Post by OloladeO » 26 Nov 2018, 09:10

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Dues" by Arnold Heller.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Dues; the coming of Allie Cohen is a fictional tale by Arnold Heller, which took thirty-eight-years to write. Thanks to Patty Morrison for encouraging him to dust off this novel after twenty-five-years of marinating. It would have been such a loss to leave it uncompleted because this book is exceptional in all merit.

After World War II, when the ashes of the Holocaust have cooled down. God plans to redeem the children of Israel by sending a prophet to teach the people how to bind their fissures and build a lasting and prosperous peace. For the plan to succeed, the people had to accept the prophet and listen to him in awe.

On February 22, 1946, the prophet was born. Allan Arthur Cohen, fondly called Allie, was born into the family of Barney and Janet. Barney was from the thirteenth lost tribe of Israel who was once called Chazers. They were redeemed by God from their sexually perverted ways and renamed Anatolian Jews. Decades later, all proof and remembrance of their time as Chazers were long forgotten. But from generation to generation, the 13th grandchild preserved and passed the history to the next 13th grandchild. The 13th grandchild was also destined to be king and named Avram Aron. Allie happens to be a 13th grandchild.

God, fondly called Hashem is apprehensive because Allie already has two strikes against him (being part Christian and a Chazer) and was different from people’s perception of a messiah. Will Allie achieve his purpose? Or will he come and go without the people realizing it?

The book is divided into three books that resulted in more than a thousand pages. Despite its length, it hardly had a dull moment and there weren't any irrelevant scenes. Arnold maintained a steady pace that climaxed into a perfect finish. He was very expressive and detailed in his writing that sometimes I find myself smiling at his string of words. I learned a lot of new words like 'shtup' and 'kvetched' and was completely drawn into the world that the author created. Schmoozing, a word frequently used in the book became one of my favorite words that I infused into my daily interactions.

I love and admire Sarah’s character, Allie’s wife, the most. Allie left Sarah when she was pregnant to go on tour with Carole Herman, America’s most popular Jewish movie and singing star. He had an affair with Carole and even got her pregnant, yet Sarah stood by him. One of my favorite parts in the book was when Sarah told Allie that they should stop calling each other ‘honey’ as most people do. Instead, they should call each other ‘money’, since everybody loves money, ha! From then on, they called each other money, which I found very hilarious.

What I liked least about the book was the length Allie went to make money he felt he needed to help the poor. I didn’t like that it was through fraudulent means. I also didn’t like that the book lacked the content section that is usually at the beginning of a book. The contents could have helped me know what to expect, especially for such a lengthy book.

The author made great efforts in editing the book. I encountered a few errors which were mostly missing punctuation and didn’t find them distracting. Bearing this in mind, I am glad to rate Dues; the coming of Allie Cohen 4 out of 4 stars because it is well written and has an interesting storyline.

I recommend this book for those who like a good book to relax with, not minding its length. The author made the book relatable by predicting events that have occurred over time to make you feel the story is true. If you are looking for an action-packed book, this is not the book for you. I do not recommend it for children as it has several sex scenes in it.

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Dues
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Latest Review: Dues by Arnold Heller

Dunwoody, GA Perimeter Area: Ten Good Happy Hour Places

                         Updated December 10, 2018

As a retired educator, I have the time to take advantage of the many local happy hour deals that restaurants offer to drum up business during a slow time of the day.  Since I live on a relatively fixed income, maximum money mileage and value are important components and considerations.

But so are a restaurant’s ambience and the quality of its menu and service that affects a diner’s overall enjoyment.  My friend Patty Morrison and I, during the months of July and August 2017, selected ten Perimeter Mall area restaurants to experience their happy hour menus, choices of drink and nosh offerings, and compare them.   

We recognize that our survey was not scientific despite serious employment of applied hands on research.  Surveys of this nature are admittedly subjective; regardless, we have done our best to provide consumers with practical information and to facilitate good times between the hours of 3 PM and 7 PM.

www.arnoldheller.org, my web site, is exclusively a public information site.  I am not seeking compensation from the restaurants surveyed, nor endorsing them. Many local people have inquired about best local deals and now they can simply read the below list and make their selection. 

Restaurants are listed in order of visitations decided on whim and convenience – this is not a ranking. 

Seasons 52

           

The Sunset Menu – served 4 to 6:30 PM – includes satisfying choices of drinks and small plates.  The restaurant’s ambience is very attractive and comfortable for a mall out parcel location. The service is attentive, and a sizable and interesting crowd accumulated the day of our visit, many of whom appeared to stay for dinner.  I like Season’s 52’s grilled trout very much.

Fleming’s Steakhouse

Flemings is a typically comfortable beef-oriented restaurant – comfortable dark leather chairs and booths - and provides a surprisingly good selection of “five for $6”, five decent choices of mixed drinks, wine, beer, or small plates or appetizers. The service was excellent and the red wine selections generous. 

Westin Hotel’s Savor Bar

The hotel is located in the Concourse Office Park, Sandy Springs, that is noted for its two iconic office buildings.

The Savor Bar and Grille at the Westin Hotel possesses a grand modern ambience, especially when sitting at the bar and overlooking the patio and lake.  The food choice is the most limited but the drinks selection is good and the environment is special.

The Cheesecake Factory

Located at Perimeter Mall, the Cheesecake Factory is a lively happy hour (4:30 – 6:30) with a fine choice of small plates, drink possibilities, and a pretty bar and interior.  The chain restaurant remains very popular with the public – at 5 PM, it was the busiest of all. 

Taki Japanese Restaurant

Location: Perimeter Center Village, 4711 Ashford Dunwoody Rd.

This relatively quiet and relaxing restaurant offers good deals on Martinis, Cosmos and other drinks.  The pot stickers and the spring rolls are my favorites – the two sushi rolls and noodle dish are a good value.

P F Chang’s

The original location, Ashford Restaurant Park, Dunwoody, is ending because the property is supposedly being redeveloped for high rise commercial buildings – Brio and McCormack and Schmick’s closed earlier.  It is rumored that P. F. Chang will relocate in the former site of the Pub at Perimeter Mall near the Cheesecake Factory.  A picture of the closing site is provided with the facing of the new site likely to be similar. 

PF Chang’s is a popular Chinese bistro with a cool modern décor.  We chose a table out on the patio overlooking Ashford Restaurant Lake.  The tasty noshes, array of adult beverages, and lakeside breezes was enjoyable. We look forward to their Perimeter Mall opening. 

Eclipse de Luna

Location: Park Place Center, Ashford Dunwoody

This neighborhood institution with a Brazilian accent furnishes a colorful and lively atmosphere (3 – 7 PM) for imbibing, socializing and even dancing to a nightly band.  The Spanish short ribs and mojitos are favorites of mine.  The lamb chops are not available for happy hour but there are still many tasty items to please the palate. 

Sage Wood Fire Grill

Location: Park Place which is home to a second fine tapas restaurant and bar (3 – 7 PM).  Noted for its neon lined bar tops and stools, Sage offers a fairly broad line of tapas plates and full drinks.  An Indie or jazz musician performs after 6 PM.

Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar, Perimeter Center Place

Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar is located at 4565 Ashford-Dunwoody Road.

The interior is a contemporary design that is also very comfortable – sit at the bar, outdoor patio, or booths.  The food and drink offerings may be the best deal of all at this point in time. 

The food choices are $5 Zini Burgers, Philly Cheesesteak, house potato chips and half price sides too.

The Pub at Perimeter Mall and Brio at the Ashford Restaurant Park made our original top ten deals but closed this year.  With the addition of Zinburger, our list includes nine good choices.  We are in search of a tenth and will add it upon discovery and approval.  #10 TBD.

In the meantime, a bonus is the Le Meridien Hotel that does not have a happy hour program – twice a month they present from 8 – 10 PM an awesome jazz band with excellent lead singers that is a well attended local treasure flying under the radar.

It’s amazing what’s available to Perimeter Center area residents within a square mile of their homes.

 

From Feb. 21 – 27, 2016, special friend Patty Morrison and I celebrated our 70th and 69th birthdays; Patty, Feb. 24, me Feb. 26. As fellow baby boomers, we weren’t thrilled about reaching these ages.

 

We’d twice celebrated week long vacations at all adult, all inclusive resorts in Cancun and the Riviera Maya and enjoyed ourselves, so we decided to again treat ourselves to six days at Secret’s Maroma resort that is reported to have one of the prettiest beaches on the coast.

 

 

The purpose of this web page is to describe the all adult, all inclusive experience, and the extraordinary celebratory practices that Secret’s Maroma provides daily and with precision to fortunate couples like us.

 

The purpose of our trip was to kick off our next year with as enjoyable beach vacation as possible. The sweet wishes of Patty’s birthday card set the stage.

 

The hotel’s VIP Services execution sustained our week of romance in a small paradise that exceeded our best expectations. The Part II web page describes the hotel architecture, grounds, beach, pools and other facilities that made us so content that we did not bother to leave Maroma during our stay.

 

 

A Happy Birthday banner greeted Patty on her birthday when returning from the beach - then she opened the door.

 

 

 

Pink balloons were fastened to the bed and curtains tied exquisitely. There was more.

 

A beautifully decorated cake plate awaited Patty too.

 

Two days later, it was my turn to receive this wonderful treatment. Notice the balloons are blue.

 

A birthday cake was waiting for me when we returned from breakfast to head to the hotel beach.

 

 

When we returned from the beach, another delicious little gem of a mini-cheese cake was waiting for us with the usual gorgeous calligraphic plate writing.

 

We dined that evening at Himitsu, a Japanese restaurant, and shared a Hibachi sit around table with a business IT group from St. Louis who were nice people and a lot of fun.

 

 

The grill chef was very theatrical with the cutlery and surprisingly artistic with a birthday tribute that dropped different colors of food coloring on the scalding grill and lit a small sparkler to produce the overall effect. Patty and the IT group all sang Happy Birthday to me when the chef completed his masterpiece.

 

 

My name was lost a bit in the translation but who cared; you had to love the guy, a true master. By this time, we didn’t think there was anything more that they could do for us but we were wrong again. The restaurant followed the grill treat up with a delicious scoop of ice cream flavored with a local berry, drizzled with chocolate, and adorned with assorted fruits.

 

 

Just when we were sure there were ‘no more tricks left in their bag of delights’, they pulled another one out of the hat.

 

 

Himitsu’s restaurant decorations included a large, shiny brass Buddha – Patty and I rubbed it’s belly to celebrate our good fortune for both of our birthdays, especially mine after so many salutes that day.

 

 

We shared a memorable last evening at Secret’s Maroma with a special moment.

 

Patty and I will treasure the week we spent at the resort and recommend couples to try this vacation experience. In the follow-up web page, “Arnie Heller Turns 70 at Secret’s Maroma, Cancun, Mexico, Part II”, I will showcase the resort’s infrastructure, food service and entertainment and activity programs and how they combine to produce favorable outcomes for guests celebrating special occasions.

 

I am an amateur photographer and a shot I took of a chandelier came out blurry so I fooled around, doctored it a bit, and titled it “Bliss”. I think the photo reflects the relaxed and pleasant feelings I experienced all week in such a warm and colorful environment that managing one’s alcohol consumption is perhaps the most challenging part of the trip.

 

 

On to Part II.

I have been a lifelong student of architecture and fascinated by its role in creating interesting and attractive public or private spaces that we occupy. After previously experiencing and enjoying Secret's Silversands and Blue Aqua, I’d become a student of the combined aesthetics, services, amenities, etc; that produces the visitor’s desired outcomes for the best possible all adult, all inclusive experience.

 

So welcome to Secret’s Maroma, located on the Riviera Maya about 45 minutes south of the Cancun airport that, in my opinion, furnishes as near perfect all adult, all inclusive experience as humanly possible. The physical infrastructure is outstanding; the skilled management’s super training of a friendly, helpful, and efficient staff makes the hotel special.

 

As one enters the elegant lobby, a singing group may be filling the big stately room with beautiful music ranging from soft Indie rock to light jazz or R & B. Performers featured are a duo called Carmay who sang classic rock standards.

 

 

The lobby bar sitting area is an attractive spot to enjoy a beverage and schmooze; the same cocktails, wine or beer are available to guests preferring to sit on the comfortable lobby couches and sofas.

 

The World Café, located back side lower level plaza, provides a delicious buffet breakfast with attentive service. The accompaniment of an easy listening jazz saxophonist or harpist made for a nice touch to start the morning.

 

The CoCo Café, the hotel’s coffee, pastry and ice cream shop was one of Patty’s favorite places for an early morning coffee or an evening ice cream cup, usually coconut. There are two computers available for patrons to catch up on email or other online needs.

 

Desires is a music bar and the place for late night listening to a DJ or dancing. Maroma’s entertainment program is top notch with a variety of musical formats, comedians and magicians and other acts; outdoor extravaganzas are offered up almost nightly.

 

 

One leaves the lobby behind for a first encounter with the beautifully landscaped property by stepping out on the terrace and turning left or right to access the two main staircases. Comfortable chairs and sofas are furnished to take in the view and enjoy a nosh or sip a drink in the meantime.

 

I descended the left staircase and began sensing the architect’s vision.

 

 

I figured the spine of the property starts with the short, circular fountain ahead.

 

 

But just off the left staircase and the spine is the main theater located at the end of this trail. Productions of all types; rock shows, dance performances, movies, whatever, are regularly scheduled.

 

 

I studied this fountain – the spray signified to me the beginning of a river in the high mountains with the runoff streaming down and through the land, the water making its way to the sea.

 

“The architect’s plan is ‘a river runs through it,” I thought; “how brilliant.”

 

I followed the stream as it slowly widened into a shallow lazy river symbolized by the hammock floating in the middle. The red color comes from tiny reddish paving stones blended into the cement ‘riverbed’.

 

The bridge at the end of this stretch of river is what I call the beginning of River City – it allows the guests to seamlessly access facilities on both sides of the ‘bend in the river’.

 

 

An’ in-river’ ‘outdoor café’ allows a guest to snack or drink and get their feet wet at the same time. The hut with the swings is actually a kind of village pub and a center of activities; ping pong, pool, karaoke, vendors with goods to sell set up here too. The schedule board lists the full list of daily activities.

 

 

The second ‘bend in the river’ features rocky outcroppings or a palisade of sorts. The steps built into the ‘river bank’ are wonderful places for water aerobics or to just sit in the pool.

 

The next ‘bend in the river’ will flow through the ‘heart of town’, the main pool area.

 

The next view, the ‘center of town’ is from the Oceana / Seaside Grill, the main food service location.

 

 

This view is from where we liked to sit.

 

A guest may have worked up a thirst by the time they reached this ‘stage of the river’ – the swim up bar is a good place to quench it.

 

 

Or if you are hungry and ready for very good food and service, get out of the pool and head for the Seaside Grille which becomes Oceana after 6:30.

 

Or if you prefer to burn up some calories or just exercise, the Gazebo, a stones throw away, is a good place for a yoga fitness class.

 

Patty called the next bend in the river ‘the beginning of the second main pool area’; I saw it as the beginning of the ‘mouth of the river’ just before it will turn again to flow into the sea in the background. This juncture is the cross roads of beach and pool life and related activities.

 

 

This last bend is the ‘mouth of the river’ with the beautiful sand beach beyond it to the left.

 

 

The thatched tent cluster and thatched chaise lounge cluster face the beach along this trans-beach walkway located between the sea, the beach, and the pool areas.

 

In case the guest has worked up a thirst on the way to the beach for a swim, walk, or to simply relax with a good book, a cozy bar with swing seats is waiting to refresh you.

 

The stretch of beach beyond the bar to the north is considered by many travel agents to be the prettiest along the Cancun and Rivera Maya coast.

 

 

This is the view of the stretch of beach to the south.

 

My ‘river to the sea’ or spine of the resort tour ends here.

 

 

Our junior Ocean View suite, located on the fourth floor, provided us a panoramic view of the sea, main pool area, and gardens below where lemurs frequented.

 

The view moves east to west from the sea for the other half of the great courtyard.

 

This fabulous, lush resort was literally carved out of low-lying scrub jungle thick enough to prevent penetration but with soils too thin to support large scale agriculture. The view is the southern exposure from our fourth floor suite.

 

Another view of the jungle looking east to the sea is featured.

 

Because of proximity to the jungle where animal life and critters abound, wildlife frequently stumbles onto the property and interacts with the head of the food chain with minimal friction. Signs have been placed around the resort to identify core wildlife; Iguanas and other lizards, an occasional small monkey or fox, and colonies of the lemur featured below.

 

This is the end of my 70th birthday celebration and tour and analysis of the Secret’s Maroma resort and its many wonderful assets and pleasures. It is obvious that Patty and I enjoyed our stay here, praise it lavishly, and recommend it to all who have thought about experiencing an all adult, all inclusive resort but have not yet done so.

Dues Cover 01DUES: The Coming of Allie Cohen

A Novel

By Arnold Heller

God sends a Messiah who does not fly through the air, walk on water, or hurl lightning and thunderbolts.   The Prophet’s mission - the Lord’s Einstein of human relations research - is to teach the people how to live in peace and freedom by embracing virtues of mutual trust, cooperation, and love.  The people are challenged by the Almighty to Behold and Exalt the Prophet in a common state of Awe, but will they even see, or hear Him, let alone listen and follow Him?

Dr. Allie Cohen, a successful educator, develops a statistically valid prejudice reduction treatment for global application.  Allie; married to pregnant Sarah, his beloved angel of the hearth, also writes ‘The Lesson’, a best selling novel that is made into a major Holocaust-themed film.  Meteoric success begins driving a wedge in to Allie’s idyllic life with his beautiful red-haired wife, a gifted reading teacher.   

God promotes Allie by teaming him with Carole Herman, the most popular Jewish actress and singer in the world and his angel of beholding.  Carole falls in love with Allie; he joins her on a good will tour for President Reagan and becomes a global force for justice and compassion but the peace missions tug at his family bond.

As Allie’s importance and influence grows, strains between him and Carole form just as his family life stabilizes.  Things worsen with Carole when Allie switches from direct action for improving human welfare to growing a huge philanthropic fortune for direct investment in the lives of the poor and oppressed. 

In the end, the Lord and Special Angel Gabriel, the narrator, empower Allie to transform Atlanta into a model metropolis for all citizens, regardless of race, religion, sex, or gender preference.  A rainbow cast of colorful characters and their dreams intersect with Allie Cohen and drive the explosive conclusion.     

Dues: The Coming of Allie Cohenis an almost biblical love story that will make us laugh, cry, and take stock of our lives.  The author takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster and trip around the world that will leave them thinking about where America is headed as a society and how the world is evolving.     

Notes about the author:

Dr. Arnold Heller was born and raised in New Jersey and graduated from Pace University in New York and Georgia State University in Atlanta where he earned a Ph. D. Dr. Heller has been a career educator, writer, businessperson, and traveled the world. His vita and legacy of work is featured on www.arnoldheller.org. DUES: The Coming of Allie Cohen is his debut novel.  

 

Author’s Note

Dues: The Coming of Allie Cohen is a work of fiction and should be read as entertainment and nothing more.  Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.  The portrayal of real life people has been carefully presented with affection and generosity; their use along with real physical places, politics and politicians, historic and economic events is for the purpose of realism and believability. 

The author respects all other faith’s beliefs about their Messiah or Prophet and how or why their First or Second Coming or other manifestation might happen.  This novel is just one example of why God might send a Prophet, in this case an educational specialist and how his life and times might unfold.

It is fun to essentially play with an idea – God sends a Teacher, His Einstein of human relations research, to facilitate peace on earth and it is taken to a logical conclusion.  Believers of all other religious faiths and their Messianic qualifications should not feel negative, slighted, or threatened. 

The novel is a serious intellectual pursuit of a mystical and magical subject and explores many past and current social problems.  Discussion of weighty and controversial issues and topics has been balanced with broad presentation of humor and exploration of contemporary sexual themes and behavior.  The fields of education, publishing, film production, music, politics, and business are examined and hopefully enrich the reader’s experience.

Dues serves as a mirror of American and global society and explores racial dimensions that demand authenticity in the portrayal of black culture and American realities.  The author despises the use of any racial slur, is an advocate for all of the peoples of the earth to live in peace and harmony, and personal web site www.arnoldheller.org is a testament to my respect and appreciation of cultural diversity.  Readers interested in the author’s personal beliefs are encouraged to navigate the International Business Education drop down and access Intellectual Equality of the Human Species, one of eight units that foster intercultural understanding and global cooperation. 

The novel’s depiction of the black experience requires authentic speech and dialogue patterns between principal characters, specifically their use of the word nigger.  The author deplores use of this word and hopes it will be excised from the vocabulary as soon as possible.  But a portion of black society does freely use the word in their everyday conversations; Eddie White and Lesotho Xeranga, composite characters, sprinkle it liberally into their daily speech.   

The writing of the book - started in 1979 as a timely novel that covered the next decade through 1988 – ceased for 25 years then recommenced Oct. 6, 2013 and was finished Dec. 15, 2016.  Twelve years of writing and double that for marinating required transformation of the book into a period piece and to play fast and loose with historical fact and reality. 

A classic example is Atlanta Mayors Maynard Jackson (1973 – 1981), Andrew Young (1981 – 1989), and Bill Campbell (1989 – 1997) who served as City Council President under Jackson and Young: They all became Mack Thomas who does not exist and is a composite character.  Allie Cohen, the protagonist, serves as Atlanta’s first Metro Mayor 1988 – 1989, a short national experiment. 

The author has tried to accurately reflect the period the book covers – the last decade of the Cold War and the Reagan Administration – and meticulously present the cross currents and tensions of the times.  My hope for the reader is to be entertained, informed, and possibly enlightened.  I want the reader to enjoy the book, laugh out loud a lot, and maybe learn a little bit about an important American decade in the process.   

My hope for the reader is to be entertained, informed, and possibly enlightened. I want the reader to enjoy the book and maybe learn a little bit about an important American decade in the process.

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