Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Most Beautiful : My Life With Prince By: Mayte Garcia

Another rocker train-wreck story.  Although I always loved Prince from way back in 1980 when he released 'Dirty Mind' there are no books written about the man.  Later I found out what a musical genius he was which made me even more interesting than before.  I must have watched Purple Rain 1,000 times.  Love that entire album.

The irony of someone that built their lives around dancing would be affected by MS is not lost.  These two people's lives were doomed from the onset.  From Prince 'Courting' Garcia at 16 years old to the loss of they son Amiir to his early death.

Mayte Garcia was a star from early on when she appeared on "That's Incredible" belly dancing while balancing s sword on her head.  She was an Army brat and while in Spain was essentially forced to attend a Prince concert.  She sent Prince a video of her dancing to his music and there began this strange courtship of Prince and this 16 year old girl.  The book talks about the horrific news of their first child Amiir which was born with Pfeiffer Syndrome Type 2. It was truly sad to hear that Prince, the man who appeared to have it all, had a son with such a strange disorder.  Amiir died 6 days later when they removed him from life support.  Mayte was not there for his death since Prince had scheduled it while Mayte was home.  After their divorce and estrangement, Prince burned everything in the nursery included Amiir's ashes.

Garcia talks about Prince's faith.  What was extremely enlightening to me was that I always held Prince as this spiritual guru of sorts that talked about the afterlife and spirituality.  I always thought of him as someone outside the main-stream religion world, turns out I was wrong.  He was eventually a Johova's Witness which do not celebrate anything and do not accept most medical life saving procedures.

Prince later courted another woman, Manuela and disconnected from Garcia.  Truly a sad story and disheartening.  Nothing changes the musical genius of this man and I am truly glad that I was able to follow him throughout his career and a lot of his music plays in the soundtrack of my life.  The story is a great story albeit sad.  The book is fairly well written although it was obvious that she held back a lot.

R.I.P. Prince, may your music live on for ever.

Paisley Park Arial View

Inside of Paisley Park

Mayte explained Prince was in a bad mood because of what he was wearing.  They were supposed to Photoshop the boots to match, but never did.

Mayte as a child belly dancer (That's Incredible)

Mayte with her adopted daughter Gia.

Prince's 7 Video

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Hachette Books (April 4, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316468975
ISBN-13: 978-0316468978
Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches

Friday, November 17, 2017

Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House By. Donna Brazille

I enjoyed this book.  She was rightfully critical about Debbie Wasserman-Shultz and Hillary Clinton. She was not as Critical as Ron Paul was of the Republican Party, but coming from the Democrats, that is a huge advancement.  She seems like a smart woman that unfortunately got played by the Hillary machine.  Not to say that she was NOT at fault.

I do have issues with some of what she says about Donald Trump.  One of the comments was that Trump's campaign was one of grudges towards communities of color.  I found this really appalling.  Aside from the Democratic Party talking a good game about benefitting the "colored community" we saw eight years of Obama and the needle was not even moved in the "colored community".  I think that the colored communities would actually benefit from Republican policies.  The Democrat tend to feed the beast and keep the colored communities in a status quo scenario.  Help people get out of the situation they are in.  She mentions in her book that if Trayvon Martin would have been alive, he would have voted for Hillary Clinton.  Really?  

The book is a cornucopia of buzz words and is peppered with party pleasers such as "Hands up, don't shoot" (even though that was disproven), LGBTQ at least once in each chapter (exaggeration). She discusses much about how the hackers did what they did, however she glossed over what was discovered and whit washes that.  "Here focus on this.. don't worry about that"  Sort of the "Scooby Doo Syndrome"  If it weren't for these meddling kids.

She talked about how Hillary Clinton protestors were attacked at the Trump rallies, however what is absent is how Trump SUPPORTERS were attacked, not at HRC rallies but rather their own.  The Democratic Party for all their rhetoric about the Republicans being violent are more violent than the Republicans by leaps and bounds.

In once chapter, Brazille says she wanted the D's and the R's to get together and protect the ballot box.  There is just one problem with that; the D's are known for years to have more voter turnouts that there are people (live people I mean).  

Regardless, the book was fun to read.  Since I am in the Information Security business, I had fun looking at the breach from a different perspective... the one of the victim.  For those that are not in the "biz" (meaning InfoSec), this book does a good job in telling you some of the issues and challenges they faced layman's terms.  

Short book filled with a great insight into the politico's lifestyle.  Although she tends to whitewash the doings of the Democrats, I recommend this book as a must read in 2017. 

Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Hachette Books (November 7, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316478512
ISBN-13: 978-0316478519

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left By: Dinesh D'Souza

WARNING:  Political Discussion that may offend some of the Snowflake persuasion.

You may not like this author because he is very critical about Hillary Clinton, but I agree with much of what he rights in this book. I will break a few of those down in this blog post.

As for the overall review of this book, I can say that it is repetitive and at some points (many points) in the book, D'Souza is very partisan and very much acts like what he is trying to condemn.

The book attempts to explain how the Nazis, Marxists, and Fascists are more akin to the Democratic Party than the Republican Party.  He makes good points although some of them are far off.  I do not agree with everything in this book but I think it is a good read.

On Race -  Although I do not agree that Lincoln was anti-slave, I can say that the Democratic Party has always been the party of slavery.  They will use the story of DixiCrats which is part of what this book talks about.  The Democratic party, with their policies, do nothing to advance those of different races.  They keep African-Americans (although I disagree with that term since there are "Americans" and "Non-Americans" to me, systematically oppressed by not creating situations where they can flourish and advance themselves.  The teach them that the government needs to provide them support in order for them to survive.

Yesterday I saw Bill Maher and saw Donna Brzille saying that if all the colored people came out to vote, it would be a "Blue Wave".  That is telling of what the Democrats believe.  They believe that Blacks are going to automatically vote D instead of R.  Furthermore, you see Black Lives Matter and how they systematically talk about "White People" and their hatred for "White People" yet it is perfectly acceptable and not only that but Liberals actually back and support them.  The notion of White Privilege is a farce. In an example where a white person lived in the projects, grew up in the same neighborhood, went to the same dysfunctional schools and came from the same socio-economic society as a black person and that somehow, they have some "privilege" is absurd.

Take "Affirmative Action" as an example.  Affirmative Action is the most racist thing in ages.  Take the example of a Fire Fighter test I took in the 80's.  If I was White, I needed to score an 80% on the exam, however if I was Hispanic, I only needed a 65%.  How can this be?  Because of who I was born to, I am incapable of scoring 80%.  Also, if I and a White man interview for the same position, and the White man has a better personality, interviewed better than me, and seemed to have a better attitude than me, the employer, ironically would HAVE to discriminate on the White guy to avoid being accused of discriminating against me.  Not to mention that black people think I am WHITE but white people think I am a Spick or a Wet-Back.  I lose either way.

On Homosexuality - The Left will tell you they support LGBTQ (And whatever additional letters are added), however they support Muslims which are on record for throwing gays from the tops of roofs. I support freedom of religion so long as it does not interfere or go against Human Rights.  My right to believe or not believe in whatever religion I want and that my life should not be endangered if I decide to not follow someone's interpretation of religion or non-religion.  Furthermore, I do not believe in "Gay Rights" and normally when I see Gay Rights people looking to sign petitions or collect money, when I give them the support, I tell them, "You should not try to differentiate yourselves from anyone else.  The moment you say "Look at me, I wear THIS label", you are by definition "Not Equal" to everyone else.  I do not believe in Gay Rights, because I believe in Human Rights which includes the right to bed and wed whomever you wish so long as it is a consenting adult.

On Women's Rights - This one is especially egregious.  If I would have said that Hillary Clinton looked too old, I would have been slammed by the Women Rights groups.  These groups are constantly looking to make an issue into a 'woman's' issue, similar to that race bater, Al Sharpton which does the same but on race. However, these groups were absent with the left decimated Sarah Palin.  Full disclosure, I did not like Palin, however there were WOMEN on the left wearing shirts that said "Sarah Palin is a cunt".  There was no outrage, there was no outpour of support for her.  Why not?  Did she not have all the lady parts?  No, what she did not have is a D on her voter's registration card.  Same for Michelle Bachman, Ann Coulter and any other woman that is part of the Republican Party.  If the woman's group want to be taken serious, at least by me, I need to see them protect Women not just Democratic Women.

On Violence - For years you heard how the Republican Party was the party of violence and hatred.  However we have sadly seen that the Democratic protesters and demonstrators make the Republicans seem like a bunch of 1st graders with their level of violence and hatred.  The left CONSISTENTLY discriminate against Republicans merely because they are Republican or non-Democrats.  They are far more violent than Republicans by a long shot.  However the Left justifies it by the old Machiavellian philosophy of "The ends justify the means". It seems that bombing opposition as Bill Ayres did, beating up Donal Trump supporters etc.

On 1st Amendment - It seems that the 1st amendment is only in place and should be respected when it comes to ideas and agendas that advance the leftist's causes.  When a particular non-liberal speaker wants to come to a college to speak, the left will do everything in their power to block said speaker from speaking.  Not only that but if Rush Limbaugh says something, the left will immediately want to get him off the air.  The Republicans are less likely to do the same for an Ed Shultz or someone of the like.  The Right cannot speak it mind without being labeled a racist, sexist or homophobic.  It is sad that the left cannot see things more like their "Classical Liberal" cousins.

In general, the Left contradicts itself all the time.  They behave in a different way than they demand others to behave.  The sad part is that until the members of that party realize how contradictory their actions and their words are, we will continue to see the same.

In full disclosure, I am not a Republican or Democratic Party member. I am an independent and live by the following:

"No groups, No Colors, No Hyphenations and No Labels"
"Fiscally I am more conservative than Conservatives and Socially I am more liberal than Liberals.

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Regnery Publishing (July 31, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1621573486
ISBN-13: 978-1621573487

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Cyber Storm by: Matthew Mather

Not sure this title is appropriate for this book.  It is more of a "preper" book than a "Cyber" book.  The book takes place mostly in NY City where a power outage affects the entire city and from the lack of communication, the New Yorkers do not know if this is exclusive to their city or if it has affected the entire United States.

The book drives home the fact those that fail to plan, will plan to fail. Some level of prepping is necessary.  Especially in this day and age where the liberals push for urban living, it is important to be prepared.  In tight quarters, when things go south, chances of survival diminish.  The book covers some neighboring families that bond together to survive in the aftermath of a widespread power outage and an ensuing blizzard hitting NYC.  Chuck, the avid preper has supplies stored in a storage unit in his building.  When things go south, they soon find that someone has broken into the storage unit and has wiped out the supplies that will carry them through this ordeal.

I found a lot of similarities to the Florida Hurricane Alley way of living. We too have been without power for extended periods of time after a hurricane hits our area.  We run out of water, food, gas, and it is usually within the hottest months of the year where the inside of your house easily hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  Thankfully, folks in South Florida have been burned before and have made some  strides to be prepared when a hurricane warning has been issued, but never for any extended period of time.  Usually 3 days.

The scary part about this book is the fact that they were in a gun controlled state and because of that, their circumstances were far worst than they could have been with proper weapons.  Mather writes about the challenges in getting food, logistics in getting the food back to their location and the danger posed by other citizens that were as desperate if not more desperate the Michael and Chuck's family.  I myself have had this conversation with my wife.  If things go South, and people run out of food and/or water, they will come and try to take it or if I am that person that needs it for my family I WILL go and take it.  I am wondering if the author of Zello the Walkie Talkie app read this book and copied the idea of the "Mesh Network".  Recently after Hurricane Irma hit South Florida, it was the hottest app to have.  Neighbors were all communicating.  Even setting up APs meshed together to be able to communicate with each other.

The book showed a lot of promise but quite frankly fell short at the end.  The last chapter seemed like the author had somewhere to go and just slammed something together to end it.  As I stated, the book is more about surviving a natural disaster coupled with a bunch of coincidences.  The title was "click bait" for me since I am an Information Security Practitioner and thought it would be more about an actual "Cyber" Attack against the US.

Paperback: 362 pages
Publisher: PhutureNews Publishing; 1 edition (March 23, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0991677196
ISBN-13: 978-0991677191
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches

Monday, October 9, 2017

Private by: James Patterson

This book is a typical book for James Patterson.  The two page chapters are typical for Patterson.  The book covers four cases.  One of which is a cursory case with very little coverage.

The issues I found were from a technical perspective.  There are many inaccuracies with the technology in the book.  I think they should have had a consultant, or a better consultant to review the tech.

Not a book I would recommend as a MUST read, but if you have access to it, go for it.  Short review because there was nothing ground moving with this one.

Series: Private Novels
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Lrg edition (June 28, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316096237
ISBN-13: 978-0316096232
Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.4 inches

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos

Fantastic book.  Sure I am probably going to get hate mail for this comment but it truly was fantastic.  What I loved was his unabashed sense of being and his insatiable quest for freedom of speech even at his own demise.

Yiannopoulos is a self proclaimed "Faggot, Kyke that loves black men" and a Troll Master extraordinaire.  Sadly, he makes valid points and points out the great ignorance by the left.  They are quick to call him a 'white supremacist' , a homophobe and a racist, however he is not easily housed in any of these categories based on his lifestyle.  He is similar to a Howard Stern that is 'shock jock' while Yiannopoulos is a self proclaimed 'troll'.

In his book he shows the inconsistencies with today's SJW (Social Justice Warriors) and the left in general.  The dichotomy of the left when vehemently supporting Musslims when they are completely outside of what the left purports to be against from a LBGTQ and women's rights as well as overall conservatism.  Yiannopoulos also calls out the media and states examples of their bias.  Anyone that watches any of the news channels should be able to see that the media outlets are extremely bias.  Aside from Fox News which is bias for the right, all other media is wholeheartedly leftists.  Gone are the days of media being non-bias and reporting the news as it happens.

I believe that political correctness and the identity warfare taking place is going to be the destruction of our society.  Today if you are a black woman, with one leg, lesbian, atheist, vegan, you have more 'value' as a black straight woman with both legs.  Eventually we are going to sub-divide ourselves into so many different groups that your identity will eventually disappear.

I do not identify with any groups, and no group speaks for me.  I am an individual and with that, I am able to think what I want on a number of subject without having to check what my 'group' stands for.  When you allow a group to speak for you, eventually your voice is silenced.  People use labels such as racist, homophobic, sexist etc so much, it has lost the sting it used to.  I would be irate if someone would have called me a racist 5 years ago, however today it is as normal as someone calling you 'dumb'.  It is sad because there are REAL racists, and sexists etc and their efforts and thoughts are being swept under the rug, essentially due to the ignorance of these label warriors.

I do not agree with EVERYTHING Yiannopoulos says, but being a libertarian, I can surely appreciate someone standing up for freedom of speech.

If you read this book with an open mind, you will at the very minimum get a glimpse into how ridiculous the detractors sound like when they contradict themselves.  If you are going to read it with a closed mind, DON'T, you will be trolled.  He will offend you with words like faggot, kyke, etc. He talks about his sexual orientation and his partners.  I recommend you read this book.

Here is a great interview with Bill Maher

Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Dangerous Books (July 4, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 069289344X
ISBN-13: 978-0692893449

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Running with the Devil By Noel E. Monk

This is a great book about the rise and sadly, the fall of one of the greatest bands in rock-n-roll history; IMO.  Anyone who followed this band as it rocketed to the top of the charts knows how this band essentially imploded in the 80's.  Many will argue that "VanHagar" was an equally impressive band, however that argument is easily broken.  Although I enjoyed 5150 and the other Halen/Hagar projects, NOTHING comes close to the feeling I get when I hear the opening riff of "Unchained" and the thundering voice of "Diamond Dave"

The author of this book is none other that Noel Monk, the band's manager for over 6 years during the "best" times of the band.  In this book, he discusses how he came to meet the members of Van Halen and how his role evolved in the "organization".  Monk was the manager for Van Halen from 1978 until 1985.  He was eventually fired as the manager allegedly due to Alex Van Halen's distrust and eventual desire to have his wife's family run the band, although I think there may have been resentment from Alex and his "friendship" with Jan, Noel Monk's wife.

Their on-stage characters are not far from the true characters of the band; at least from David Lee Roth and Michael Anthony's perspective.  Roth is a person that was addicted to the limelight.  I once met him at "The Doll House" in Pompano Beach, FL during lunch in the middle of the day.  He was there with a small entourage and we had no option but to sit with them since ALL the girls were gravitating to his tables.  He was full of himself, but at the time with reason.  He was the former front man of one of the greatest and iconic bands of my time.  As for Michael Anthony, Monk describes Anthony as a low-key, and overall good person which apparently seems to be the case.  I have never heard anything about Anthony regarding scandals or criminal charges of any kind.

The book is more about "Van Halen" the business as oppose to the music.  Monk describes the whirlwind life of the band and antics and quite frankly shenanigans of the band.  The turmoil that would ensue and eventually be the destruction of Van Halen.  Monk describes the substance abuses as well as the sex during the tours, man was there plenty.

In his book, you can see that Monk truly liked Eddie, (Edward as he refers to him) for his incredible talent and was amazed at how Eddie would treat the guitar as part of his body.  The tension between him and Alex is palpable as was his utter dislike of Roth.  Michael was almost absent in the book.  I assume this is because there is not much of anything from Anthony that could make a book interesting.  Monk introduced the band to the lucrative side of merchandising which netted the bank a great deal of money.

As with other incredible bands of the past, Van Halen were able to catch lightning in a bottle and yet their egos and inability to see things for what they were destroyed them.  I am sure, that looking back now, where Eddie, Alex, Michael and David are not really doing anything of value, they probably would have traded the egos for the opportunity to be in the likes of Rolling Stones and even Motley Crue (who were able to make it happen agin).  D

Definitely a well written book and at least for me, it was a page turner. I love(d) Van Halen.  Their music brings back so many memories.  Wishing they could put their differences behind them and make great music again.  Here is an article about Hagar and Roth touring with Van Halen and even Michael Anthony. It would be curious to see the other perspective, maybe of Alex Van Halen of what he perceived that happened.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Dey Street Books; 1 edition (June 13, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062474103
ISBN-13: 978-0062474100

Van Halen c.1978

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Scores: How I Opened the Hottest Strip Club in New York City, Was Extorted out of Millions by the Gambino Family, and Became One of the Most Successful Mafia Informants in FBI History

The tail of naked women's skin trade, mafiaosos  and FBI investigations.  At first, Blutrich was a bit annoying.  However after the third chapter, I was hooked.  This book is about the "World Famous" gentlemen's club; Scores.  Scores was the first NYC "lap dance" clubs and "completely" naked club serving booze.  Blutrich was a successful attorney, and shrewd businessman.  After opening multiple businesses.  He was indicted in Florida prior to opening Scores for banking fraud.

Ironically, the owner of this bastion of naked women and heterosexuality was in fact a homosexual.  He accounts how the dancers of Scores, knowing he was gay, would never try to use sexual advances to curry favor for better schedule.

The most hilarious part of the book was an interaction with Angelo Urgitano where Urgitano, searching for a wire up Blutrich's leg and being close to finding it, when Blutrich turns his back to Urgitano's chest and grabs his penis.  I can only image what the tough guy Urgintano must have done.

Blutrich was in fact a great informant.  Not that I condone that, but from a LEA perspective, his law degree I think helped him in knowing what was needed.  In the end, Blutrich ended up recording over 1000 hours of conversations and meetings over a year via secret wires and cameras that prosecutors used in indictments against the Gambino crime family in 1998.   John Goddy Jr. and 38 other in the Gambino and other crime families were indicted due to Blutrich's cooperation.  The State of Florida reconsidered the sentencing for Blutrich.  They served over 13 years even with the cooperation from him and his partner.

Here is a video interview Blutrich did in May 2017.
Interview Video

Michael Blutrich

Hardcover: 328 pages
Publisher: BenBella Books (January 31, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1942952635
ISBN-13: 978-1942952633
Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches

Saturday, July 8, 2017

American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind behind the Silk Road Drugs Empire By: Nick Bilton

Depending on who you talk to, you will get a different definition of what Silk Road was.  Here is the pre-2000 version of Silk Road:

The Silk Road or Silk Route was an ancient network of trade routes that were for centuries central to cultural interaction originally through regions of Eurasia connecting the East and West and stretching from the Korean peninsula[1] and Japan[2] to the Mediterranean Sea.[3] The Silk Road concept refers to both the terrestrial and the maritime routes connecting Asia and Europe. The overland Steppe route stretching through the Eurasian steppe is considered the ancestor to the Silk Road(s).
 ~ Wikipedia

Modern day definition is a little more sinister and refers to the illicit underground, online drug trade via one man's dream of "sticking it to the man" by creating an " of drugs"

This is a great book and covers details about this case I was not even aware of.  The book covers the life of Ross Ulbricht  the founder and mastermind of Silk Road the website. The Silk Road website was a website, only accessible via Tor that facilitated the purchasing of illicit drugs, guns, human organs and even murder.  It was known as the Amazon of drugs.  Ulbricht, AKA "Dread Pirate Roberts" AKA DPR was worth over 28 Million dollars at the time of seizure by the US Federal Government.

This book was a page turner for me. I was not only interested in the technology they discussed but also the libertarian views of the Ulbricht.  The book begins describing Ulbricht's early days and how he was interested in becoming a physicist.  He was, in all accounts a failure; nothing really to show from an accomplishment perspective.

Ulbricht was libertarian leaning.  He ascribed to the NAP (None aggression principal) of libertarianism. He read Rothbard, Mises, and Hyak.  He talked about free markets, personal rights and freedoms, and the legalization of drugs.  In full disclosure, I share many of those beliefs myself.  Anyone that knows me, knows that "fiscally I am more conservative than Conservatives and socially, I am more liberal than Liberals" but enough about me.

Ulbricht constructs a mushroom 'farm' so he could be the first supplier of drugs in the Silk Road, little did he know that this website would take him all over the world and finally landing him in prison for the rest of his life.

The book covers the theft of Bitcoin from Silk Road by Secret Service and other LOE.  It talked about how LOE straddled the fence from LOE to accomplice.  It served to prove to me that no one is immune to crime, even those sworn to enforce it.

It is  great read and I recommend it to anyone interested in the interworking of Silk Road.

Silk Road Logo from the Website

Ross Ulbricht AKA DPR, AKA Dread Pirate Roberts

DEA Agent Carl Force (Left) and Secret Service Agent Shaun Bridges currently serving time for stealing Bitcoin from Silk Road during their respective investigation as well as crossing the "LOE" line.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Portfolio (May 2, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1591848148
ISBN-13: 978-1591848141

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Creating Magic By: Lee Cockerell

If you are in a leadership position, this is a must read.  Cockerell started his career in the US Army.  He worked his way through multiple hotel chains in the kitchen and other duties.  Eventually he came to run one of the largest movie, theme parks and over all entertainment companies in the world..... Well not running the entire thing but the hospitality side and general operations.

Cockerell goes over 10 common sense leadership strategies every leader should follow.

1. Remember, everyone is important.  (e.g. Make yourself available, know everyone on your team).
2. Break the mold. (e.g. Be clear who is responsible for what).
3. Make your people your brand.
4. Create magic through training.
5. Eliminate hassels (e.g. Try an audit exchange program)
6. Learn the truth (e.g. get a ground level view).
7. Burn the free fuel (e.g. Spend time with employees, catch them doing something right and make it public.
8. Stay ahead of the pack.
9. Be careful what you say and do.
10. Develop Character

This book changed my management style.  I was more sympathetic for my team.  I learned that leadership does not require you to tell people what your title is.  I taught me to listen to my people and truly try to understand them.

I can only hope that I am able to attend the Walt Disney Institute of leadership.

Hardcover: 270 pages
Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (October 14, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385523866
ISBN-13: 978-0385523868

Dirty Rocker Boys: Love and Lust on the Sunset Strip By: Bobbie Brown

Man, I used to crush on this girl in a bad way.  This is one of those books I do not normally gravitate to but that I stumble on to, almost by accident.  The book covers the life of smokin' hot actress & model Bobbie Brown; not to be confused with the rapper 'Bobby' Brown although Bobby Brown the actor, reported got the idea to name his daughter Bobbie Brown after him.

This is a fairly short book.  It covers the ups and down (and frankly the ins and outs... in details) of Bobbie Brown.  Brown writes about her life as a teenager growing up "flat chested" and being picked on. She also wrote about her crush with Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee.   She discusses her stint on Star Search and how she did not win.  I always thought she was beautiful even if she did not win.  Bobbie was chosen by Jani Lane, Warant's front man to be in the Cherrie Pie video and Bobbie accepted.  It was the beginning of a whirlwind lifestyle I do not think even she suspected.

Jani and Bobbie eventually got married and had a baby girl. However the stress of the road, the abuse of alcohol and meth from both parents respectively eventually took its toll on the marriage.  Bobbie met her childhood crush Tommy Lee and immediately fell head-over-heels for him.  She talks about his now legendary penis, which the world has seen due to the Tommy Lee/Pamela video.  All-in-All, the relationship seemed to be almost fairy tale. Until it was not.  Pamela Anderson was also on the prowl for Tommy Lee and was not about to let something like a fiancĂ© get in the way of her needs.

Tommy and Pamela got married in Mexico without Bobbie even knowing what went on, while he was engaged to Bobbie.   This was crushing for her.  This singular event, paved the way for the future of Bobbie's sexual escapades as well as her years of celibacy.  Tommy was toxic to Bobbie and still is.  He would stay in touch and really never let her off the hook to start her life over.  She continued to abuse substances and ended up in worse relationships than even Tommy and her.  

Sadly, I did not know that this had even occurred until I read the book, Jani Lane succumbed to his alcohol abuse and died alone, in a hotel room under an assumed name of alcohol poisoning.  He was found by the cleaning crew.  Apparently someone, not himself, checked him into the hotel under the assumed name.  It is unknown who that person was.  More disturbing is the confession of Janie to Bobbie about his possible reason for alcohol abuse.  Apparently he was raped early in his career.  It was unclear the exact details of who and why, but the fact that he was raped is clear.  Quite frankly, I would be interested in reading a follow up book on the like of Jani Lane.

Bobbie has now turned her life around.... we hope.  She remains a beautiful woman even though she is older.  This book only serves to prove that some of the most beautiful people are ugly on the inside and are dealing with huge issues.  This girl, as beautiful as she was and even though I would have given an appendage to be with her, was a broken women with low self-esteem in spite of her beauty.

This is a great book to read.  If you followed the Hair Bands or Arena Rock Bands you will love this book.

Bobbie Brown today

Bobbie and Jani in their heyday 

Bobbie and Tommy Lee

Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Gallery Books; Reprint edition (September 16, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1476734720
ISBN-13: 978-1476734729

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Art of Invisibility: The World's Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data By Kevin Mitnick

I always enjoy reading Kevin's books.  He is very interesting.  Ghost in the Wire was my favorite though.

This book covers how to stay anonymous on the Internet.  Although I think the steps here will be outdated within the year, it is a good review of how to stay anonymous and with it, secure.

Mitnick discusses how Tor works and how to get connected.  He also discusses encryption of your files, mail and hard drives.  He discusses the laws in some countries and how they can compel you to unlock your devices.  One of the examples is that when you land from traveling abroad, ensure that you reboot your phone and NOT enter you (hopeful 6 digit) iPhone pass code.  This will make it impossible for them to use your fingerprint to unlock the device.  That could be weather or not you are conscientious.  Also do the same with the laptop.

He also talks about traveling and staying in a hotel.  If at all possible get some FedEx boxes to store your laptop in.  You can purchase some tamper resistant labels for ~ $14.00 at Amazon.  Use the stickers after sealing the FedEx box with your equipment and place a tamper resistant label on it.  (Note: Do not leave new labels in your bag or in the room).

All-in-All this book is great.  If you like InfoSec, than you will probably like this book.  Warning:  It is written for more novice users, so don't be expecting heavy, heavy tech.

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (February 14, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316380504
ISBN-13: 978-0316380508
Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It By Marc Goodman

The book started off OK however the book is riddled with inaccuracies and the author takes many liberties.

First of all, as I stated, the book starts off good. It does give good information about big data collection and points out a lot of useful information however as he jumps into the “” he starts to treat it as an actual organization rather that saying something like “bad actors”. Also he made a comment about Ross William Ulbricht AKA “Dread Pirate Roberts”, the founder of Silk Road saying he was a big time libertarian. This must have been from WikiPedia as any self respecting libertarian will tell you that we live by the NAP lifestyle meaning None Aggression Principle. I happen to be libertarian so I can tell you that based on first hand knowledge.

Additionally, he references Scott Levine (sniper mail) as a “hacker”. I happened to have served as an expert witness on this case and can tell you that he was charged with conspiracy and money laundering which had nothing directly to do with “hacking”. He had some employees that “hacked” into Axiom; and not really because they had a file on the root of the FTP directory where everyone had access named passw.txt that contained all the username and hashed passwords. The passwords were the same as the username. They used a cracking tool to crack the first 3-4 passwords and saw the pattern. Anyhow, Scott owned the company and had gotten money from it, and that is what the FBI wanted. The money man. Gave they a deal and they rolled on Scott saying he ordered them to. There was more than enough evidence that his employees were trying to take the information they took and were trying to go on their own. Here is a link to an article from NBC News.

The book was hard to finish because the author starts getting repetitive and boring. Honestly there is more about crimes of the past than there is “Future Crimes”

File Size: 2100 KB
Print Length: 610 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0804171459
Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (February 24, 2015)
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Sold by: Random House LLC
Language: English

Ruthless: My Son David Miscavige, and Me by Ron Miscavige

Yes, another Scientology book.  It seems that I find myself being pulled into this subject matter.  Sadly, this book mirrors that of others regarding the negative practices of the "church".  I tend to research religions, theories and philosophies and like to pick and choose pieces of each without needing to join a cult, convert my religion or join a group.  I believe David Miscavige has ruined it for me.  I think there is real insights into the mind with some of these teachings but it is overshadowed by the corruption and slave type lifestyle. I do not think the LRH was a god or anything like that, quite frankly without knowing him, he sounds more like a con artist, but people swear by some of the teachings.

This book is written by the father of David Miscavige, the Chairman of the Board of the church of Scientology.  It is difficult to read how these families are affected due to this belief system and the rules and edicts force by the leader(s).  The concept of parents and kids is eroded into nothing more than procreation.  That love and family bond is only visible as long as there is a Scientologist component to it.  Families have been completely "disconnected" for ever from each other because one of the members of the family decided to leave the church.

This book covers the life of Ron Miscavige and his early relationship with his son.  You get a clear picture of the love he felt/feels for his son.  The book give you great insight into David's early years and his subsequent Napoleonic complex, his rise to the top and the corruption through the eyes of his father.

I think it takes a special kind of person to go into the Sea Organization knowing what is in store for them.  It is truly like being in the Military but never leaving bootcamp.  The sleep deprivation, the disconnection from family and friends, meager lifestyle and overall unhappiness.  Ron spent 26 years as part of the "Sea Org'".

After reading this book and Ron Miscavige's grand Daughter, Jenna Miscavige, it is obvious the David Miscavige has some value for family albeit tiny.  He did communicate with them to some degree.  I believe that "absolute power corrupts absolutely" ~Lord Acton.  I believe that David Miscavige is corrupt because of the power he perceives to have.

The book is not long, but does a good job keeping you engaged.  I could not put it down.  I know to others this may not be interesting, but to me Scientology and Abraham Lincoln are probably my favorite material to read.

** SPOILER ** At the end of the book, Ron is talking to his son through the pages of the book and tells him "David, I forgive you".  Very touching and sad.

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1St Edition edition (May 3, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1250096936
ISBN-13: 978-1250096937
Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future By Ashlee Vance

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Mr. Musk is an incredible personage. One part Steve Jobs, one part Tony Stark the man is something truly incredible.  What this man has accomplished from a green perspective is truly phenomenal.  He has been able to capture the attention of Capitalists around the world that have always turned away from a heavily government subsidized industry. Even me that have pushed back for the same reasons stated above, have considered purchasing a Tesla Model S.  Although a bit pricy, I want to do the calculations to see if it is a wash when adding the savings of gas. 

Musk, along with his SpaceX team have accomplished amazing things regarding space flight.  The company's resolve to make there own parts after having more traditional aerospace companies fail to deliver at the speed and quality Musk demands is amazing.  It's funny how back in the Rockefeller days, people accused him of monopoly because he bought companies that made and produced the products he used to develop oil. Today Musk is ordained as a genius in business; man how times have changed. Even if Musk stops everything he is doing today, he will have already left his mark on the world. 

This book covers the life of Musk's family as well as Musk and his brother, his challenges, dreams and the attainment of those dreams. This book is a great read and extremely motivational.  I gave it to my 10 years old which enjoys Quantum Mechanics.  I am sure this book will inspire him to follow his dreams. 

Here is the video of Musk taken delivery of his McLaren F1 

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco (May 19, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062301233
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062301239

Friday, January 20, 2017

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape

I tend to read multiple books on similar subjects back to back. I followed Leah Remini's, Trouble Maker with this one. Although Leah's book focused more from a perspective primarily of her adult life and tribulations as a Scientologist, Hill's book takes you through the perspective of someone born into Scientology and the interworking of the "Sea Organization".

The book covers her time "at the ranch" where children were used for hard labor and were indoctrinated to put the church above all. At the gentle age of 7, Micavige-Hill signed a Billion Year Contract which is standard operating procedure for the religion.  Not knowing the depth of such a decision, the ridiculousness of scale and more importantly, the lack of legality of the contract signed by a minor, she felt obligated to live true to it. 

Soon enough, the indoctrination is clearly visible in the book. They remove the parents from her life and the church becomes the ward. Hard labor ensues and ratting on your peers becomes becomes the norm. The church controls every aspect of your life including your relationships with the opposite sex.  It was disturbing to read the turmoil in her life as she grew up. The church robbed her of her innocence and her childhood. 

Being the niece of David Miscavige did indeed help her in many ways, although she seemed to not realize it until later in her life, but it would turn out to be a double edged sword. She was expected to act a certain way.  The Miscavige name was to be guarded and protected at all costs.  Jenna seems to have inherited the same fire as her uncle, although she used it to get out. 

Jenna's first love was destroyed by the church and when she was finally over him and met Dallas, she was determined to not allow the church to intervene in this relationship.  Her parents, obviously Miscaviges themselves left the Seaorg but were allowed to keep communications with Jenna, probably because of the relation to David and to keep them from stirring  the pot. Her parents had the foresight to give Jenna a credit card which eventually would save her and Dallas.  

Jenna finally made the break from the church while Dallas was still on the fence, Jenna made him see the light and they both "blew" (term used in Scientology for someone escaping the church; yes you read that correctly "ESCAPE") from the church.  The credit card given to Jenna was used to get to safety once they were out of the clutches of the church.

Today she has two kids and has left the Church of Scientology.  Although Dallas remains open to believing in something, Jenna has chosen to believe in the now and making this life worth while. She is a brave woman. Throughout her ordeal you saw her buck the system even when she knew the stakes were high. 

I wish her and her family continuous happiness; it is well deserved.

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (February 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062248472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062248473

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Science of Success By: Charles Koch

This was a great book about not only team building but of the notion of Market-Based Management and how it has helped Koch Industries to become one of the largest and most successful privately owned companies in the US.

The Kock brothers have become synonymous with greed and Republican electioneering.  The irony of that is that the Koch Brothers actually support most of the causes that are purported to be near-and-dear to the hearts of the left.  Issues such as Gay Marriage, legalization of drugs & they are anti-war to name a few.  It goes to show you the blind fury of ideology and hyper-partisanism.

This book covers the management style of Koch Industries and they way they operate their business(s). 

Trouble Maker by Leah Remini

Full Disclosure:  I am NOT a Scientologist nor is it something that remotely interests me from a "faith" perspective, but I do enjoy reading about the subject.  I have read a few books on Scientology and Scientologists.  If this is something that even remotely interests you, you need to read this book.

Remini is the consummate comedian throughout the book.  Even things you know were tragic in her life, she adds a self-depricating spin to them that undoubtedly makes you laugh.

The book covers her life's quest both in Scientology as well as Hollywood in general.  Remini provides a good, behind the scenes look at the ins and outs of the Hollywood sitcom world and what was necessary to get "in".  She accounts her struggles in trying to land a role in a good sitcom that would allow her to provide for her family culminating with the successful time with King of Queens for nine seasons.   She also discusses the commitment to Scientology and the burden that it placed on her life from a time, money, relationships and emotional perspective.

Remini is very down to earth and shows a great deal of concern for her family.  She essentially is the matriarch of her family when it comes to financial concerns.  At an early age, she makes sacrifices for the betterment of her mother and sisters.  She discusses the abuses of her father and how he treated her and her sister.  Although he is portrayed as a non-supportive, disconnected father, the man was spot-on when he warned her about the religion.

Remini accounts her youth in New York as she and her sister lived an exploratory life in the big city and traveled to a from it to follow her mom's footsteps in Scientology.  She eventually joins the "Sea Org" for a short-lived tenure there.  She tells the story of being 'overboarded', in which a partitioner will be taken out far from shore on a boat and thrown into the water until such time as they agree to whatever it is the one initiating the 'overboard' process wants.  She tells the story how she did not reverse herself and did not give in.  Unable to utter the words the offender wanted her to say.  Save the Scientology spin, I really connected with her youth since we are only a year apart in age and many of the things she talked about form parallels in my life.  She talks about her promiscuity and even later in life, her infidelities.

She later recounts the infamous "wedding" events where she, her husband Angelo, Jenifer Lopez and Marc Anthony accompanied A-Lister Tom Cruz and Katie Holme's wedding in an Italian Castle.  She tells a story of the church trying to separate Lopez and Anthony from her and her husband the entire time.  Leah was subsequently reported and fined, and although later exonerated, the church took years (6) to credit her the money she had initially paid as penance for her actions.  In Scientology, if you request refunds from the church, you are automatically labeled an 'SP', Suppressive Person which by Church bylaws is no longer entitled to a "refund".  So essentially, if you want your money back, you become an SP which disqualifies you for getting refunds.  Furthermore, it was extremely interesting to get a behind the scenes account of Tom Cruise and what he is truly like.  Because of my professional career, I have met and interacted with many famous people.  The one thing I have gotten from it is somewhat cynical sense of thinking about these people.  Most of the time, they are not the nice people they portray on TV shows and movies.  Many of them are ingrates, self absorbed, narcissistic and have little concern about the "little people".   This is why I do not normally put any stock in what these people spew about politics, economics and other subject that quite frankly they don't REALLY care about.

I was shocked, quite honestly by the overt hatred for homosexuality, more so than the supposedly hatred felt by Christians.  We hear these Holywooders [sic] speaking out against a particular political party for being associated with a religion that does not support LGBTQ yet do not turn their guns on Tom Cruise and the members of Scientology or even those of some other religions that have no rights for women or homosexuals.  It is very much a selective outrage scenario.

Leah discusses her concerns of Shelly Miscavage; David Miscavage's wife which has been missing since 2007.  She has gone out of her way to help find her.

This is a short book but packed with great information.  I truly commend Leah Remini and her strength to openly oppose a religion, group, corporation and/or cult that has a history crushing anyone that opposes them.  I am a firm believer of the freedom to practice your religion of choice, however with that said, I believe even greater that right of people to choose.  I do not believe that a religion has a right to kill someone because they have deemed so or choose to treat certain people differently because of their sex, orientation, race etc.  I would love to see our authorities investigate allegations of malfeasance  as reported by partitioners or former partitioners.  From all that I have read, this particular groups saddles its followers with HUGE financial strains and engages in unethical business practices, not to mention that if a fraction of the allegations are true about the practices of holding people against their will, physical abuse, mental abuse or emotional abuse are true, there should be criminal charges brought to those responsible for them.  Additionally, any religion that tells you to disconnect from your family because those people are "SP" or enemies of the church, should be avoided at all costs.

Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (September 20, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1101886986
ISBN-13: 978-1101886984
Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)