California Literary Review


Jays, Films, and Georg Steller


December 7th, 2019

O’Brian based Aubrey on a Royal Navy captain of two centuries ago, Thomas Cochrane. Lord Cochrane’s exploits were at least as great as those of the fictitious Aubrey, and hardly less than those of Britain’s greatest naval hero, Lord Nelson. But while O’Brian admitted that Cochrane was the inspiration for Aubrey, he did not tell us before he died in 2000 whether he had a real-life model for Maturin. The answer, I think, lies in the handsome bird that I see now beyond our sun room window.

Halloween Home Video #8: Kimble Rendall’s Bait


October 24th, 2012

Welcome back to Halloween Home Video (2012 edition) your October arsenal for all things entertaining and scary. Sink your teeth into the latest horror and thriller pics make the small screen circuit. © 2012 Screen Australia/Anchor Bay For The Pool Party It is high time for a creature feature on this list, and Australia was […]

Movie Review: Chimpanzee


April 21st, 2012

In the mist-shrouded Ivory Coast jungle, all appears green and beautiful. The leafy trees shelter and sustain countless forms of life. We join a group of chimpanzees, in a serene moment, as they welcome a newly born male named Oscar into their midst. Oscar is going to learn a lot about the world in a hurry, and our job is to laugh, sigh, and gasp at his every discovery.

I Am NOT An Animal! (But I Play One In The Movies)


May 27th, 2011

Putting animal antics into movies is a perennially popular way to cobble up a goofball family comedy on short notice. This is a distinctly separate practice than merely animating creatures from scratch, which has produced its own wonderful results in the past. Nowadays, however, the line between the two is blurring at an alarming rate, so much so that it scarcely seems worth the trouble of getting real animals to be in live-action movies at all. The increasing intrusion of computer generated animal behavior is really beginning to mar the magic.

Yellowstone Drift: All of This Begins Here


June 22nd, 2009

The Yellowstone steadily flows down to the Missouri, then Mississippi and finally the Gulf of Mexico, always as gravity’s companion – this movement is the essence of all rivers. The repetitive nature of the day to day routine out here is hypnotic, rapidly washing away anxiety and, finally, useless ego. An unaccustomed serenity and well-being pervades as the canoe tracks its own way with slight help from me. Everything is now the river and its fertile, riparian corridor with all of the creatures who depend on this water to live moving in synchronicity.

The Paintings of Tom Palmore


January 20th, 2009

“There are a handful of original wildlife artists and the rest are members of the ‘elk in the meadow’ or ‘moose in the water’ schools. We are all influenced by society and by history, but you have to take those examples, put them through your own filter and make them your own.”

What’s Killing the Honeybees?


November 4th, 2008

“So the bigger conclusion is that we have soaked our landscape in toxic chemicals, many of which can interact to form even more toxic compounds, and there is absolutely no regulation or testing of this mixing. Most beekeepers and researchers I’ve spoken with believe pesticides are one factor, working in conjunction with introduced parasites, viruses, bacteria, and fungi, and quite possibly with deteriorating living conditions for bees. Bees could handle one or two of these stressors, but not all of them.”

The Gulf Stream: Tiny Plankton, Giant Bluefin, and the Amazing Story of the Powerful River in the Atlantic by Stan Ulanski


October 22nd, 2008

Aside from providing an easily assimilated scientific and historical overview, The Gulf Stream describes and mammoth natural system that helps drive the living organism that is earth. In these regards Ulanski has done his job as a writer.

High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed


May 15th, 2008

All of this pales in comparison to the obscene madness that has now become the fate of Base Camp at Mount Everest. The 8,000-meter peaks of the Himalayas have become the unfortunate repositories for what is repugnant about human nature with very little innate goodness surviving. Dying climbers pushed aside, ignored and denied medical help while their equipment is stolen, greedy guides unethical to the point of criminal, drugs, alcoholism, prostitution – hell this could just as well be inner city New York or Saigon as 20,000 feet above sea level in what used to be one of the most remote landscapes on earth. Everest has become the poster child for this debauchery.

Arizona’s Kartchner Caverns


May 5th, 2008

“Tufts and Tenen saw themselves as guardians of the cave. They were extremely concerned that their discovery could be looted and destroyed, as had happened to other caves in southern Arizona. They were determined to preserve its pristine quality. They became obsessed with secrecy, and hired a lawyer to write out a legally binding secrecy document that they insisted that anyone whom they had any reason to tell about the cave must sign. Tenen even made his future wife sign a secrecy document on their second date!”

Man vs Fish: The Fly Fisherman’s Eternal Struggle by Taylor Streit


March 25th, 2008

This is the tough time of the year for those such as myself who love and live to fly fish, to cast haphazardly-tied amalgams of fur and feather to wild trout while standing knee deep in the middle of a gorgeous trout stream surrounded by jagged mountains and vast native grass prairies that drift off in all directions.

Notes from Italy: Getting into the Mountains


January 10th, 2008

I did not know that Neanderthals once lived hereabouts; that farmers first settled here six thousand years ago; that nearby, down on the Campagna, the Gauls defeated the Romans in 390 B.C. before going on to take Rome itself. I knew dimly that the Allied forces had fought the Wehrmacht in these parts in 1944, but not that the day before the Americans took Marcellina, the Germans rounded up all the village men they could find and shot them in reprisal for the killing of two German grenadiers.

A Place for Three Seasons: Crested Butte


December 4th, 2007

Let us be clear on one thing: physically fit people tend to get more out of this place. One can sit and admire the mountains from a bench on Elk Avenue, or from a car out on the summer roads, but to me there is nothing better in life than walking an hour or two up to Scarp Ridge or the long green alp atop Mount Axtell, to sit and see high peaks all around.

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman


November 16th, 2007

The North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, informally known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is a span of ocean between California and Hawaii the size of Texas, where floats a Sargasso Sea of trash consisting of 90 percent plastic.

Notes From Italy: Sunday With the CAI


July 10th, 2007

This is not Labrador. We are fifty miles northeast of Rome and a mile above sea level, climbing Monte Cava in the Central Apennines, on one of our Sunday jaunts with the Club Alpino Italiano, Sezione Roma. Just ahead of me is my wife, Mary Jane, and beyond her I can see Antonello the orthodontist, and beyond him Alessandro, a banker on weekdays but today our Leader.

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