Online since August 2002
Culture, Politics and Technology

April 15, 2012
Ailes trending? Jamie Reno wonders if the Fox News honcho might be on to something with his blurb for Rachel Maddow's new book ...

New articles

April 2012:

Shocking book blurbs?
Jamie Reno wonders if other political foes have unpublished blurbs about each others' books
By Jamie Reno

Recent articles

July 2011:

Top-notch thriller sets table for what should be long-running series
Book review: Jeff Abbott's "Adrenaline: A Thriller"
By Jim Trageser

Even death can't keep a good P.I. down
Book review: Jim Butcher's "Ghost Story"
By Jim Trageser

June 2011:

Novel's silliness gets in way of its drama
Book review: James Rollins' "The Devil Colony"
By Jim Trageser

Clear-eyed primer on climate change
Book review: Doug MacDougall's "Why Geology Matters"
By Jim Trageser

Series just keeps improving
Book review: Barrie Summy's "I So Don't Do Famous"
By Jim Trageser

From the Log of Badge No. 54131
John Whalen's tales from the streets of San Francisco

The Smoking Section
Notes on the news

From the Bleachers
Observations on the sports world

Previous articles

December 2010:

Victorian steampunk mystery series good alt-history fun
Book review: George Mann's "The Osiris Ritual"
By Jim Trageser

Sinatra's muse all but forgotten
Book review: James Kaplan's "Sinatra: The Voice"
By Jim Trageser

Charm overcomes imperfections
Book review: Glenn Dakin's "Candle Man Book Two: The Society of Dread"
By Jim Trageser

November 2010:

History captures PSA's sense of fun
Book review: "Pacific Southwest Airlines"
By Jim Trageser

Medieval noir series continues strong run
Book review: Jeri Westerson's "The Demon's Parchment"
By Jim Trageser

October 2010:

A strong contender for Harry Potter's crown
Book review: Paul Crilley's "The Invisible Order, Book One: Rise of the Darklings"
By Jim Trageser

WWII tale undercuts itself
Book review: Larry Colton's "No Ordinary Joes"
By Jim Trageser

June 2010:

The start of something grand?
Book review: James W. Huston's "Falcon Seven"
By Jim Trageser

Half a sequel only
Book review: Steve Martini's "Rule of Nine"
By Jim Trageser

March 2010:

Another manic ride with Serge
Book review: Tim Dorsey's "Gator A-Go-Go"
By Jim Trageser

Film tackles Taiwan political intrigue
Movie review: "Formosa Betrayed"
By Dan Bennett

Kristen Stewart finds nuance in character film
By Dan Bennett

February 2010:

Dry, but insightful history of WWI
Book review: Holger H. Herwig's "The Marne, 1914"
By Jim Trageser

The remarkable FDA-approved cancer treatment no one knows about
By Jamie Reno

January 2010:

Turning into a nice series
Book review: Barrie Summy's "I So Don't Do Spooky"
By Jim Trageser

December 2009:

A classic game remembered
Book review: Mark Frost's "Game Six: Cincinnati, Boston, and the 1975 World Series"
By Jim Trageser

New fantasy series has a promising beginning
Book review: Glenn Dakin's "Candle Man: Book One, The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance"
By Jim Trageser

Good fun for new readers
Book review: Lyn Jakary's and Ryan Olson's "I Lost My Sock"
By Jim Trageser

November 2009:

Discovering the Jews who fought back
Book review: Steven Karras' "The Enemy I Knew: German Jews in the Allied Military in World War II"
By Jim Trageser

No surprises to this happy ending
Book review: Debbie Macomber's "The Perfect Christmas"
By Jim Trageser

Uninspired history gets star treatment
Book review: Herbert Keyser's "Geniuses of the American Musical Theatre"
By Jim Trageser

October 2009:

Guac book fun, if a bit over the top
Book review: "Guac Off!"
By Jim Trageser

A fine new world of magic and mystery
Book review: "Skulduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones"
By Jim Trageser

August 2009:

A clever twist on the thriller standard
Book review: "Rules of Vengeance"
By Jim Trageser

July 2009:

A nice recasting of a familiar theme
Book review: "Fragment"
By Jim Trageser

Familiar places, fresh story
Book review: "An Honorable German"
By Jim Trageser

A salute you can enjoy sitting down
Book review: "Uncle John's Bathroom Readers Salutes the Armed Forces"
By Jim Trageser

June 2009:

Dark alternate reality yields optimistic worldview
Book review: "The City & The City"
By Jim Trageser

May 2009:

A solid introduction to gravity lensing, dark matter
Book review: "Einstein's Telescope: The Hunt for Dark Matter and Dark Energy in the Universe"
By Jim Trageser

Metabolife founder tells his side of story
Book review: "The Metabolife Story: The Rape of Cinderella"
By Jamie Reno

Characters, locale, story all winners
Book review: T. Jefferson Parker's "The Renegades"
By Jim Trageser

A serial killer with a smile
Book review: Tim Dorsey's "Nuclear Jellyfish"
By Jim Trageser

July 2008:

George Carlin kicked the world in the ass
By Jamie Reno

'Is this Heaven? No, it's the Iowa caucus ...'
A native Iowan and veteran political reporter's take on the Hawkeye State's quadrennial political ruckus
By Jamie Reno

January 2007:

By Jim Trageser

August 2006:

I'll miss you, Mike
A remembrance of talk show host Mike Douglas
By Jamie Reno

July 2006:

The universality of the blues
By Jim Trageser

January 2006:

Dissing San Diego
By Jim Trageser

November 2005:

Boomers Won't Go Gentle Into That Good Night
By Jamie Reno

October 2005:

By John Whalen

September 2005:

Tribes & Tipping Points
A Writer's Take on Politics, Friendship and the War in Iraq
By Jamie Reno

Intelligent Design Quackery
By Bradley J. Fikes

July 2005:

Just Another Day at the Office
By Larry Wright

May 2005:

Lower Case Mom
By Charlene Baldridge

Winter 2004 issue:

So long, Hunter
Thompson broke the rules to get at the truth
By Jim Trageser

A different kind of hero
400 years on, Don Quixote still has lessons to teach
By Diana Higgins

The Intangible Rivalry
San Diego State vs. UCSD gives town sides to cheer for
By Jamie Reno

Book Reviews — "Please Don't Kill the Freshman" and "A Round-Heeled Woman"
Reviews by Jan Roberts

Autumn 2004 issue:

Eunuchs at an orgy: A critique of critics
A gloves-off, no-holds-barred critique of critics, our so-called arbiters of culture and the arts
By Jamie Reno

Spring 2004 issue:

America's father figure says good-bye
On Arnold Palmer, growing older and fatherhood
By Jamie Reno

Academics and race fixation
By Jim Trageser

Winter 2003 issue:

Lost angels and the search for something real
'The Day of the Locust' revisited
By Jamie Reno

What I would tell my student writers
By Duff Brenna

Tech Central Station never had a soul to sell
By Bradley J. Fikes

Kuta Cowboys and the art of the pickup
By Jacqueline Zhang

Book Review — "Please Don't Kill the Freshman"
Review by Brenda Fine

Autumn 2003 issue:

California voters get only smug condescension from political snobs
By Bradley J. Fikes

How to protect your rights as a music fan and put the music companies out of business - legally
By Bradley J. Fikes

Former astronaut calls for moving humans beyond near-Earth orbit
By Lucy Komisar

Nanotechnology: The fantastic use of atoms, one at a time
By Lucy Komisar

Film review — "Secondhand Lions"
By Jim Trageser

Summer 2003 issue:

High time for the recording industry to embrace new technology
By Bradley J. Fikes

Hemingway still kicks ass
By Jim Trageser

Meeting Gregory Peck
By Jessica Padilla

Wilmette 223
A reminiscence by Charlene Baldridge

Book review — "San Diego: Jewel of the California Coast"
By Jim Trageser

Spring 2003 issue:

On the road to rejection
A tale of a California book tour
By Duff Brenna

The new censorship
What do intellectual property owners want?
By Andy Oram

Winter 2002 issue:

Clones: cherish or cannibalize?
By Jim Trageser

Robet Urich is Dead
By evvy garrett

Autumn 2002 issue:

A mother's thoughts on war in Iraq
By Cynthia Hasz

July 27, 2011
"Adrenaline" is another spy thriller built around marital infidelity ...

July 20, 2011
Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden is back in "Ghost Story" ...

June 22, 2011
"The Devil Colony" by James Rollins has a decent premise, but quickly gets lost in silliness ...

June 17, 2011
Doug MacDougall's "Why Geology Matters" bypasses the hysteria and denial surrounding the global warming debate and gets to the heart of the science ...

June 10, 2011
Barrie Summy has a new I So Don't Do ... tweener mystery out, and it's the best in her series yet ...

December 30, 2010
A new biography of Frank Sinatra recounts all the scandal and gossip that dogged him from the beginning, but offers almost nothing on the artistry that drove his singing ... If you're not familiar with the "steampunk" genre, it's grand fun, imaging an alternate history in which steam engines are the dominant force of modernization. George Mann has created a fun mystery series set in a steampunk London in the early 1900s, and "The Osiris Ritual" shows the series has some grand potential ...

December 8, 2010
Glenn Dakin has a second entry in his Candle Man series, a nice mixture of steampunk and the supernatural ...

November 22, 2010
Pacific Southwest Airline, or PSA, is still remembered for the smiley faces on the front of its plances. A new photo history shows how influential PSA really was ...

November 12, 2010
Crispin Guest, the former knight now eking out a living on the streets of London finding lost items for a modest fee, returns in "The Demon's Parchment" and is in as fine a form as ever ...

October 22, 2010
Larry Colton set out to honor four WWII veterans in his new book, "No Ordinary Joes". And while he obviously admires them, the last part of the book is weakened by his attempt to interpret their lives through the prism of the Baby Boomer generation ... Paul Crilley has written a charming new YA fantasy novel that sets the stage for a very promising new series ...

June 25, 2010
James W. Huston has written a neat little legal and action thriller about the International Criminal Court going after U.S. military in "Falcon Seven" ...

June 11, 2010
Steve Martini's back with another entry in his Paul Madriani series, in "Rule of Nine" ...

May 9, 2010
Tom Hinshelwood has created a protagonist as unlikely as he is unforgettable in "The Killer" ...

February 24, 2010
A new history focuses on the opening campaign of World War I, when German and French armies engaged in a fluid, fast-moving battle before settling into the bloody trench warfare that came to define that conflict.

February 14, 2010
A highly effective treatment for a common form of cancer isn't being made available to all patients who could benefit from it. Turbula's Jamie Reno explains ...

January 22, 2010
Barrie Summy is turning out a nice little series with her "I So Don't Do ..." mysteries – Nancy Drew never was so charming for the pre-teen and tweener girls set ...

December 4, 2009
Mark Frost recaptures the magic of the 1975 World Series between Cincinnati and Boston in a new history ...

December 3, 2009
Glenn Dakin's first entry in his The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance juvenile series shows great promise, with a likable young protagonist in Theo, neat settings and a nice fantasy tale, while "I Lost My Sock" is a fun new read for new readers ...

November 28, 2009
The Holocaust is one of the darkest moments in human history; a new oral history by Steven Karras, though, shines a little light on Jewish refugees who fled Germany and Austria as children or teens and returned as American soldiers, fighting the Nazi regime that had sought their extermination ...

November 21, 2009
We're not much for reading romantic trifles, but when a stack of them arrives at the day job, curiosity wins out – and best-selling author Debbie Macomber's latest turns out to be a pleasant read ...

November 13, 2009
Broadway in the 20th Century was the capital of the world's theater community, and Herbert Keyser's new book looks at the lives of the men and women who wrote that stellar soundtrack...

October 28, 2009
Living in paradise, it's hard to imagine a party without at least one bowl of guacamole. A new book from a pair of SoCal natives lays out not only a great collection of guac recipes, but a nice history of the avocado as well ...

October 8, 2009
What is it with Irish authors and their magical teen-age heroes? Derek Landy is back with another in his Skulduggery Pleasant series ...

August 9, 2009
Christopher Reich returns with a sequel to last year's best-selling "Rules of Deception" ...

July 3, 2009
Encinitas' own Warren Fahy finally gets a novel picked up by a publishing house after more than two decades of trying – and "Fragment" makes the wait more than worthwhile. ... And Charles McCain has written an insightful historical novel set in World War II, and told from the German point of view. Jim Trageser reviews ...

July 2, 2009
The Uncle John's Bathroom Reader series has a new volume out now, dedicated to the military. Jim Trageser says it's a great read, at least if you're in the john ...

July 1, 2009
Michael Jackson's passing leaves us wondering where he fits in among the giants of popular music. In The Smoking Section ...

June 11, 2009
The new novel by British writer China Miéville is drawing comparisons in other quarters to Kafka and Orwell. Jim Trageser says a more apt comparison might be to Michael Chabon.

May 23, 2009
A new book by U. of Chicago researcher Evalyn Gates explains how gravity lenses are helping scientists determine just where all this extra gravity in our galaxies is coming from. Jim Trageser reviews ...

May 16, 2009
Jamie Reno reads Metabolife founder Michael Ellis' new tell-all memoir, and weighs in with a review ...

May 15, 2009
T. Jefferson Parker brings us another tale revolving around Charlie Hood, the L.A. County sheriff's deputy with a nose for solving murders. Jim Trageser reviews ...

May 11, 2009
Jim Trageser reads the latest bit of crazed Florida fiction from the pen of Tim Dorsey (who kindly supplied the photos of Jim's "Bimini" narrative), and shares his impressions ...

July 9, 2008
Is there any celebrity Jamie Reno hasn't met? Turbula's resident pop culture critic shares a meeting with George Carlin in looking back at the great comedian's life and work ...

January 2, 2008
You need spend a total of, oh, say about 14 seconds with Jamie Reno before he manages to work the fact that he's from Iowa into the conversation – and never mind what the conversation was originally about! So it's only right and proper that Jamie give the Iowa Caucus its just due ... and our own John Whalen checks in with the story of how he came to give up his cab-driving ways ...

October 14, 2007
As reported in his previous column, John Whalen's fave San Fran watering hole, the historic John Barleycorn, has lost its lease. After a brief reprieve, the bar has finally and permanently received its death date. In From the Log of Badge No. 54131 ...

June 8, 2007
One of San Fran's most venerable working-class watering holes is getting shut down, and our own John Whalen lays it out for us in his latest installment of From the Log of Badge No. 54131 ... we also weigh in on Gary Sheffield's supposed violation of all things good and decent in From the Bleachers ...

March 10, 2007
Where did the time go? Has it really been months since Whalen last checked in with one of his cabbie stories from San Fran? He's back, this time at the airport. Cops are involved, so things might get ugly ...

January 13, 2007
It was a year ago that some idiot burned down the Compleat Angler, a Hemingway shrine and working bar on the island of Bimini. Turbula's editor spent a happy few days on Bimini some years ago, and wrote up a little travelogue piece about it – but sadly got himself fired from the magazine that sponsored the trip before the story was published. The burning down of the Compleat Angler, where a group of us had played on the same leather backgammon tables as the Great Man himself, motivated Turbula's editor to finally finish the story and publish it, some 17 years after it was originally written. And special thanks to best-selling mystery writer and South Florida denizen Tim Dorsey for providing a photo of the Compleat Angler's bar to accompany the story.

January 7, 2007
It's usually someone else's idiocy that finally overwhelms our innate laziness. In this case, it was "professional peace mom" Cindy Sheehan's journey to Cuba to protest prison abuse ... at the U.S. base on Guantanamo Bay, ignoring the far more widespread and pernicious human rights abuses in Cuban prisons. Such ideological gymnastics have caused us to resuscitate The Smoking Section ...

October 5, 2006
John Whalen has another entry in his From the Logs of Badge No. 54131 column – a not-so-loving memoir of a former boss ...

August 23, 2006
While most of us contented ourselves with exploring the back yard, Jamie Reno and his siblings had the run of the set of "The Mike Douglas Show." Jamie says goodbye to the late talk-show host ...

July 22, 2006
Some years ago, Turbula's publisher/editor Jim Trageser was a regular contributor to the pages of Living Blues magazine. In the early 1990s, a new editorial direction was decreed at LB: No more would whites be treated as serious blues musicians; to do so, it was ruled, was to engage in cultural thievery of the worst sort. Only blacks could legitimately play the blues. Going through some old boxes recently, Jim came across a rebuttal to that policy he wrote and submitted to LB. It's finally being published here.

July 9, 2006
Whalen is back ... reminiscing about his skirt-chasing, pot-smoking days as a young cabbie on the streets of San Fran ...

April 8, 2006
John Whalen sends in another dispatch from the Log of Badget No. 54131, with a tale of a Hollywood celebrity gone mad ...

January 9, 2006
A new book claims to capture the dark underbelly of San Diego's culture. Turbula's Jim Trageser reports, however, that it's just more of the same old same old ...

November 13, 2005
Resident cabbie John Whalen has a new installment in his "From the Log of Badge No. 54131" column ...

November 12, 2005
Jamie Reno checks in with a wistful look at the Baby Boomers and their impending exit, stage left from the national scene ...

October 14, 2005
John Whalen will be known to Turbula regulars for his tough-edged saga of his days as a cabbie in San Fran, the "From the Log of Badge No. 54131" column. This time, though, he's gone ... well, almost sentimental on us in his tale of a high school reunion. And the rest of Turbula Nation learns that Whalen and longtime Turbula fiction contributor and jazz critic Dan McClenaghan were high school buddies. We're not sure why, but we're pretty certain that ought to frighten us ...

September 25, 2005
Longtime Friend of Turbula Jamie Reno has contributed a splendid essay extolling the virtues of political moderation. We at Turbula generally consider ourselves to be radical centrists, and so find much to like in Jamie's thoughts.

September 19, 2005
Brad Fikes weighs in with a piece taking to task efforts to assign "intelligent design" status as some sort of intellectual alternative to evolution.

August 2005
As summer winds down, John Whalen checks in with another installment of From the Log of Badge No. 54131 with a tale of human pinballs – with cabs as the flippers.

March 26, 2010
Tim Dorsey's serial-killer-as-protagonist Serge Storms is back in yet another crazed Florida-based caper.

March 20, 2010
Dan Bennett reviews the international thriller "Formosa Betrayed," and chats with Kristen Stewart about her new film, "The Yellow Handkerchief."

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