Our Gods Wear Spandex by Christopher Knowles

I honestly didn't know what I was getting into when I picked up this book. I thought it was going to be a compendium on the origins of various superheroes as portrayed out in the comic books. Actually what it is turns out to be even more interesting.

It turns out that much of the comic book history is rooted in the old occult religions of bygone eras. What the author does here is delve into those mysteries and point out how the writers and artists blended those beliefs in the creation of the comic book superheroes and supervillains.

This is not near as boring as it might sound. Entertaining style of writing lends a lot to the appeal of reading Knowles' book. Plus, he delves into the specific inspirations for various cult heroes of the comic book world, names which are instantly familiar to even the most passing interest fans of the genre; Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Alan Moore, and yes even Superman creators Siegel and Schuster had interests in those old occult beliefs.

The illustrations by Joseph Michael Linser add added dimension to the reading, hearkening back to the Silver Age art of the comics history. All in all, I recommend this one with an unabashed 9½ stars.


Rickles' Book by Don Rickles

If you have ever seen Don Rickles, either at a show or on one of his numerous appearances on late-night talk shows, you know that Don is a very funny guy. His style comes through in great abundance here as he takes a walk down memory lane, starting with some of his early childhood memories, right on through his trials and tribulations as he tried to achieve some spot in the stardom that is the world of stand-up comedy.

Rickles book starts out with the hilarious tale I've heard him tell many times, of trying to impress a date by having Frank Sinatra show up at the table and say "Hi" to him. Its classic Rickles and so is the rest of the book.

Rate this one 7½ stars.


Bolls, Polls, and Tattered Souls by Stewart Mandel

Ever wonder why a team that went undefeated in its regular season isn't playing for the national championship? (Univ. of Hawaii was 12-0 at the end of 2007 season, but is playing in a lesser bowl, while two teams, Ohio State and LSU, who have lost during the regular season get to play for the crystal trophy.)

Ever wonder how some teams always seem to be in the top 25 pre-season rankings, despite the lackluster results from their season's end the previous year? Ever wonder how come there are so damn many bowl games in post-season, most of which if they were regular games probably wouldn't even be on TV locally much less nationally?

Stewart Mandel answers these questions and many more in his highly entertaining book. If you have more than a passing interest in college football, you will find lots of eye-opening points and opinions here. From the opening chapter on the hooks and crooks of the BCS and how the bowl games are determined, to the problems inherent in the ranking of college teams, and a chapter on how the Heisman doesn't always get it right, the writer has a style to keep you interested. The only chapter that really bogged down, for me, (mainly because the topic didn't interest me) was the one on college recruiting. But otherwise, the book was very entertaining and a handbook for how to do things right if anyone in charge ever has the inkling to do it.

Rate this one 6 stars