Marvel Legends Are Back! My Wish List


Marvel Legends are back next year. The toy line that made the 6inch action figure scale famous has been on hiatus for the past few years, and now Hasbro have finally given into the demands of Legends fans worldwide, by bringing the series back in full swing. I’m not ashamed in admitting I own probably every Marvel Legends (with the exception of the SDCC Thor) figure in existence, (which for UK fans has been hard due to ToyBiz and Hasbro’s awful distribution). With the next 2-3 series of figures already announced, here are my picks for what figures I hope will come up in the future.

My Wish List:

1) Heimdall:

The characters from Asgard have been in the spotlight of the Marvel Universe in recent years. Re-introduced during the Olivier Coipel illustrated Thor Series, and starring in a major Hollywood film, now is the perfect time to get Asgard’s warriors on shelves.

2) The Warriors Three

Which means the likes of Hogun, Fandral and Volstagg need to be released at some point. Whether they’re in single carded figures or in a triple pack, the Warriors Three are an integral part of the Marvel Universe, and it’s about time collectors got characters from the Thor universe.

3) Sebastian Shaw

Largely influenced by Kevin Bacon’s fantastic performance in X-Men: First Class, Sebastian Shaw’s popularity must surely be at an all time high. With the exception of the dreadful Emma Frost figure (more on that later), it’s time collectors are able to make their own Hellfire Club.

4) Azazel

Another choice that’s been influenced by X-Men: First Class. Whether you’re a fan of the silent henchman Azazel, or the religious demon from the comics, there’s no doubt he would make for a great figure.

5) Emma Frost

The last (and only) time we’ve gotten an Emma Frost figure was the dreadful one from the Hasbro 1st series. Being truthful, the figure looked more like a man, and the diamond variant was shocking. With Emma at the centre of the X-Men books, it’s fitting collectors get a better version of her to display.

6) Bleeding Edge Iron Man

He’s been one of the most reoccurring characters in the Marvel Legends line, and I doubt that’s going to change anytime soon. There’s already an   Extremis  Iron Man on the way, so it’s only fitting Hasbro create a figure Iron Man’s most recent armour. The Bleeding Edge Iron Man armour is stored entirely under Tony Stark’s skin, so it should suit the slimmer mold Hasbro seem to be giving Iron Man in recent waves.

7) Ultimate Hawkeye (New Ultimates)

Hawkeye is regarded as one of the coolest characters of the Marvel Ultimate Universe. The look of Ultimate Clint Barton has even inspired the look of Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye in next year’s Avengers movie. Whether it’s 616 or Ultimate, Hawkeye’s popularity is at an all time high, and considering we’ve already gotten a classic 616 Hawkeye, it’s fitting the next figure is Ultimate Clint.

8) Iron Patriot

Now almost as famous as his Green Goblin persona, Norman Osborn’s Iron Patriot armour made him into one awesome villain. Running H.A.M.M.E.R and the Dark Avengers, as Iron Patriot, Norman controlled the Marvel Universe for a year during the Dark Reign saga.

9) Ultimate Spider-Man (Miles Morales)

Whether you love him or you hate him, Miles Morales has sent shock waves across the comic book world this year. After writer Brian Bendis decided to kill of Ultimate Peter Parker, and replace him with Miles who is of African/American and Latino descent, fans have been going wild. Some hate how Peter has been replaced, where as some love the change of character. Bottom line is, the intense publicity Miles has received almost instantly makes him worthy of being a Marvel legends figure.

10) Fantomex,

Introduced during Grant Morrison’s New X-Men, Fantomex has become a cult favourite among X-Men fans. Starring in the new X-Force series has brought Fantomex’s popularity rise drastically and many fans would love to add him to their X-Force collection.

So there are my top ten figures I would love to see in a future Marvel Legends line. If anyone has their opinion on whom they would want to see please your wish list below.


How to Make Use of Natural Light in Glamour Images


Although the majority of Glamour Photos are produced in studio conditions, beauty artists can make the most from natural lighting and make some fabulous on-location shots. Though Sun is the only and primary source of natural light, there are various effects created by the position of Sun on the sky, the time of the day, and the interference of atmospheric irregularities, and the range of light that we get from the Sun is so vast that it can never be totally reproduced by artificial sources.

To begin with, a glamour photographer can work with three basic kinds of sunlight: in the early morning, in the bright of day and before dusk, or shortly after it.

At dawn lighting conditions near the ideal, yet they are quite short-lasting; never-the-less, it is considered to be great for shooting pictures, due to subtlety and warmth of colors. The morning light is cast rather sharply, almost horizontally against the earth surface, so the lighting comes from the side, subtle and dispersed; it is quite sensual and glamorous a light, so no wonder beauty artists love it.

Evening light is pretty much like one in the early morning: except that the latter is clearer – in the evening the air is full of particles stirred up by day’s activities. Moreover, if the day is particular warmer, then it tends to produce haze in the evening light.

The final type of daylight to work with can be used at noon or in the afternoon, when color temperature of light is no longer orange but more like yellow or blue. The shadows get shorter as the light comes from up above us, and it is considered the most difficult part of the day for Glamorous Photography. During this part of the day, there is a huge contrast between the shadows and highlights because of the harsh light that falls on the subject, and even the sensors of the cameras will find it difficult to reproduce the both ends of tonal range. However, you can still make some use from it and make highly contrasting pictures which combine highlights and shadows in extremis.

The variations of possible artistic depictions you can create with the help of natural light are infinite – your talent can live off Nature’s inventiveness forever, as long as you keep being imaginative and crafty. Glamour images are a true art, and natural lighting is just as good for them as a ton of strobes in your studio – in fact, sometimes it is even more fun to accept with what nature gives you and create something truly impressive.


Wasdale – The Crucible Of Rock Climbing In The Lake District


The Lake District is one of the most important climbing areas in the UK. Climbers were attracted by the scale and majesty of the Lakeland crags and it was natural that the Valley of Wasdale beneath the greatest of the Lake District Mountains – Scafell Pike, Scafell and Great Gable – was the original hub for Lakeland climbing.

The ascent of Napes Needle on the flanks of Great Gable by William Haskett Smith in 1886 was a landmark in British climbing and is considered to be one of the first proper rock climbs in the country.

Although the summit of Scafell Pike is famed as the highest of the Lakeland Fells and therefore the highest point in England, it is Scafell along side, which has the more craggy features and which has always been the forcing ground for Lakeland Climbing.

It was on these crags that Bottrill made his ground-breaking ascent of the great unclimbed slab on Scafell Crag in 1903. Incredibly, in total extremis and seemingly climbing for his life, he was still able to raise his hat to a passing lady – history records that he was a true gentleman rather than a serial womanizer. In those days these hardened climbers used to ‘bivvy’ on the fells so they could get an early rise at the foot of the crags, how they must have longed for Lake District holiday cottages to come back to in the evenings for a bit warmth and a home cooked meal. If only they had been thought of back then!

There was another enormous step forward in 1914 when Siegfried Herford made the first ascent of the Central Buttress of Scafell Crag – This was by far the hardest climb in the UK at the time and it wasn’t superceded for many years.

Since then, three generations of Birkett’s have left their mark on climbing in the Lakes. Jim Birkett brought the extreme grade to the Lakes with his ascents on Castle Rock and the East Buttress of Scafell.

Don Whillans was at the forefront of Lakes Climbing in the fifties and early sixties and with ascents such as Extol in the Ullswater Valley, there was a short period where Scafell was usurped by the Eastern Crags.

Climbing standards in the Lake District were pushed through the extremes in the seventies and eighties by such brilliant climbers as Pete Bottrell, Pete Whillance and Pete Livesy. Then in the nineties Dave Birkett took up where his grandfather left off, pushing standards through the roof and putting the Lakes back in it’s rightful place at the top of the British Climbing. He set new standards throughout the Lake District – from Borrowdale to Langdale but his greatest contribution was naturally in Wasdale!

Rock Climbing can be great fun for all the family and if you are planning your own trip rock climbing, there are plenty of perfect Lake District cottages which make an ideal base camp!


Protective Surveillance for Executive Protection


Protective Surveillance

Protective surveillance is the creation of an unobtrusive security team around an individual or group. Normally composed of highly trained and experienced covert operators, this team forms a protective bubble around the client in a covert manner.

The protective surveillance team (PST) will carry out counter-surveillance by watching those that may be watching the client. Their main aim is to occupy or control spaces and areas that would be used by a hostile surveillance team. Allowing the team, through their expertise and experience, to identify them. Other roles are to act as a quick reaction force (QRF) and as protective intelligence.

This article will look at protective surveillance and its role in executive protection and high risk protection. It uses two real life case studies to identify how protective surveillance can be used as an extremely effective tool in executive protection.

Why would hostiles use pre-attack surveillance?

Hostile individuals or groups need to gather intelligence on their target. To increase the chances of a successful attack it is vital to know the comings and goings of a target, their habits and routines. What security they have, its strengths and weaknesses. What are the opportunities and threats? A hostile surveillance team will be trying to answer all these things and more. It is with this information that they can formulate a plan to attack their target more effectively and with a greater chance of success.

Identifying threats early is vital to ensure time to react. If one has time to react then the chances of a favorable outcome are increased dramatically. It is simply action vs. reaction. Any aggressive force with the advantage of surprise and tactical planning is more likely to succeed. Their action occurs at a time of their choosing. Very few aggressors will attack if they don’t feel they have the upper hand, this is probably the result of a planned operation and therefore the hostile team will likely be prepared accordingly.

Close Protection

A normal close protection team (CPT) will have a multitude of tasks and duties to perform that require their undiluted attention. Their focus must be on the here and now, able to react at a second’s notice to the immediate threat. They provide the necessary ‘close’ protection. This however is also a potential weakness. Even highly trained operators will still need time to react to an action. This means they are immediately on the back foot and will be until they regain the initiative and win the fight. A number of factors and variables then come into play, the skill of the security team, the skill of the attackers, type of attack and even luck to name a few.

A CPT cannot be protective surveillance but they can carry out counter-surveillance and effect actions to determine whether they may be under surveillance. It is the author’s opinion however that effective counter-surveillance can only be undertaken as an entirely covert separate entity. To have complete separation to the CPT and be no way linked over time or by proxy to minimize the chance of being compromised. Further, counter surveillance is not easy and needs to be a focused effort. One cannot carry out effective counter-surveillance at the same time as focusing on close protection or bodyguard duties. Also it is far more likely a CPT will actually be carrying out anti-surveillance, not counter, the majority of the time.

What is the difference between anti and counter surveillance?

Anti-surveillance is when a person who suspects that he is being followed carries out certain actions in order to identify whether there is a surveillance team or individual following him and confirm that he is being followed, by drawing the team into a position where they can be identified.

Counter-surveillance is when a third party carries out actions in order to identify in a covert manner whether an individual is being followed and by whom. This can take place with or without the knowledge of the person being followed.

In a nutshell, anti-surveillance is what we would do ourselves to identify surveillance and counter-surveillance is when we would get someone else to help us identify it.

Hostile Surveillance Detection

Accurately and efficiently identifying surveillance, like all things comes down to a large number of variable factors. The skill of the surveillance team and the skill of the anti/counter surveillance operators are the major factors. It is very easy to look but actually quite hard to see. Many close protection officers have only done, at most a brief week or two of surveillance training. In most cases this is just not enough to have a comprehensive ability to identify organized surveillance teams. A trained hostile surveillance team should be able to identify anti-surveillance and avoid it. This is compounded even further if the people carrying out the anti-surveillance do not know what they are looking for, especially so if they are in a foreign environment.

Effective counter-surveillance on the other hand is hard to identify, let alone avoid. The hostile surveillance team will (if done correctly) never know they have been spotted. The PST should remain covert at all times and after identifying that a hostile surveillance team is showing an interest in the client, would aim to do the following:

• Inform the close protection team so that a covert removal of the client to a safe environment is carried out quickly but without highlighting that a threat has been identified.

• Aim to follow the surveillance team to gather intelligence on them so that the necessary authorities can deal with and extinguish the threat.

• If the threat is perceived as being imminent the PST can react accordingly as trained close protection officers.

High Risk

For a high-risk client protective surveillance is a necessity not a bonus. It is imperative a security team is pro-active and not reactive. Too many times history has shown that systems are put into operation too late. Shutting the gate once the horse has bolted is too often the phrase heard.

When it comes to high-risk clients, protective surveillance must only be used in conjunction with a close protection team. The two teams though separate are symbiotic. They work hand in hand towards the shared goal of keeping the client safe and secure. A PST on its own would be able to identify threats at an early stage and act accordingly, however, they would rarely be close enough to protect the client from an impromptu attack or act as a last resort. This is why the two teams work perfectly together, each with a different task yet entirely interlinked.

Let us look at a two real life scenarios, highlighting where protective surveillance would have fitted perfectly in conjunction with close protection to help engineer a very different outcome.


The Colombian former interior minister Fernando Londono in Bogota was attacked during a vehicle convoy. His two car convoy were held at a set of lights (one free lane to its left, two free lanes to its right) A bus then joined the left lane followed by cars to the left and right. Then a man crosses the street approximately 20 metres behind the cars carrying a large object. He circles around the bus and approaches Fernando Londono’s car attaching a limpet mine to the left front side. Within 30 seconds the mine explodes leaving two dead and 48 injured. Fernando Londono was very fortunate to survive, his level 5-armored car played a significant part in this. Some of his security detail were not so lucky.

It seems highly likely that the attackers in this instance would have had to have put Londono under prior surveillance to establish his routes, what car he travels in, what security he has with him, does he have a pattern of life. Where best to carry out the attack and how to escape (the attacker ran down an alley to a waiting motorcycle). A multitude of questions would need to have been answered to carry out such an attack. Protective surveillance would have most likely identified hostile observations and highlighted the imminent attack planning. Further, a PST follows the client at distance to observe the surroundings. There is a good chance that the team would have spotted a car tailing the client and more so an individual carrying a large suspicious object purposefully walking towards the client’s vehicle. As mentioned earlier identifying threats early is vital to allow time to react.

To further delve into this case study, Londono survived and was removed from the vehicle (via the trunk) injured and dazed within 30 seconds. His surviving close protection officers did a great job of extracting him through the crowd. What if there had been a second wave attack though? Let us imagine that the attackers had mounted a small arms assault post explosion.


There is a good chance the surviving officers would have been overpowered due to their trauma and the focus on removing the principal. A PST also acts as a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) and would have been able to move in and work to win the fight to defeat any secondary or tertiary attack. Thus providing the necessary cover and support so the CPOs could withdraw to the protective surveillance’s vehicles and extract the client.

A QRF does exactly as its namesake; it is a force (in this case a PST) able to react quickly in case of emergency. The covert nature of the team would be disregarded at times of   extremis  to act as a suitable support team. Whether this be as an assault team, a medical support team, or an extraction team. The fact that they would be covert right to the last moment provides an extra level of surprise and advantage to the protection detail.

As can be seen, the PST’s main focus is pre-empting danger and providing time to react. Ensuring that nothing is a surprise. Its secondary focus is acting as a support team able to react accordingly in times of emergency.


The second case study is that of Edelmiro Manuel PĂ©rez Merelles. He was kidnapped after a number of assailants blocked his vehicle, killed his driver/bodyguard and fled with him in tow. This was by all accounts a planned and well prepared attack. They didn’t hesitate to kill his bodyguard and carried out the attack in front of witnesses.

The bodyguard had no time to react. If protective surveillance had been in place, there is a good chance the attack would never have happened. The assailants would have carried out some sort of surveillance to work out his routine, routes and vehicle. They would almost certainly have had to follow him to then block the vehicle in. These actions would have been identified prior to the attack and allowed the bodyguard and PST time to react accordingly to avoid the threat. Worst-case scenario, and the attack had already occurred, the PST would still have been able to react as a QRF and provide support to the bodyguard. The benefit of remaining covert; the PST would have the upper hand, an action vs. a reaction.

There is clearly a worthwhile case for the implementation of a PST, or at the very least effective counter surveillance. For high risk clients it is imperative that security teams focus on pre-empting danger, allowing time to react. If protective surveillance teams are utilized, when or if a client does attract the unwanted attention of hostiles focused on causing harm to the principal or their family it will significantly improve the chances of a favorable outcome.


Stark Still Has It – Iron Man 3 Movie Review


After the slightly disappointing sequel to the original Iron Man movie, Marvel needed to turn it up for Tony Starks’ third time going solo. Robert Downey Jr was seemingly made for this role and plays it to perfection, he just needs a great story to match his performance.

The movie begins in 1999, and to the tune of Eiffel 65. Tony is having an elevator ride with inventor Maya Hansen, the creator of   Extremis , and Aldrich Killian, who offers them both a place at AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics). Stark rejects the offer, and humiliates Killian. The movie then fast forwards you to present day with Pepper Potts running the company Stark built, while Stark spends his days building Iron Man suits. A string of bombings by a terrorist known as the Mandarin grabs Tony’s attention, who issues him a challenge. This backfires on Tony leaving him with nothing. The whole world thinks Tony is dead, so he decides to team up with a ten year old boy named Harvey to investigate the Mandarin and stop him before he causes even more mayhem.

Robert Downey Jr is outstanding, as always in the role he seemed destined to play. He delivers the one-liners with elegance and is extremely entertaining to watch. I think the franchise would be nowhere near as successful without Downey in the title role, he very much makes it his own.

I was surprised by Ben Kingsley, although his character didn’t turn out quite what I was expecting, he was thoroughly entertaining to watch.

I was slightly disappointed with Gwyneth Paltrow. I liked her in the role of Pepper Pots, but I thought she took up far to much screen time. It was all a little dull, and uninteresting. I think they were trying to meat out a thin character, and it didn’t come off too well. If they had went into her backstory, a little more, or even fleshed out her character over the previous two movies, then this would have bought me into her character more this time round, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case and I struggled to connect to her story.

I thought Guy Pearce was well cast as Killian, he seemed to perfectly fit the character, being an intellectual genius and extremely slimey at the same time. He created a character that I instantly wanted to hate, which is an excellent character trait for a bad guy.

The movie excels with its special effects and super hero action. The CGI seemed to blend into the movie perfectly for me, as I sometimes find to much CGI a great distraction, this seemed to blend and balance it perfectly for me. I would not say that this has as much Iron Man action as previous outings, but still more than enough to wet your action apetite. A special mention needs to go to War Machine/Iron Patriot, who I felt got a great crack of the whip. One thing about the Iron Man franchise that I have always liked is that it gives War Machine a nice amount of screen time, as I like the character.

The movie had a great mix of action, humor and story development that makes the movie extremely entertaining, as well as marching along the Marvel Universe timeline nicely. The movie tries to restrict the seriousness, and plays to Downey’s charismatic humor which comes over on screen so well. The only down point for some fans may be the lack or Iron Man, and the over exposure of Stark, but I thought it was OK.

Overall though, this movie is great superhero fodder that will no doubt continue the trend of box office super hero movies and do extremely well. Although it does not measure up to The Avengers, it is not far behind, and in my opinion the best Iron Man movie to date.

**Note: Stick around after the credits to see an entertaining scene with Tony Stark and Bruce Banner a.ka. The Incredible Hulk.


Wu Shu and Kung Fu Massage for Performance Improvement!


The underlying principles of Wu Shu/ Kung Fu Massage are explained and some key examples and exercises presented which enable practitioners to make health and strength gains that will improve their martial arts in a number of surprising ways. Ways in which External Qigong activity aids body-conditioning are also outlined.


“After Wu Shu Training Wu Shu Massage!” runs a well-known martial maxim. Dynamic techniques, often performed at breath-taking speed, at full extension may need to be performed time-and-again in day-long competition and will have been rehearsed many times, in preparation. Wu Shu Massage describes the process of putting everything back in its proper, ideal place so it can be safely drawn upon ‘in extremis’ at the next time of asking. Wu Shu massage can also be performed before Wu Shu exercise, in preparation for such exertions.

This process also includes ensuring that arteries and veins remain at their proper depth and that their course in an appropriate linear one. In general, it usually brings about improved resilience of the skin and enhances the quality of underlying muscles.



With your right hand massage the top of your left-shoulder 30x anti-clockwise then do the same to the front-facing portion of the same joint. Repeat the exercise with your left hand on your right shoulder.

Shoulders are notoriously weak spots in martial-arts training and by systematically strengthening and improving these in advance you can save yourself a lot of future grief. In terms of kinesthesia or ‘muscle-memory’, this helps programme your shoulder muscles to stay ‘dropped’ when punching and increases punching power accordingly.


Use your left arm to massage the outside your right anticlockwise from top to bottom and back 30x, then do the same to the inside before repeating the exercise on your left arm with your right for the same number of times.

This stimulates Qi flow along a number of meridians and, if persisted with will increase arm strength and blocking abilities in particular.

Pectoral Muscles

With you left hand massage your right pectoral 50x anti-clockwise, then use the base of your left-fist to strike it three times, firmly. Repeat the exercise with you right hand and fist and left pectoral similarly. The massage orients the muscle-fibres correctly and the pounding then compacts them.

Anti-clockwise Massage

This literally helps to turn back the clock and keep the body’s surface healthy and relatively young- looking. It also facilitates the elimination of stale Qi (a process as vital as the assimilation of fresh Qi) via what is known as ‘Qi-Breathing’. This is part of External Qigong (Wei Gong) and will lead to increased success in Internal Qigong (Nei Gong) practice if the two approaches are practised together.


So You Want to Put on a Show – The Prop’s Person


This is the sort of job taken on by a real enthusiast. I requires the utmost patience and attention to detail because no matter the length of the list you start with, it will have doubled by the time you go before an audience. Do not believe the Director who says. ‘There’s hardly any prop’s in this one’ because something will have been missed.

So, what are ‘prop’s’? The word is short for ‘properties’ and means anything needed in the show by the actors which cannot be screwed down and is not constantly on the stage. So handbags are prop’s, Little Red’s basket is a prop, the champagne glasses are prop’s and sometimes a scarf can be a prop as well as part of a costume. This would be in the case of it being needed quickly sometime during the show.

Prop’s are kept on one or two prop’s tables, at the back of the stage or on each side, depending on where the actors need to pick them up from. They go missing. Actors are begged to return them whence they came, but it doesn’t always happen.

A good Prop’s Person goes through the script with a fine tooth comb for the list of things needed. It is also necessary to attend a rehearsal or two to see if other things, not mentioned in the script, have come up. For an example, in ‘Seussical, the Musical’, circus skills are referred to in one scene, but not the specific skills, so until we saw who was doing what we did not know what to provide. It proved to be a lot of juggling balls which we were able to get several matching sets of, some stilts, some recorders and some balloons. None difficult to source, but without watching the rehearsal it would not have been clear.

A list then needs to be posted where everyone can see it, so that people can indicate if they have, or can get hold of, any of the items. That usually takes care of about half of what is needed. That leaves the Prop’s Person the job of sourcing the rest. Local museums can prove useful, helpful and free for an advertisement in the programme. eBay is amazingly good for sourcing odd things, and organisations like Freecycle – a local recycling organisation which has groups throughout the UK – is wonderful for finding that odd thing. As each thing is sourced the list needs to be updated so no-one busts a gut getting something someone else has already sorted out.

  In  real  extremis  you may have to go to a theatrical hire company – but remember that there is never enough money put aside for prop’s – tell me something new – and the more you can borrow the easier it will be to afford those things you simply must buy.

The Prop’s Person must keep a list of where things came from so that it is known where to return them to afterwards. People don’t help twice if they don’t get their stuff back pretty promptly. Your show insurance will cover any little accidents – but it really is better not to borrow something of any value unless it is desperately important to the show. In ‘Me and My Girl’ three identical fob watches are required. The person I borrowed from was, to my relief, very relaxed about the one which had its chain broken. I felt very lucky.

So, it’s not difficult – just hard and time-consuming. And the Prop’s Person needs to be present at the Dress Rehearsal and every performance to oversee the use and return of the prop’s. If that doesn’t happen something vital will go missing. Oh, and of course the prop’s tables have to be set up each night before the show, and checked item by item. Then it will all run smoothly.


Sara Foster’s Come Back to Me – Book Review


The story takes place in two countries; Australia and England. The story revolves around four main characters. These characters are Alex, Chloe, Mark and Julia. The story starts off in London with a couple, who are Alex and Chloe. They have organized a dinner and have invited Mark and a friend. Mark is Chloe’s ex boyfriend and Chloe is surprised that Mark has a date who is attending the dinner.

When Chloe and Alex meet Mark in the restaurant, Mark is first to introduce his date. Alex, Chloe and Mark are all acquainted with each other, so Mark’s date is the only stranger to the group.

From here is where the audience is left with Chloe’s point of view. She feels that there is an obvious reason that Alex knows Marks date, who Mark introduces to both Alex and Chloe as Julia.

Chloe feels confused, and Mark feels cruelly suspicious. After the introduction, Julia leaves the dinner half way through. Mark knows there is definitely something going on between Alex and Julia. Chloe is left trying to understand why Alex choked when he saw Julia.

“Did they have an affair or are they having an affair right now? Is this another cruel joke made by Mark again?”

I love the way the book is put together. I thought at first that this book was going to be a scary complicated love triangle, but it was not. There is not just one love triangle, there are two. Alex is there fighting for Chloe and Julia. And Chloe is fighting for Alex, but Mark is showing up to being more supportive than ever.

The story is set in both the past and present for each character. And even though this seems sophisticated, it really isn’t. It is simple to follow. When you get introduced to each of the characters story, you begin to judge them at first and start to choose who you like more than others. But the author makes you fall in love with all of them.

It was hard to like all the characters at first, but when each of their stories is expressed, you slowly have to understand and realise that is the way they behave.

And here is a funny thought, when you start to place the pieces into a whole puzzle, so does the characters as well. You also go on the journey with them. Feeling what they cannot and can express emotionally.

It was a great read, and I recommend it for both males and females. There are no prince charming, frog princesses, castles and midnight calls. Just two everyday couples, with pasts that all of them have left, and have now to make up and face it again.


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Kill the Code – And Save the World


Apparently the national Libertarian Party is   in   extremis  financially. This is unfortunate. I hope they pull through.

I have been thinking that their problem is the lack of connection between what they (the Libertarian Party) offer at the national level, and solution to life’s most pressing problems. In other words: What is the path to freedom?

To some extent that is un-knowable. We don’t know what solutions unshackled people will come up with. But there has to be a catalyst. What starts the process toward freedom? I cannot accept that we just pull the plug on 70 years of legacy structure, and let the chips fall where they may, as some have suggested.

In my opinion, we’re never going to be able to turn off programs like Social Security and Medicare until people no longer need them. But that will take time. Many years in fact. And until then… what?

Hence my proposal, which I call Kill the Code… and Save the World.

The most hated, most pernicious of all Leviathan’s horrors is the IRS and its three-plus million words of rules and regulations. How does that gum up the wheels of progress? In ways we cannot ever imagine!

And most people agree that continuing to pump carbon into the atmosphere is eventually going to cause problems – maybe big problems.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard my old political mentor Jack Kemp say, “If you tax something, you’ll get less of it, and if you subsidize something, you’ll get more of it.”

Think of all the things we tax in this country. Good things. Things like income, capital Gains, profits, and payroll.

My idea is simple and hopefully revolutionary. It is to completely scrap the Internal Revenue Code. (Perhaps a popular idea as we enter tax season. At least to everybody except accountants and lawyers.) When it’s that long and that complicated, you know the game is rigged against you, and in favor of the fast operators with their Washington lobbyists.

I propose chucking it all and replacing it with a single tax on the one thing that practically everybody agrees is a problem:


My proposal is: Immediately enact a carbon tax of $1000 per ton of coal, $10 per gallon of gasoline or diesel fuel, and $25 per thousand cubic feet of natural gas.

However… this cannot be done Unless the Internal Revenue Code is fully scrapped. This is not a tax “in addition to”; it is a tax “to replace”. It replaces the personal income tax, the corporate income tax, the payroll tax, the capital gains tax, the estate tax, the alternative minimum tax and all the rest. No more 1040s. No more 1120s. No more Schedule C’s. You make it, you keep it. No other taxes will be levied.

Move fast, do it now, don’t phase it in. Take the pain and move on.

Think of how much innovation there will be. People will be scrambling to figure out how to save on their fossil fuel emissions.

Some winners: city dwellers, people in small self sufficient towns, people with fuel efficient autos.

Losers: owners of McMansions in the sterile exurbs, SUV and big truck owners.

Cities would be revitalized. People would want to live close to work. Or would even telecommute. Mass transit would be rejuvenated. R&D on green technology would get the biggest shot in the arm in history.

Over time, people would use less. Tax revenues would fall. Coincident with that gradual decline would be the wind-down of Social Security and Medicare.

Then in 50 years… maybe America’s second name will be Galt’s Gulch.