About B Gourley

Bernie Gourley is a writer living in Bangalore, India. His poetry collection, Poems of the Introverted Yogi is now available on Amazon. He teaches yoga, with a specialization in pranayama, and holds a RYT500 certification. For most of his adult life, he practiced martial arts, including: Kobudo, Muay Thai, Kalaripayattu, and Taiji. He is a world traveler, having visited more than 40 countries around the globe.

BOOK REVIEW: Batman: The Complete Hush by Jeph Loeb

Batman: The Complete HushBatman: The Complete Hush by Jeph Loeb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Over the course of this twelve-chapter story, Batman is pitted against much of his rogues’ gallery, but they’re puppets to a shadowy unknown, a secret villain: Hush. Batman has to do his best detective work, and still faces twist after turn in uncovering this enemy that knows him all too well, who knows all his pressure points. Batman has to battle Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Joker, Scarecrow, and Clayface – and even [due to mind control] Superman and Catwoman, but nothing is as it seems. One might expect that a book this packed with enemies would face problems of pacing and poignancy, but the way the story is crafted (and the villains are effectively subordinated) it’s quite the opposite.

This was one of the smartest comics I’ve read. It’s a mystery that offers foreshadowing, but also false flags. There’s a sub-plot love story between Batman and Catwoman in which the relationship matures, but the question of whether one can ever really trust someone in that world remains ever in the background.

I thought this was one of the best comics I’ve read, and if you’re a Batman fan, it’s definitely a must-read.


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DAILY PHOTO: Lego Lion and the Tunnel

They are refurbishing Budapest’s Chain Bridge [Széchenyi lánchíd,] which features prominent guardian lions. To keep the city from feeling unprotected, they’ve installed a Lego lion that consists of more than 850,000 pieces and weighs 2.8 tons.

The Buda Castle Tunnel is in the background.

BOOK REVIEW: A Gardener’s Guide to Botany by Scott Zona

A Gardener's Guide to Botany: The biology behind the plants you love, how they grow, and what they needA Gardener’s Guide to Botany: The biology behind the plants you love, how they grow, and what they need by Scott Zona
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazon.in Page

Release Date: December 6, 2022

This beginner’s guide to botany is well conceived and executed. The photographs are beautiful and well-chosen to help the reader understand the complexities discussed in the text. The text gets definitionally dense in places, but also presents fascinating ideas in plain English. I learned a lot from the book, particularly where it was less steeped in technical terminology and details and offered intriguing ideas and examples.

While the book’s eight chapters aren’t formally divvied up, I would place them into three groups. Chapters one and two are about what plants are and how they are organized to do what they do. Chapters three through five are about what plants need to survive (water, light, and nutrients, respectively) and why. The last three chapters explore the main activities plants engage in (i.e. defense, reproduction, and seed dispersal.)

I found this book to be informative and readable, and if you’re looking for a basic guide to botany that skillfully employs photographs, I’d have a look at this one.


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DAILY PHOTO: Paulsplatz, Frankfurt

Taken in November of 2022 in Frankfurt’s Old Town next to St. Paul’s Church [Paulskirche]

Cynic Limerick

The philosopher named Diogenes
was like a dog... known to have fleas.
-failed to find an honest man.
-didn't let "Greatness" block his tan.
But he lived simply, and as he pleased.

BOOK REVIEW: Ahiahia the Orphan by Levi Illuitok

Ahiahia the OrphanAhiahia the Orphan by Levi Illuitok
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Release Date: April 11, 2023

This is a brief and action-packed graphic novelization of a traditional story of the Inuit people of Kugaaruk. That said, it’s probably too brief and action-packed for its own good. The story revolves around a man, Ahiahia, who is orphaned when members of the tribe kill his parents, and then when he comes of age the same contingent have it out for him. While one can imagine any number of internecine conflicts that could lead to the murder of his parents, the fact that we have no clue of the attackers’ motivation makes the whole thing feel gratuitous.

Ahiahia’s grandmother takes the boy in and goes to great lengths to see that he will be safe in the face of whatever familial rivalry led to his parent’s murder. Her actions blend the magical with the practical (e.g. chanting incantations over the bow and arrows she makes for him.) For me, the moral of the story can be seen in this blending. We don’t know how much of Ahiahia’s successes are due to the practical versus the magical, but one feels they worked together and that one without the other would probably not have fared as well.

At the end, there’s a scene that may be disturbing for those who have strong feelings about patriarchal subjugation of women, but it’s hard to argue that it’s not authentic.

This is a very quick read and has sufficient action to keep it engaging. However, it can also feel a bit purposeless.


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Bad Parenting [Common Meter]

I don't mean to cast aspersions,
but it would seem to me
parents shouldn't give a child stabby
things 'fore the age of three.

I don't know whether this household
has a pup or kitty,
but if the kid can spear the floor
the pets ain't look'n pretty.

Saying a babe shouldn't have a spear,
you'll call me "left-wing nut,"
but I don't like dog-on-a-stick:
even if it's a mutt.