery, romance, young adult, children's, historical, among plenty of others I did not mention. There are more general categories such as drama, in which many of the literary works would go. Though there are plenty of literary works that can be categorized. Nobody goes away without a label, it's just like high school, where cliques are basically labels that you are given based off of your train of thought and the path you wish to pursue in your little society.

There are plenty of authors that are deemed "literary fiction" that could easily be placed in categories. We learn about Edgar Allan Poe in school, even going as far as having a unit named for him. He happens to be a well-known pioneer in horror fiction, a lesser known pioneer in science fiction, and with "The Murders In The Rue Morgue," the father of mystery. He is, without a doubt, one of the most important figures in literature, but his writing can be categorized. Stephen King writes in the same genre of horror, though he does stray to other categories such as fantasy. There is only one difference between the way Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King write and that difference is time. Perhaps, by 2050, Stephen King's work will be taught in English classes. It is indeed literature, just literature that's more current.

I believe a more appropriate term for what is deemed as "genre fiction" would be "pop fiction." The inspiration for this term has much to do with how we consider the music we listen to on the radio is pop or contemporary. However, "pop fiction" would be difficult to categorize, unless you want to use the Barnes & Noble arrangement as an example. Plenty of books are categorized as "Fiction and Literature," while the pieces that are slightly more dedicated to their genre are found in their appropriate section. However, in a section like science fiction and fantasy, what you will find is everything that fits the category. You won't only find "pop-based" science fiction and fantasy that is deemed "genre fiction," but instead anything that fits the category. You will find Frank Herbert and Jim Butcher, but you will also find Ray Bradbury, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells. You'll even find H.P. Lovecraft, and he has been declared by plenty of lists the greatest horror fiction writer of all time.

I really believe there should not be such a thing as "genre fiction," because everything could be categorized in its own genre. Sure, it's easier, but once we dissect what is deemed as "literary fiction," then two categories no longer exist. I could start with how much of ancient world literature was adventure or mythological, such as Homer's epics or the Oedipus pieces by Sophocles. Robinson Crusoe, the first ever novel written in prose format, has to be an adventure. Plenty of the pieces deemed as "literary" are simply dramas, like Jane Eyre. Stephen Crane wrote military or Western fiction, Toni Morrison writes race fiction, and Shakespeare writes plays, primarily comedy or tragedy depending on the ending, but can also be deemed as romances, because the story is typically one subject falling in love with another. He holds no concern in the subject of prose.

I would argue that just because something sits in a specific category doesn't mean that it cannot be deemed as literature. Everything that's written is literature. Even if I dislike the work, the work is still literature. It's not very good literature, but it's literature nonetheless. Of course, there is a difference between what wins the Nobel Prize in Literature and what becomes a bestseller, but everything can easily be categorized with the necessary time and tools.

Friday, December 21, 2012

RIP Brodny Schoolhouse Rocketman (RIP Link)

It's with great misfortune that I create this post about the recent passing of my smooth Dachshund, Link. Link was a notable show dog, a Westminster alumni, and an excellent companion that holds plenty of precious memories. This makes it much harder to imagine that his life was cut short due to cardiomyopathy, a heart disease that interferes with the flow of blood through the arteries and veins and in affect causes other physical issues. Due to an inability to let him continue to live in pain, we let Link go after nine excellent years with us.

Link, known as Brodny Schoolhouse Rocketman in the ring and according to the AKC, was born on January 2, 2003. He began showing in the ring a year later, with the help of his breeders and handlers. He saw plenty of success in the ring and easily garnered his fifteen points and two majors needed to "finish," which he accomplished within four months. Link returned home following this break to remain a companion, before returning to the road in 2006. He stayed on the road for two years, appearing twice in Westminster. He won the Award of Merit in 2007 and Best of Breed in 2008, the latter of which meant he would appear at the annual televised event. While he would lose the group to Uno the Beagle (who would go on to win the show), the fact he won the breed at Westminster was an accomplishment unto itself. He was a common resident of the top spots of the list of top smooth Dachshunds in the country during this time as well.

Link's showing career ended in 2008 following back surgery due to an invertebral disk. It was around this time that he would be diagnosed with cardiomyopathy as well, which limits a dog with two years to live (at the most). So at this point in time, he retired and became a companion. He did, however, show a more casual way of life. During Thanksgiving of 2008, Link got a hold of a box of pumpkin pie at the kitchen table, yanking it onto the ground and then he tried opening up the box in order to get his prize. He simply left the pie dented and came out with the nickname "Pumpkin Pie Link," which would often be substituted with "*insert the name of the food he wanted to eat* Link." His daughter, Dixie, won the breed at Westminster in 2010, which we both watched together while I had a bowl of popcorn on my lap. He was glad to be able to watch with us... but he held more of his concentration on the popcorn.

The most painful part of living with someone (in this instance, a dog) that has cardiomyopathy is that there are days you think they're struggling to live and others that they are perfectly fine. In July, we thought that this would be it, but he quickly got back to form. Just this Tuesday, he was hopping around and looking to pick up some "samples" at the kitchen table. Unfortunately, he saw his third major episode and this one was beyond painful for him and the rest of us. Now he's no longer in pain.

Someone who watches dog shows sees a dog and looks at them as "a handsome or beautiful looking representative of their favorite breed." In reality, these dogs are like everyday dogs that live a life like any other dog. They have owners that love them just as much as any other. Link was not an exception to this rule. Most people are going to see Link as the cute little Dachshund that's great to the ring. I see Link as a happy, jumpy, funny companion who loved to eat what ever you would give him and cuddle up in his Snuggie. This Thanksgiving, at a time where we believed anything could happen, I did, in fact, buy him a small pumpkin pie for him to devour. He ate the entire pie in one bite and it was indeed a memory that tells me, and will likely tell you, who Link is.

While his life was cut short, Link was a wonderful time to own. It's beyond an honor to have a dog that could make it to Westminster, but better yet, have a dog that is a compassionate companion. That's how I remember Link.

RIP Link (Brodny Schoolhouse Rocketman) (January 2, 2003-December 20, 2012). I hope that Thanksgiving is everyday for you up in Heaven!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Big Cheeses: Hoffman's Extra Sharp Cheddar AND Roasted Garlic Cheddar (Double Dose)

The perks about working at a supermarket is the fact that you are surrounded by a boat load of food no matter which way you look. While you cannot actually "sample" the food yourself, you are fortunately able to keep your appetite under control... that is until break rolls around and you run right over to buy that same, scrumptious item the first opportunity you get. One of the product's I learned about from working at a supermarket was the line of Hoffman's specialty cheese. They primarily create flavors for Cheddar, in the fashion that Cabot creates flavors of their own. Hoffman's is definitely able to make a statement with their cheese and provide top quality creation as their release their cheese for the buyer.

Since I couldn't decide which flavor to go ahead with and name my "big cheese," I decided "why not go with both?" It's been awhile since I have submitted anything for this segment of my blog, there should be two big cheeses that I convince you to go searching for in your grocery store. The brand is Hoffman's and the flavors are Roasted Garlic and Extra Sharp. I fell in love with both flavors from the moment I met them and I had to "adopt" two blocks of my own when they were roughly 33% off. Both of them are incredibly unique, especially for our typical, favorite cheese in America, but quality is what matters most for this cheese. Cheddar can easily be a rip off by a rip off of a company. This is not such an occasion.

With regard to the Roasted Garlic Cheddar, I enjoy the flavor of garlic. There is garlic bread, garlic knots, garlic on pasta, which means that garlic mixed with cheese should be just as scrumptious. The best way to eat this cheese is in lesser quantity. This is a cheese where "less is more" rings true. If you eat a single sample of this cheese, it's a satisfying taste right then and there. The texture is incredibly buttery and the flavor in your mouth is that of creamy garlic, which is an obvious orchestra for such a cheese. Is there any accompaniment that would make this cheese better? I say no. While it would be up to you to find a partner for this cheese to dance with, I think this cheese can stand on its own and be just as delicious.

If you have heard of the game "this or that," an appropriate question referring to cheese could be "sharp or mild?" To me, it all depends, and sometimes the answer is both. With regard to typical, plain Cheddar, I like it sharp. Unfortunately, I have realized that the mild version of Cheddar is just not a statement maker when it comes to eating the grand sample. I enjoy the mild Cheddar when it plays a part in Cabot's Sun-dried Tomato and Basil, but other, sharp it is. After eating Hoffman's version of the extra sharp version, my satisfaction had been restored. It is by far a grand statement maker that, like the Roasted Garlic, does not need a pairing. It's perfectly fine on the platter as is, unless you feel it would work with something sweet, such as an apple. This is my new favorite brand when it comes to typical, yellow Cheddar. A bit more costly than other brands such as Cracker Barrel, Helluva, Kraft, or the store brand, but definitely worth the extra buck or two.

If for some reason you need a late minute cheese to include on your platter with the holiday season in motion and Christmas Eve and day right around the corner, go to your store and search for Hoffman's cheese. They also make a Horseradish and Swisson Rye, among plenty of others. Those might suit your interest if these two do not. If you're making your way around the supermarket, check out the import cheese section for a change before looking in the dairy department. Chances are this is going to be where you find the Hoffman's line, just as I did. Then all you have to do is make your selections, buy, prepare, eat, and enjoy!

Have a great holiday, everyone!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Don't Worry, I Didn't Forget You

I wanted to make mention to the fact that this blog is, in fact, still active. I deeply apologize for not submitting as often as I was in the past, though between college and work, I have been over my head in stuff, stuff, and more stuff. I have not been able to visit this blog as often as I have in the past, but I will surely do my best to submit more blog posts toward the end of this month.

I have plenty in store. This includes a Shark Tank review of sorts, as it has become the only show I tend to watch regularly and that is if I have the time to do so. I will, however, check out Howie Mandel's Take It All in order to provide a review of the newest game show on the block. Who's Still Standing proved to be a dud in the long run in a world where Jeopardy!, Wheel Of Fortune, and a few circulating shows on GSN have become the only game shows that are able to stand on their own. We'll just have to see how this prize centered version of Prisoner's Dilemma works out. Interesting how NBC has created their own versions of both Russian Roulette AND Friend or Foe within back-to-back years.

I also have a cheese review in store, a response to my NFL predictions after the fact, the annual ten best books I read throughout the year, AND if that wasn't enough, I will be revealing my list of the ten worst books I ever read. These aren't the only things I will be going over. I intend to post about what ever I feel is worthy of a blog post. I was tempted to respond to Obama being reelected (oh where should I begin!), but have not gotten to that point.

Caponomics is still up for business. I wrote far more in 2011 than I did in 2012, but I had far more open time in 2011 than I do in this present year. March 9, 2013 will be my second anniversary and I highly intend to make it to 200 posts (maybe even 250 posts) within the upcoming year. I will also continue posting on Amazon. So if you're interested in reading what I have to say about the various books I have read, feel free to take a look at my reviews. I'm under the name "Caponomics." At the moment we speak, a comment of mine has been featured on the page for Irvine Welsh's If You Liked School, You'll Love Work.

More posts will be on their way later in the month.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Shark Tank Season 4 Premiere

I have made the highest cuts to my television watching in... I guess my entire life. Since picking up a job, television has really become something that hasn't made up my everyday life. I read and I write, those are the things that make up the things I really want to do and the future that I want to pursue. However, there was one show I was looking to see make its return, and that show is Shark Tank. This season, there is a full season of twenty-two episodes in which six sharks, namely Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Kevin O'Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, and Robert Herjavec, are returning to see what kinds of offers that could pursue and from what kind of people. Barbara and Lori will each appear in eleven episodes throughout the series (or half as they explained, thus I'm guessing they each appear in eleven), as the others will appear throughout. In this episode, it was the men and Barbara.

To start the night off was Derek Pacque, with his convenient, cheap, and technological coat checking business known as CoatChex, where your picture is taken as you hand in your coat for a fee of just $2-$5. Many of the coat checking services are double digits and don't match your face and coat, but instead rely on a ticket that's complicated to say the very least. Unfortunately, he hasn't sold the product and is only in the production stages of creating his business. Plus, as Kevin mentions, this business is seasonal, because nobody wears coats in the summer when it's warm out. Asking for $200,000 for 10% of the company, the $2,000,000 value is a bit too much for most of the sharks. Mark Cuban is the only one that provides an offer for Derek, which is $200,000 for 33% of the company. The highest Derek could do is 20%, which is not good enough for Mark. Derek leaves the tank without a deal, feeling that it may just be the right idea to wait until his business grows. He does, however, ignore a decent offer that allowed him to keep control of his company and yet continue to pick up advice from someone who knows the business.

The update was yet a second update for "The Reader Rest," that Lori Greiner invested in last season. Since, the production has increased drastically and a scene features Lori and the product's creator on a ship in Martha's Vineyard.

Jay Kriner is the next one into the tank. For a day job, he detects underground bombs or exploding devices, which led me to believe that his product would have to do with that kind of idea. It turns out... his product was the Bev Buckle. For $50,000 in exchange for 10% equity, the sharks could invest in a product in which your buckle is a cup-holder that allows you to enjoy your beverage hands-free. There are plenty of companies and raceways interested in the product, but no checks have been written. He does, however, garner three offers. Robert wants $50,000 for 75%, Barbara $50,000 for 51%, and Kevin wants $50,000 for no equity, but instead wants a 12% royalty on every buckle that is sold. He takes Barbara's offer, probably because it's the smallest, but the aftermath of the decision is extremely brief (which I will discuss later). To close off, he shouts his slogan, "Ba-Bam!" I must say, though, that Barbara's offers do become noteworthy, especially since I "like" her Facebook page. I see plenty of statuses about Daisy Cakes and Pork Barrel BBQ, two of her successful products.

Todd Miller was the next into the tank, which I must say was the most interesting pitch of the night. His product was a massaging program known as "Bodywalking." For $100,000 in exchange for 10% of the company, they would be investing in a program in which masseuses walk on those being massaged and features a handrail system that assists you on concentrating on pressure points. Barbara, who deems herself "the queen of massage," tries out the product. She's left comfortable, though the others kid around about her "having a stroke."  Unfortunately, the sharks don't see potential or originality in this idea and Todd does not garner any offers.

The final people to enter the tank are Maria Curcio and Veronica Periongo, whose product is called "Buggy Beds." For $125,000 in exchange for 7% of the company, the sharks would be investing in a detection system in which a glue trap would be placed around your bed area and tell you if need to do something about the bedbug problem. Seeing that they turned down a huge deal that they just didn't find to be right, Kevin sends the ladies out and wants to see if all of the sharks would be interested in taking a part in the deal. Things seem a bit frazzling, as the other sharks want to make offers of their own. Ultimately, Kevin offers $250,000 for 25% of the company and invites any shark interested in taking a part in the offer to do so. Daymond is the first one in, followed by Robert, however Barbara tries to offer $150,000 for 15% of the company... if they say "yes" right away. She also adds on the fact that she's female and that they have to stick together. When Barbara preached girl power last season to the inventor of "You Smell," it backfired. When the women don't approve right away, she goes out. Ultimately, Robert and Mark enter the deal and Barbara decides to get back in. The offer is $250,000 for 25% of the company and each shark is included. They agree to it... as long as Mark teaches them in cha cha cha, a Dancing With The Stars reference to when Mark competed on the show.

This is deemed as being the first time in which all of the sharks invested in the offer. However, this is not the case. Back in season one, all of the sharks invested in Mark Furigay's product, Classroom Jams, which used music to help kids learn about classic literature, Shakespeare in particular. An update was shown as well for this product. These were during the days in which Kevin Harrington sat on the panel before Mark joined the show and became popular enough to become a regular. This is an incredible verdict, but not the first in any way.

I hope the best happens to Shark Tank this season, as the previous season was such a hit. However, I hope the show does not become generic and rushed, which I saw signs of throughout the episode. I especially felt that the aftermath to Jay Kriner accepting Barbara's offer was incredibly rushed. There was a brief shot of Barbara and Jay shaking hands and then Jay leaves the tank, yelling "Ba-Bam!" It felt like not much detail was put in to that aspect of the show. The final offer did a bit of a better job showing the aftermath, but it still could have been bigger and better.

Nevertheless, the show still seems to hold a great deal of potential throughout the season as it progresses. There looks like there is a ton to look forward to and plenty of exciting pitches, wild chemistry among the sharks, and incredible offers that should do the show justice. We'll just have to see if my outlook is right.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My Prediction: 2012 NFL Season

It has been unfortunate that I have been unable to submit blog posts recently, due to a busy and hectic schedule that only bound to become busier. Fortunately, the NFL season is on its way and as I hope to make tradition by doing, I will be making my predictions for the upcoming NFL season. I'll give my ranking in the division, a record, a brief summary defending the ranking, and playoff predictions. The win-loss record is set for an individual record and will likely not add up. However, the rankings are accurate and that's really what matters most.

Last year, I correctly predicted the New England Patriots would finish runner-up in the Super Bowl and that the Green Bay Packers would have the best record, but much else was switched up. To my surprise, the Bengals, who I thought would tank, did well and Andy Dalton is a fine quarterback. Let's see how this year goes with regards to predictions...

AFC East

New England Patriots (12-4)- Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the rest of the group remain in healthy form and in a division that's in a serious rebuilding process. Their long reign of dominant, winning seasons shouldn't be ending as long as Tom Brady's in good shape and able to play and play well.

Miami Dolphins (7-9)- The Dolphins made an effort this offseason by bringing Ryan Tannehill onto the team through the draft. They're making an effort by moving into a new direction with Joe Philbin as the coach, and I already respect the man for not putting up with Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson's crap and releasing him following his arrest for assault on his wife. Unfortunately, it's going to be a long road for the 'Phins.

Buffalo Bills (6-10)- I like what the Bills have to offer. I like the fact that they are garnering pieces together to come up with a potentially strong team. I just question how Ryan Fitzpatrick will do orchestrating the team. Will his surrounding team provide him with everything he needs like the Niners did for Alex Smith or will it just be another season that could have been but wasn't? It will be unfortunate for head coach Chan Gailey, who has really done what he could.

New York Jets (5-11)- The Jets are a mess. The Jets are a huge, exploding mess that has terrible chemistry off the field and it's bound to overflow on it. This team is going to be about Mark Sanchez getting benched and Tim Tebow getting on the field. It will be an incredibly ugly season for the team that will lead to horrifying cuts, releases, and possibly the firing of Rex Ryan if he can't hold the team together.

AFC South

Tennessee Titans (10-6)- I am quite surprised that I could see the Titans winning the division. I actually intended to have the Texans win it, but a tiebreaker put the Titans in this slot instead. The team is growing and Jake Locker looks to have the potential of bringing this team far. This looks like a team on the rise.

Houston Texans (10-6)- The Texans finally made their big break last season with Wade Phillips finally answering the questions on defense and with that and an already good offense, everything was set. The playoffs or being in the playoff hunt should become familiar to them, as this division is about to become competitive.

Indianapolis Colts (7-9)- The Colts should make a decent jump from where they were last season. Andrew Luck is going to have a good career with the team, but he needs to reach a point in which the rest of his team is ready to contend with him. Once he has a stage to play on, the Colts are going to see a heyday like they had with Peyton Manning. I don't necessarily agree with selecting a coach based off of one good season, which was how Chuck Pagano got in, but he should do a decent job with who he has.

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13)- The Jags just seem to do a poor job getting talent on their team. Their big talent, Maurice Jones-Drew, is having some contract issues that will either keep him off the field or make him less enthused about being on it. Besides that, the team is simply shaky everywhere else. With what they have, it's going to be incredibly rocky for this team and things will not go their way.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens (13-3)- The Ravens seem to be in a situation in which it's now or never. They have an incredibly memorable defense with veterans that have their eye on the prize and perhaps this may be their time. Ray Lewis may be looking at his final season and the way he wants to end it is on top. The rest of the team seems to be hungry to make big plays as well.

Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)- Like last year, the AFC North is a shootout between these two teams. Only this year, it will be a shootout just between these two teams. The Steelers still have the mighty defense they are well known for having and they should propel them into the playoffs. The Ravens and Steelers will simply fight for the division, but the Ravens look to have this one.

Cincinnati Bengals (5-11)- The Bengals had their heyday last season, but it seems as if things simply go on and off for them. This season will be an off season and maybe a moment in which they part ways with Marvin Lewis to start anew. While Marvin Lewis has brought them to points in which they haven't been in a decade, he only brought them to the playoffs three times, producing a record of 0-3 with wildcard exits each time.

Cleveland Browns (2-14)- Everything about this team reads mess. The management looks like a hot mess and they're in the works of finding new people, meaning a quick end to the Mike Holmgren era. The season is going to ride on how well Brandon Weeden performs as a quarterback. Still, he deserves a better background than this.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)- The Chiefs look like a dark horse team for the playoffs this season. They have plenty of underrated, but fine fantasy football choices that are ready to make a break for it like they did just two seasons ago. Romeo Crennel has the respect from his team in which he may find that playoff appearance that he just couldn't find with the Cleveland Browns. Many are looking at the Chargers to make a big break or the Broncos to excel under Peyton Manning. I see a surprise, instead.

Denver Broncos (9-7)- Peyton Manning should bring the Broncos to form in a different way that Tim Tebow seemed to do with his high fortune. Though it will all come down to a division battle that they will shockingly lose out to against the Chiefs.

San Diego Chargers (7-9)- Speaking of surprises, the Chargers are going to finish under .500. Last season, the team really didn't show up to form and Phillip Rivers really performed below expectations. Yet plenty of the team got voted into the Pro Bowl. This time around, true colors will show and it may be time for the team to enter a new direction, meaning the end of the Norv Turner era that started out bright, but ended on a dull note.

Oakland Raiders (5-11)- Unlike in recent seasons, in which they actually contended for the playoffs, such as with an 8-8 record last season, the Raiders will take a few steps back in a division and will games that should prove to be a bit more difficult and against teams that should be garnering some strength.

NFC East

New York Giants (10-6)- The NFC East will clearly be the most competitive division this season and all four teams will contend. The Giants do have the hardest schedule, but I feel they're in form to be able to come out on top with some of their tough matches. They seem to have answers for the majority of their positions and that should help them claim the division.

Dallas Cowboys (9-7)- I would have given the division to the Cowboys if I were to make my predictions a few weeks back. However, this seems to be a team with a bit more question marks. These marks primarily lie on offense, where tight end Jason Witten is seeing injury woes and wide receiver Dez Bryant is having off the field problems. I do, however, see them overcoming these distractions and seeing the playoffs in one of the most competitive six seed battles ever.

Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)- If this align for this team, they could go on to win the division. However, this will all lie on one thing. That one thing is: can Michael Vick stay healthy? He already had an issue in the preseason and an injury will really hurt the team. I also expect him to be a bit weaker than he has in the past few seasons. I also don't get how Juan Castillo is still the defensive coordinator. I just don't get it. Maybe it is time for the Andy Reid era to come to an end and have a new coach start a new era.

Washington Redskins (8-8)- Even the Skins will see improvement with underrated stars at many positions and an answer to their quarterback question with the draft selection of RGIII. The team still has a long way to go, but meeting .500 will be something they can likely accomplish. It should also extend the time Mike Shanahan has left with the team, because they are bound to reach the playoffs within a season or two.

NFC South

Carolina Panthers (12-4)- The Panthers look like they are on their way to making the big break they need with Cam Newton garnering experience and enlightening a team that really didn't look so good. I can put my wagers on the fact that they will be the ultimate shocker. I did say the Bucs would be the dark horse of 2011, but they faltered to 4-12. I see the Panthers doing far better, as they have a more mature coach and a good cast.

Atlanta Falcons (9-7)- The Falcons will remain consistent with the times and how things have been treating them under the tenure of Mike Smith and they've been seeing back to back seasons with positive records or playoff appearances. The positive record should remain, but they will fall short of the playoffs, but by a very quick margin.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-10)- With Greg Schiano in the captain's seat, the team looks like they're on their way to seeing a bit more proper order. However, whether or not that delivers wins will really take a lot of time to find out.

New Orleans Saints (6-10)- It's unfortunate that this team had to deal with Gregg Williams and his cruel, pay to play schemes that caused Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis, Joe Vitt, and Jonathan Vilma to be suspended for so many games (for Payton, it was the whole season). We can only hope Williams never returns to the NFL. As for what remains, the Saints are scrapped down to what they had and it will require a new game plan. All of these complications and constant changes with two coaches may really hurt them.

NFC North

Green Bay Packers (14-2)- The Packers are highly dominant and will show this in the regular season. They have the explosive offense that's going to make them a team that produces fantasy football gems. However, everything is going to come down to whether or not their defense also holds answers. For the regular season, they should be able to play to a point in which they easily reach the playoffs.

Detroit Lions (10-6)- This team should see much similarity to last season. They seem to be in the same condition in which they were the last time around and nothing should change from then. The only differences would come down to the fashion in which they win their matches. Aside from that, they will come out on top in one of the most grueling wildcard battles in the history of the NFC.

Chicago Bears (9-7)- Plenty of people have said that the Bears are ready to strike a comeback and that they will cap off an NFC North that will feature three playoff teams. I agree that the NFC North will produce three strong teams, but the Bears will fall short by an incredibly small margin. Predicting between the 9-7 teams that will form a trend was an incredibly tough decision, but the Cowboys would be the ones that come out based on wins. It'll be a fine effort for the Bears, but Jay Cutler is on and off.

Minnesota Vikings (2-14)- I see them fighting with the Browns for the #1 pick in the NFL Draft in 2013. When the Brett Favre era came to an end due to Favre's injury, the Vikings entered a great depression of their own. Adrian Peterson will have it rough and the remainder of the team doesn't look like they'll be producing. They should seriously think about tearing things down to rebuild, starting with the disposal of Leslie Frazier.

NFC West

San Francisco 49ers (11-5)- The Niners are entering an era in which they have made their biggest comeback in a decade. After a string of mediocrity, they found true leadership in Jim Harbaugh, and his competitive style brought them to the NFC Championship. It will be a much more grueling season for this team, but they'll still do a fine job.

Seattle Seahawks (9-7)- The Seahawks look to be a team on the road to returning to form. The fact that rookie, third round selection Russell Wilson outplayed Matt Flynn for the starting role on the team really shows that this time will have some fine talent. Plus with Braylon Edwards AND Sidney Rice, this team looks like they could make a decent run. I see them involved in the playoff hunt, but falling just short.

St. Louis Rams (6-10)- With Jeff Fischer and his strong contract, the Rams have some high expectations, but it will be a long road for this struggling team. There will, however, be slight improvement with a 6-10 record compared their previous record of 2-14. While Fischer may have been a big name, he was only decent with the Titans. It was his earlier performances and Super Bowl appearance in 1999 and AFC Championship appearance in 2002 that made his career look attractive. They should be trekking upward nonetheless.

Arizona Cardinals (3-13)- The most spoken of topic with this team is the quarterback battle between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton. Both of them seem is be just okay and this will dominate the season. I see it going back and forth throughout and it will mess up their opportunities and cost Ken Whisenhunt his job.



(6) Houston Texans
defeat (3) Tennessee Titans, 27-19
(5) Pittsburgh Steelers defeat (4) Kansas City Chiefs, 24-3
(3) San Francisco 49ers defeat (6) Dallas Cowboys, 34-28
(4) New York Giants defeat (5) Detroit Lions, 24-20


(1) Baltimore Ravens
defeat (6) Houston Texans, 29-16
(2) New England Patriots defeat (5) Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-21 (OT)
(1) Green Bay Packers defeat (4) New York Giants, 34-24
(2) Carolina Panthers defeat (3) San Francisco 49ers, 28-26


AFC: (1) Baltimore Ravens defeat (2) New England Patriots, 27-24
NFC: (1) Green Bay Packers defeat (2) Carolina Panthers, 38-13

Super Bowl

Baltimore Ravens defeat Green Bay Packers, 28-27

Based on these records and results, other predictions of mine include...

1. After winning Super Bowl XLVII, Ray Lewis decides to call it a career.

2. Rex Ryan (Jets), Pat Shurmur (Browns), Marvin Lewis (Bengals), Norv Turner (Chargers), Andy Reid (Eagles), Leslie Frazer (Vikings), and Ken Whisenhunt (Cardinals) are the head coaches let go. Chan Gailey may join this list if the Bills feel that they need a response to the position of head coach or they would give him one more chance with more tools. Lovie Smith will receive another chance, as he would have led a fierce team with the Bears. Andy Reid's exit would be expected and to some Philly fans relieving, but nevertheless shocking like Jeff Fischer's, because of his long tenure (as he was hired in 1999). Mike Mularkey (Jaguars) will likely be granted another chance due to rocky circumstances.

3. Head coaching nominees for 2013 will include Perry Fewell (Giants DC), Pete Carmichael Jr. (Saints OC), Mike Zimmer (Bengals DC), Mike McCoy (Broncos OC), Rob Chudzinski (Panthers OC), Vic Fangio (49ers DC), and Mike Sherman (Dolphins OC) on the coordinator end. I don't see Super Bowl winning coaches like Bill Cowher or Tony Dungy looking for a return, but Jon Gruden may be a possibility. Marty Schottenheimer may also see another chance, as he saw an interview with the Bucs before they picked up Greg Schiano. Each of the fired coaches will likely find either a head coaching or coordinating job in the league. Reid may be the only one to get an immediate head coaching position, while Ryan may get a head coaching position if he doesn't taint his name with the Jets, but will otherwise get a coordinating position. The others will likely be coordinators if fired. Rob Ryan has generally been a favorable pick for me, but if the Jets saga blows up, it'll hurt his chances as well.

4. Matt Flynn will likely see a starting gig, but away from the Seahawks, given that Russell Wilson is on his way to establishing himself as a quarterback.

5. Either Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow will not be with the Jets after the 2012 season. A direction will be declared following a turmoil season.

6. Matt Barkley goes to the Vikings and allows them to start a new era. If they pass him up, he'll go to the Cardinals and the Vikings would have wasted a valuable opportunity.

Otherwise, my final verdict will be Ravens over Packers in Super Bowl XLVII, which I predicted back in 2010 in an article I wrote on a Facebook group I created before I became a blogger. This time around, it seems like a strong possibility. The Ravens have an offense that produces and a defense that's incredibly aggressive. While Chuck Pagano, the previous defensive coordinator, went to the Colts, Dean Pees seems to be perfectly qualified. He was on the Patriots before heading to the Ravens and made an impact there. The Packers will be the excellent offense that they have proven, but it will be the best offense versus the best defense, and offense tends to win games as defense tends to win championships. This is prove no exception.

The season begins Wednesday, so let the season begin!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Caponomics On Amazon: The List

I thought I would share a list of each of the books I review on Amazon, so you could search for them as you check out the site. I'm under "Caponomics," just like the name of the blog. Here is what you can find thus far...

The Incredible Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson
Chanukah Guilt by Ilene Schneider
Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Maus by Art Spiegelman
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Julie And Julia by Julie Powell
One Second After by William R. Fortschen
The President Is A Sick Man by Matthew Algeo
Destiny Of The Republic by Candice Millard
Hearts In Atlantis by Stephen King
The Green Mile by Stephen King
Bag Of Bones by Stephen King
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King
The House Of Thunder by Dean Koontz
The Servants Of Twilight by Dean Koontz

I will continue to update this list as I review more books, so keep checking this list.

Caponomics On Amazon

I have an announcement I would like to share with those of you who check out my blog. I have begun to submit book reviews for and will be submitting more of these reviews in the days and weeks to come.

There are a few reasons that I am doing this. The first is that I want to do what I can to make an impact on what people shop for on Amazon. I feel that good books should be bought and bad books should be ignored, which is an obvious train of thought. It's also an act of preventing others from following the path in which I myself did in the negative aspect and encouraging people to following the path I did in the positive aspect. In simple talk: read good books, not bad ones.

While it's of lesser reasoning, writing reviews, let alone book reviews, on Amazon puts me in a competition. You are ranked based off of how helpful you are and you can earn titles for being in the Top 10, Top 100, and other valuable honors. I have always been interested in competition, not necessarily comparing myself to others, but seeing how far I can go with my writing and reviewing talents.

For those of you who are interested, my reviews will be under "Caponomics" on Amazon. The reviews that have been released include...

The Incredible Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson
Chanukah Guilt by Ilene Schneider
Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut

There will be plenty of reviews to come of several other books. I ask and encourage you to check them out. At the moment, I'm only getting the feel of how Amazon reviews, but will eventually warm up and become casual like they are on this blog.

I will continue to review books here on Caponomics and will give a more straight forward rating on a scale of 0-10. Amazon has a 1-5 star rating, which doesn't allow an option to give absolutely dreadful books a zero-star rating. Unfortunately, but ehhhh... that's life.

So if you get the chance and want to buy some books on Amazon, check out my reviews and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Let's Be Brutally Honest: Orange Juice Pulp Is Oh So Burdensome

I am not one to constantly drink my calories. I believe water is the best thing to drink when you're thirsty, as it contains zero calories and quenches your thirst. I will, however, have an orange juice in the morning in order to boost my intake of Vitamin C, calcium, and it gives me the caffeine spurt to start the day as coffee does to many others. What I mean by drinking a nice, refreshing glass of orange juice in the morning is drinking a nice, refreshing glass of smooth and sweet orange juice. NOT orange juice with pulp. Yes, I am one that likes things in a natural state, but orange juice is something I prefer without the pulp. Then again, I don't like seeds in a watermelon or crusts on a white bread (when it's the only option, because I'm not into white bread so much), but pulp is not something that suits my interests.

For the record, pulp are the little objects that shed off of the orange when being eaten. When you're drinking orange juice, you can feel these flaky objects entering your mouth that feel like something that is thicker than dandruff and thinner than finger or toenails. They are oh so burdensome to your morning glass of OJ and take so much away from your experience of having a refreshing morning.

This led me to the question of whether or not pulp was good for you or it didn't make much of a difference at all. It turns out... pulp is really good for you... which is unfortunate for people like myself who just can't stand it. Pulp has a nutrient in it known as a flavonoid. This nutrient has been known for fighting diseases such as diabetes or cancer. Then again, as it goes, things that don't taste so good end up being better for you than things that don't, reasonable for the fact that keeping healthy should be challenging. Drinking orange juice with pulp in it joins this list of things that are healthier in the more burdensome state.

There are plenty of examples in which taste doesn't judge nutrition level. Broccoli tastes like a cold tree when you eat it raw, but juicier and more delicious when you cook it. Chocolate is another food that is more bitter than sweeter in its authentic state. We all comment on how chocolate is so sweet, but it actually tastes like dirt when it contains more cacao. This is also referred to as "dark chocolate." Milk chocolate, which is sweeter, actually contains more sugar and cocoa butter that isn't as natural. White chocolate, which is the sweetest of the bunch, contains no real chocolate.

Back to what I was saying about pulp, it's healthier, but it's not really better. Orange juice is something that should be refreshing during the morning and little objects swimming in your drink and are ready to rub against your mouth and tickle your throat are only going to crash your party. There are plenty of other less burdensome ways in which you could fight diseases such as diabetes and cancer. I'm perfectly fine with having broccoli, because at least I know what I'm in for.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Christopher Nolan's trilogy featuring the Dark Knight, also known as Batman, comes to a close with The Dark Knight Rises, in which Christian Bale returns to the leading role of the Caped Crusader. Unfortunately, this final film missed the mark on too many accounts for it to be deemed a success. While it continued to stand on a strong platform, I expected so much more and didn't get enough. There was so much more I expected.

With a long list of villains to choose from, the villains selected for this film include the robotic-masked Bane, played by Tom Hardy, and the manipulative, sexy Catwoman, played by Anne Hathaway. The two do not team up in anyway, but both cause their own form of mischief. Bane wants to cause destruction and obliterate Harvey Dent's law, which put plenty of bad guys in prison, as Catwoman wants to take from the rich in order to give to herself.

At the start of the film, it has been eight years since The Dark Knight and Gotham City is remembering the loss of Harvey Dent, who became Two-Face and was killed in The Dark Knight. Given the blame for this "mess" that occurred, Batman heads into retirement. After the issues being caused by Bane and Catwoman, Bruce Wayne, Batman's alter ego, is convinced to return as Batman and take down what these two have in store. One of these events includes the shooting of Commissioner James Gordon, who is planning to resign due to guilt over Harvey Dent's death. This all leads up to the climax in which Bane wants to destroy Gotham City with the use of bombs placed across the city and a big bomb that he intends to cause ultimate destruction with.

The Dark Knight Rises was meant to be judged on acting, storyline, and action. The acting remained a bit consistent as to what this portion of the series had to bring. Unfortunately, it was NOTHING like The Dark Knight from 2008. Much of that, though, had to do with who the villains were, and NOBODY was going to top the performance of Heath Ledger as The Joker. Nobody really knew that Ledger was going to do such a spectacular job, so surprises are always bound to happen. This film wasn't much about story line, but when it was, such as with Bane's background, was fairly decent. Catwoman, while a villain, has always been able to seduce Batman. In this film, her actions toward putting Batman into an awful financial situation and for stealing the pearls were left open-ended, and her portion of the conclusion (which I will not explain) was left unexplained. Bane, on the other hand, was an interesting choice for villain, but the destruction could have been so much better.

On the subject of destruction, I came into the film being told that there was going to be a boatload of destruction, that included a destruction of Heinz Field. All I saw was a destruction of the playing field. It was kind of like a giant doing a cannonball in a swimming pool in the backyard. It may do some damage to the pool and cause the water to overflow, but not so much damage to the yard. I expected all out destruction and didn't get it. As for the action between Batman and Bane, it was a typical fistfight. Nothing that involved incredible gadgets or sly moves, just something that could be seen at a bar after midnight in the event that two guys had to much to drink and pissed one another off in some way or another.

The Dark Knight Rises did not live up to expectations and is one of those comic book box office movies that didn't hit the mark. Would I recommend it? See it the first time to satisfy your need to watch another Batman film and then wait until it comes to DVD to satisfy your need to own the entire collection. There's no need to keep going back a second, third, fourth time, and so on, and so forth, because it's not spectacular.

Verdict: 6/10

On a final note, I want to make mention to those in Aurora, Colorado who either lost their lives or were hurt by simply expressing their love for the Batman series by attending the midnight premiere and were shot by someone who felt making news would be fun. In reality, it isn't, and people like that should be hunted down and either locked away or executed in the same way they executed the people in which they hurt or killed. For the victims attending the premiere in Aurora, Colorado, my thoughts and prayers go out to you.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The World Series Of Poker 2012: The Finalists Are Revealed, Who Will Take It?

It's highly unfortunate that the World Series Of Poker is not shown on television like other sports events and that the best way to follow is by going on the website ( to check the final results. Then again, it's not set up like other poker events. Being a fan of High Stakes PokerPoker Superstars, and the National Heads Up Poker Championship, I have learned about plenty of poker players and their personalities. Unfortunately, the World Series Of Poker, the tournament that started it all and has run annually since 1970, is the only one that remains.

Within the last few years, the final table has been played in October or November instead of right then and there. It's generally played in November, but this year will be played in October due to the presidential election coming up in November. A pattern that has been going on the last few years is that the champions are young, breakout male poker players. On many occasions, the record for youngest champion has been broken. It hasn't been broken since Joe Cada did so in 2009, but nevertheless, new poker stars are being introduced and many (and on many occasions all) are appearing at their first final table.

The "October Nine" for 2012 include chip leader Jesse Sylvia, Hungarian player Andras Koroknai, Greg Merson, Russell Thomas, Steven Gee (who at age 56 is the oldest of the final nine), Michael Esposito, Robert Salaburu, Jacob Balsiger (who at age 21 is the youngest of the final nine), and Jeremy Ausmus. To be quite honest, I have not heard of any of these players before this final event, which goes to show you how new blood has been dominating the table. The only familiar names within the last few years at the final table include Michael Mizrachi, Jeff Shulman, and Phil Ivey. Nevertheless, these guys remain excellent poker players.

What made this year stick out was how dominant the women were with regard to making a mark in the game. There were women who were fighting for a spot at the final table. Throughout the history of the tournament, the only female to make the final table at the main event was Barbara Enright, who in 1995 made the final table and finished in fifth place. This year, Gaelle Baumann and Elisabeth Hille competed and finished in tenth and eleventh respectively. If one of both of these ladies made the final table, I could honestly say that this would have made for an interesting, competitive, aggressive, and memorable showdown. Though with the final nine proving their worth and making alternations in the rankings in what is such an unpredictable game to begin with, this main event final table should still be interesting. Other women that made noticeable finishes included Marcia Topp (71st), Vanessa Selbst (73rd), and Susie Zhao (90th).

Amnon Filippi was another noticeable player that made a huge finish at 39th. Others included Gavin Smith (96th), Daniel Negranu (160th), Freddy Deeb (211th), and John Juanda (237th). Of the previous champions, the two that finished in the money included Johnny Chan (353rd) and Huck Seed (527th). Granted, there hasn't been such a far run for champions in this main event since 2007, where Scotty Nguyen finished in 11th.

Celebrities has been known for competing in the World Series Of Poker, along with other tournaments. The one that made a huge run this year was Kevin Pollak, who finished in 134th.

The World Series Of Poker, which consists of plenty of other events, featured several other tournaments that consisted of several styles of poker. The one that stuck out from this year was a new event called "The Big One For One Drop," which consisted of a million dollar entry and just forty-eight participants. Antonio Esfandiari would go on to win this tournament and won over eighteen million dollars. Money that came out of this event went to the One Drop Foundation, which is a charity founded by Cirque De Soleil founder Guy Laliberte.

The main event final table for this tournament is so unpredictable that I have no idea who I will be rooting for or predicting will win the whole thing. I just hope that the game is competitive and the person who does the best job and plays their cards right is the one that wins it all. What we do know is that those who made a good run will surely be known and that the female poker players who broke the Top 100, especially Baumann and Hille, are on their way to becoming celebrities in the world of poker. The October showdown should definitely be an interesting one, regardless of who wins.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Review: Aesop's Fables

The book I'm about to be reviewing isn't officially a book, because Aesop's fables have been published in several collections. This collection happens to be the Barnes & Noble Classics collection, but nevertheless, Aesop's fables have played a large influence on literature, entertainment, and the language of which we speak. It's incredible how a storyteller could make their mark during a time period in which stories weren't written, but told orally. Plus Aesop, the one who allegedly told these stories, could have simply been a group of storytellers and not one individual with the name. While some may have never heard of Aesop, the majority of people have heard of or read a revamped or original version of one of their works.

There are plenty of Aesop's fables that are overlooked everyday. "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," "The Tortoise And The Hare," and "The Lion And The Mouse" are only a few of which you have overlooked as being an Aesop fable. These fables, which were short in structure, being one page at the very most, had one goal. This goal was to deliver a moral. In "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," also known as "The Shepherd's Boy And The Wolf," delivers the moral that a liar cannot be believed even when telling the truth. In "The Tortoise And The Hare," the moral is that slow and steady wins the race.

On that subject, plenty of expressions that we use everyday come from Aesop's fables. "Don't count your chickens before they hatch" comes from "The Milkmaid And Her Pail," which had to do with a milkmaid who was imagining everything she would do when she would turn the milk into butter and what would happen in her future. She dropped the milk pail and watched her dreams shatter. Others expressions include "Honesty is the best policy" and "think twice before you act."

Some of my personal favorites are those that aren't as familiar to most. These include "The Fox And The Crow," in which the crow has a piece of cheese in their beak that the fox wants. He mentions how beautiful the crow is, but wants to hear her sing to make sure she's completely beautiful. When she opens her mouth to do so, she drops the cheese to the fox for it to eat. "The Ass And The Lapdog" is another memorable fable. For the record, a donkey is referred it as an "ass" throughout the fables. In this particular one, the ass becomes jealous of the dog's position and how he gets to be in the house and sit on his owner's lap. The ass then tries to be like the dog and even sit on the owner's lap. The moral had to do with satisfaction, which became an interesting fiasco with the ass. I saw an online slideshow that made this one look hilarious. "The Wolf And The Crane" is another favorite of mine, in which a wolf had a bone stuck in his throat which the crane easily pulled out. The crane expected a material reward for this action, but the wolf reminded the crane that the reward was that he spared her by not eating her. It goes to show you how we expect immediate material rewards for our actions, while we ignore the more powerful, non-material rewards.

Aesop's fables are highly clever pieces of literature that offer bits of common sense. The Barnes & Noble collection does an excellent job putting together 284 fables and showing how brilliant Aesop or the group of storytellers known as Aesop were in creating these pieces. The stories that are used are incredibly funny and use everything from humans to gods to animals to plants and anything and everything else in between.

If you have yet to read a collection of Aesop's fables, there's much you have missed. Plenty collections exist, but the one I read from is a part of the Barnes & Noble collection that can be found at Barnes & Noble. I urge you to start reading them and digest the powerful words of wisdom.

Verdict: 10/10

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Big Cheeses: Sartori Extra-Aged Asiago

I was skimming through my posts to see how long it has been since I did a "Big Cheeses" segment, where I pick a cheese and review it. When I skimmed the list, I realized that the last time I did such a review was in December of last year... making it seven months! With that being said, combined with the fact that I'm working in a supermarket (but as a cashier, not in the deli or the nonexistent cheese section), endorsing a cheese has been long overdue. This is only the second time I recommended a specific company and type, as I have generally recommended cheeses as individuals, but this was too good to pass up. This cheese is Sartori Extra-Aged Asiago. I have always been one for harder cheeses and I will attest to the fact that cheese ages well if kept in proper condition. With this cheese, it brings significance to my case.

Sartori is a Wisconsin based cheesemaking company created by Paolo Sartori, an Italian immigrant who came in America in 1939 in order to contribute to his piece of the American dream. In America, he invented and patented machines such as the cheese curd machine and the curd mixing and kneading machine. Joe Sartori, also a part of the family, would go on to create Sargento, another cheese company in which he would eventually sell his interest. As for Sartori, they have created plenty of specialty Italian cheeses, whether they be classic versions or gourmet versions. One of these is the Extra-Aged Asiago, which won first place in the World Championship Cheese Contest this year.

This version of Asiago is at least a year in age, making it a more aged version of the variety. Asiago is an Italian cheese named for the Italian town of which it originated. This town happens to be in the Alpine regions of Italy and is made with cow's milk. Plenty of companies have had their take with them and plenty of people have found ways to incorporate this cheese into their recipes. One of which was grating the cheese on top of a bagel. My favorite way to eat Asiago, especially from this company, is just the way it is.

The wedge that you receive is a fairly healthy size, especially for the price of the cheese. While it's from America and not imported from Italy, it is in very good quality. This is exactly the reason that their version of Parmigiano Reggiano is called Parmesan (the former term could only be used if it was made in select sections of Italy).

As for the taste, it's absolutely delicious. Asiago in general has the texture of Cheddar and the flavor of Parmigiano-Reggiano. I could agree with that statement, though this version is a bit harder in texture (which is obvious due to age) and tastes just how I mentioned. I will attest with the Parmigiano-Reggiano flavor, but I also think about Pecorino Romano when I eat this cheese, only Pecorino Romano is a sheep cheese that has a much stronger flavor. The savory, but reserved flavor of Asiago melts in your mouth.

Whether you want to eat it plain or with a partner, this is a cheese you should definitely check out. Sartori does have their own site, which could be accessed immediately when you type "Sartori Cheese" into your Google bar (or what ever site you use). This Asiago will definitely be something I buy and buy again and I'll put my wagers on others doing the same.

Make A Statement By Using "Rate My Professor"

Our college experience is a one of a kind experience that can be costly, but highly beneficial at the same time. Much of this experience has to do with the professor you have and whether or not they teach the class well. You pay and you pay well for the college experience, so you highly expect a professor that that's just as well as the money you put down. If they're good, it could make the ultimate difference... for the good. If they are terrible, it could make the ultimate difference... in a way that puts a hole in your pocket, a declaration of wasted time, and a statement of: "what the hell did I just put myself through?" Rate My Professor is the ultimate solution to the problem as to how to find the right professor. It provides just the right information and feedback from the students, those who have had the instructors hands on.

I learned about Rate My Professor while taking Academic Success in my first year of college. It was mentioned as a powerful suggestion that impacted the tenure of one of the instructors and how his extremely strongly negative reviews caused him to resign his position with the school. Like all opinionated sites, RMP should be taken with a grain of salt. However, fifty consistent strong reviews and fifty consistent poor reviews... or just fairly consistent opinions is strong enough to prove a point. There is going to be a biased person every now and then, but read through the opinions and see which ones are most believable and thorough.

As for how it works, it's simple. You rate each professor anonymously on a scale of 1-5 based off of easiness, helpfulness, clarity, and rater interest on the subject. You can also provide comments that are up to 350 characters long. You also include the class you had them for, some other information that isn't shown or is occasionally optional, and a chili pepper that signifies whether or not you think the instructor is hot (physically attractive).

With that being said, I myself have used the site to rate every professor I have had. I give my honest opinion as to what I thought about each and contribute to the rating as to which each of them has. I feel that it is a civil service that all students should put their time into. It allows good professors to be given attention and more students and has bad professors dealing with students who steer away from them. On some occasions, it makes the grand difference in whether or not a professor stays of goes.

Unfortunately, there have been some colleges that have withheld the information as to which professor will teach which class because of Rate My Professor. Students have really looked into this site as they selected their classes, which is most definitely a good notion. The exercising of the first amendment has really made an impact and it's doing what should be done. Withholding professor information because of this is censorship and should not be tolerated. Bad professors should not be given the credit of more classes. I have always been against tenure and feel that professors should always perform to the best of their ability. Those who aren't good should be given the boot. The best society is one that is constantly flowing for the good and those who stall should be swept away.

My most important factors in selecting a professor is word of mouth from family or friends, whether the time fits, and if Rate My Professor shows a consistently good or bad flow. I myself contribute to this flow and suggest that you do the same in order to contribute to the values of merit.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Music Review: Mathew Pope's "On The Countryside"

I had the ability to listen to Mat's album Sunshine In The Horizon when it came out in 2009 and samples of Travelin' The Highway when it came out last year. His newest project is On The Countryside, with the main song of the album being of the same name. Objectively speaking, this is on its way to being his best CD yet, as his latest single is his best song yet, lyrically and vocally. At the moment, this has been the only song I have been able to listen to, but I can surely analyze it as much as I could to a song.

If you have yet to read my previous pieces about Mat Pope, Mat writes all of his music. He performs covers at select gigs, but his albums are exclusively his original material. This album is no different. "On The Countryside," his main song on the album, is a song that is about dreaming about being back on the countryside, the narrator's home and where his wife and children live. This is a common theme when it comes to country music, hence the reason why it fits the genre. A hip hop singer wouldn't be singing about his Texas ranch, nor would a country singer be singing about the streets of New York, thus all is well.

"On The Countryside" gives the kind of feel that John Denver did with "Country Roads, Take Me Home" did during his genre. The only difference is that Denver was singing about West Virginia. He has also referred to Colorado as his home in "Rocky Mountain High." What Mat Pope did with this song was capture the longing of being on the countryside and used powerful lyrics to put you in his place as to longing for the open land, and the empty environment.

If the music from this album continues to have the lyrics and instrumental arrangement that the select song did, this will be Mat's hottest album yet. It will show that Mat has grown through the years as a country artist and is chasing his dream even more toward recognition and being among the elite. There is an opportunity for artists like Mat to make a mark and bring out the throwback that country music has to offer. If Mat Pope remains Mat Pope and writes the music that Mat Pope is good at performing, then Mat Pope will be magnificent!

I definitely look forward to listening to what the rest of the album has to offer. If there isn't many skippers, like on plenty of the albums I purchase in stores, this will be something I will strongly recommend.

Verdict: 10/10

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My Fiction Writing Expeditions: Summer 2012

This summer, I told myself that I would use the time to get myself a job that brings in consistent income. With the rest of the time, I would use it to continue going forth with my writing. Unfortunately for us in the blogging world and the writing world, we are part of a craft known as starving artistry and even if we have the credit of creating a degree related to our goals, it takes being discovered until we could make it big. We're not like math, science, and technology majors that have to put in a lot of time and effort, but have something that continues to await them, especially in the medical field. For us writers, we have to find a job that could provide for us until we get something better. First it's the typical, everyday job, then possibly a teaching, editing, reporting, or job that needs to get done in these specific fields IF you get hired. However, I remain an optimist with my work and continue to build upon my thoughts and ideas.

As mentioned in my profile, I dream of becoming a successful horror fiction writer. This is a genre that doesn't get a lot of attention in its authentic state. People who read Stephen King don't read much other horror, even though his horror fiction is known, respected, and really good. Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft are known for their works of horror, but they could very well be considered classic. On the contemporary side, excluding Stephen King, not too many authors have made it beyond huge. Dean Koontz and Anne Rice have been successful, but the former not as much as King and the latter for the Interview With A Vampire series.

My approach tends to be like that of Ray Bradbury and Richard Matheson in the way that I write in order to make an impact, regardless which genre I'm using. If anything, I would consider myself an author of impact horror or impact fiction, perhaps psychological horror. My goal is to make the reader think about the story long after it's done and make it so it leaves that necessary impact. It doesn't matter how it ends, if you make the reader think, you win. However, if I want to be the next anything, I want to be the next Josh Caporale. In the horror field, I constantly hear, "You're writing horror? Are you going to be the next Stephen King?" I hope that someday, I make a mark to literature and the horror fiction genre like Stephen King did, and I really enjoy his work (which could be explained by the fact I own just about all of his books), but I really don't want to be a new version of him. I want to be my own author.

As for the work in itself, I completed a horror novel (though it may be more so a novella), a science fiction story I'm looking to enter into a contest, a children's book for children in the preschool/kindergarten/first grade range, and I'm currently working on a short story collection. For the horror novel, I'm looking to take the necessary steps in order to get it ready to publish. I edited it myself, am having an aspiring editor look over it, and hope to get some professional editing before looking for a publisher. It'll be a long road, but that's my major goal.

These four works are pretty different from one another in nature, but with the exception of the children's book, these are impact novels in the horror and science fiction fields that I think people will enjoy reading. I just need to do some research as to taking the necessary steps to getting my work out there and then building on top of that. My dream of being a horror fiction writer is something I am really looking to contribute to during this summer and what ever time I have beyond that point.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

More Questions For Caponomics

Hi everyone, I thought I would do another round of a segment I haven't done in awhile. It's the segment where you give me the topic and I briefly give my thoughts about it. In other words, this is "Questions For Caponomics." In this segment, ask me anything that ranges on my field of interests, whether it be politics, books and literature, film, television, sports, music, food, previous posts, or anything and everything in between.

I have seen that those who watch Shark Tank have really been attracted to my blog, as my stats tell me that much of my revenue comes for posts I submitted about the show. I'll be open to questions if any exist. However, I'm not just limited to Shark Tank, I'll answer any questions in that range. Just nothing too personal.

Submit your questions as a comment and I'll submit my answers in my "More Questions For Caponomics" post, which also may be known as "Questions For Caponomics: June 2012."

Friday, June 15, 2012

Let's Be Brutally Honest: What's With Some Of Today's Slang?

First off, I should mention that I have finally made it to my 150th post, which in itself is an accomplishment. This is exactly double what I submitted to my high school newsletter and only twenty-three of those were Caponomics columns. That brings me to the fact that I haven't engaged in a "Let's Be Brutally Honest" segment in awhile, so I thought I would bring it back. Naturally, I'm not much of a complainer. Things are what they are, and you have to make the best out of what you have. However, even I have my pet peeves. This peeve happens to be some of the slang we use today. I can't stand it! I especially can't stand changing a word in order to provide it with a different meaning. Changing something negative into something positive or vice-versa has really made an impact on our language of American English.

If you have no idea what I'm saying just yet, I shall provide you with some examples. Two words that are now being used as compliments include "sick" and "dope." Let's start with sick. Only within the last decade, people that were being deemed as "sick" were people engaging in something disgusting or immoral. By definition, sick means not well, and can pertain to something minor like a cold or something major like a disease. It was probably during the Tony Hawk Pro Skater wave in which the term "sick score" got along the streets and people began using it as a compliment. Pick your side, because I have just about been set with considering something that is "sick" to either be unwell or mentally unwell, and in some occasions makes them immoral. Then you have the term "dope." A "dope" is somebody who is clueless as to their surroundings. Hence, the term "dope" became attached to drugs. Drugs make you dopey, thus the people who take drugs are considered dopes. In this day and age, it has become a compliment, one famous person that uses this compliment is Randy Jackson on American Idol. I don't find it to be a compliment. I find it to be an inappropriate, misused term that if used as a compliment eats away from your level of manners. I do, however, find that the word "mad" could be used is a positive light. Being "mad" initially means to be angry. It also means that you could mentally be mad, like a mad scientist. Thus, if you apply the compliment of "mad" to someone who is eccentric, yet successful, then the term is being used appropriately.

Probably the worst negative term being used in a positive light (forgive the inappropriate language, but I will only write it out once) is the term: "the shit." I absolutely despise it when someone uses this term in order to deliver a compliment. An example of this compliment being exercised is: "Oooh, that Applebee's over in that mall, that place is the s**t!" I must honestly say that anyone who uses that term needs to take every grade of vocabulary and manners class over again until they find the right words that could explain their point a bit better. This term is used as a word of profanity and in an aggressive format. Using it just for the sake of using it is just a waste of time, and shows that you are a disrespectful individual. I have absolutely no issues with profanity, but don't curse because you think it sounds good. In reality, it doesn't really sound good.

There are other words that were meant for one purpose, but switched to another. One of those words is "retard." This word is used to describe someone who is not at the mental capacity of the majority of people. It was originally an appropriate medical term. It became an inappropriate insult when people began to describe things they didn't like as "retarded." They had to eventually change up the term, because it became too insulting even as a medical term. Another inappropriately used term is "gay" in the form of an insult. Originally, "gay" meant happy, then it became the term used to describe a homosexual male. These terms are perfectly fine. The term that isn't fine is using it as an insult. An example would be, "Two piles of Math homework??? This is gay!" First of all, you're insulting homosexual males. Second of all, you're showing that you're not very educated. Third, SUCK IT UP!!! You don't become a success story by eating potato chips and watching cartoons all day. Back to my point, words have meaning. The word "gay" has two meanings, one of which more noticeable than the other, but not three meanings.

In reality, we live in a country where we have a freedom of speech. So if you want to speak with this form of slang, have a ball and speak with this form of speech. I absolutely respect that right that we have. I cherish my freedom of speech, too, and these words in the mentioned matters will not be spoken. I don't feel that it does anything to boost your impression. I would also begin to feel sick (based off of the original definition) if these forms of spoken words make their appearance into Webster's Dictionary. We don't need to speak like we're the most educated English majors and use big, fanciful words in which a dictionary would be needed in order to understand the main point in the conversation. Just speak like you care about how you speak, and others will begin to care for you in that matter.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

He Packed His Bags Last Night: RIP Ray Bradbury

One of the greatest fictional writers of all time was Ray Bradbury, and his death yesterday at the age of 91 comes as being highly unfortunate for the fact that literature has lost one of its greatest. Bradbury did plenty to shape science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery during his life and writing career and he's provided with so many good works. Many of which we know, many of which we don't, and many of which we overlook as not being work by Ray Bradbury. 2012 has become a year of plenty of notable, legendary deaths, but this one has to be a huge one for me being an aspiring writer, a book collector, and a president for a literature club.

Ray Bradbury was born on August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois. He graduated high school, but that's as far as he went when it came to professional education. Bradbury never went to college, but was very deep into going to libraries and reading from there. He began his writing career as a short story writer and submitting them to magazines. Throughout his life, he has written plenty of notable works. One of his most memorable was "A Sound Of Thunder," which delivers the message and belief that if you go back in time and change ONE element, then everything else that follows changes in the process. He truly put a spin to the way we see time travel. To me, one of his most memorable works is "The Night," the one thing I remember most is how he was able to do something most authors are unable to do, and that is write in second person. He took a story, wrote it referring to "you" as a crucial character, and did it extraordinarily well. In another, titled "The Pedestrian," a man becomes questioned and deemed insane in the year 2053 for taking an ordinary stroll around his neighborhood.

While short stories made a huge portion as to what his writing career was made up of, he could be remembered most for his novels. His most memorable novel happens to be Fahrenheit 451, which is about a future utopia in which firemen don't put out fires, but start them in order to burn books. Book burning was the solution to engaging in government control and the use of censorship. People in this day would have more interaction with their television. In Dandelion Wine, and its sequel, Farewell Summer, Bradbury embraces his summers during childhood and the essence of how it feels. Using different characters and different situations, he created a mesmerizing pair of novels. In actuality, both novels were written at the same time, but only the first part was accepted at the current time period. It would be close to fifty years later until the latter would be produced. Bradbury also questioned the "what-ifs" in life. One of the prime examples was in another famous novel of his, The Martian Chronicles, which questioned what life would be like if we ventured out to Mars and what  kind of life form existed.

Bradbury also made his mark in converting his work to television and more modern entertainment. On the popular TV show The Twilight Zone, his story, "I Sing The Body Electric," appeared. In this story and episode, people are able to create a robotic grandmother. Bradbury created a similar show titled "The Ray Bradbury Theatre." He also created the story that would inspire Elton John's song "Rocket Man." Bradbury would remain active until recent.

Ray Bradbury received plenty of honors, including a crater that was named for Dandelion Wine, a National Medal Of Arts Award in 2004, which was awarded by George W. and Laura Bush, and plenty of other recognition for his commitment to excellent literature.

Another random tidbit about Bradbury is that during his 91 years of living, he has never obtained his driver's license.

I myself want to become a writer that wants to make an impact on people and this is what Bradbury did for a living. Only I will never be like Bradbury and I never want to be identical to him, because he's just incredible. Incredible in a way that nobody could ever match up to. I do, however, have to thank him for proving that there are no limits to writing. There are no technical writing limits and there are no idea limits. You can reach for the stars as long as your imagination is able to take you to such a place.

I was introduced to Bradbury from reading Fahrenheit 451 in my sophomore year of high school, reintroduced during a reading of Dandelion Wine, realized he wrote The Pedestrian, which I read a few years earlier, but didn't connect the pieces at that time, and did my research paper on him during my junior year of high school. My interest for his work went beyond the classroom. I have been collecting his work and intend to read more of his work as time goes by. He's that much of a legend.

The greatest authors ever could probably fit in one room if we want to categorize them in such a term, because not too many authors could be declared "the greatest." Ray Bradbury can definitely be coined as being one of "the greatest" and he will definitely be missed. If only I had the opportunity to meet him, because he was high up on the list. Rest in peace, Mr. Bradbury.