Friday, December 3, 2010

Foxy Friday, Ron Santo, and Whimpy Dems….

It’s Friday, which means you have survived another week. Celebrate with a strong draft of Update this lovely morning…

After backing down real whimp-like to Republicans earlier in the week, Democrats are now vowing to at least bring their measures of tax cut extensions and lapses to a vote. Aides say that the Democrats are hoping to vote on the middle and richer class tax extensions separately in order to ensure that the cuts for the middle class are extended. Republicans are pushing for all tax cuts to be extended, including those for the richest tax brackets (their friends and cronies) citing that no cuts should be allowed to stop in this economic climate. Reports say that talks are even coming from the White House and top GOP leaders, hoping to find some compromise that will satisfy both parties.

Quick tribute to Chicago Cubs legend and Gentleman Ron Santo, who died of bladder cancer yesterday. He was 70 years of age. Ron is one of the most beloved Cubs among the many legendary players to roam Wrigley field. Santo was an All-Star nine times and holds the dubious distinction of being the best player not in the Hall of Fame. Santo struggled with health issues from most of his life. He was diagnosed with diabetes at 18 and dealt with it for his entire career as a ballplayer, and afterwards, as he worked as a broadcaster for the Cubs beginning in the 1990 season. Santo will always be remembered as that always-smiling, always laughing personality, and he will he in the Hall before too long.


Ron Santo. Manned the hot corner at Wrigley for 13 years…

Jenna Fischer, or, as she is more widely known, Pam from “The Office” is working as a temp in downtown Detroit. Alas, it is but for a short time. Pam is nearly ready to begin filming on “The Giant Mechanical Man”, a movie in which she plays a character who falls in love with some guy who works at a zoo. This film is among many being shot in the Best Peninsula In The Whole World, including projects by Topher Grace (Eric from “That 70’s Show”)  and Bob Odenkirk. Director Sam Levinson’s “The Reasonable One”, filmed in Rochester, is also a contender at the Sundance Film Festival. Detroit is becoming a haven for the film industry…for now.

Well, it is indeed Friday, which means the inevitable announcement of this week’s Fox. The Bohunk is happy to announce Heather Irmiger, already a Bohunk Hall of Fame member, as the Fox of this very week. As one of the best mountain biking women in the world, Heather is the 2009 US National XC Champion, the US National Marathon Champion, the Pro XCT Short Track Champion and the Single Speed World Champion…All in a single year. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, also a former US National Champion mountain biker. She is also very nice, friendly, and foxy. For her full bio, click your mouse right here.


Heather, in action…and also racing her bike.

In sporting news, LeQueen returned to the Land of the Cleves and put up 38 points while being thoroughly booed, ridiculed and cleverly chanted at. (The best chant was “AK-RON-HATES-YOU *clap-clap-clapclapclap*) The Heat won easily, 118-90, and before long, the few (nameless) players on their team began talking, laughing and smiling with their King James. The home fans were outraged, and poured out their anger well after the game had gotten out of hand. A truly uninspired performance by the Cavs, showing no signs of motivation…One would think LeBron was still actually on their team…

A sad update on the cholera outbreak in Haiti. Over 1,900 people have died of the disease, with untold thousands suffering from it. The very limited health care system in Haiti cannot handle it. One three room clinic in a rural town is treating 120 people, cramming patients in, sometimes simply sitting them on the floor and giving them clean water to drink. The outbreak is now sourced to a UN building that may have flushed its waste into a nearby water supply, contaminating drinking water for thousands in the area. Yes, the UN. However, some doctors say the spread is also a result of rural families making waste in their gardens and then drinking from an unprotected source. One hospital outside Port au Prince is in charge of a population of 60,000 expected to be at very high risk for exposure at the moment with only 2 doctors to treat them.

Happy Birthday, Joseph Conrad. Born in Poland under the really wild-looking name Josezf Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski in 1857, the Polish author and poet went on to be one of the best writers of a generation. He worked as hand on a freighter, travelling primarily to Britain where he would eventually gain citizenship. He worked on a barge that sailed into the Congo in the 1880’s, which would become the basis of his masterpiece, Heart of Darkness. Conrad did not write until the 1890’s, when he penned Almayor’s Folly, Nostromo and The Secret Agent. Conrad was a great writer who explored morality and personality in his characters to superb effect. You can find Heart of Darkness at Barnes and Noble.

That is, as they say, all. Thanks for reading this week, and check out the Top Post tomorrow. Enjoy amateur and professional football this weekend, and the Bohunk will be back on Monday.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Drilling, Obese People, Taxes and The Boy Wizard….

Welcome back to the Update, and many thanks for your attention. In thanks, the Bohunk is offering up free blogs for the rest of the year. Dig in, chaps…

Congress (and as you read this remember we elected it) looks to be intent on extending tax cuts according to aides affiliated with both Democrats and Republicans. Democrats had been pushing hard to allow the tax cut for the richer tax brackets lapse, restoring the tax percentage to that of pre-Dubya levels. Republicans argued that ‘raising’ taxes during a recession (that Bush caused) would be economically ‘unadvisable.’ The Bohunk counters with a jab, saying a war in Iraq costing hundreds of thousands of lives and tens of trillions of dollars was also unadvisable. The Republicans came back by saying that it would make social programs less fundable by keeping federal income low; the Bohunk replied, ‘Why yes, that is why Elephants are blocking a bill to extend unemployment benefits.’ (As reported yesterday, 2 million Americans will lose their benefits today; with the tax revenue of the richer class, this would not have happened) The Republicans said, ‘Screw you. The Bohunk said, ‘Screw you harder.’


Yes, please, drill right there. Not offshore.

Remember that oil spill? That was pretty bad; even oilmongers (<---claiming that one) cried foul on Obama for ‘letting this happen’ though it was Bush who okayed BP and other off shore oil companies in the Gulf. Obama banned offshore drilling on the Atlantic coast last night in a bill that will not allow any oil extraction for the next seven years. Hint to BP: Spend the money you’d have spent drilling and research alterative energy. The oil left won’t last too long…You spilled an awful lot of it.

In news that proves the World Is Going To Hell Via Handbasket, the NCAA ruled Auburn quarterback Cam Newton eligible, claiming the convicted burglar had no knowledge of his father’s pay-to-play scheme. Yeah, right. And when Newton stole computers from his University of Florida dorm, he didn’t know they weren’t his. To say that he was unaware of his father’s communications with college boosters is to cite naivity to the extreme; given Newton’s less than sparkling history, the cleansed name is a move by the NCAA to avoid a big mess. Find out that Newton is a fraud in 6 months, and they may have to wipe away an SEC title, a national championship and a Heisman trophy; exonerate him before he actually is labeled guilty, and they need only watch the TV ratings soar. (Admit it, you don’t want to see Oregon vs. TCU; neither does the NCAA)

Some astronomy news is long overdue; scientists now believe that there are roughly 300 sextillion stars in the universe, but hey, who’s really counting? Charlie Conroy (the guy actually counting) of Harvard-Smithsonian, claims that estimates on the number of stars in the universe have been grossly underestimated. The confusion came when scientists realized the importance of white dwarf stars, which are roughly a third the size of our own sun and very difficult to locate outside our galaxy. Including as many white dwarfs as we know of, and assuming a 3 to 1 ratio of white dwarfs to normal or hotter suns, scientists now believe there are some 300 sextillion stars. This is important, because it dictates many aspects of how we look at the formation of galaxies, stars, solar systems and the break down of particles. Who knows, the answer to our problems of energy might be burning up in some distant region of space (and the Bohunk argues in a portion of time, as well) just waiting to be discovered. We don’t know everything, we know almost nothing. The universe, my friends, is the greatest mystery.


“Let me fix something up, you boys look famished.”

It may come as no great surprise, but new research from the UK shows that obesity does not have a correlative effect on some diseases, such as cancer or heart disease. Obesity is now believed to be the a contributing cause to all diseases, right down to the common cold. The best indicator of your body’s fat level is your BMI, or body mass index. An index of 25-30 means you’re a bit fluffy, and over 30 means you will be troubled to fit through doors. The researchers found that people over a score of 25 were 19% more likely to die of any and all causes. Certain ethnicities, such as African Americans and Native Americans, had a higher percentage than whites. Obese patients were also quicker to report depression, lack of energy, moodiness and irritability, and claim to lead a ‘lower quality life’ than they expected in healthier people. In an unrelated study, scientists found that obese people lived, on average, 10 years less than a person with a BMI under 25, depending on many health issues and how long they were obese. So, go to the gym today, everyone. If you need a workout plan, ask the Bohunk.

Finally, I submit the following as the holiday CHEAP gift of the day. While this is a bit over the $20 limit, it is well worth the investment. If you are buying for nearly anyone on your list, why not get them the Harry Potter boxed paperback set? It is currently marked at 41% off, comes in a super cool box to keep them all safe, and best of all, it’s Harry Potter. The Bohunk grew up spending Friday and Saturday evenings (including high school) joining Harry, Hermione and Ron on their adventures around Hogwarts. It is the best book series of all time, in more than one way. Check it out at Barnes and Nobles.

Thanks for reading, enjoy NBC’s Thursday night line up this evening, including a Claymation Community that is going to be quite entertaining.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

SNOW!, LeQueen, and Gays with Machine Guns…

It is, in dear, sweet Allendale, the very first true snow. It brings good cheer, that happy sense of holiday season, some traffic issues, and the belief that every person is qualified to be a meteorologist. On every social network, exclamations of “Snow!” flood status updates, as if each person, shocked by what fell silently upon yonder window pane, must in turn warn other people (who, in nearly every case, have access to these same windows) that it is, indeed, snowing. Rarely does other weather make this type of buzz. One never finds an update of “Raining, also slightly windy” or “Just overall shitty out”, though the best faux-meteorologists still make that claim.


“No snow…No snow…SNOW! It’s fuckin’ snowing! Everyone look!”

As the snow beckons “Come hither” to the holiday season, two million Americans are losing their unemployment benefits. Merry F!@$@in’ Christmas, folks. Congress is fighting and bickering over a bill that will extend these benefits to a total of 99 weeks, but Republicans are blocking the measure, claiming that it was the duty of the Democrats to give enough time for the government to find some sort of compromise. The block only compromises the unemployed, who are already hurting after being out of work for months with little or no hope in sight. These two million Americans are struggling to pay their bills, feed themselves and their families, and are losing almost all hope of retirement later in life. But Republicans are taking advantage of them by grandstanding and forcing these benefits to retire. If this is how our government works, sacrificing the good of the People (damn right that’s capitalized) for the benefit of a political party, then we need take more responsibility for the selfish and greedy people we elect, and I’m looking directly at you Republican/Conservative/Right Wingers.

Nearly 15 years after its institution, the Bohunk safely predicts that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will be repealed. The recommendation submitted by the Pentagon this morning will, in the near future, assure that gays will be allowed to serve in the military. The Pentagon reported that it did not expect that the presence of gays in the military would not affect the “long-term effectiveness” of the US armed forces, and that the case should be allowed to be ruled on by the Supreme Court. The House of Reps. recently passed a bill that would repeal DADT, but the same motion was blocked by (you guessed it) a Republican fillibuster. A recent survey of military personnel found that 70% of soldiers, sailors and Marines did not think that enlisted gays would change or serve as a detriment to the armed forces. 7 out of 10 respondents said they believed that had already served with someone who was gay, and only 8% of that number believed the gay person had some negative impact on their unit (no pun intended, but it worked out great) which, the Bohunk believes, is no different than just having some jerk in your squad. About darn time. Gays have been subject to a legalized discrimination for decades in a way that would outrage other communities. For example, saying gay people can’t marry is the same as saying Catholics can’t, or even African-Americans; any time you set restrictions against a demographic, you take away their rights and endanger everyone else’s. Kudos, Pentagon, and it should be noted the Bohunk rarely: A) Kudoses anyone, especially B) the Pentagon.


“We’re here, we’re queer, and we have automatic weapons and greanades…
deal with it!”

In more WikiLeak news, US and UK diplomats were said to agree that the threat of Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities could easily lead to an all-out nuclear exchange with India, in addition to the possibility that the government could ‘leak’ nuclear fissile materials to terrorist groups for use against the West. Cables also revealed that the US has had special operations units in Pakistan for sometime now, contrary to reports by the Bush administration. Obama has kept them in place during his time in office. Also, a spat of tribal killings was committed by Pakistani troops, though they received no punishment and the US hid the information for its citizens. The US ambassador the Pakistan also reports that Pakistan sponsors four major militant groups, including the Taliban, and that millions of dollars of US aid meant to fight terrorism in Pakistan was not spent for that purpose, possibly even being funneled to the terror groups. So. Yeah, we are pretty much screwed around the globe.

In the ever-expanding world of eBooks, (the Bohunk has one now) Google is set to join the fray. To compete with eBook suppliers like Barnes and Nobles and Amazon, Google is ready to unveil Google Edition, which will offer readers books at  roughly 80% of the lowest list price. Google does not appear to have any interest in creating an eReader, however, like the Amazon Kindle or Barnes and Nobles’ Nook. The search engine giant will utilize the Web for its platform. Expect this to be, for a lack of a better term, quite huge.

In my 1% of postings contribution the the NBA, LeBron James returns to Cleveland tonight to face the team he abandon and the city he left to rot. Sign with a rival on a self-adulating, self-promoting TV spot, then make a series of commercials mocking the fans you outraged, and the Basket Ball gods will raise themselves to a fury. The result; the Heat are just 2 games over .500 and the whining and diva behavior is already rampant. They sit two games back in their division behind Chicago and Indiana. Root for the Land of the Cleves; LeBron deserves no adulation, for he gives enough to himself alone.


To be fair, Bambi is a very sad movie.

Finally, this Lions fan has some new. “Shotgun” Shaun Hill may be out for the season, leaving only Drew “Run for Your Life!” Stanton as the probable starter for the remainder of the season. The Lions activated Zac Robinson, a rookie acquired from Seattle earlier this month, to serve as the back-up. Does it matter? Well, no. The Lions’ season can only end as another bust. Detroit fans need stop considering a 2 win season an improvement and therefore satisfactory. Colts fans booed Peyton Manning and the Young Horses Sunday afternoon, and they were in the Super Bowl eight months ago. We should be outraged at this futility; but, like all loyal Lions fans, we have na├»ve optimism until half time, then fret until, as we knew they would, the Lions roll over.

Thanks for reading, email this to a friend who you want to like you better. Enjoy “Modern Family” this evening on ABC.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WikiLeaks, Nice Gams, Horned Frogs and Fisticuffs….

Ever thought, nay, suspected that the US government might be a bit shady? Well, feast your eyes upon the following tidbits of ineptitude. As reported yesterday, WikiLeaks, an organization dedicated to releasing secret, classified documents has struck again, this time unearthing roughly 250,000 cables detailing communication between Washington DC and US diplomats around the globe. A main topic is Iran, with ambassadors both foreign and domestic appearing, frankly, stumped. North Korea, that (un)friendly little enigma, also appears to be confusing diplomats, even those who claim to back the nation, like China. The cables concerning North Korea in particular are “long on guesses and short on facts” according the the NY Times.


Oh, so that’s how they plan to take over the world; give some ladies with nice gams
some machine guns. Ingenious.

US and South Korean officials even started hashing out details of what each country would do should the North collapse amid economic and political crises. The US claims that it would enjoy being a “benign” benefactor to the entire peninsula (because now, trillions of dollars in debt and climbing, is a great time to get in the benefactin’ buisness) should South Korea be allowed to claim the entire peninsula. However, other cables suggest that China, North Korea’s big brother with the fancy ever-expanding-economy-that-also-happens-to-hold-the-majority-of-US-debt-a.k.a-our-testicles, would have to be placated, possibly even wanting a nice big chunk of property to house its gigantic population; a billion people; one hair cut. This WikiLeak bust is a massive ordeal for US security but it the Bohunk cannot decide which is worse; that the US is this crooked and sneaky, or that we are so incredibly bad at keeping or crookedness and sneakitude underwraps…

In much less important news, the conference hopping continues with the Horned Frogs (oh, you get it, right, hopping Horned Frogs) of TCU making plans to jump (there is is again) to the Big East starting in 2012. TCU has repeated been ripped off by the BCS because it was a member of a non-automatic qualifier conference, the Mountain West, which resulted in repeated crappy-bowl invitations until last season, when the Frogs were suspiciously paired against fellow non-automatic qualifier Boise State. The Bohunk smelled skunk when the BCS bigwigs announced the match-up that assured neither squad would get a chance at a national title and would knock one of the teams out of the top five. This year, with both teams stuck at 3 and 4 in the BCS poll (before Boise flopped against Nevada), the Bohunk again began to suspect conspiracy. Alas, the BCS got off easy because of the loss, but now must decide whether Oregon, My Oregon is better than Auburn for the top spot. The Bohunk roots for Oregon; you should too.

Students are being held hostage in Wisconsin, or were at the time I hit “Publish” on this baby. Marinette High School, which enrolls roughly 800 students, says that an armed student entered the building and took a classroom, locking the students and the teacher inside. No injuries have been reported, and authorities are trying to wear the gunman down. The Bohunk would like to take the opportunity to remind high school and college students of the importance of enrolling in a campus safety alert system. If something goes down, you get a text message. Very simple, easy, free, and it can safe your life. Also, don’t hold people hostage.

Former President George W. Bush (round here we call him ‘Dubyah’) talked with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook Chat yesterday, discussing his new book “Discussion Points”, an autobiography about Bush’s time in office and chronicling such events as the Iraq War, 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Dubya had two answers when queried on why he agreed on the social network: A) He claimed to want to show people his thinking (not much of that) and what it is like to be President. B) He admitted the obvious; “I’m shamelessly shelling some books,” he said, laughing and giggling like an oil tycoon who struck oil years ago and is now a massive part of its utilization and sales, which, as you should know, he is.

Instead of reading “Discussion Points”, the best book ever written with a crayon, why not pick up a copy of Life by Keith Richards. I give this accurate citation because the Bohunk believes it is, in fact, a more honest attempt at truth than Dubya has ever attempted in his life. Life is, perhaps, Richards' late-in-life tell all, recounting his youth, his obsession with Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters, the formation of the Stones and how he wrote some of the most famous guitar rifts in the great and illustrious history of rock’n’roll. Sure to be included are many scenes of wild intoxication and poignant realizations, I’m sure. Only $19.99 at Barnes and Nobles.

Finally, the Bohunk would like to address the fisticuffs engaged in by the Tennessee Flaming Thumbtacks’ Courtland Finnagan and the Houston Cowheads’ Andre Johnson. Late in the fourth quarter the two began brawling like a bad WWE match, throwing fists and ripping off each other’s helmets. Other parties quickly separated the two, but their good names had been sullied enough by the display. Both we ejected; the crowd gave Andre Johnson, the home fighter, a standing ovation as he strutted like a peacock to the dressing room. Embarrassing. But perhaps more disgusting is the NFL’s paltry $25,000 fine to each player. No suspension. Nothing. As you might recall, the Bohunk applauded the $75,000 fine on James Harrison after he repeated helmet to helmet hits. That fine was just denied appeal last night. So Harrison, though an obvious and blatant head hunter, gets $75,000 for violence that is, unexcusable but still, in the spirit of play, and these two get $25,000 for fighting after the whistle? Bad judgment, bad example and bad timing. Mr. Goodell, you are guilty of the Most Stupid Decision of the Year…So Far.


Cortland Finnegan vs. Andre Johnson. Finnegan is a known
instigator…He should know better than to take on a man almost
three times his pay-scale. Both should be suspended 3 games…

Thanks for reading, enjoy your Tuesday and come on back tomorrow. I’m using spell checker again!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ducks, Hitler AND Stalin, and the First Day of Christmas…

Welcome back! Hoping you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and holiday weekend. It is a big weekend for a lot of people and a lot of families for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being eating. The Bohunk is happy to report that the amount of pumpkin pie devoured over the past five days may have surpassed all in history; at least two pies combined, in addition to an unknown number of cakes, iced creams, lattes, pumpkin bars and fudge conglomerates. The caloric intake must easily match that of a small Botswanian village over the course of a month. The result was expected; there is a little bit more Bohunk to love this week.

Let us go back, way back, in time to revisit the Thanksgiving tradition the Bohunk values just as much as eating mashed potatoes with a roll serving as an edible fork. The Detroit Lions hosted the New England Flying Elvii, huge favorites and declared (by me) The Best Team In The NFL. Tom “Bieber” Brady tossed for 341 yards and four (count ‘em) touchdowns while strolling away from the Detroit defense. “Shotgun” Shaun Hill made another start for the Lions, and played in typical just-enough-effort-and-yardage-not-to-get-benched fashion that has always been his trademark. Jahvid Best barely touched the field with a nagging turf toe injury, and Calvin Johnson had four catches for 81 yards and six points. This makes 7 straight losses on Thanksgiving for the Lions….The Bohunk does not mind if they lose the next 7 to 10 games, the tradition, which began in 1934, should continue regardless….

Oregon, My Oregon survived a tough game from Arizona, who seemed at least to be equal to the Ducks until the second half. As a partial bystander, I’d say Oregon is: A) The best dressed squad in the country B) The fastest group of 80 gentlemen outside of a federal prison C) Going to win the national title against whoever ends up playing them. If it is Auburn, who barely survived Alabama on Friday, the Bohunk sees a game in which Oregon flies while Cam “I’m So Paid” Newton plods and plugs along. Auburn has survived some scares this season because of their tremendous comebacks in the second half; Oregon, according to my made-up sources, is the only team more dangerous in the third and final quarters of a foot ball contest. Auburn will not be able to comeback against LeMichael James and Co.


(Mighty Ducks Style) “Quack, quack, quack, quack quack…”

On the other end of the football sammach, the professionals played Sunday with some great college games tucked between. What a weekend for pigskin; we saw great games involving almost every Top Ten school (LSU, Auburn, Oregon, Nebraska, Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State) and were then treated to games that may decide divisions and wild card slots (Packers, Bears, Giant, Colts and Vikings). Just another thing to be thankful for…(It’s Monday, there’s gonna be some cheese in here)

Unfortunately, outside the football world, political life went on. The eerily plugged-in WikiLinks website gained access to what might amount to a quarter million cables concerning intimate conversations and insights on diplomatic negotiations from around the world. The cables span the past three years, include some from just this past February. The first batch were released on Sunday, with more to come soon. Ambassadors and American diplomats across the globe have been reaching out to their counterparts to forewarn the impeding explosion. Many intelligence officials in the government claim the information endangers the efforts of diplomats and infringes on the personal rights of government employees. Frankly, there is a ton of information to sift through, but already news agencies have found some shocking exchanges between nations. Cables show that the US has been secretly (and very unsuccessfully) attempting to steal nuclear weapons and materials from Iran since late 2007. It has also revealed the wheeling and dealing involved with trying to close the Guantanamo Prison in Cuba by trying to entice other nations with cash, trading rights and photo-ops if they would take terrorists into their country. (Slovenia was told they would get a meeting with President Obama if they would house a detainee) Other cables revealed that the American government warned Germany against punishing or even trying to prosecute US CIA agents who arrested an innocent German citizen and held him in Afghanistan for months. Much more on this later in the week…

The holidays are not, officially, commenced; while the Bohunk loves Christmas just as much as the next Bohunk, the ever-earlier creep of Christmas itself infringed on the gift-less, pressure-less joy that is Thanksgiving. Watch the Macy’s Parade? See anything Thanksgiving related? While I will admit I did not watch the parade in its entirety, I counted three (3) Thanksgiving-themed floats, while nearly every other was bedecked hall-like with fake snow, elves, dancing Santa girls or bows of holly. With Turkey Day passed, now Christmas songs and movies are acceptable, though the November 16th airing of The Grinch did not go unnoticed.


The Official Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Poster; Please point out
any aspect that indicates this parade honors the holiday of Thanks-
giving. (And if you say “Buzz Lightyear”, you’re wrong and a jerk)

To aid you in your gift searching, the Bohunk will be featuring one CHEAP item at random until Christmas Eve. Do not let the commercials fool you; you will not receive a Mercedes, an iPad and a flawless diamond this Christmas (unless you’re rich, you tax-dodging bastards) and no one expects those things from you (see above if you actually do expect those things). This inaugural gift is simple, inexpensive but intelligent. Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder ($17.99, if you buy at Barnes and Noble) is a nice, thick history piece focused on the nations between Germany and Russia who spent the middle portion of the 20th century being either ruled and massacred by the Nazis during WWII or being ruled and massacred by Stalin and Soviet Russia. Most of this region was taken over in the ‘30’s by Stalin, who pushed the peasants from the ancestral farms and forced them onto commercials farms or to industrial zones. Ukrainians claimed that 3 million men were killed during this period before WWII; a 1937 census by the Soviet government found that over 8 million people had “disappeared.” Stalin was shocked; he then killed the demographers who were responsible for conducting the census. Snyder, an excellent writer and a brilliant historian, found that in 12 years over 14 million civilians were killed in Poland, the Baltic nations and Ukraine. It’s a great book for the history buff on your list. (Yours Truly)

Thanks for reading, and please take a moment to check out Livestrong.org to check out their gear. They are offering 28% off for the holiday season in honor of the 28 million living with cancer this year. Enjoy Monday Night Football, the San Francisco Squared Sevens vs. the Arizona Red Birds.