Santa Cruz Sentinel from Santa Cruz, California on August 2, 1991 · Page 62
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Santa Cruz Sentinel from Santa Cruz, California · Page 62

Santa Cruz, California
Issue Date:
Friday, August 2, 1991
Page 62
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1 6 Friday, "Aug." 2, 1991 Spotlight Sanfa Cruz SenTfnel Goofy 'Syntax': literate yet fun FT DOCTOR SYNTAX, by Michael Pelracra. Capra Press, paper For many Hollywood kids of famous parents, existing in the shad ow of mummy or daddy is career enough. Who needs extra work? Hut Michael I'etracca whose father wrote "The Untoueluihies" felt the need to Ilex his own imagination. Me began by going to college. Then he took a job teaching (English at L'C Santa Ifarbara). Which might have turned out to be the biggest mistake of I'etracca 's life if he hadn't found a way to combat the stuffiness that threatened to suffocate him in the halls of academe. Instead of quietly submitting to the publish-or-perish ideal of writing boring criticism on some boring. British author, I'etracca decided to write his own work of art. THE CHINA DOLL PRESENTS: DOLL & BEAR SANTA CRUZ HOLIDAY INN 611 OCEAN STREET SATURDAY AUGUST 3, 1991 10:00 A.M.TO 3:00 P.M. ADMISSION $3.00 WITH AD $2.50 SATURDAYS 2 PM AUGUST 3 Jim Marshall Childrens Entertainer & Free Face Painting AUGUST 10 Avanti Classical String Quartet SUNDAY 2PM AUGUST 18 On year Anniversary Party Joe Sharino Band plays for Seascape Village's On year Anniversary party Hwy J Lark in Vmlley Exit Ht Andrt Rd. Bruno i Seascape Market CourUtde Caffe PaJapaa Restaurant Rita European Bakery Seaacape Wine Spinta Village Moat Ptax . .4 0rill ....- Cinnamon Bay Deal T! is by the Sea Dollar a Seaacape Apparel Heirlooma lo Be Linda a Little Onea Resort Seaacape Flowers it Antique Somerset OaJtery Turn right t SaamcapeBIrd "Doctor Syntax" - a sexy, funny romp that takes place "ten years after the Summer of I.ove" is the product of that decision. It is by no means boring or stuffy. "Doctor Syntax" is, in its roundabout, goofy way, rather literary. The narrator hero of this mys-terysatirecomedy is Harmon Nails III. Harmon is having some major problems completing his doctoral dissertation on George Eliot. He's bored with the mind-numbing donkey work. His honesty makes him a very likeable character. Although he resents his academic choice of work, Harmon can't help sprinkling his tale with references to Knglish literary geniuses and to research on same, to smart-guy literary jokes, and including copious formal footnotes. Whatev- SHOW & SALE FOR INFORMATION (916)966-8399 aims Christine a European Hair Desifrn Seaacape Travel Vapor Cleaners Video USA Villa Cycle Sporta 50M OFF j Students from New Brighton Middle School are featured in 'Take Your Best Shot.' er he tries, poor Harmon can't quite escape the tedium of formal schooling. One day, avoiding work on his dissertation as usual, Harmon decides to drop some acid, has a hallucinatory insight into how to finish his dissertation and writes the idea on a piece of paper which he sticks in a book called "Doctor Syntax." The mystery begins when "Doctor Syntax" is stolen. The plot development of who stole the book and why is consistently interrupted with details on other aspects of Harmon's life: his relationship with his Jewish ma, the night of his biggest poker loss, the surfing experience that almost took his life, etc. Which is just fine because these short excursions supply a good share of the comedy and outline Harmon's character even more sharply. The copious footnotes (some bearing on the mystery-to-hand but most mere detours into whimsy) are another humorous element of the tale, e.g., the following: "People who say "climatic" for "climactic," or "relator" for "realtor," or "nucular" for "nuclear," reveal in themselves a singular lack of attention to the one thing in the world I really take seriously: spelling. In Diane's case, however, the eloquence of her riding hemline and sleek quadriceps made up for her faulty orthography." Other Syntactical characters include the upright LAPD Officer Sgt. Freitag, the nefarious and oh-so-literary Laurence Sterne, and the hobo of dubious gender,"Rick Masters, girl spy." While a couple of passages could have been dropped in deference to readability and flow, those same passages would make nice dream sequences in a movie version. The mystery of the stolen book is a miniscule part of this funny novel. "Doctor Syntax" does better service as an apology by its author for publishing a casual novel instead of a boring, over-wrought work of literary criticism like (dare we say it?) so many of his colleagues are wont to do. "Doctor Syntax" also nicely introduces Capra Press' imprint Joshua Odell Editions, a less serious side of the Santa Barbara publishing community. CHRISTINE WATSON PHOTOGKAPHY-.'Take Your Best Shot, by Terrt Morgan tthtfv Shmuel Thaler, Lerner Publica u tions Company, 241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55401 Intended as an introduction to photography for children of all ages, this attractive, to-the-point book has a secondary purpose to teach all camera operators, regardless of age, the basics. As an extra bonus, many of the photos show the students in one of John Richter's photography classes at New Brighton Middle School. Short, informative and well-illustrated chapters capsulize basic information on beginning photography from a short description of the camera and its various equipment to the elements of good composition, and including the correct usage of light, the demands of color vs. black and white film, developing your own film, creating special effects, taking good portraits and displaying the final product. Even technological klutzes will be enlightened on important photographic points. A case in point is the clear explanation of depth of field which includes a description of the mysterious f-stop. Also clearly explained is the difference between a 50mm and 28mm lens, how to capture movement on film and how to choose the best time of day and amount of light for the desired effect. Thaler is a Sentinel photographer; Morgan is a freelance writer. "Photography: Take Your Best Shot" has just enough information (and of just the right kind) to get even the first-time camera owner snapping successful photographs within the day. CHRISTINE WATSON FUNERAL MARCH, by Frank De Felitta, Bantam Books If you love Alfred Hitchcock movies, you'll love the way De Felitta intersperses Hitchcock's modes of murders in this psychological suspense story. It seems that this killer stalking Hollywood is a Hitchcock fan himself. One murder after another, the killer pays homage to Hitchcock by emulating some of the legendary author's murderous ways. Remember "Psycho"? We have the shower-scene killing here. How about "The Birds"? They're on the attack here. But the good guys are on the trail, too. A cop, Lt. Fred Santo-massimo, teams up with an unlikely partner, college professor Kay Quinn, .who specializes in theatermovie history, to go after the " killer. They end up trying to antici pate the killer's moves by guessing what Hitchcock movie will be used next. Interesting and unique; definitely a different kind of suspense thriller. The title comes from "Funeral March of a Marionette," the theme music to Hitchcock's TV program. This is De Felitta's first novel in six years. His past successes include the number-one bestseller "Audrey Rose." KEITH MURAOKA THE CANCER INDUSTRY, by Ralph W. Moss, Paragon House Twenty years ago President Nixon declared war on cancer. Since then, despite billons spent for research and hundreds of annual newspaper stories announcing an "imminent breakthrough," more people than ever are getting cancer, the total recently passing 500,000 a year for the first time. Ten years ago Ralph W. Moss wrote an explosive book charging that cancer research and fund raising had become big business. Now Moss has an updated version of "The Cancer Industry" in which he charges that the "cancer establishment" ignores the environmental aspect from pollution and he claims that the experts had to be forced to recognize the dietary approach to prevention. But perhaps most shocking are documented claims that "The Cancer Industry" supresses valid research done by maverick scientists such as two-time Nobel Prize winning Linus Pauling. Pauling himself says, "Everyone should know that the 'war on cancer' is a fraud." Other scientists claim the war on cancer is going nowhere. Moss makes a case against the popular medical opinion that cancer rates continue to rise because people are living longer. This book is not easy reading. The author notes all sources and research from which he draws his conclusions in what might seem like overkill to the reader. But the author would not have credibility if he did not document his build-up of facts. He needs all the weight behind him that he can get because his charge is one of the most serious that can be made that terrible human suffering is being caused by waste and irresponsibility. - ALLEN GRASSO

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