Well Worth The Read

Something Is Rotten in Fettig  a satire


fettig jpg

  not yet on Amazon


Pros: well developed characters,  excellent writing,  fun writing style, highly readable,  caricatures abound;  this one is a keeper, and I rarely enjoy satire

Cons: none noted

Interesting read               Recommended                 

Jere Krakoff’s Something is Rotten in Fettig is a satire comprised of some 265 PAGES of prose offered as 60 chapters, a page with acknowledgements, a list of the cast of characters, a table of caricatures, and an Epilogue.

Something Is Rotten In Fettig wittily satirizes a legal system that is very similar to our own and is practiced in a fabricated nation simply called Republic. The author adroitly names and uses a varied assemblage of distinctive player including lawyers, witnesses, the court system and judges, as well as trials and jury behaviors to deride countless of the activities we often see played on the evening news, or during trials themselves thought so noteworthy that they must be filmed in real time for the nation to consider.

The narrative begins with reader’s introduction to Leopold Plotkin around whom the tale unfolds. The infamous kosher butcher has been accused of Crimes against the Republic. From his pro bono lawyer, Bernard Talisman, right on to parents who have already packed his personal possessions, to his uncles who have promised to visit him in prison every third weekend and to The Monthly Contrarian a little read journal who, while considering Plotkin a hero, however had declared in editorial: “Regrettably, there is no realistic possibility for an acquittal” right to Plotkin himself; it appears that everyone seems to think Plotkin will be convicted.

Krakoff presents the travesty wreaked by local legal officials upon one of the neighborhood kosher butchers, Leopold Plotkin, a fellow who harbors a nearly pathological distaste for strife when the man unintentionally foments a predicament of such magnitude that he is propelled into a clash with every area of government.

To complicate matters Plotkin rebuffs every effort undertaken to force him to disengage his supposed transgression. Plotkin and his family are introduced and some of the background for Plotkin’s behavior is presented before the reader becomes a courtroom spectator as Plotkin is put on trial by a deceitful Prosecutor General.

The reader learns more of Plotkin and the varied characters peopling the work: there is Prosecutor General Umberto Malatesta’s Opening Rant, Plotkin’s Childhood Education under the tutelage of librarian Hinta Gelb and his Venturing out with Ana Bloom before the reader embarks on a whirlwind in which Plotkin is Conscripted into the Butcher Shop, gets Arrested, is Imprisoned in Purgatory, is visited by family and friends and is Exiled along with Chicken Plucker.

Indicted by a Secret Blind Jury leads to Plotkin’s arrest by the National Constabulary, before he is delivered to the infamous Purgatory House of Detention where he is to be housed with lunatics and other miscreants of the state until such time as his trial and expected guilt are determined.

The reader becomes an onlooker into the Trial of Plotkin as the Jury is selected and empaneled, opening Sermon and Rant, umm statements, are offered, witnesses testify, Prosecution and Defense offer closing Diatribes and the jury deliberates and finally offers a verdict.

Interspersed throughout the book are marvelous, author drawn, pen and ink caricatures of many of the characters introduced in the work. My personal favorites of the caricatures are those of his uncles Moishe and Misha Plotkin and the one of Ana Bloom.

Characters are well developed, many are despicable, again something many may think of some of the so called experts we may hear talking, perhaps as rants about a particular case in the public view on television.  This fast paced work is filled with good writing, presented in highly readable prose. The author has woven a thoroughly enjoyable view of some of the behind the scenes machinations we may have thought do take place as we read of cases in the morning news or we may have watched when one or another case is thought to be of earth shattering, public must see, necessity to broadcast via TV.

On the pages of Something is Rotten In Fettig the plotting and maneuvering taking place by the prosecution, authorities and others in their determination to find Plotkin guilty of something, whatever that might be in or out of what the laws of the society may be; tends to remind the reader of some of the shrieks of guilty, and justice must prevail as a suspect is all but tossed over a cliff before ever actually being arrested for the particular crime which has so outraged the populous.

All in all I found Something is Rotten In Fettig to be a very enjoyable, easy to read, simply fun work.

I received an ARC for review; I do not keep all books I receive, this one is a keeper.

Happy to recommend Something is Rotten In Fettig for readers who enjoy satire, and for those who may never have read a satirical work; this one may whet the appetite for more!

I hope writer Krakoff is busy working on his next satirical offering, and creates more of his marvelous caricatures.

About the Author  : From the book’s back cover:   Before writing Something is Rotten In Fettig author Krakoff was a civil rights attorney with the ACLU National Prison Project in Washington DC, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Mississippi and a legal aid program in Pittsburg.

Something is Rotten In Fettig, says the author was inspired by people, places and events he encountered while litigating, and a lifetime of observing both the best and the worst of the human condition.


Reviewed by Molly’s Reviews

molly   martin


Product Details : I do not yet find Something is Rotten in Fettig listed on Amazon

Title: Something Is Rotten in Fettig: A Satire

Genre: Satire

Author: Jere Krakoff

Illustrator: author

Pages: 276

Line/Publisher : Anaphora Literary Press, 2015

ISBN-10: 1681141973,

ISBN-13: 9781681141978


Available     Paperback

So Pretty in Pink

Hoppity  Ty®  Beanie Baby®


hoppity bunny

See it at Amazon

[Rating: 5/5]

Pros: Ty product,  collectible,  cute as can be

Cons: none noted

Ty® Beanie Babies®’ Hoppity Bunny measures 8 x 3.7 x 0,8 inches of plushy polyester fabric. Hoppity is a honey of a sugar pink rabbit having bright black eyes, triangle pink nose and pink whiskers. Around her throat is a small pink ribbon tied in a bow.

Hoppity is especially appealing in pink. Only her tail is presented in white. Her large flappy ears indicate she is a lop type rabbit with ears drooping on either side of her head rather than standing erect.

Hoppity a popular Beanie for collectors and her companion Beanie Babies Floppity and Hippity make up the Bunny Trio. Surface wash only.

Born 3 April 1996, Hoppity’s poem reads:

Hopscotch is what she likes to play

If you don’t join in, she’ll hop away

So play a game if you have the time,

She likes to play, rain or shine!

All in all she is a perfect addition to my growing collection of Beanies.

For several years I used Beanies in my First Grade Classroom, as theme setters for holidays and the like. And, Beanies were used as sentence and story starters for Little Folks who might be stumped for what to write about.

As with other Ty Beanies I find the plush used to be soft, eyes are bright shiny, seams are well sewn, arms, legs, ears are secure and well attached. Pliable, poseable toy is filled with small pellets, and can be set on desk where Hoppity will sit, gazing, and will not tumble or sag.

Ever since 1993 Ty Inc., has fashioned 400+ different Beanie Babies in a diversity of sizes from wee softies appearing as a McDonald’s happy meal toys, to large Beanies measuring about 8 inches.

Hoppity holds appeal for boys and girls, and adults alike. Hoppity is intended particularly for those like and perhaps collect bunnies as do children and many adults.

Hoppity with the wee plastic eyes and nose is not recommended as a pet toy or for small children.

Ty Inc., established in 1993 when Ty Warner of Illinois produced his initial small critter shape, cloth bag, packed with small white, pellets sent to the market place has become a key contender in the toy race.

Beanies are available on Amazon, and I find them often at thrift and jumble shops as well as garage sales. If buying at jumble shop, yard sales and the like be careful to always check to be sure the Trademark Ty Beanie, heart shaped tag is in place to guarantee purchase is a genuine Ty product.

Recognized the world over; Beanie Babies, some might say they are filled with joy as well as pellets, are an over-the-top iconic, well-loved character in the toy market. Well made, sturdy seams to assure no bits on the floor, and for most of the softies having sewn nose and eyes, no pieces to swallow or otherwise cause harm, then again they are not indestructible. Ty Beanie Babies are some of the best loved toys adored by children and collected by adults everywhere.

Happy to recommend Ty Beanie Babies’ Pink Plush Hoppity.


Reviewed by Molly’s Reviews

molly martin


NOTE: Ty® Inc. is an American PLUSH ANIMAL Toy Company based in Westmont, Illinois.

The most famous line of products produced by this company are the BEANIE BABIES®, on the other hand, Ty also manufactures other lines of stuffed toys. The Ty logo is a red heart with the lower-case letters “ty.” A tag is found affixed to all Ty stuffed toys, and inside each tag is the name of the toy and a 4 line poem about it.

Since 1993, the year when Ty Inc. was founded; the company has mass-produced nearly 400 assorted Beanie Babies.

My personal introduction to the world of Beanies® was 1996 when long lines of adults could be seen extending across the restaurant and out the door, and at times down the sidewalk of local McDonald’s® eateries. Teenie Beanie Babies® Smaller, fun versions of Beanie Babies were included in McDonald’s Happy Meals®.

Several subsequent promotions took place with various wee Beanies available.

The lesson taught by Ty Warner, sole owner of Ty Inc., the company behind Beanie Babies may be do what you enjoy, do it well, promote and diversify.

My personal favorites continue to be the Teenie Weenies gathered from McDonalds children’s meals.


Ty Inc

280 Chestnut Ave

Westmont, IL, 60559 United States

Invisible by James Patterson – doesn’t hold up

Invisible by James Patterson





Pros: twists and turns

Cons: doesn’t hold up under careful scrutiny

My first thought, after finishing James Patterson’s twisty Invisible was “Cool!”.  But then I sat down and really thought about it, and realized that the turns and twists in this novel were more “gimmick” than cleverly thought surprises.

There’s a serial killer out there.  One who drips pure evil.  And he’s smart beyond belief.  To the point where he’s been getting away with his murders because no one even knows he’s out there.  He leaves the crime scenes looking like tragic accidents.  No one has a clue that a crime’s been committed.  So no one’s looking for our bad guy.

No one except Emmy, a research analyst with the FBI.  She’s the only one who thinks something is “off” about these accidents.  Getting others to believe her is near-impossible, until she finally finds proof that convinces the mucky mucks that there’s a killer out there.  Of course, knowing this, and catching the guy are two entirely different matters.

So that’s the premise, and what follows is pretty typical.  Slowly find clues, figure out who and what you’re dealing with, set a trap, etc. 

But Invisible comes with a few twists.  No, I’m not going to spoil it for you.  I’ll just say that the author wanted to inject some “surprise” into the tale and he did so.  And that’s always a fun thing for the reader.

But, if you then go back and examine the story with a magnifying glass, you’ll find a few inconsistencies, some plot holes, and some things that are just a bit hard to swallow.  In other words, if you want to really enjoy Invisible, don’t be a detail-oriented hard-nose, like me.  Because the story just won’t hold up to careful scrutiny.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t warn you about the level of violence depicted in this book.  Granted, books about serial killers always contain murder and mayhem, but Invisible by James Patterson (and David Ellis) goes a bit beyond the norm in this regard.  It is not for everyone.

Also by James Patterson:

Four Blind Mice
Judge & Jury
Kill Me If You Can

And Mighty Tasty Too

Annie’s™ Organic, Bunny Fruit Snacks  BERRY PATCH flavor 



See it at Amazon


Pros: tasty, not sticky in hand or packet, non GMO, gluten free, organic ingredients, no artificial colors or flavors

Cons: none noted

Annie’s™ Organic, Bunny Fruit Snacks BERRY PATCH flavor  generated using real fruit juice and no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors are a mouthwatering, fun to devour, treat that are more nourishing than some of the more sugary nibble treats available for adults and children alike.

Even the package on the shelf is attention-grabbing. Bernie, Annie’s beloved pet bunny, emerging from a lemony yellow circle is found at the top of the front panel. Words Homegrown and Organic appear above and below the name of the product.   Flavor type is found midway on the panel above the signature cutout bunny located at the bottom of the pane.

Researching the Annie’s website I find Organic Berry Patch Bunny Fruit Snacks are a delicious mix of strawberry, cherry and raspberry flavored bunnies.

For those who are vegan; Annie’s Bunnies do not contain gelatin; are certified organic.

While I have no problem with gluten; I like having these snack items available to share with sis who must avoid gluten.

I do prefer food that are non GMO, do not rely on artificial colors, preservatives and flavors; these tasty little morsels made with real fruit juice provide 100% of the Daily Value of Vitamin C

Major Ingredients Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic White Grape Juice Concentrate, Pectin.  Color includes Black Carrot Juice, Flavors are natural.

Note: Ingredients, Nutrition Facts, and Allergen Statements can change. Always refer to the actual package for the most complete and accurate information.

I first was introduced to Annie’s tasty, healthy products while teaching First Grade. Each month the snack calendar was sent home, with each child’s name written in one of the boxes and Mrs. M’s name in the first two.

Parents often sent nice healthy, tasty snack items including Annie’s bunnies both gummies and crackers.

This attention-grabbing, purple card stock paper package filled with assorted peach, rose and magenta toned bunny fruit snacks features the traditional cutaway bunny revealing a ration of the tasty fruit flavored treats to tempt shoppers as they travel the aisles of the local big box stone.

I like the consistency of the gummies, soft; not hard, mushy or sticky in the box or the hand. Flavor is berry not strawberry, blackberry or raspberry; but berry nonetheless. The grape juice adds a little piquant tang that I find tasty and pleasant, rather than too sweet

Happy to recommend Annie’s™ Organic, Bunny Fruit Snacks BERRY PATCH flavor. 

Available on Amazon $12.75  4 cartons 5 pouches each


Perusal of the Annie’s website I find :    It all started with Annie

In 1989, Annie Withey co-founded Annie’s Homegrown, Inc. with Andrew Martin with the goal of making a healthy and delicious macaroni and cheese for families.

She wanted to show by example that a successful business could also be socially responsible.

Annie chose Bernie, her pet rabbit, to be the brand’s “Rabbit of Approval,” and she put her own address and phone number on each box to encourage customers to connect with her.


Annie’s Homegrown

1610 Fifth St

Berkeley Ca 94710

Christopher Rice’s debut coming-of-age of a bullied youth novel

A Density of Souls by Christopher Rice



Pros: narrative drive

Cons: Bell Tower is literally “over the top”, one-dimensional villains (with guilty secret)

The Bottom Line: Overly melodramatic ending to a chronicle of a queerbaited/-bashed youth in New Orleans of the 1990s

I was absorbed in Christopher Rice’s first novel Density of Souls, which was first published in 2000, when the author was 21 years old. The Gothic romance aspect of the book and the sinister and stifling New Orleans atmosphere (especially that of Lafayette Cemetery with its above-groud burials) bring his mother (that would be Anne Rice) to mind. The queerbaited protagonist, Stephen Conlin, is the son of a poet who committed suicide before Stephen was born (too fine for this world in the view of his touch lowborn Irish wife). I hope that Christopher’s elite high school (Cannon) experiences of ostracism by his former friends (stereotypically nasty homophobic jocks Greg Darby and Brandon Charbonnet) were not similar to Stephen’s during the 1990s. Christopher definitely came from an intact family, but the gay son of a poet who killed himself cannot avoid qualms about oedipal dramas in the Rice family in which mother is the success, father the vastly less-read and less-famous poet (Stan)! (In an interview, Christopher stated “I’ve never gone overboard because I have such a strong family life.”)
In addition to chronicling many sadistic rituals of adolescents and lots of “casual” cruelties, Rice whips up a hyper-melodramatic climax, set against a major hurricane. The pre-Katrina imaginings of evacuation and destruction has additional interest now. Although CR did not foresee the incompetence of government response, he did mention the dissatisfactions of those who took shelter in the Dome.

There are a lot of haunted characters, including the former grade-school friends who diverged radically in high school (the two football players savagely turning on Stephen, the bulimic young alcoholic Meredith also betraying their childhood friendship. She and a hard-to-believe compensatory character come through for him and not one but two star quarterbacks from Cannon fall in love with him.
Monica, Stephen’s mother, cannot protect him at high school, but seeks to be protective of her hypersensitive son. He does not use her to procure studs for himself, unlike Sebastian’s mother in a more melodramatic Garden District opus, Tennessee Williams’s “Suddenly, Last Summer.” There is less hysteria here, though in addition to the suicide in the background of the sensitive man, there is murder, hate crimes, alcoholism, bulimia, class bitchery, and even a touch of incest (though their shared bloodline is unknown to the pair).

Riace menThough sometimes feeling the prose was overripe (in the Southern Gothc tradition) I was carried along as I was once upon a time by Interview with a Vampire (and by Dreamboy).Though the narrative is very discontinuous in revealing various sins of the past, I did not think that the writing itself was “jerky” as some complained. (There are no vampires or witches, btw, though a questioning/gay teenager has a more difficult time than some of his mother’s aberrant creations have had.)


Police terrorism and poets’ narcissism in mid-1950s San Francisco

Robert Duncan in San Francisco by Michael Rumaker



Pros: third chapter to memoir, 2012 interview

Cons: letters (appended to memoir)

Though I have read and somewhere have Michael Rumaker’s overwritten (lyrical) A Day and a Night at the [Everard] Baths (1979) and was aware of My First Satyrnalia (1981), I’ve never considered Rumaker a writer, let alone an important gay prose writer. The copy of his Robert Duncan in San Francisco (written in 1976-77 about an 16-month stint in the City by the Bay two decades earlier) that I bought online has a title page defaced by an attack, headlined by “This book is AWEFUL” followed by changing the title to “Michael Rumaker in San Francisco, continuing “for only 16 months used Robert Duncan [1919-88] as an excuse tow rite about himself andhis not interesting life. As a writer he is marginally acceptable. City Lights Books [publisher of an edition supplements by a 2012 interview and some correspondence almost all of it from Rumaker to Duncan] is really groveling for material. It is BAD, BAD, BAD Duncan was also a dull, bore I’ve met him several times hard to look at — one eye off center” (punctuation and its lack from the original).

Surprisingly, this buyer went on to underline many sentences and to include a number of stars in the margin for points without challenging any of them.

rumakerThe 22-year-old Rumaker (born in 1932) blocked the 34-year-old Duncan’s sexual advances not from loyalty to Jess (né Burgess Collins, 1923-2004) the painter who was Duncan’s life partner, but because Rumaker was not attracted to Duncan. (He found the pictures of a younger Duncan attractive and felt sorry for the loss of youth/beauty Duncan had had). Rumaker admired Duncan’s poetry and his courage in coming out in print in 1944 in Politics (“The Homosexual in Society”). From Rumaker’s memories, Duncan seems to have like Rumaker’s writings, at least before the memoir, after which Duncan never again communicated with him.

Robert-Duncan-and-Jess-1959 Duncan and Jess in 1959 (in backyward of 1137 De Haro?)

Jack Spicer was nasty to Rumaker. Rumaker believes that part of this was Spicer’s alcoholism, but also fury that Rumaker was fucking (obscure poet) Ebbe Borregaard, who Spicer wanted and couldn’t get.

Robert duncan by Jess, 19591959 Jess portrait of Duncan

Rumaker celebrates Duncan as a role model of self-acceptance and of making a home with a lover (a mere two blocks above where I live, at 1137 De Haro), albeit not monogamous. Rumaker himself was petrified by fear of the San Francisco Police. Rumaker makes a point of Duncan’s slight frustration that Charles Olson (Rumaker’s Black Mountain mentor, 1910-70) seemed more interested in men who had, like himself, been raised Catholic, including Rumaker than in non-Catholics however ex-. I find it a bit odd that Rumaker does not mention how Irish (Catholic) the San Francisco police force of the 1950s (and later) was.

SM@1137 De Haro(1137 De Haro is the middle units of  a vertical triplex, built in 1900, on Potrero Hill; that’s me in front of it)

The most vivid and, I think, valuable part of the memoir of San Francisco of the mid-1950s is Rumaker’s account of being picked up along with two dozen other men while he was walking home from hearing Miles Davis, going up Polk Street. He was charged with “vagrancy” in a doorway with another man. Alone of the 24 or 25 guilt-ridden and frightened arrestees, Rumaker pled “not guilty” and the case was dismissed by Clayton W. Horn, the same judge who presided over the 1956 obscenity trial of City Lights Books for publishing Allen Ginsberg’s HOWL (which Rumaker criticized in the Black Mountain Review, after R’s alma mater, Black Mountain College had folded). Rumaker was able to go back to work and his name was not published in the daily papers, as was the norm for those pleading no contest or guilty of vagrancy (which could be applied to anyone not carrying a thousand dollars—a thousand 1956 dollars!), loitering, public indecency (a legal category with elastic boundaries).

The documentation of what was too well-founded to count as “paranoia,” and of the mindset of “being not quite permissible affected our own feelings for each other,” with no feelings of solidarity or any positive identity, is more important than any insights into Robert Duncan’s character or persona or importance on the San Francisco poetry scene. “The Morals Squad was everywhere and the entrapment of gay males in the streets, the parks and inn numerous public places was a constant fear and a common occurrence.” The police abuse of surveillance and harassment of suspected homosexuals was only curtailed after various clergymen got a taste of the police modus operandi around Calfornia Hall (also on Polk Street) at a 1964 New Year’s Eve Ball. As Deborah Wolf wrote, “The police pursued a policy of deliberate harassment by taking photographs of each person entering California Hall, by parking a paddy wagon and several police cars outside the entrance to the building, and by entering the hall themselves. During the evening three attorneys and a [straight] woman council-member were arrested for ‘obstructing an officer in the course of his duties’ as they argued with the police at the entry to the hall…. The outrage felt by heterosexuals who had attended the ball, including clergymen and their wives, at this show of harassment led to a politicalization and a strengthening of their commitment to fight for the rights of the homophile community, once they themselves had experienced similar repressive actions at first hand.” (Lesbian Community, 1979:55).


©2016, Stephen O. Murray