#802 The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers by Any Hollingsworth

The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers by Any HollingsworthThe Simple Faith of Mister Rogers by Any Hollingsworth

Mister Rogers didn’t generally do interviews, but he decided to grant Any one. Maybe Amy expected a personality that differed from Mister Rogers’ television personality, but what she got was the same Mister Rogers everyone grew up with. A friendship continued after the interview and Amy learned how great Mister Rogers really was.

Letters followed and so did stories. Mister Rogers never wrote a memoir himself, so Amy hopes that this book will serve as something of a biography for him.

Mister Rogers was always a spiritual and sensitive man. He wanted children to know it was ok to feel emotions. He wanted kids to know they were worth something. He took the time to take each child’s request seriously. When a blind girl asked if he fed the fish everyday, because he didn’t always say he fed the fish, he started saying he was going to feed the fish.

He created a world of himself inside The Land of Make-believe. Each puppet seemed to be a different facet of himself.

He taught the author that it was ok to be sad and that it was ok to be quiet. Some of the best things can come from silence.

Ultimately, Mister Rogers had to quit his show and he did for, but several decades of children grew up to his even-toned voice. They learned about emotions and they learned to be better people.

What I liked

I, like seemingly everyone else who got PBS on their bunny ears, admire Mister Rogers. He was a great man. He made an impact on the world in a way that so many people can’t. There are preachers and ministers galore, but it was Mister Rogers, who spoke with a gentle voice, that made an impression on children. Children learned that their feelings mattered. It was ok to be sad. It was ok to be angry. This might be a lesson some people could take to heart these days. We are not ever-cheerful automatons.

This man brought a voice of reason and sanity to more than one generation of children. When crazy was all they knew otherwise, Mister Rogers was a constant. He always put on those shoes and that sweater. He always fed those fish.

What I didn’t like

I really would have liked if this book had been more strictly a biography. I like Any, but it would have been nice to know even more about his life.

Overall

Won’t you be my neighbor?

Weigh in

What impact, if any, has Mister Rogers had in your life?

Is Mister Rogers an example of how television can impact our lives positively, in your opinion?

#681 The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson

The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon RonsonThe Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson

Jon has heard that there is a man who stared at a goat and killed it. The whole thing was a very hush-hush military experiment. Somewhere, the goats have been debleated and now they’re experimented on. No one would guess that there is a building full of goats on a military base.

The men who did stare at goats are a combination of new age and karate master, well, most of the time anyway. Jon tries to find out who actually stared at the goat. It may have been this one guy, but he died, but maybe it was this other guy. Jon finally finds out exactly who stared at the goat and it turns out that the guy still stares at small animals every once in a while, and they subsequently drop over dead.

As the book progresses, Jon moves on to other fringe military experiments, like MK Ultra and sound frequencies that make a person have diarrhea. Jon speaks with the son of a man who was killed in relation to MK Ultra and LSD, but his entire family was always told it was an accident. The idea of psychic warfare seems crazy, but the military certainly doesn’t think so.

What I liked

If you didn’t know anything about MK Ultra or experimentation with certain sound frequencies, this might be a good book to read.

What I didn’t like

I hate these fringe things. Look, fringe is interesting, but I have heard enough conspiracy theories to last me a lifetime, a lifetime; I’m serious. I don’t know about the goat thing, but all the other stuff in this book–real. The military actually did and experimented with everything mentioned in this book, except for the part about the goats, which I’m not entirely sure of in my personal knowledge of strange military experiments. The military spends some money on some weird stuff and some of it works, some of it doesn’t. Along the way, the military happily destroys lives. Yes, people have actually been killed and scapegoated for the things Jon mentions in this book. Do people care?

No, honestly, not really. The public hears that the government experimented with LSD and they’re like, “Whatever.” It’s not a concern for most people that this stuff goes on. Should it be? Maybe.

The thing about the frequencies was tested and disproven on Mythbusters, but who knows, maybe the government knows something that the Mythbusters don’t.

I don’t like all this fringe conspiracy stuff. This stuff isn’t actually conspiracy, because it actually happened, but “conspiracy theory” is how most people tend to define the particular things mentioned in thisĀ  book. The thing about weird government experimentation, which does happen, in any government, is that you can’t really do anything about it. It’s upsetting to hear about. They say knowledge is power, but if knowledge doesn’t get you anywhere, why know? You can’t march up to the government and be like, “Hey, stop experimenting with weird fringe science stuff, like giving people LSD.”

Part of the reason all of this stuff is still defined in the realm of “conspiracy theory” is that it sounds silly. Like, you mean, the government actually experimented with certain audio frequencies that would make people poop their pants? Absurd! It can’t be real! It can’t be a thing the actual government did! You, sir, are crazy!

Look, the government is weird. Just accept it. They’ve probably funded research and experimentation about whether or not the pink goo from Ghostbusters could actually animate toasters.

You might read this book and have a good laugh because some of this sounds so absurd, but the government really did think that some LSD and code words could make an ultimate soldier.

Overall

Well, if you ever see a goat drop dead, maybe it was just a government experiment.

Weigh In

Does it get us anywhere to know about these experiments?

Will people ever accept some of the government’s weird experimentation as things that actually happened?

#676 Ghosts, Hauntings and Mysterious Happenings by Phyllis Raybin Emert

Ghosts, Hauntings and Mysterious Happenings by Phyllis Raybin EmertGhosts, Hauntings and Mysterious Happenings by Phyllis Raybin Emert

Sometimes we cannot explain everything in the world. Sometimes a house is haunted and science cannot explain it away. Sometimes a person has the ability to tell when something is happening hundreds of miles away, without having any connection to that place. Sometimes ghostly apparitions appear at historical locations. Sometimes someone writes a book that predicts something almost exactly as it happens in the future. Sometimes someone can seem to speak to the dead.

These are all very interesting occurrences. This book holds over twenty stories about various unexplained and mysterious circumstances. Prominent haunted places mentioned in this book are The Borley Rectory, The Whaley House, and The Tower of London. Another prominent haunting mentioned is the Bell Witch. Edgar Cayce and Rosemary Brown are both mentioned as mediums.

What I liked

I love mysterious things. If I can’t explain something; it’s very intriguing. I cannot explain any of the events in this book, although I’m quite skeptical on quite a few, especially the mediums. I have a hard time believing in the idea of mediums. Maybe it’s real, but I just don’t know. This book has always fascinated me, I’ve actually had it for a long time, but I’ve never reviewed it on this site. It’s all just so interesting.

It’s a short look at each item mentioned, which gives the reader a good overview of the occurrence.

What I didn’t like

I wish the book had more meat to it. I would love to read more in-depth on some of these subjects. In fact, I have on at least one of the stories in this book. The story in this book, The House on Plum Tree Lane, is actually the subject of the book Night Stalks the Mansion, which I have read and reviewed. Because I’ve read the other book, the story in this book definitely leaves out a lot, but it’s also a little inaccurate. This book states that the house was turned into apartments, which may have been the case, I don’t remember, but the house actually doesn’t exist anymore. It was burned down. This book could have been written before the house burned down, but I have absolutely no idea if it was or not.

Overall

This is quite an interesting book and always has been.

Weigh In

Are you more skeptical or believing?

If you hear of something unexplained, what is your first response?

#578 Lost and Missing-Volume 5 by Mike Riley

Lost and Missing-Volume 5 by Mike RileyLost and Missing-Volume 5 by Mike Riley

People go missing, but where do they go? What if you never know what happened to them? Where did grandma go? Did she really get run-over by a reindeer?

Joking aside, people go missing like crazy and some of these people are very high-profile, even including a Rockefeller. You would think that if anybody could be found it would be a Rockefeller, but he never was. He disappeared years and years ago. What happened to him? He probably drowned, but rumors run rampant. Maybe he went native and lived on an island. Maybe he was cannibalized. Maybe this and maybe that–but with all the maybes, the man was never seen again.

This book doesn’t only speak of Rockefeller. The colony of Roanoke is mentioned, which is an enduring mystery of the Americas. What happened to them? We may never know.

People disappear all the time and this book only holds a small fraction of those who have disappeared without a trace. It’s a bit terrifying to think that someone you know could just walk out the door and never be heard from again.

What I liked

I love mysterious and unexplained things. Some of it I call “woo-woo,” but none of this is woo-woo. Where did these people go? In the case of Michael Rockefeller, he probably drowned, but what about everyone else? Did somebody murder them? Did they go live other lives in secret? Did someone brain wash them into a cult? Amelia Earhart is a woman we have wondered about for years and now there’s a good chance she was eaten by giant crabs. Nice huh?

Books likes this serve several purposes. They educate us about our world. These prominent cases of missing people are part of history. These books entertain us. It’s a good thing to read about things that aren’t wrapped up in a nice little bow on the last page. It keeps us wondering and it keeps us thinking. These books also stay in our heads. They put little feelers out in our brains. Maybe, one day, one of us will see something that is a clue to one of these missing persons cases and it will help solve the case. This is why we have Unsolved Mysteries and other similar television shows on television. Those shows have helped find people and solve murders.

What I didn’t like

This book is pretty short and could have had more to it. It does belong to a series, so it’s not overly concerning in and of itself.

I would have liked more detail on some of the cases. A few of them I had heard of, the Beaumont children and the colony of Roanoke to be exact, and the other cases may have briefly flashed across my brain in my various readings.

Overall

This is all a bit spooky.

Weigh In

Do you think you could pull of disappearing yourself and living a secret identity in this day and age? Why or why not?

Do you think we’ll ever solve any of these mysteries?

#561 A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

 A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

Donald writes about his life, when some movie guys called him up and said, “We want to make a movie about your book about your life,” Donald was in, but he soon discovered that his life wasn’t very exciting. The story Donald tells in this book is not only about how to tell a story, it’s about living a life that would be worthy of a story.

When Donald met with the two men who would turn his life into a story, they almost immediately got him doing things he normally wouldn’t do, like sledding around on the snow in kayaks. They told Donald he would have to edit his life. He had to turn his life from the book into something that would be interesting to watch as a movie.

Donald found that writing a movie was different from writing a book. A movie had to keep people engaged at all times, while a book could meander and roam. Books could involve a lot of thought, while, in movies, you can’t really tell what a character is thinking unless they say it aloud.

When Donald started looking at his life he realized, even though he was a writer, that he was a bit boring. He did safe things. He did familiar things. He did things that were not risky.

Over the course of coming to this realization Donald learned that he had to make his life special. He wasn’t going to grow as a person if he did the safe things. He didn’t want to work his entire life for a Volvo.

He changed things. Donald took chances. Donald made mistakes. Donald got messy.

(Yes, I do have a particular love for The Magic School Bus.)

By the end of the book, Donald has made his life into something interesting and something worthy of living.

What I liked

I did not know this book existed before I started reading another book. I started reading a memoir and the author of that book said she had to read this book. I stopped reading that book and found this book. If a book is enough to give another author inspiration in life, it’s probably good enough for me too.

I was not disappointed. Donald seems like a great guy. Donald realized that he needed to step up his game in life. I am at a similar point in my life myself. Do I hang onto a boring story or do I move forward with my life? You don’t get anywhere in life doing all the safe things.

It’s a great message for anybody. Instead of sitting around doing things because they’re familiar, push yourself. Be that person you always wanted to be in your head.

This book gets an A+ from me.

It’s similar to The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho in some ways. Both books are essentially about taking the risky steps you need to take in your life to be the person you need to be. Donald’s book is a little more real-world applicable, especially to writers.

What I didn’t like

There isn’t really anything I didn’t like about this book. Go Donald.

Overall

I will look forward to Donald’s other books as I come across them.

Weigh In

If your life was going to be a movie, would it be a boring movie or an exciting one?

Do you think we fall into ruts of being too comfortable? Why or why not?