Book Review: ‘Relentless Optimism: How a Commitment to Positive Thinking Changes Everything’ by Darrin Donnelly

I’ve never been big on reading self help sort of stuff. I certainly write about the subject, though. I like to help other people and I’m often told about how I give good insight and I’m easy to talk to and usually give solid, rational advice. I’m no therapist, however, and even if I can help people deal with their own shit, sometimes dealing with my own can be a bit taxing. But you have a very different perspective when you’re really close to a problem.

Being that I’ve been overwhelmed by mental clutter lately and because that doesn’t help when I’m a person that has battled severe depression and anxiety my entire life, I’ve been in a really negative, cynical head space, as of late. So I felt like I needed to inject some optimism into my life and while searching for books on my Kindle, I came across this one.

To put it bluntly, this is one of those books that is legitimately life altering, at least from my point-of-view.

The author’s advice and examples of how to apply it are all told through a story about a struggling minor league baseball player. The story isn’t real but it helps frame what the author is trying to convey in a way that’s easy to understand and digest.

While I understand that many people don’t give a crap about sports and that this is written to help athletes, the lessons and ideas expressed here just work in life, regardless of whether or not you’re a baseball player, an office workers or in a creative field.

I really enjoyed this and actually read it in one sitting within a few hours. I plan to read it again and keep it to reference in the future.

I also discovered that this is the third book in a series of five, so I think I’ll start giving the other volumes a read as well. Because even if they’re only 50 percent as effective as this book was, they’d still be way ahead of similar books I’ve read in the self help realm over the years.

Rating: 10/10
Pairs well with: I’m assuming the other four books in Darrin Donnelly’s Sports for the Soul series. I’ll probably read the others in the near future, based off of how much I enjoyed this one.

Vids I Dig 287: Arn Anderson: Ask Arn Anything

From Arn Anderson’s YouTube description: This week’s episode of ARN, Arn and Conrad go over a plethora of listener questions! Hear Arn answer queries about who could’ve replaced Ric Flair in the Four Horsemen, the present condition of his neck, what was Tully Blanchard Enterprises, the most violent locker room fights he’s ever seen, his favorite places to live, his favorite matches he’s agented, The Revival, the Television Championship, breaking and keeping kayfabe, the best Spinebuster today, the most prolific drinkers in wrestling, Daniel Tosh, the Flair/Bischoff fight, Jim Cornette, The Great Muta and Gary Hart, and so much more!

Video Game Review: Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers 2 (NES)

While my experience with the first game in this series didn’t live up to my fond memories of it, this game, one I’ve never played, actually improved on its predecessor and was more fun to play, overall.

The game graphics, sprites, controls and playing style are the same as the first Rescue Rangers outing. However, the level design is better and smoother and this feels like it’s closer to a final, solid draft, where the other one needed some corrections.

I also felt like the boss battles here were better and not as repetitious as the first game. Granted, none of them were all that memorable or great.

I like that this allows you to take very different routes. While the first game employed that, it was done on more of a minor scale and this one actually opens up different options that may inspire you to play through it a couple times in an effort to have different experiences.

This series is okay. It’s not as good as the DuckTales games but those were a blast and set a really high precedent that all other 8-bit Disney games would be unfairly compared to.

Rating: 6.75/10
Pairs well with: its predecessor, as well as the other Disney games for the original Nintendo.

Film Review: Dirty Harry (1971)

Also known as: Dead Right (working title)
Release Date: December 21st, 1971 (San Francisco premiere)
Directed by: Don Siegel
Written by: Harry Julian Fink, R.M. Fink, Dean Riesner, Jo Heims, John Milius (uncredited), Terrence Malick (uncredited)
Music by: Lalo Schifrin
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Andrew Robinson, Harry Guardino, Reni Santoni, John Vernon, John Mitchum, Debralee Scott, Albert Popwell

The Malpaso Company, Warner Bros., 102 Minutes, 99 Minutes (cut)

Review:

“Uh uh. I know what you’re thinking. “Did he fire six shots or only five?” Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?” – Harry Callahan

Going through my list of film series I haven’t yet reviewed, I was surprised when I came to the realization that I hadn’t covered Dirty Harry yet, as it is one of my favorite action crime franchises. Plus, it stars the always badass and intense Clint Eastwood, as the greatest character he ever played after “The Man With No Name” from Sergio Leone’s The Dollars Trilogy.

This also stars Andrew Robinson as the purely evil Scorpio Killer. He’s a guy that I love in just about everything and a solid character actor that, frankly, should’ve been in many more movies.

The story follows “Dirty” Harry Callahan as he tries to take down the Scorpio Killer, who has been using a sniper rifle to pick off his victims throughout San Francisco. What I like about the bad guy is that he is just a severely fucked up piece of shit and more like a force of nature than someone with a real plan. He creates fear and panic and in an effort to take him down, Harry skirts around the rules and takes the law into his own hands. This backfires on Harry, as even after he takes down Scorpio, the guy is released because of legal red tape. Ultimately, Harry says, “Fuck all this shit!” and he doubles down, finally killing Scorpio and then throwing his badge into the river as the ultimate “fuck you” to the system.

Dirty Harry is definitely a film of its time, similar to Death Wish, which would also spawn four badass sequels. These movies were a critique in rising crime rates in the U.S. and the inability of the police and the legal system to clean up the streets and make the public feel safer. Movies like these wouldn’t fly today due to society being so sensitive and butthurt over everything. Hell, look at the total shithole San Francisco has become in 2020. It’s not as violent but the West Coast softies let bums shit in the streets and throw dirty heroin needles all over the place.

Films like Dirty Harry are great because they are unapologetic and bitchslap the crybaby pussies that try to constantly justify the terrible behavior of shitty human beings. That’s also because those people are shitty human beings.

From a technical standpoint, this movie is meticulously shot with superb shot framing and cinematography. All of the scenes atop buildings are fantastic and give you a true feeling of scope and distance, especially in regards to how the sniper sees things from above, searching for his victims.

I also like all the dark and gritty parts. The big fight in the park underneath the giant cross is a real highlight in all the things I just mentioned about the film’s visuals.

The action is also captured tremendously well from the early street shootout to the rooftop shootout to the confrontation in the park at night to the bus scene and the final showdown.

The picture is well written with good pacing and it has more energy than most films from the time.

Dirty Harry is just a great action thriller that features a character that deserves his legendary status. And just like with Death Wish, I was fine with nearly a half dozen sequels even if the quality started to wane. 

Rating: 8.75/10
Pairs well with: the four other Dirty Harry films, as well as the five original Death Wish movies.

Comic Review: Batman: War Games: Book One

Published: 2004-2005
Written by: various
Art by: various

DC Comics, 515 Pages

Review:

This is one of the giant Batman sagas I hadn’t yet read. So I was pretty stoked to pick it up but ultimately, I was left pretty disappointed, as it’s slow, dry and honestly, not that exciting.

Being that I am a fan of Stephanie Brown a.k.a. Spoiler, I did like her parts in this, as it is a major turning point for her character and because it helped to fill in some of the blanks I had with her character’s development. I really dug the hell out of her time as Batgirl before they took it away from her and gave the identity back to Barbara Gordon.

This collection doesn’t feel much like a large cohesive story. There are plot threads that stretch the duration of the book but it is mostly a few short arcs stuffed into a massive volume to collect the tales of the era.

I guess the main common thread is that this mostly focuses on combating Gotham City’s street level crime but this book sort of just sets the stage for what I assume will be a more action heavy second book.

For the most part, I liked the art but some of the stories felt like a waste of time. But I guess I’ll have to see how things play out in the second and final volume of this “saga” before being too harsh.

Rating: 6/10
Pairs well with: other Batman stories of the late ’90s and early ’00s.

Vids I Dig 285: Comic Tropes: Shazam! The Rise and Fall of Captain Marvel

From Comic Tropes’ YouTube description: The original Captain Marvel came from Fawcett Comics and was pretty much the most popular superhero throughout the 1940s. He spawned a bunch of spinoffs and even outsold Superman. His creators, Bill Parker and CC Beck, made something special that younger readers loved. Writer Otto Binder brought it to new heights.

This episode breaks down the history of the rapid rise and equally fast decline of Captain Marvel in the Golden Age, taking special care to explain what was best about the books by looking at the serialized story, Mr. Mind and the Monster Society of Evil.