Tuesday, November 27, 2018

I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, and the Final Ride of Jimmy Hoffa

This was an interesting book. I have never been into the "Hoffa" genre, but this title called my attention.

The book is the story of Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran.  Sheeran was former soldier that came back from war to find himself looking for work. He soon hooks up with the mafia, without knowing the extent of what the mafia was.

Sheeran was "a friend" of Russel Bufalino, a known mafioso. Although Sheeran was friends with Hoffa, he had an allegiance Bufalino which surpassed any friendship to Hoffa.

The book tracks the rise and the subsequent fall of Jimmy Hoffa regarding the Teamsters and the "witch-hunt" from Bobby Kennedy as US AG.  The author tells the tail of the murder of Hoffa at the hands of his friend "The Irishman".  Before his death, Sheeran is on record corroborating the contents of this book being accurate.

This book has been made into a movie soon to be released in 2019 by Netflix. I will surely watch the movie.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering By: Meredith Baxter

The beautiful, Meredith Baxter's brave memoirs.  Her life story is fraught with disfunction and pain which eventually led to her multiple marriages and alcohol abuse.  Baxter-Birney, as she was known after marring David Birney.  David Birney, probably the worst offender in causing Baxter's pain.  He repeatedly physically and emotionally abused her.  Although Baxter "outs" him for the abuse, she glosses over the amount of times he actually beat her.

Although David Birney was truly a scumbag of the highest order, he is not the only one that caused her pain.  Early on, Baxter's mom made her children call her by her stage name, Whitney Blake.  Baxter tells the story of coming home from school one day and saying "mommy, I'm home" and got no response, she then repeats her statement, still finding no response.  It was not until she said "Whitney, I am home" that her mom responded.

Seeing her on TV, you would never have imagined the abuse she hid for so long.  She recalls the different projects she worked on which was a little difficult since she is much older than me and I found myself Googling some of the actors and actresses she mentioned by name. Additionally, I had never heard many of the movies and TV shows she mentioned.

She had dabbled in homosexuality early on before she jumped feet first in being a "lesbian".  Even living her gay lifestyle, she still struggled to stay in a relationship.

Baxter was a beautiful young woman and even in her old age, she is still sexy and as gorgeous as she was before.  She has 5 kids; two  (Theodore and Eva) from her first marriage to Robert Bush.  In 1971, she divorced Bush.  She later married David Birney and had three children, Kathleen and fraternal twins Mollie and Peter.  Baxter struggled to be a better mother to her children than "Whitney" was to her.   Baxter came out to the public at the age of 62 which is pretty brave.

Young Baxter

Family Ties cast

Meredith Baxter and wife Nancy Locke

I recommend this book.  This is a good primer for how not treat someone you are in a relationship with.

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Crown Archetype; Reprint edition (March 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307719308
ISBN-13: 978-0307719300

The Princess Diarist By: Carrie Fisher

The last book written by the late Carrie Fisher, best know as Princess Leia in the epic saga known as Star Wars.  I thought this book would be a "tell all" book about the secrets behind the scenes look at Star Wars.  The actual book should have been named "My Affair with Harrison Ford".

The book was entertaining.  Fisher does have a darker sense of humor than what you would imagine from her role as "The Princess".  I really did not follow any of her other work save that of the Star Wars saga.  Seeing her drop profanity was interesting.  The book drags on about her relationship with Harrison, or as she made it abundantly clear in the book "Carrison".  The latter part of the book is the actual diary entires which drone on and on.  One of the tings I realized is that my journal/diary entries are boring and elementary compared to hers. The book glosses over her childhood and her early carrier in Shampoo.  Looking now at IMDB, I can see that I have not really followed any of her work except for Star Wars.

If you are looking for a behind the scenes book on Star Wars, this is not the book.  If you are looking for a book about Carrie Fisher's relationship with Harrison Ford and personal inner thoughts.

The Princess with the famous hair

Carrie Fisher - Phased

Carrie Fisher and Mother Debbie Reynolds
Apparently, losing her daughter was too much for Debbie Reynolds died of a stroke a day after her daughter passed away of a heart attack.  A sad ending to an era.

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Blue Rider Press; 1st edition (November 22, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780399173592
ISBN-13: 978-0399173592
ASIN: 0399173595

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Diabolical How Pope Francis Betrayed Clerical Abuse Victims Like Me -- And Why He Needs to Go By: Milo Yiannopoulos

A sad and disturbing look at Yiannopoulos' past and a harbinger of what is to come.  Yiannopoulos peels back the covers on the scandal of the Catholic Church generally, and the priesthood specifically.   Of course, Yiannopoulos make striking connections to politicians and specifically the liberals.

This book, well almost a long pamphlet, is a telling history of the Catholic Church and the systemic abuse of underage boys.  Yiannopoulos make the claim that the mainstream media gives the priests a pass in most cases because they politically align with the guilty priests.  In full disclosure, I am not Catholic but the abuse needs to be dealt with.  If it were up to me, they would be met with a death sentence as far as I am concerned.

Yiannopoulos, is as always, an acquired taste.  When you read his work or listen to him, you have to fight the urge to label him homophobic, white suprematist, and anti woman.  However he is a self-proclaimed "Jewish, fag that loved black dick". It all falls apart at that point.  If you can handle his dark humor and offensive talk (compared to today's politically correct environment), I recommend this book.

File Size: 1013 KB
Print Length: 118 pages
Publisher: Bombardier Books (October 30, 2018)
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Lost Symbol By: Dan Brown

I read this book the day it was released in 2009.  I read it cover to cover in two days.  I figured I would re-read the book in 2018.  I am a Master Mason and a Past Master of my Lodge.  The premise of this book, more specifically the video which made it a "National Security Issue" is ridiculous.  The fact that someone of power sitting in a room where a ritual is taking place that is allegoric in nature somehow puts the nation at risk is ridiculous.  If you follow any religion, there are strange ritual that would be viewed as insane from an uninitiated.  Although some of the facts are correct, some are not even close.  The technology in this book was off as well.  Taking into account that this book was written 9 years ago, the tech on it was off even then.  For example, the IP address was in a different format not seem before?  Really?  There is IPv4 which has been around since the inception of the Internet.  IPv6 was around back then but not used by any carriers.  How the hacker was able to track it if it was not standard IPv4, is beyond me.

This book takes place in Washington D.C. and revolved around the Freemasons and the hidden secrets associated with the "Order".  Robert Langdon is back to his adventure.  In one of the last books, IMHO, where Dan Brown wrote a decent book, he is able to spin a web full of twists and turns.  Langdon is invited to D.C. to give a speech by Peter Solomon.  Solomon asked Langdon to bring a package he was entrusted to keep by Solomon years earlier.  It soon becomes evident that Langdon has been pulled into yet another adventure where his knowledge of symbolism is necessary.

Based in Washington D.C., it is easy to follow and visualize the scenes.  Sadly, there were rumors about this book being made into a movie.  Sadly, there has been nothing but rumors.

Hardcover: 510 pages
Publisher: Doubleday Books; 1st edition (September 15, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385504225
ISBN-13: 978-0385504225

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down By: Colin Woodard

This was a fantastic book.  I have always been fascinated by pirates and have read dozens of books, fiction and non-fiction and this is one of the best.  Actually, I started getting into pirates about seven years ago.  Woodard is engaging and the book has a great flow to it. I was on a business trip and read it in a couple of days.  I will not lie to you, I usually take the side of the pirates.  I always saw them as revolutionaries and "taking it to the man".

Woodard covers the 17th and 18th century pirates.  Most intriguing was Edward Teach (A.K.A. Blackbeard) and Charles Vane.  Woodard spins the tale of the pirates, before they were pirates and in may cases what led them to "the pirate's life for me" way of life.  For many it was rebellion for others it was part of their DNA.  Some were Navy Sailors and later became pirates.  In addition to the pirates themselves, Woodard also talks about the politics of the time and the Pirate Island of Bahamas, Madagascar and Jamaica.

Woodard paints the pictures of the battles and skirmishes in detail to allow the reader to visualize the acts.  No pirate book would be complete without the tail of the defeat of said pirates and the subsequent hangings of the same.  Reading the demise of Blackbeard actually made me sad.

This is a great book for anyone "into" the Pirate Lore and the history surrounding the pirates.

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (May 7, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0151013020
ISBN-13: 978-0151013029

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Full Disclosure by Stormy Daniels

The long awaited book by Porn Star, and presidential "mistress" Stephanie Gregory Clifford (A.K.A. Stormy Daniels) was very entertaining but predictable.  The book describes Daniel's life and her one-time tryst with now President Donal Trump.

The book starts off with Daniels making it obvious that she is setting the stage for her final chapters where she drops the Trump story.  Daniels overtly talks about her "photographic memory" and how "smart" she is.  I feel this was important for her because even though she appears to be proud of her past, she makes a point to break the stereotype of "dumb blond" & "whore".

Daniels make a comment about how her story was "the biggest political scandal in history", obviously delusions of grandeur.   Stormy makes it clear in the beginning of the book that her aspirations were to be an author.  She claims her "photographic memory" yet on numerous points, was not able to remember facts and names.

Daniels talks about her tryst with Trump but fails to give details about her though process making her decide to actually have sex with him.  She goes from Trump sitting on the edge of the bed, to laying with my head against the pillow and Trump going "in her".   She was repulsed by him based on her many, many comments as such but still decided to have intercourse with him?  I am not judging her decisions by no stretch of the imagination.  I am a libertarian thinking, independent party and do not have a problem with anyone's life decisions.  Fiscally, I am more conservative than Conservatives and socially, I am more liberal than Liberals.

Her life is certainly interesting and I do think she is a successful business person and smart.  I will say that although I am not a "Trumper", I do not see any difference with Trump wanting her silenced, to Bill Clinton wanting the same or from anyone, ever that has been unfaithful to their spouse.  Attorneys exist to protect their clients.  It comes with the territory.  I am going to say this, I really have a problem with both parties taking the moral high grown when it is politically expedient for them.  The Republicans have a long history of being anti-gay, which is one of the reasons I left the party; not because I am gay, but because I do not have a problem with someone choosing to be gay, all-the-while getting caught in gay sex or pro-gay situations.  By the same token, the Democrats seem to be pro-women unless the woman is a Republican. People like Trump with the "grab them by the pussy" statement mortified Democrats because he was "talking" about assaulting a woman, yet Clinton somehow gets a pass when has was accused of actual rape?  The Clinton victim(S) are written off and attacked by Hillary as part of the "vast Right wing conspiracy".  The interesting piece of that last statement is the during the Supreme Court nomination of Kavanaugh, anyone that questioned the validity of the accuser was labeled a sexist and supporting rape, but Hillary was not afforded the same treatment after she, being on record, bashing the accusers of her husband's rape and assaults.

I think she really exaggerates the security thing.  Does she really think that Trump is going to whack her? Really?  Come one.  Trump is an assassin as much as Clinton (which BTW, Hillary has a more believable assumption a la Seth Rich) is. 

As I said before, the book is entertaining but as far as any enlightening information, it is void.  Trump has and will lie, but then again, both Clintons did as well and to this day, continues to do so.  As did Obama and every single politician even my heroes George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Maddison.  This new mid-term election results will give the Democrats the ability to right the wrongs regarding the violence and vitriol coming from their side.  We shall see if it is more talk as we have seen in the past from both sides.

Trump and Stormy when they met

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Macmillan (October 2, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1529013771
ISBN-13: 978-1529013771
Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches