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Celebrating the Life

The Hare with Amber Eyes

[Longhorn Review] The Hare with Amber Eyes

Material Type: All, Books — Posted on November 1, 2011, 1:40 pm

By: De Waal, Edmund

In 2011, there is a drumbeat of political discourse about immigration when, in
truth, the real topic we should be considering is the experience of emigration, the
act of running and hiding. While America is a nation of immigrants, we have spent
the last century and more living in a world of émigrés, a world of people in various
states of homelessness, statelessness, asylum seekers, refugees, boat people,
diasporans of one stripe or another. Global war and global economy have given us
mass movements and migrations, some under force of arms, some under crushing
economic necessity, but today, nearly everyone is or is recently descended from

There is no end of tales from these people under the sense of Hegel’s
‘Aufhebung’, peoples zeroed out in the name of creating new societies and new
worlds. We, I, who are their descendants, produce and consume these explorations of
the fragility and insubstantiality of time and history with wonder and sadness, but
we ourselves never see it coming. We hear the phrase ‘never again’, and we think we
understand that, but almost no one in America understood the first time, and almost
none of us have understood that ‘again and again’ would be a more appropriate
description of global forced emigration since the fall of the Hapsburg Empire in

Edmund De Waal has written a family saga around a collection of 264
netsuke – tiny carvings in ivory and wood from pre-modern Japan. De Waal’s
forebears, wealthy and powerful Jewish grain dealers from Odessa, Vienna and Paris,
thought that their European assimilation was complete, that their business ties and
social integration would protect them from the winds of history, and yet, when
everything changed, in a matter of weeks they found themselves with one suitcase and
an exit permit each, and they were the lucky ones.

De Waal is a ceramic
artist, and this tale, lovingly told through and around the artistic and literary
movements of the time, is tactile, intimate, personal, and almost mythological, like
the netsuke that are at the center of the family biography and which, as the
collective soul of the Ephrussi family, are all that is saved, and that under the
mattress of the maid with no last name. Are the Ephrussi’s more to be pitied because
they stood so close to the center of the society that so violently rejected them? Or
does this only serve as a warning to the rest of us that it is not only the
benighted who find themselves in the crosshairs of modern economic history? Satchel
Paige reportedly said ‘Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.’ This
little gem of a book is an achingly sad look back that reveals that something is
indeed gaining on all of us, and that maybe art can save us after all, if anything

Reviewer: dennis trombatore

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Material Type: All, Books — Posted on October 20, 2011, 10:31 am


La primera publicación de Fernando González Nohra se compone de seis relatos. Lo curioso es que puede funcionar como una novela elíptica, plagada de silencios en los que el lector es envuelto y las respuestas le son concedidas en pequeñas referencias que interconectan temporalmente los cuentos. Así, vemos una evolución temporal de la obra como un sucedáneo de capítulos que no traicionan el sentido de ninguno de ellos. Por ello, a diferencia de otros libros de estilo semejante, es preferible leerlo en el orden trazado por el autor y no adelantarse «… para no perder el paso».

En Por favor, no empujen el humor ácido es el pretexto para mostrar la verdadera soledad de Gonzalo, personaje principal y narrador de sus desencuentros, que vive en una ciudad como Lima, donde es testigo a diario de «cómo la neblina que subía por el acantilado se iba tragando de a pocos la ciudad». Un lugar en el cual todos parecen caminar en su contra: «Los pocos que caminan en mi dirección lo hacen tan lento que se convierten también en un estorbo, tengo que esquivarlos para no perder el paso». Un reflejo vital de lo que significa vivir en un país divorciado de sí mismo. Donde los conflictos no sólo habitan en lo hondo de la pobreza, sino que se presentan a cada esquina como reiterando, una y otra vez, que permanecerás «vivo y vacío» (paráfrasis usada por Gonzalo con respecto a Henry Miller).

El estilo narrativo del autor es frugal; no ahonda en extravagancias. Su lenguaje transmite el habla limeña sin ambages. Para el autor es vital que se deje hablar a los personajes, y esto se logra en Por favor, no empujen. Gonzalo jamás deja de ser él, jamás permite que la vida y los personajes estrafalarios —sátiras de una sociedad exagerada como la limeña— mellen en él. Seguirá intentando escribir, que en este caso es lo mismo que intentar sobrevivir.


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I'll be home for the Christmas rush : letters from Europe, 1944-45

[Longhorn Review] I'll be home for the Christmas rush : letters from Europe, 1944-45

Material Type: All, Books — Tags: correspondence, soldiers, world war — Posted on October 19, 2011, 9:27 am

By: Albert W. Hoffman ; edited for publication by David R. Hoffman.

The author is a mutual friend. Anyone who had a parent or grandparent who lived
in Texas in the mid-Twentieth Century, or just knows somebody raised in that time
and place, will find this a most fascinating read.

In the present age of cell
phones and ever-evolving electronic media it’s hard to imagine the importance of the
written word, especially during such hard times as war, and there being no feasible
alternative, a written word the only means of communicating with a loved one,
despite the unpredictability of mail service. And thanks to a collection of letters
written by a Texan in Europe to his wife and children in Brownwood during the
Normandy invasion, one war veteran’s story, what got through the censors’ hands, is
carefully preserved.

Sadly, due to regulations, those letters received by this
man from family and friends on the home front had to be quickly read, then burned to
be kept from enemy hands in case of capture. So even though about half the story is
missing, “I’ll Be Home…” tells it like no movie or newsreel ever could.

Extensive research was done to note people, places and things mentioned in the
correspondence. The author notes the dates which these letters were written and
received stateside. While some of the words may be deemed “incorrect” we cannot
change the attitudes of another era. This book is real treasure and time capsule of
a nearly-forgotten age.

Reviewer: Longhorn Reviewer

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From Wagons to the Moon

[Longhorn Review] From Wagons to the Moon

Material Type: All, Books — Tags: Americana, Texana — Posted on October 12, 2011, 11:04 am

By: David Carrol Wallace

This is the autobiography of Texan D. C. Wallace. It is a series of vignettes
starting with his early memories of the 1920s and 30s. He describes his family's
moves by horse drawn wagon from one rural Texas farmstead to another, his service in
World War II including his advanced technical training, his post war success as a
service station worker and eventual owner, and finally his retirement. The writing
style is charmingly candid, providing the reader with an overview of both the
American Dream and the social (and racial) sentiments of the times as his personal
success parallels the economic and technical advancement of the United States. I
found it amazing to contemplate how adaptable his generation was. Being born at a
time when airplanes (made of wood and fabric) were an unusual sight, they lived to
see men walk on the moon, women command the space shuttle, and NASA probes reach the
outer solar system. Overall a delightful piece of Americana/Texana covering a
remarkable period of social and technical progress.

Reviewer: James Stolpa

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Set Theory and Logic

[Longhorn Review] Set Theory and Logic

Material Type: All, Books — Tags: abstract, algebra — Posted on October 3, 2011, 8:44 am

By: Stoll, Robert

A book rather good in two senses, one intentional, the other unintentional. The
intentional sense can be inferred from the Table of Contents. The unintentional
sense is summarized here by ordered pairs of quotations.

I. On the one hand,
after stating Cantor's conception of the term 'set' as any collection of definite,
distinguishable objects ... the author is careful to discuss the words
'distinguishable' and 'definite' as used there. But on the other hand he does not
even hesitate, much less pause, to speak of a set with no elements. How is such a
thing a 'collection of definite, distinguishable objects'? My classroom example was
a box containing glasses - a set of glasses: then take out the glasses, and put them
on the table beside the box - now what constitutes the set of glasses? - is the box
now an empty set of glasses? No, it is a box, the set of glasses is those things on
the table beside the box. Now hit each glass with a hammer, producing pieces of
groken glass - what is the set of glasses? Is there a set of glasses? No, only
pieces of glass. So there is not a set of glasses, and certainly not a null set, or
an empty set, of glasses

II On p.229, the author is careful to phrase the
axiom "for all a in G, ae = ea = a" and the axiom "for each a in G, there exists
..."followed by the canonical comment about omitting the dot denoting the closed
binary operation. But on p.329, the axiom G is "for each a in G, ae = a" instead of
"for all a in G". The item here is not the shift from two-sided identity and
two-sided inverse to left-identity and left-inverse, but rather the shift from "for
all" to "for each" - "for each" in G (both on p.229 and on p.329) clearly means that
each element has its own inverse: the "for each" on p.329 does not mean that each a
has its own identity. The "for all" as distinct from "for each" on p.229 are proper.
Failure to distiniguish between 'for each' and 'for all' is anticipated on p.195
where the author explicitely regards "for every x", "for all x", and "for each x" as
having the same meaning - they do not. Furthermore the author fails to distinghish
between the symbols backward E and backward E!, there exists and there exists

III On p.372 the Bibliographical Note for Section 2 is described as
"a more comprehensive introduction...", but the Note for Sections 3-5 speaks of
"more complete accounts...". Surely 'comprehensive' is a relative adjective and can
be compared by the adverb 'more' - 'more comprehensive' is descriptive. But
'complete' is an absolute adjective - something either is complete or is not
complete - completeness does not have degrees of completeness - 'a more complete
account' is meaningless, a "figment of the imagination" (p.128).

Reviewer: Retired Prof

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A tribute to Minnie Ann (Underwood) Smith, 1872-1938

[Longhorn Review] A tribute to Minnie Ann (Underwood) Smith, 1872-1938

Material Type: All, books — Posted on September 19, 2011, 9:59 am


Minnie Ann Underwood was my great, great grandmother. This small book was written
as a tribute to a lady who raised 6 very wonderful children. 5 Boys and 1 Girl the
Smith family accomplished remarkable things during the depression in and out of the
Texas Panhandle. Minnie was credited with instilling the work ethic and honesty that
was displayed in the Smith Brothers (James, Porter, Vester, Elbert, and Ruel) when
they opened several cotton gins throughout the panhandle and also opened the Smith
Brothers Oil Refinery in Kermit, TX. Many towns survived the depression because of
the employment the Smith brothers provided through their businesses.

Reviewer: Roger Smith

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Candor de la luz eterna

[Longhorn Review] Candor de la luz eterna

Material Type: All, books — Posted on September 12, 2011, 1:46 pm

By: Fray Jose de Jesus Sacramentado

Novena a la Inmaculada concepcion de Maria

Reviewer: Emma Fonseca

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Next Stop is Vietnam: the war on record, 1961-2008

[Longhorn Review] Next Stop is Vietnam: the war on record, 1961-2008

Material Type: All, music — Tags: falstaffpicks — Posted on August 19, 2011, 12:30 pm


This just came across my desk, an amazing collection of songs from and about the
Vietnam War. 13 CDs, one CD-ROM of lyrics, and book complete with history, photos,
and details of each song round out this collection. Published by the wonderful
people at Bear Family Records.

Reviewer: Longhorn Reviewer

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The Very Best of Cream

[Longhorn Review] The Very Best of Cream

Material Type: All, Books — Tags: falstaffpicks — Posted on July 18, 2011, 3:59 pm

By: Cream

A terrific sampling from the fireball that was Cream...and all the proof one
needs as to why Eric Clapton is one of the most influential guitarists in the
history of western music. In their brief three-year career the band released 4
studio LPs and a bevy of live recordings. While criticism of Cream's often overly
indulgent live jams (excepting the fiery live version of "Crossroads") is common
amongst music fans, their legacy truly lives in their remarkable studio work. Each
of their studio LPs sparkle with the inspired and elegant touch of one the the
finest groups to emerge from 1960's British blues boom. The production on the Cream
records is refreshingly raw ("Fresh Cream" is basically a live recording), giving
the music a consistently dangerous edge. Jack Bruce's slinky bass lines and Ginger
Baker's thunderous drumming are thrilling in their masterful urgency. Eric Clapton's
tone and phrasing are simply incomparable throughout Cream's recorded material. The
richness of the music emerges with repeated listens, but its power lies in the
feeling one gets that these tunes are being played for the very first time.

Reviewer: Mark

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Made in Japan

[Longhorn Review] Made in Japan

Material Type: All, music — Tags: falstaffpicks — Posted on July 18, 2011, 3:57 pm

By: Deep Purple

In the 1970's, the release of a live album by an artist symbolised not only an
established career, but one still on the rise. If you're curious to pay a visit to
this golden age of gatefold sleeves and arena rock, "Made in Japan" is one of the
touchstones of the era. With changing technology, the passing of time, and the
emptying of closets of tape, we have discovered that many of the classic "live"
albums tended to be bogus "live-in the-studio" affairs than actual unedited
documents of a magical moment in time (e.g.-"Kiss Alive!"). Not so with "Made In
Japan", one of the finest examples of a live album in any genre. Notoriously
virtuosic and legendary for their incendiary performances, Deep Purple's first live
album, recorded on their 1972 tour in support of their classic "Machine Head" LP, is
pure gold. And as is evident from the extensive surviving film of the band from the
era, their improvisational skills had few peers. And as the subsequent release of
the complete concert tapes from these shows has shown (on a three-CD set), there
were no overdubs on this original release. FYI- The live version of "Smoke on the
Water" found here is also its most familiar incarnation. Released in 1972 as a
single, it became the definitive version of the classic rock staple. Rock

Reviewer: Mark

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