Kevin Lemme

Zeptember: Kevin’s Top Ten

Let me begin by stating that anyone who reads this post most likely knows more about Led Zeppelin than I do.  That being said, apparently, no one in the band is actually called Led Zeppelin.  Just some cool name for a band.  Same concept used in Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Kalvin Klein, and Helly Hanson.  Even though I listen to a fair amount of music in the same time that Zeppelin reigned, this band doesn’t receive regular visits from me.  To prepare, I listened to all the albums this band published (ever) over the course of last week, and am glad to say I found a few songs I really enjoyed and several that I recognized.  Though this band didn’t win a place in my top favorite bands, I do greatly respect the bands method of naming albums with band name followed by number in chronological order, making organizing, remembering, and sorting very easy.  Now let it begin, my top 10 Zeppelin’s!

10. Rock and Roll
This song wonderfully represents those that call the genre by the same name home.  The beats, fading of sounds and lyrics all bring me back to a time when music was about enjoying life.  Not today’s garbage that swears and complains about the man holding us down.

9. Stairway to Heaven
Great song, just have heard it way too many times.  Having this song so high up on the list has done enough damage, I will refrain from analyzing it any further.

8. Immigrant Song
Whenever listening to this song I am thinking about Jack Black singing it in “School of Rock,” not sure why because I have heard it in many different settings other than a C movie.  Right when the needle hits the vinyl, I am hooked in.  No stalling or building up just goes straight to full throttle.  Also, has to be one of the coolest chorus’ in a song.

7. All My Love
Not the usual love song, but, the lyrics do indicate some sort of emotion from whoever is the lead singer in this band.  The noises make the song for me; in fact, an instrumental version of this song would probably put it up a few more spots on the list.

6. Misty Mountain Hop
“Packing my bags for the misty mountains where the spirits fly.”  Sounds awesome, count me in!  I have found a new song to listen to when headed up skiing.

5. Ramble On
The starting really reminds me of “Life Less Ordinary,” by Carbon Leaf.  Compared to other Zeppelin songs, this one seems a little mellower, which provides a nice break when only listening to Zeppelin for a week.  Ramble on…

4. D’yer Mak’er
Not much to say other than it works for me.

3. Kashmir
Remember that scene in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” when Kashmir is played in the guy’s car?  This song has its own class regarding how to start a song: slow, gradual, hard, Kashmir.  I just love those first 30 seconds and can listen it over and over and over.

2. Fool in the Rain
The rediscovery of “Fool in the Rain,” I would describe as the best outcome from Zeptember.  For those that do not know, I keep a running list on my phone of songs I like that I hear when out and about.  I try to include lyrics, but, mostly it just has words to describe the song, making it difficult to find the name later on.  “Fool in the Rain” has been on the list for a while, and it was nice to stumble upon it Wednesday night.  It doesn’t sound like a Zeppelin song to me, but, it certainly is my favorite.

1. LZ 129 Hindenburg (Luftschiff Zeppelin #129)
This beauty was a true Zeppelin, and had the name way before the band ripped it off.  Born on March 4th, 1936, this 800 foot dirigible could take 150 people across the Atlantic at a cruising speed around 90 mph.  She was like nothing else ever built, and remains one of the largest things that ever flew.  Although hydrogen gas is the lightest element on the periodic table, it’s really explosive.  Filling an 800 foot long balloon with explosive gas proved to be a bad idea.  The craft blew up in a spectacular 37 seconds a little over a year after it made its first flight.  Maybe someday these luxury liners of the sky will return, just make sure they are filled with helium.


Tron: Legacy

Ever looked at a computer motherboard?  It’s neat how all the conductors, circuits, wiring, and batteries all come together to such a beautiful array.  Oh and the forest green tint of the board itself, not even fire engine red is that attractive.  All in all, computer hardware looks pretty nifty.  Tron: Legacy is very similar to computer hardware, it looks cool, but, the average blog reader doesn’t know how all the components come together or what’s really going on.
As I begin to squire on about this movie, I mine as well explain the title: it’s “Tron” in binary code.  The original film came out quite some time ago, like 29 years.  Jeff Bridges starred as some computer programmer dude who invented some system and then this company called Encom stole it from him and he needed to become digital to prove that he was the one who invented it in the first place.  At least, that is what Wikipedia tells me.  Tron: Legacy takes place years after the original.  The son of Jeff Bridges ends up in the computer and needs to battle his father who he also has teamed up with.  That’s right, this movie has two Jeff Bridges; one the original that has been stuck in the computer deemed a ‘user’ (protagonist), the other an evil set of software that is trying to take over the mainframe (antagonist).  The movie follows Jeff Bridges and his son, we’ll call him exhibit A, battling Jeff Bridges and his goons (software).  A note of caution, the plot makes no sense; all I could tell is that Jeff Bridges battles himself.  Really, that is it; maybe I should have watched the 
first Tron before seeing the sequel.
As I eluded with the computer simile, the only goal a person seeing Tron: Legacy is to enjoy all the special effects and battle scenes, not the plot.  Kind of opposite of The Notebook.  However, even on the graphic front, the film doesn’t do well.  It is shot using ‘Real 3d” which at this point I have decided as a scam.  This technology makes us, the money machine, wear stupid and uncomfortable polarized glasses for hours, when the added ‘3d feel’ does nothing for the movie. Most of the scenes didn’t even seem like they were in 3d, just really clear 2d.  All recent film shot in 3d I deem unworthy and a nuisance to imax 3d.  Want to see what excellent 3d technology is?  Find Beowulf playing in Imax 3d somewhere, that is incredible.  Back to Tron, despite a pitiful attempt at 3d, the film provides a few visually pleasing scenes and it is interesting to see how a few guys depicted what the inside of computer software looks like.  Go out and see Tron if you want an action movie with some cool visual effects, but stop there.  Don’t expect a good story: especially if you haven’t seen the first Tron.  

Kevin’s Nine Movies of 2010

Overall, 2010 was a great year for Kevin. Regarding movies, however, 2010 was one of pity. I only racked up seeing nine movies in theaters this last year, not counting seeing Inception twice. All the movies I screened in the public setting I enjoyed and feel they can be ranked. They are as follows. (I have approval from King of Damorgue to do this post as a top ten)

Movies I wanted to see (Honorable Mention):
True Grit
The Town

9. Get Him to the Greek
This movie points out the hey that’s cool but so what test.  It amusing, and I mostly remember that one scene in the Vegas hotel room where the one guy is battling his father while the other guy has smoked something that requires him to rub against carpet on the wall.  The movie made me laugh, but when it was over, I forgot about it and don’t really care for it at all.  The Superbad guy (pictured) is co-starring in the film.  He is Kevin’s actor enemy #1.

8. Kick Ass
This film, in my mind, was a major success.  Nicholas Cage has been going downhill in his movie performances ever since the first National Treasure.  It was a pleasure to finally enjoy a movie where he doesn’t completely destroy it.  Apparently, the key to success is to simply limit his amount of air time.  Favorite scene has to be when the green monster runs into the gang right after he declares himself a superhero.  It’s nice to see a superhero get the shit beaten out em’ every now and then, just as long as its not batman, he is too cool.

7. Tron: Legacy
The full review of this film will be coming right after we finish up the top ten movies of 2010.  Overall though, it was a visually entertaining film but, at movies end left me in a huge labyrinth that not even Wikipedia can help me get out of.  For those that haven’t seen it, I would rate it as “go see it in theaters” but finish reading this post first.

6. The Social Network
As some of the more loyal readers of my parent blog may know, I am a huge fan of Aaron Sorkin’s work.  When news came that he was working on a movie for the big screen, I didn’t care what it was about, I knew I would see it (even if it were about myspace).  The facebook orientated film exceeded any expectations I had and even spurred a desire to ‘acquire’ the movie and watch it again.  The press power of this movie I have to accredit as it’s biggest success.  After the world came to know that Mark Zuckerburg wasn’t the most generous or nice guy on the street, he has actively become involved in what is hopefully the start to a long future in philanthropy.  

5. The American
As with a few others on the list, The American, is another film I saw where I had few others I could talk to about.  Like the Sorkin film, I cannot say no to seeing George Clooney on the big screen, after Up in the Air,  he, behind Harrison Ford, claims title of Kevin’s favorite thespian.  Back to the film, odd would be a good way to describe it.  This movie probably has the most dramatic ending of all the others on the list, I don’t think anyone saw it coming.  Even though it is Clooney, I would wait to see this movie when it’s $4.99 at Target.

4. Iron Man 2
Beside the new batman films, Iron Man tops my list of the recent comic book superhero movies that have been hitting the screens over the last decade.  Ever since Air America, Robert Downey Jr. I have viewed as a respectable actor.  The sequel wasn’t nearly as good as the first, but still enjoyable.  The scene I refer to the most in the film is when Stark has been summoned in front of the congressional board to give up his suit, and he hijacks the television to show that other countries are ten years away from Iron Man technology, then shows a video of the Hammer Industries suit blowing up and he’s like “Hammer Industries, twenty years.”  If you haven’t seen the film, go buy it, when convenient.        

3. Toy Story 3
It was announced and advertised in theaters nearly a year before it finally came out so to say I was awaiting this movie is an understatement.  However, I didn’t quite know how it could be done.  Andy has grown up, the last one was already sad, so how could this movie possibly be any better.  Somehow though, Pixar figured  out how to do it.  The movie brought plenty of laughs and good memories for not only has Andy grown up, but so have I since this film’s predecessor first came out.  Yes, at movie’s end I did cry, the only time I can ever remember in a movie.  If it were to go see Toy Story 3 right now, I would authorize abandoning reading this post.

2. The A-team
Easily the best original film of the year for me.  Liam Neison is awesome, very entertaining, and made me want to watch the television series.  I can’t say anything bad about the film.  It was exceptional!  My favorite scene is pictured, it’s when the drone shoots down the teams escape from Germany and they try to “fly the tank.”

1. Inception
Easily number one film on my list.  This movie still blows me away.  It seems to be the climax of a year of movies that like to mess with the mind.  With lack of a better term, this movie is one big cluster fuck.  Mr. Nolan went above and beyond with this film, I don’t know what else you could ask for it has: action, love, romance, comedy (go British guy!), and even some cartoons.  Ever house should own this film and watch it over the holidays multiple times.  The snow level was my favorite,  it turns out the fortress (pictured) is a real place, actually a ski resort in Canada, that will be the location of my next trip and future empire.  

Welcome 2011!

From all of us here at Damorgue, welcome to the year 2011! As we celebrate today as a beginning of a new year and decade, as well as a palindrome (1.1.11), I have calculated some statistics regarding Damorgue last year. 2010 was a busy year for Damorgue; we posted a whopping 262 posts, just 103 shy from one for every day of the year. As for individual posts, John published the most with 128 entries. Shortly behind was Sean with 76 posts. Colin kept a steady pace with 41 posts in 2010. Nancy was able to contribute 15 posts to the blog, while our newest member, Kevin just barely got in 2. It will be interesting to see how the count changes next year! The longest by day consecutive post streak for Damorgue stretched 39 posts from 24th of September to the 2nd of November. Within that, John receives the award for longest consecutive posts from a single author at 9 posts stretching the 7th of October to the 15th for his impressive Shocktober series. The people’s choice award, meaning most comments is awarded to the post “T3: Guilty Pleasures Part Deux” by John that pulled in 7 comments. Sean produces the most feedback for his controversial posts with 83% of posts receiving comments. Themed posts of 2010 included 80’s week, Shocktober, 2010 recaps, Seattle International Film Festival, Top Ten Movies of 2009, Top Ten Movies of 2000’s, and the introduction of Dapodcasket. 2010 was filled of greatness, we hope that 2011 brings even more!

Top Ten Aviation Events of 2010

Let us reflect back on aviation events of 2010. These are the top ten aviation happenings by media coverage over the past year.

10. Does it Really Exist?
One of the biggest aviation feats of this year occurred without anyone really knowing. The United States Air Force, with help from Boeing and Nasa built a fully automated, robot shuttle. They launched the shuttle into space in August and it returned to Earth, landing at Edwards Air Force Base in late November. For the four months that the shuttle was in orbit, without civilians knowing about it, the craft completed multiple tests and airworthiness directives. When it landed, the Air Force did release a photo and a small article about the vehicle. Little specifics still have yet to be known, but the shuttle is going to be used for ‘cargo’ missions and will remain an entirely lifeless operation. This shuttle, though so covert, shows the marvel in 2010 engineering, not only can we fly to space but we can do it completely from a computer screen on the ground. Space colonization is near.

9. A New form of Identification
In a world where the fear of an aircraft attack is omnipresent, it’s a wonder why pilot’s never had a picture on their actual license. As it stands now, to act as a pilot in command of an airplane, the pilot is required to carry (among other supplies) there FAA license, a picture id, and current medical certificate. The license though just has a few words, explaining the pilot’s certifications, and on the back lays a picture of Orville and Wilbur Wright, but no photo of your own. Recently however, the Federal Aviation Administration has begun implementing a two year process to put a picture and biometric identification on the license itself. This is exciting especially amongst the pilot community because now Pilot’s will be able to use their license as a form of government issued id.

8. The Fate of Nasa
The National Aeronautical and Space Administration was created during the Kennedy presidency to complete a simple mission: put a man on the moon. From its inception in the fifties, NASA has grown into a huge organization under the federal executive branch. In fact, over 1% of national spending annually is spent on NASA. Look at all the accomplishments though; several missions to the moon, telescopic satellites that have traveled the planets charting and sending back information, in fact, the Voyager Space craft is over ten billion miles from our planet and will shortly exit the solar system. These are just some of the major projects of numerous that NASA has worked on over the years. Unfortunately, during this recession, President Obama has made the decision to privatize the space market and drastically cut back the NASA space program. Note that NASA will still be the chief administrator of air and space in this country, but will not be doing everything from start to finish. Only three shuttle missions remain, with the last scheduled to launch in February, meaning that the shuttle program will probably be over by summer of next year. It’s too bad that such an accomplished organization has to go through such drastic change. One of the biggest impacts may be on America’s children. When I was growing up, the astronauts and NASA were such an inspirational image that tomorrow’s generation won’t get. Some hope still exists for space exploration, Space X, one of multiple private organizations that are now trying to fill in NASA’s developing gap, successfully launched a rocket into orbit three weeks ago. The rocket will be used in future years under contract from NASA to transport astronauts to the world’s most expensive single item: the international space station.

7. Not all Airlines Suffer
In time of recession and demise, the airlines are not expected to be doing well. Higher fuel costs and lower passenger travel combined with aging aircraft have created a tough time the airlines. The industry has coped with this by hurting the passenger; less service, more charges, and least helpful, more expensive fares. Within this economic sector, however, there is jewel. Seattle based Alaska Airlines has completed its most profitable year since the company began operations over thirty years ago. Alaska, one of few airlines that remain distant from one of three global alliances, serves primarily the west coast of the United States and the state of Alaska. In 2007, Alaska began its first flights to Hawaii from its hub in Seattle, and today it offers the most flights to Hawaii behind only Hawaiian Airlines. Alaska has also expanded its route network to many east coast cities from Anchorage, Seattle, or Los Angeles, the airlines largest hubs. Currently, Alaska has a stock price around $52.00 a share, one of the highest in the industry. Speculation exists whether or not Alaska will be absorbed by one of the larger, remaining legacy carriers, however Alaska, with its unique route map and high stock price, the airline will likely remain independent for a long time. Hopefully the success of Alaska this year will spread to other airlines in the domestic industry.

6. Boeing: Hope and Failure
Boeing, the country’s largest exporter and industries largest company, has been in the news quite a bit over the last few years, especially in negative nature. The 787, which after a three year delay finally took its first flight in November of 2009, with hopes of a delivery in late 2010. The flight test program for the new aircraft, which has spanned all this year, has gradually declined ending with a fire in one of the test airplanes last month, grounding the fleet. The electric panel that caused the fire has been found and fixed, but, at the expense of yet another delay to the programs first commercial delivery. As of now, first delivery is expected for late 2011, but I personally expect no deliveries until 2012. Despite the 787’s failure, the company as a whole remains in good shape. The next generation of the 747, the -8 freighter and -8 intercontinental both accomplished their first flights this year and are expected to enter service next year, on schedule.

5. Rolls Royce: Whoops
Air Transportation is the safest way to get from place to place, but it is not immune to accidents. The biggest aircraft accident of this year has to be Qantas A380 enroute to Sydney that had to return to Singapore shortly after takeoff because of an engine failure last November. The inboard engine on the left wing, a Rolls Royce Trent 1000, encountered an oil pressure failure within the core of the engine which led to the engine blowing up and sending shards everywhere. A two foot hole even ripped straight through that wing of the aircraft. This catastrophic failure wasn’t able to take any lives as a qualified crew brought the damaged plane back to Singapore and got it on the ground, safely. Qantas has since grounded all of its A380 fleet and have put their 747-400’s on the routes formerly flown by the airplane. Airbus and Rolls Royce have actively been searching for a solution to the problems. The first being solely with Rolls Royce and the engine exploding. The second came as a sort of surprise to EADS subsidiary Airbus seeing that the aircraft underwent significant damage because of the failure. The Trent series engines are used throughout different aircrafts and airlines, including some Boeing products such as the new 787. The British engine manufacture, Rolls Royce’s stock prices tanked after the event and have yet to recover. This event revealed weakness in aircraft design but also a promising resolution with an excellent flight crew.

4. Smaller Skies
Airline mergers in no way should be considered as new news. Successful airline mergers however, have become virtually unheard of, until now. The year began with the completion of the Northwest merger with Delta airlines, forming the world’s largest airline. Planning and plenty of time for preparation can be thanked for allowing such a smooth transition. This merger is considered successful not just for the quality of integration but the fact that Delta reported making a profit again, something the airline hasn’t accomplished since the recession. Since the Delta merger went so well, United and Southwest Airlines decided to jump on the merger plane, too. This summer, United announced plans to acquire Continental Airlines, and in October the Department of Transportation approved the merger. This merger combined two larger airlines with routes and aircraft less complimentary then the Delta and Northwest merger. In addition, the airlines took two okay liveries and combined to make one that looks pretty stupid. Since the plane needs to be repainted anyway, they should have made a whole new livery. Another surprise this year that has gotten plenty of press coverage was budget carrier, Southwest Airline’s decision to purchase Air Tran, another low-cost model operator. This acquisition is probably the most exciting of the three mergers of this year. First, it will add international routes and Air Trans heavy east coast presence to Southwest. Also, for the first time in the company’s history, it will operate an aircraft type other than the 737, choosing to continue operation of Air Tran’s 717 fleet. The massive expansion for Southwest will put even more pressure on the other airlines to keep fares low, overall helping the customer. Though mergers are great for the airlines, they typically raise ticket prices, but, this Southwest one should help keep prices down. In a time of efficiency the airlines look to mergers as a good opportunity, thus far recent mergers have been much more successful than the American absorption of Trans World Airlines earlier this decade that almost pushed the airline into bankruptcy.

3. Failed Bombings
In passenger travel, essentially every piece of baggage as well as every person must be scanned and checked for explosive and dangerous material. The cargo market however remains relatively open, with little screening of the cargo before the flight. This September and October the Middle East released its newest forms of terrorist plots by placing explosive material on cargo aircraft with intention to explode the aircraft over United States soil. Two Federal Express flights originating in the Middle East, with layovers in England, were discovered to have explosives on board in disguise as printer toner cartridges. In an act not really known by the public, international intelligence was able to identify the packages before the planes reached U.S. land and disable them. The origin of the packages remains unknown. A United Parcel Service 747 that exploded over Dubai this summer might have been the result of a hidden explosive. I formally request that the terrorists leave air travel alone, I take these attacks personally.

2. Holy Ash!
Behind the oil spill, nothing packed the news more this summer than the eruption of Mount Eyjafjallajoekull in Iceland. The ash from the volcano spewed into the atmosphere and traveled throughout the atmosphere of the North Atlantic. Canceling thousands of flights over the course of weeks, nothing took a larger toll on the airlines this year. Ash, carrying thick heavy sediment, gets sucked into the aircraft’s jet engine, becoming the equivalent of glue, killing the engine. Ash from a volcano in Alaska caused a British Airways 747 to temporarily lose all of its engines a few years ago. Eventually, the ash cleared and the flights were able to fly again. The impact though was catastrophic, causing delays lasting nearly a month long on some passengers.

1. “You touch my junk; you’ll have a law suit!”
As touched on earlier, security screening of the passengers has become a necessary and now unpleasant task. In response to last year’s Christmas Day underpants bomber, the Transportation Security Administration implemented the use of full-body scanners at the top 100 airports of the United States. Using either back-scatter or low-level x-rays, the body scanners produce a digital image of the individual, head to toe, revealing everything on the person. The scanners are extremely effective but a pretty big change from the metal detector. Time for example is one of those factors. Instead of walking through a metal detector in a few seconds, the full body scanners take about 20 seconds or more per person. Privacy though has become the biggest issue. These scanners, producing a full image of you naked, are revealed to a TSA agent in another room that analyzes the image. It has been described as virtual porn. Not to mention, the scanners do send a little radiation into your body, so gentlemen, protect them testes. Now if you don’t want to get your body scanned, you get an even worse and more invasive, full-body grouping, I mean search that has been described as demoralizing. Since their implementation, the scanners have got a ton of press coverage, especially after a person in San Diego filmed the entire process of him being kicked out of the airport because he didn’t want to be scanned on his iphone. The position of the TSA to keep the skies safe is understandable, but I don’t feel that air transportation is at a point that requires a strip search, virtual or real, for every passenger. The TSA has seemed to quell coverage on the scanners, perhaps considering other options.

Well there you have it. These events are the biggest of 2010, for more information on any aviation matter, I recommend and

Conversations with Myself

Nelson Mandela

The darkest moments in humanities history often reveals the brightest of stars.  The 20st century was full of these stars, whether war heroes like Dwight Eisenhower, equality activists like Martin Luther King Jr., or Neil Armstrong who showcased that we can put a man on the moon, these guys are what make America such a wonderful place to live in.  But America is not the only breeding ground for humanities finest, during one of the darkest times of Africa’s history, Nelson Mandela, rose above and fought for a better, freer South Africa.
I first heard of Mandela when I was playing apples to apples in seventh grade.  Not to the surprise of people that no me, I had no idea who he was, and did not pursue knowledge of him either.  In tenth grade, my world history class spent about a week on the apartheid that occurred in South Africa, it was then that Mandela came up again; this time, the name was going to stay in my mind.
Mandela’s story is a remarkable one.  He started as a member of a royal family in a small South African town, but then got involved with politics.  Mandela focused on working toward the liberation of South Africa.  The roots of this conflict lead back to the dutch coming to South Africa in 1650’s.  After a couple hundred years, dutch farmers, born in South Africa became known as Boers or Afrikaners.  They fought with the British in the 19th century who came to occupy South Africa (because of its strategic trade position at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa was highly desirable land).  The Zulu’s or native South African people drew the shortest stick, and were further pushed back and enslaved by the Dutch and British.  In the early 20th century the British and Afrikaner parties worked together divvying up territory and joint ruling, leaving the majority Zulu population behind.  The first major articles of segregation legislation started to pass, and the apartheid era was beginning.  It was up to Mandela to stop it.  
In 1948, the Afrikaner-majority political group, that supported the apartheid and segregation, was elected to office.  By now, South Africa was heavily segregated.  Mandela, a member of the African National Congress, ANC, used his political office to protest against the segregative government.  For his activities, Mandela was incarcerated and sent to prison in 1964.  During this time, the government thought sending Mandela to jail would stop his growing public support, in fact, the opposite happened; Mandela used his time in prison to write detailed letters to the people, building more and more support.  When Mandela walked free in 1990, he had huge support in the multi-racial movement.  The following four years, Mandela struggled to fully unite the people, but in 1994, in the first free, multi-racial election, the ANC was elected as the political group, and Mandela President of South Africa.  Mandela used his time in office to end the apartheid completely and unite South Africa.
That is, in brief, who Nelson Mandela is.  I came across a news article of this new book about Mandela that included various writings from throughout his life, working more on his personal side.  A Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela’s autobiography, was published a few years ago, but I never picked up a copy and read it.  I thought that I should give this new one, Conversations with Myself a read.
I expected that this book would be written by Mandela, sort of like a second autobiography.  Within reason, the book is an autobiography, and written by Mandela, but really it isn’t.  A team of writers gathered hundreds of Mandela’s diary entries from all over the years, organized them by four themes, not chronologically, which I think makes the book more difficult to understand, and then published it.  The actual entries are wonderful, Mandela is a gifted writer with a strong sense of voice and attitude in each writing.  The problem though, half of the entries I have no idea what Mandela is talking about or what is going on at that time.  The compilers could have added some more commentary between the entries to explain, but didn’t.  One other thing worth mentioning, President Obama ‘wrote’ the foreward for the book.  Of all the people out there, I don’t think Obama was the right choice.  I respect it, but don’t like it.  Just doesn’t feel right for this because the U.S. never really supported Mandela until very recently.  It was actually our CIA that helped the Afrikaners arrest Mandela in 62′.  Since the book requires a heavy understanding of Mandela’s life, and jumps around quite a bit, this book couldn’t get the perfect rating.  If your familiar with the apartheid in South Africa, this book is probably perfect for you, if you, like me, just have general knowledge on the subject, I would spend the time and money on Mandela’s actual autobiography.