Category Archives: Books

The Quest for the Perfect Selfie

The Quest For The Perfect Selfie

Lake Louise in an October Afternoon

A few days ago at Lake Louise, Banff National Park, we rented a canoe to explore the placid (and cold) waters. The mornings would be cold – usually 22 degrees F, and you could see the water starting to crystallize into ice. By afternoon the outside temp was around freezing.

The water is turquoise from the glacier-fed waters – with the pulverized rock – as the glacier slowly made its way to the water.

Having been there over the decades twice – but in the summer – I believe October is the best time to visit.

The summer hordes are gone, the air is crisp, and the hotels start their off season rates. By winter temps can drop to -40F.

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Technological Waves and Business

An Expensive Lesson


In the latter part of the 1980s, I received a rather expensive lesson. Perhaps it could be said that we all pay in one way or another to get our education. And it was a lesson in how companies, both large and small, can thrive or become swallowed by technological waves.

Because of some pressure by our then-competition, I felt I should design and offer to garages and oil companies a superior PC-Based program that would generate work orders for customers and track inventory.

I set to work for about 5 years.

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To Fly and Fight


I just finished reading the memoirs of Col. Clarence E. “Bud” Anderson, and have to say it was an enjoyable read. It was akin to sitting in a room with him talking about his life.

From putting you into a P-51 cockpit and fighting for your life with a German Me-109 pilot, to being in an F-105 over Vietnam…to a Pentagon desk (and he tells you why some of the military procurements are so expensive…to flight testing at Edwards AFB, you are there with him.

He tells you what it was like to be shipped overseas and on your first combat mission (do five and stay alive!).

It was a great read, and a book I will keep.

It is available on Amazon .

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Flying a Mustang in the 357th Fighter Group


I wrote about this the other day a bit –  Since hearing Bud talk about his times flying in the famous 357th Fighter Group, it’s been difficult to put his book down.

I’d like to say that he “puts you in the seat” during a mission into Germany, but I think that is a bit disrespectful to those who fought (and died) performing those missions.

However he sure tells the story well about what it was like to be one of the “Yoxford Boys”.

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A Woman of No Importance

A Woman of No Importance

There have been some books that I have had to slog through, sticking with them because they were bogged with minutia but overall  interesting; others I have flown through. This book is one of those that is hard to put down.

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Virginia Hall

Since writing about her yesterday, curiosity had gotten the best of me, and I read a bit more on her. What an amazing woman.

As to David Holahan’s statement that ” James Bond had nothing on her”, Bond of course was some fantasy of Ian Fleming. To think that some spy would arrive with a self-confident (arrogant?) attitude in an Aston Martin and tux, well, of course real spies are the opposite. Most times a person who one would least suspect. When the best have disappeared the world is left wondering who they were, or at least what they looked like.

When the Manhattan Project was started, “an informant in the British civil service notified the Soviets. As the top-secret plan to build the bomb, called the Manhattan Project, took shape in the United States, the Soviet spy ring got wind of it before the FBI knew of the secret program’s existence.” It was 4 years after the war before  the identity of one, Klaus Fuchs, was discovered.

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Filed under Books, Good Stuff, History, Media, Patriotism

Surviving In The Wilderness

There is only 1 book that I’ve had that I can say I’ve bought 3 times. The first time, I found it so interesting that after reading it, gave it to a friend.

Then bought another.

Then gave that to a relative who at the time, was an Army Ranger.

I just bought it again.

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Democracy in America

2 books I read many years ago on the subject are certainly classics. One, The Federalist Papers, was written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison on the records of the Constitutional Convention that took place at Philadelphia in 1787. It’s been 46 years since I read it, but they were a series of essays on why the Founding Fathers decided what they did in creating the Constitution.

Here they set terms of the Legislative and Executive branches going into detail about the why they did things as they did. They set up the 2 houses of the Legislative branch, the Senate and the House. If I remember correctly, they even go into detail on why they set up the Electoral College. A lot of the debates and (not adopted) proposals are recorded for posterity.

It is something I have to read again. Political candidates of both parties are woefully ignorant about the “why” things were set up as they were.

The other book, Democracy in America, was written by a young French Nobleman, Alexis de Tocqueville.

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Just Finished

By lex, on February 1st, 2012

Pacific Crucible,” by Ian Toll, who also happened to author the wonderful “Six Frigates” recommended to me a few months back. Covering the period just before the Pearl Harbor attack until just after the tide turned at Midway, “Crucible” covers familiar territory for the hobbyist naval historian, but does so in a compelling manner, with vivid prose that fleshes out sympathetic and informative portraits of flag officers and captains on both sides, highlighted by short sketches about sailors in the gun tubs and engine rooms.

Appropriate attention is paid to Joseph Rochefort and his dogged team of cryptanalysts who made the Midway victory possible, and who paid for it – Rochefort in particular – with outrageous treatment by his Washington “superiors“.

Highly recommended.

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, Books, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Naval History

In the mail

By lex, on September 24th, 2007

I received a publisher’s proof of S. Thomas Russell’s “Under Enemy Colors” in the mail last month. Some of you may know that I’m a huge fan of Patrick O’Brian‘s Aubrey/Maturin series – a twenty volume set of closely researched, hugely enjoyable books about an “age of sail” Royal Navy in the Napoleonic Wars. I’ve read many good books once and a few twice. I’ve read the entire O’Brian opus straight through four or five times. At least.

So when the publisher asked me to give “Enemy Colors” a look I eagerly agreed.

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