Book Reviews - Three Books for Christmas Giving

John Morgan Wilson, A Rhapsody in Blood.
Needing a rest from writing his memoirs, our hero, Ben Justice, former ace Los Angeles reporter, is invited to visit a movie being shot on location by his best friend, Alexandra Templeton. Alex is writing a story related to the film’s plot. The film is based on a bestselling work of nonfiction about the murder of an actress in an isolated resort hotel frequented by Hollywood glitterati of a bygone age—a place called Eternal Springs.
Famous actress Rebecca Fox was murdered and a black handyman lynched for the crime on the Ides of March 1957. On March 15, 1981, her daughter, whose movie career was failing, committed suicide in the same room. In the meantime the spring has dried up and the place renamed Haunted Springs. Indeed, ghosts and spirits may still be hanging around. Principals who were there when Rebecca was murdered are back on site for the shoot, as well as the director, a petulant child star, THE male/female couple de jour, a rapper turned actor, and (to everyone’s concern) an infamous gossip columnist.
The columnist is found murdered, again on the Ides of March and in the same room. Floods then wash out the only bridge to the outside world. Ben must work to solve the puzzle as the number of deaths grows. There is a nod here to one of Agatha Christie’s more famous novels. Suffice it to say, Ben gets little rest.
This memoir thing of his has been going on for several novels. His has been an interesting life: killing his policeman father with his own gun as he abused Ben’s mother and sister, the loss of a lover to AIDS, winning and losing a Pulitzer, years on the bottle, and the brutal rape that left Ben with HIV. But when will he finish the damned thing? Another mystery!

Larry Niven, The Draco Tavern.
If there is anything gay in this series of short stories it must be hiding between the lines, but it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. The author is a Washburn-educated science-fiction writer, best-known for his Ringworld series. In 1974 he began a series of short stories about a Siberian tavern at a space port that grew up around a landing field after aliens appear in orbit around the moon “say two years from whenever you are reading any given story.” The bar-owner/narrator is Rick Schumann . This concept might seem like a scifi cliché except that the first of these stories predates Star Wars.
Niven uses the stories to examine eternal questions of mankind, and sometimes the answers are not the ones we want. When a Catholic priest and an alien get into a discussion of life after death, we learn of a civilization that found out something for sure about the subject, and the result. Or a great civilization that arose on Earth hundreds of millions of years ago that was wiped out when photosynthetic algae arose poisoning the air with oxygen. The alien species known as the Bricks live so slowly they might enjoy a visit to Niagara Falls to watch it erode its way toward Lake Erie over eons. And if you think providing disabled human bathroom facilities is a major problem, imagine plumbing for a dozen species!

George Robb, Why Not?
This is a self-published work by a gay man who loved his wife. It is an extremely personal work containing short stories, a brief autobiography, photos, and a CD of the author/composer’s music professionally performed. What is of greatest interest and importance of this work is the picture it provides of a closeted, married, gay man born in 1921. He came to Kansas City in the mid-1940s to work as an engineer with General Motors. Married in 1954, he became a father and lived what appeared to be a normal life of a family man of the period. His wife, who passed away in 1981, learned of his orientation after their marriage. After his wife’s death and his retirement he began to come out.
The bulk of this 540-page work is taken up by short stories. The author tells us that “the main theme wending its way throughout all of the Why Not? short stories is the pursuit of happiness.” And yes, it is. There is little of the self-loathing often found in gay authors of that generation. Many of the stories are interesting, with the plot twists and dialog of a writer not without talent, though they would have been better with the services of a professional editor.
The music on the CD is worth the price of the book. Mr. Robb is a talented amateur composer, who probably could have had a professional career in the field. (Though frankly, working for General Motors was probably more lucrative!) Above all, this is a memorial to his late wife, and a personal memoir.

John Morgan Wilson, Rhapsody in Blood. St. Martin Minotaur, 2006. $24.95
Larry Niven, The Draco Tavern. Tom Doherty Associated LCC, 2006. $24.95
George Robb, Why Not? Leathers Publishing, 2005. Available from the publisher and author, see for more information. $29.95

WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

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by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

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Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

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