Monthly Archives: January 2019

INDELIBLE WIT: The Political Cartooning of Bill Sanders

NewSouth Books. 232 pages. Hardcover $28.95

For sixty-plus years, Fort Myers resident Bill Sanders has made a living as a political cartoonist. Yes, he’s one of those rare birds who can make your laugh – or at least grin – at individuals and actions in the political world that might otherwise simply make you sick. He can make you angry, too. Riled up about some piece of nonsense about which you share Bill’s perspective – or angry at Bill because you disagree. In either case, you wouldn’t be bored.  

Readers can find the engaging story of Bill’s live – both personal and profession – in a gorgeously designed book with a longish but fitting title and subtitle: Against the Grain: Bombthrowing in the Fine American Tradition of Political Cartooning. Bill’s memories about the stages of his life are accompanied by a generous supply of his classic cartoons. The book, published by New South Books, lists for $28.95, but who buys list? Just get it online for about $10 less from Amazon.com.

Editorial cartoons are meant to be opinionated. That’s why we read them. In the case of a practitioner like Bill Sanders – or such other masters of inky bombs as Herblock, Oliphant, Trudeau, and foreword writer Jules Feiffer – a well crafted political cartoon requires a knowledge base, a sense of the ridiculous, and distinctive skill with the pen. For these commentators, their drawing style is their trademark. Bill Sanders most likely spends more time researching the material that will spark a cartoon than most. He needs to know what he’s talking about before he plays with the issue in ink.

Bill Sanders

Over the years, his main “home base” publication vehicles were the Greensboro Daily News, Kansas City Star, and Milwaukee Journal. His work was syndicated in 100-plus other papers. It’s clear that he had talent, perseverance, and made an impact. He covered everything of political consequence from the Eisenhauer era into the time of Trump, most recently publishing his work on an internet blog. Take a look at http://sanderscartoon.blogspot.com/.

Born in Springfield, Tennessee, Bill fell in love with sports there. His family moved to Dothan, Alabama and then Pompano Beach, Florida. Bill was a high school basketball standout at Pompano Beach High School and was named to the Florida All-State Team in 1948. He later played on a University of Miami freshman football team before transferring to Western Kentucky University, where music and art became important parts of his life. He started dabbling in drawing seriously there, and he also set an NCAA pass completion record while on the WKU football team that won a minor bowl game.

By the mid-Fifties, Bill had married his lifetime partner, Joyce, and found himself wearing an Army uniform in Korea. He began cartooning for armed forces Stars and Stripes publications and found himself imagining making a career of it – if he could. He calls this turning point his “Herblock Epiphany.”

To see the full article, as it appears in the Jan-Feb 2019 issue of Ft. Myers Magazine, click here: Bill Sanders

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Top dog handler and intrepid FBI profiler work to thwart a human trafficking scheme

Lost Creed, by Alex Kava, Prairie Wind Publishing. 346 pages. Hardcover $27.00.

This latest edition (Book 4) in the Ryder Creed series builds splendidly upon the development of Ryder and his meticulously described K9 business, a fifty-acre training operation in the Florida Panhandle. Readers have witnessed a series of plot lines having to do with the breadth of search, rescue, and other tasks that trainers paired with appropriately trained dogs can do. Ryder once again works with FBI agent Maggie O’Dell (the title character in Ms. Kava’s earlier series), this time to bring down a human trafficking operation in Nebraska. 

Maggie is heading up the operation, bringing together local law enforcement professionals from various jurisdictions.

Meanwhile, back in Florida, Ryder’s assistant and trainee, Jason, is developing his skills and aiming at solo responsibility with his dog, Scout. A session under Ryder’s tutelage is interrupted by the shock of a confrontation with a black bear.

Before this trouble is put to rest, Ryder’s business partner, Hannah calls to tell him that there is some possible news about Ryder’s vanished sister, Brodie. Maggie’s case up in Nebraska has injected some tenuous hope into Ryder’s life – hope that might overwhelm him.

Alex Kava

Maggie, noted for her profiling skills, has been playing games with a madman, Elijah Dunn, who has, or has had, some place in a horrifying trafficking scheme. They’ve been making deals with one another, each trying to get the upper hand. Elijah wants to earn his freedom or lesser benefits by revealing information that Maggie needs.

He claims to know where the bodies of the victims are buried and where those innocents still alive might be enslaved.

Another story thread takes us into the world of an abused young woman – abused from childhood and still confined and tortured. She seems a victim of the human trafficking ring. Ms. Kava paints Charlotte’s predicament, both physical and psychological, with great insight and skill. The cruelty of her exploiters is unfathomable, unless we consider them unhinged.

The investigation underscores the fact that big money is at stake in this criminal enterprise. It seems people will do anything to keep the money flowing, which includes murdering the witnesses. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the January 9, 2019 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the January 10 Naples, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, and Palm Beach editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Lost Creed

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Almost everything you’ll want to know about wine and enjoying it

Ask the Wine Whisperer, by Jerry Greenfield. Global Book Publishers. 188 pages. Trade Paperback $14.95.

Like his first wine book, Secrets of the Wine Whisperer, Mr. Greenfield’s follow-up effort shares the goal of demystifying the world of wine. His information is solid; his manner is humorously irreverent. Though he playfully claims that his book arms you with enough wine knowledge to make a big impression, its main purpose is for you to have a good time as your engagement with wine and your wine knowledge grows. Don’t be intimidated by snobs, and certainly don’t become one. 

Mr. Greenfield’s fast-moving chapters have a conversational style and reveal an addition to alliteration. His first three sections focus on The Grapes, the Ground, and the Guys & Girls. After telling us that “wine is nothing but grape juice that went bad,” the author explores the varieties of grapes, their distinctions, and the unpredictable trendiness of what’s in favor. He takes us through the well-known while leaving room for discovery of relatively obscure treasures. Mr. Greenfield also attends to the importance of labeling and pricing.

Greenfield

The chapter on regional distinctions (The Ground) connects us to the places that wine tourists needs to visit. It is closely connected to the next chapter, which details the range of wineries and introduces us to the people who own and operate them. Here he touches upon the importance of matching wines and glassware. As his pun insists, “it’s all in the glass.”

“The World of Wine” chapter is a robust miscellany of all kinds of information about wine. It includes a bit of wine history, choosing from a restaurant’s wine list, understanding the process by which oak barrels and “aging” affect the final product, what you can determine from the labels on the wine bottles, the steps and skills to master for a successful wine tasking, how wines are rated, what makes for good and bad wine years, the uptick in U. S. wine consumption, and many other topics. Jerry Greenfield treats them all with his characteristic good-natured humor.

It may come as a surprise that Mr. Greenfield saves a separate chapter for a discussion of women’s roles in the wine business. His main point is that while wine was for most of its history the domain of men, times have changed, and women have become leading winemakers. There is even a growing cadre of female sommeliers. Mr. Greenfield continues his exploration with comments about women’s wine clubs and the portrayal of women’s relationship with wine in movies and television.

To read the entire review, as it appears in the January 2, 2019 Fort Florida Weekly and the January 3 Naples, Bonita Springs, Charlotte County, and Palm Beach editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Ask the Wine Whisperer

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