Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Boxing Day!

As promised: The Second Christmakwanzika Posting!

For your holiday pleasure, here is
Gerry Phillips the Manualist performing his hand fart rendition of The Who's "Behind Blue Eyes."

What's that got to do with Christmas? Who cares! It's hand farts. It's funny!

If you love Gerry -- and who doesn't -- then you might want to considering dropping by his web site and buying his DVD. For yourself or that certain very special someone.


And if you love The Who, their latest album is one of the best albums of 2010.
Live at Leeds, the Super Deluxe Edition. Yes, one of the best albums of 2010 is a new version of an album from 1970!

But don't consider that a knock against the music of 2010. This is just one really great album.

What was once a 6 song LP is now a 4CD, 65 song set. An entire extra concert is now included -- the long-thought-lost second night performance in Hull. If you're a Who fan, you
need to buy this album. Townshend, Moon, Daltrey and Entwistle are all in top form here. Both nights. And mixed into those 65 songs, you get two live performances of the entire rock opera Tommy. Great stuff.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmakwanzika!

The first of two Christmakwanzika posts!

Holiday love sent your way from The Ramones.

And congrats to The Ramones on their
Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award. I'm dying to see the end of the night jam when Julie Andrews sings I Wanna Be Sedated.

Till then,
Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight) will do nicely.

And if you haven't bought that certain special someone a gift yet, consider giving the gift of
Timeless Rock and/or Roll:


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What Do Kids Like To Read? Ask Them.

Number One Question I'm Constantly Asked: How do I get my kids to read?

Obvious answer: Give them books they'll enjoy.

Obvious follow up question: How do I know what my kids will enjoy?

Obvious final answer: Ask them.

In case you don't trust what your kids tell you -- or you want a wider sample -- Renaissance Learning has asked about 6.2 million kids that exact question.

The answers appear in the newest annual report called
What Kids Are Reading: The Book-Reading Habits of Students in American Schools. It includes a section devoted to struggling and/or reluctant readers complete with a list of popular high-low books.

What Kids Reading small

My publisher,
Capstone / Stone Arch Books, is featured prominently in the report. Which makes sense. Their speciality is creating books for kids who think they don't like to read. Books that turn reluctant readers into enthusiastic reading fans.

So download the free report, peruse it with a highlighter, then drop by your local bookstore or library and check out some promising titles.

Or better yet, have your kids do it.

They can treat it like one of those flyers from
Scholastic Book Club. Remember those? Good times.

Arrow Book Club 1

Monday, December 13, 2010

Close Call


What do you do when your hard drive decides it's going to become unreadable and your backup glitches out on you?

Besides panic.

Or cry to your Facebook friends.

Luckily, I've bought all my computers from the same place since the 80s:
Manco -- on Glenoaks Boulevard in Glendale, CA. And I haven't bought from them just because they were around the corner from me in Burbank. I bought my last Mac from them when I was living in Virginia. And took the time to ship them my old Mac so they could port my computer life over to the new one. Smooth and clean -- and fast.

Why do that when there's an Apple Store nearby?

The best reason is because they are fantastically kind and bright people. Les, Jerry and Margie treat you like family. But for those of you who don't do business based on warm and toasty feelings (and shame on you if you fall into that category!) there's an obvious practical reason.

For as long as you own your computer, you can call or email them for help. With anything.

You're having trouble opening your email? Call them.

iTunes suddenly can't find your 30,000 song library? Email them.

You foolishly decide to defrag your hard drive and it fritzes out during the process becoming completely unreadable? And the backup disk image you made of your drive just to be super-safe winds up having a glitch and it too is unreadable?

and phone them. With repeated questions. Over the weekend even.

And Voila! Your hard drive and backup are resurrected. Disaster avoided.

They've saved my hardware, data and butt more times than I can count.

So there you have it -- two Big Reasons I've bought from Manco since
Flock of Seagulls was considered relevant.

What more do you need?

How about they know their stuff -- more so than the supposed Gurus at your local Apple Store.

Les turned my wife into a Mac convert, making her move from PC super-easy. He's like the
Rick Steves of the Mac World. He sat with her and showed her everything she needed to know to become an ex-PC-Pat and make the permanent move to MacLand. She loves her Mac now like it's her high-school sweetheart -- and would never buy a PC again. Or buy from anyone other than Manco.

My writing partner has given into my harping and is set to abandon his PC and buy the new MacAir. From Manco. And he doesn't even live in Los Angeles.

See. You don't have to live around the corner to buy from them. If you do live in Los Angeles, it's foolish to buy from anyone else. But the guys at Manco are there for their customers even if you don't live around the corner.

Of course, if you can't just drop by their offices, you'll be missing out on some seriously tasty food. Les, Jerry and Margie are serious foodies and usually have some majorly tasty snacks -- and they share freely!

Like I said, they treat their customers like family.

If you want more thumbs up endorsements, feel free to check out the comments at
yelp or insiderpages.

Now, I'm going to get back to work on my freshly restored Mac.

Thank you, Manco!