Monrovia, California, United States | Member Since 2012
According to Pamela Meyer each person, on average, is subject to 200 lies - a day. I was astounded – I don’t see 200 people a day. Some days, I only see my family and my co-workers in the small branch office I work at.
Where are the lies? I started thinking about it: it happens when several of my Facebook friends ask to “Add my birthday.” They’ve been duped by an advertiser seeking personal information, and it gets passed along. The lies are in the ads I get to enlarge a certain body part. The products can’t work – I don’t even have the requisite body part. The lies are on CNN, Fox News, during interviews of people later found guilty of horrible crimes. And there are white lies I hear, when I ask my son or daughter how school was, and they say “fine” to deflect me from asking about an Algebra or Physics test they may have tanked. Sometimes, I’ll never find out things weren’t really “fine” – the test turned out well, and I’ll chalk the crankiness caused by stress for teenage hormones.
People lie, and Meyer’s book is a great guideline for realizing when that happens. I am a litigator, and I learned a lot of the techniques she outlines by years of experience. For example, if someone uses the phrase “To tell you the truth,” what comes out next usually isn’t the truth. It might have a little bit of truth, someplace, but it might be a complete fabrication. If someone smirks while testifying, they are lying and expect a judge or jury is too stupid to catch it.
I wish this book had been available 20 years ago.
Most people believe serial killers are an American invention. I mean 'American' in the truest sense: North, Central, and South American. This particular psychopathic subtype may have first been identified, named and popularized by Western psychologists and sociologists, but the archetype existed in the East before the birth of Christ.
Colin Cotterill's "The Merry Misogynist" (2009) explores the idea of a Laotian serial killer. The killer's ability to succeed depends on the killer's innate understanding of Laos; its tribes; and communist bureaucracy in the 1970's. I have no idea if Cotterill's description of the half dozen papers needed to marry were correct at the time, but it certainly sounded plausible.
The country is scarred by war, and recovering slowly. The royal family has fallen, and after half a century of insurgency, the communists are establishing a new government. Resources are so limited that someone driving a truck, even in the capital of Vientiane, must be an important person with contacts and resources.
There's the mystery lover's question: does National Coroner (and the green eyed host of a 1000 year old spirit, Ya Ming) Dr. Siri Paiboun rely on 'deus ex solvo' to uncover the killer? No, of course not. Cotterill's settings are unique, but he follows the mystery writer's convention: the solve depends on solid facts, not the supernatural.
Clive Chafer's narration is great. He has an English? Australian? accent, which made the listen more exotic.
In 2000, I had a Palm III, a handheld computer a little larger and heavier than today's iPhone 5. It had a stylus a special way to synchronize and write, and (available for separate purchase) a camera and a keyboard. It also had the world's first mass-market ebook, Stephen King's "Riding the Bullet". The eerily floating gray-green words on a black screen; sentences and paragraphs scrolling automatically at my exact reading speed; and a late evening with the lights off and a glass of good red wine made that novella mean more to me than it ever did on actual paper.
"A Good Marriage" was originally published in Stephen King's 2010 novella collection, "Full Dark, No Stars". The book sold well - all of King's books do - but I thought the stories were lackluster, or tried too hard to shock, or both. When I finished the read, I put the hardback on my bookshelf, and so thoroughly forgot it I didn't remember reading about the 27 year marriage of Darcy and Bob Anderson when I clicked "purchase" on Audible.
The turned out to be a fortunate mistake. "A Good Marriage" (2014 Audible copyright) works very well as an audio narration because of the excellent performance by Jessica Hecht. Hecht becomes the credulous, complacent and self-satisfied Darcy who literally stumbles across her husband Bob's secret. Hecht's about the same age as the fictional homemaker, and plays the sweet, even tempered woman unwittingly married to a man who bears a physical and avocational resemblance to Dennis Rader, the BTK killer. King imagines an answer to a question we've all asked, "Did Paula Rader know? Did Green River Killer Gary Ridgeway's wives Marcia or Judith know? Did they?"
Hecht's performance makes a so-so story chilling and memorable, just as delivering "Riding the Bullet" electronically made that story frightening and unforgettable.
The Audible release must be timed to coincide with the October 3, 2014 release of the film adaptation of "A Good Marriage" starring Anthony LaPaglia and Joan Allen. I haven't seen it, so I don't know how the movie compares to the book compares to the Audible.
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The first hardest (American) Attorney Rule of Professional Conduct is the obligation an attorney has to maintain the confidences of a client inviolate. It's a 'hardest rule' because it pits common accepted morality against lawyer ethics.
In Teresa Burrell's "The Advocate's Dilemma" (2012), Children's attorney Sabre Oren Brown represents two boys. Their mother, Dana, is more interested in her next drink, fix or both than her children. Their late, unlamented scam artist father is found murdered at the beginning of the book.
Bob Clark, Sabre's best friend and a close colleague in the Juvenile Court, identifies the deserving victim as one of his clients. Clark rapidly becomes a suspect when Dana openly flirts with Clark at court appearances.
Sabre and J.P. Thorne, a retired San Diego police officer working as a private investigator, question whether Clark killed Dana's scheming husband. The way to quell their doubts: find out who did. Both are stymied by the obligation to hold a client's confidences quiet: the children know things about their father's rancid life that could help find the killer, but they've begged Sabre not to tell.
Burrell's been developing Thorne as a character. "The Advocate's Dilemma" moves Thorne from a one dimensional character known entirely for his Stetson, his cowboy boots, and his homespun Texas metaphors to a complex character with an intriguing back story.
I've gotten used to narrator Laurel Schroeder, and she seems to be enjoying Sabre as a character.
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"The Advocate's Conviction" (2012) is Book 3 in Teresa Burrell's "Advocate" series. The series isn't a clichéd lawyer series with a hard boiled criminal lawyer whose cynicism is rivaled only by her drinking. Sabre Orin Brown is a court--appointed children's lawyer, and this series isn't "attorney-porn" (Attorney-porn: one case at a time; lots of time to strategize and plan; a great jury;,and everyone but the bad guy likes the lawyer.) Sabre has lots of cases at the same time; she gets stressed out and annoyed; she needs help and asks for it; her cases are always in front of Judges, some of whom are real jerks; and sometimes her clients hate her.
Burrell has always been great at plots, and "The Advocate'a Conviction" is the best yet: it's tautly woven, keeps-you-guessing-til-the-end good, and surprisingly plausible. Burrell sometimes writes dialog like the attorney she is. Some of the characters use vocabulary that is much better than their education.
Sabre represents children from two very different families torn apart by alcohol and drugs. Both run away after getting involved in the juvenile justice system. The contrast between the two families is stark. One family desperately wants to stay together - and the other? The situation was so horrible, it's surprising that the child wasn't removed earlier. Or, at least it seems surprising.
Burrell is great at subtly engendering sympathy even for secondary/supporting characters. It's a neat way to make Sabre's world more complex and real.
Burrell's been trying out different narrators. Laurel Schroeder seemed a little too clipped, fast and mechanical in the first part of the narration. About halfway through, she seemed to relax and understand the characters.
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I scanned my bookshelf before I wrote this review. Carl Zimmer's "Parasite Rex: Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous Creatures" (2001), has a top shelf place that belies it's origins: I "borrowed" it from a JPL scientist who was more interested in his own biceps than the universe. Dr Nicholas P. Money's "Mr. Bloomfield's Orchard: The mysterious world of mushrooms, molds and mycologists" (2002) and "Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores: A Natural History of Toxic Mold" (2004) have truly honored places - Dr. Money loves mold like I love my kids, and he's got that dry, Monty Python wit to go with it.
Nathan Wolfe PhD's "The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age" (2012) was a natural fit. if it weren't for the current Ebola outbreak making everyone interested in pandemics, I would wondered just how well Audible knew me. Wolfe isn't as amusing as Money, but I don't think Wolfe aims to be, and I don't think Money can play the serious guy, no matter how deadly on point he is.
Wolfe discusses HIV/AIDS at length. As a virus, it's intriguing and horrifying. It's mutable and recombinant - but it's transmitted by intimate contact and blood, so it's a relatively contained epidemic. So is HPV, a sexually transmitted virus that causes genital warts in some variations - and cervical cancer in others.
Wolfe presciently addresses the current Ebola outbreak two years before it happened. Some might say that Wolfe was making a lucky guess in "The Viral Storm," but Wolfe wasn't guessing. He knew what was coming, period; and he got the who, what, where and why pretty much right, too. Well, Wolfe didn't have actual names for the "who" but he got the professions/jobs/work of those who first contracted Ebola right, and he definitely has the "how" down. Ebola will burn itself out eventually - it's an inefficient transmitter but lethal, burning through its hosts fairly quickly and killing more than half of those it infects. The question is how many will it kill this time?
What makes Wolfe's book truly scary is the cleverness of the viruses. HIV/AIDS hid its hosts, and it took years to develop a diagnostic test. At the beginning of the epidemic, an HIV+ person could unknowingly infect those he or she loved, not discovering the illness for years. And Ebola - it doesn't just kill, it takes the loved ones who care for the infected, too. Viruses are small, with very little genetic material - and some can combine with other viruses to make a lethal new microbe. It's as if viruses are sentient and bent on taking over the world.
It's a fascinating, challenging, and so very frightening listen.
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was too young to watch the 79 episodes of Star Trek in their original run (1966 - 1969). As after school reruns in the late 1970's - well, 'TOS" (as "The Original Series" is now referred as) was on after reruns of "The Brady Bunch (1969 - 1974) and "The Partridge Family" (1970 - 1974). Star Trek:TOS was perfect for winding down after a grueling day in Junior High School, which equaled the TV screen for alien life forms and mysterious rituals.
Even back then, I remember that the men, women, and telepathic beings that wore 'Redshirts' weren't going to live to the end of the episode, and maybe even to the first commercial break. Unless, of course, James Doohan's "Scotty" was in red - and he was known to wear science blue or command gold from time to time. The 1999 Sci-Fi parody film "Galaxy Quest" illustrated the quintessential Redshirt, "Guy" (Sam Rockwell), killed off on his only appearance on that fictional show, captured the resigned terror perfectly.
John Scalzi's "Redshirts" (2012) explores an alternate universe where the unnamed writer (adroitly narrated by Wil Wheaton) is literally [reviewer's pun intended] a god to the Redshirts. In our 'real world', a Redshirt goes on an 'away mission' and is cannon fodder, gone by the first commercial break. In Scalzi's alternate universe, Redshirts are working folks who know when to disappear to another level of the ship to avoid a deadly away mission, and who are well aware of the misfortune of a promotion to the bridge or a Deck 6 to 12 assignment.
I'll guarantee that as someone who remembers Star Trek:TOS; still hasn't seen many of TNG episodes; and is somewhat aware that there are other Star Trek series, but never watched them; and saw a couple of the movies when they got to Netflix, there must have bern a ton of inside references I missed. But that didn't stop me frown enjoying "Redshirts" anyway.
I did have to listen to the last couple of chapters more than once. Let your mind wander for a few seconds when your Prius is cut off on the 5 North at the end of a day when the Santa Ana winds are relentless, and you'll miss a major plot twist.
And did I mention Wil Wheaton? Oh, only once. For so many reasons, he was absolutely perfect narrating this book.
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Novelist Stephen King (1947 - present) makes places evil and sometimes sentient characters in his novels. "'Salem's Lot" (1975) was the first chilling fictional King town I read. Later, he created the adjacent, inimical town of Derry, Maine, in "It" (1986). Derry's utter indifference is its most deadly trait.
In 1964, the chilling indifference of real-life Kew Gardens, NY, met the psychopathic Winston Mosley. The combination was deadly. Mosley slaughtered a screaming, bloody Kitty Genovese in front of at least 37 neighbors who admitted seeing or hearing him over 45 minutes. There were hundreds more neighbors who didn't admit to seeing or hearing Mosley attack her twice outside large apartment buildings.
I don't remember when I first heard about this murder, but I do know even 50 years later, it's often cited as the ultimate anecdote of apathy, fear, and - as I remember it, contempt for the victim.
Growing up in the Midwest long before the internet age, I heard stories that Genovese shouldn't have been out as late as she was; that she'd dressed proactively; or that she'd been killed in a domestic dispute with an angry boyfriend and the neighbors thought it was just one of the couple's regular spats. Catherine Pelonero's "Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and Its Private Consequences" (2014) dispelled the myths I'd too readily accepted. Kitty Genovese managed a bar, and was on her way home from work. She wasn't wearing a miniskirt and high heels. She was a lesbian in a loving, committed relationship, and she did not know her murderer, Mosley, a serial killer.
The 1964 Kew Gardens was complicit in Kitty Genovese' murder, an 'unindicted co-conspirator'. Mosley knew his hunting grounds so well that he counted on the neighbors 'willful blindness' At trial, his attorney unsuccessfully argued that his flagrant attack was proof that he was 'schizophrenic' and should be found "Not Guilty by Reason of Mental Defect". Mosley even managed to terrorize a New York neighborhood 4 years after he was convicted and sentenced to death, escaping from a hospital visit and terrorizing a small town for a week.
[Reviewer's note: The term "schizophrenic' was used in 1964 to refer to people who have what is now differentiated as the mental diseases bipolar disorder and separately, schizophrenia; and mentally disordered sociopaths and psychopaths. See, for example, Robert Hare, PhD, who developed guidelines for diagnosing psychopathy (someone without conscience) in the late 1980's, publishing the PCL-2 checklist in 1991. Schizophrenia is commonly defined today as a disease, sometimes treatable, where the affected person cannot tell the difference between what's real and what's not real. Mosley does not fit the modern definition of schizophrenia.]
Kitty Genovese' killing did spur an important change in public safety: it lead to the creation of what is now the 9-1-1 system. In 1964, calling the police meant calling an Operator, and hopefully being transferred to the right police department; or trying to figure out the right department yourself. It took some work, and at least some Kew Garden residents thought it would be a pain, and that anyway, someone else was probably already calling anyway. Surely they were.
There have been follow up reporting and other books. According to Pelonero and other writers, Kew Gardens in the 21st Century remains defensive, insular, and maintains no interest in 'getting involved'. It's as if the place itself is bad, like the fictional Derry.
Dina Pearlman's narration was almost robotic in the second section, which distracted me.
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June 25, 2013 was an unexpected and thrilling day for my family. That afternoon, I'd idly been scrolling through Twitter and started to see posts about a filibuster of an anti-choice bill in the Texas State Senate. Intrigued, I kept an eye on the feed, #StandwithWendy. My sis, D--, lives in (and loves) Austin, so we started texting each other. NPR mentioned it.
When I got home, I turned on every CSPAN and news channel I could find. Nothing at all. I knocked urgently on my 16 year old son's door. "I can't find it!" I yelled. "What, what?" he asked. He'd spent the last two years locked in his room, listening to alternafe music and guarding his privacy. I explained, and intrigued, he went to his gaming computer and found the feed on YouTube. We sat together and watched, texting his Aunt D-- I kept screen shots of some of those messages. From me to D--: "Yell as loud as you can it's working" and "Keep yelling they can't take roll". From D-- to me: "Dude I'm deaf and mute" and "No one is leaving here" after rumors of post-midnight arrests.
My son got to see what a real, live participatory democracy is. I was looking up the Texas Senate Rules and sending them to D-- so we could try and find out if SB 5 had passed, so he got to see how what seems like abstract rules really work. He also got to see the low side of politics like the egregious change of time on records. It might have worked - except for the 200,000 people following it on social media.
Obviously, I was going to read/listen to "Forgetting to be Afraid" (2014). The actual filibuster is paper Chapter 19/Audible Chapter 20. It answers many questions I had, such as, "Why was that particular bill in front of the Texas Senate on the last day of term?" "What happened to the audio feed?" It wasn't a technical glitch after all. Arse, "How did she make it 13 hours without going to the bathroom?" I know the answer now, and it was almost TMI - but a better solution than the one of thought of.
There's no surer way to get me to prod me into an immediate read than to have the press argue about what the writer said. It worked for me with Robert Gates' "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War" (2014). I wouldn't have read/listened if the pundits hadn't argued about it - and it was fantastic. And Hillary Rodham Clinton's "Hard Choices" (2014) - that I would have listened to eventually, but not as soon as I did. I guess it proves the truism: all publicity is good publicity.
The book is, in and of itself and aside from the abortion issue, controversial. It wouldn't be if the facts were considered and repeated in context. Yes, Wendy Davis had an abortion. Actually, by medical definition, she had two: one to terminate a never-viable ectopic pregnancy, and the other to stop the agonized suffering of a much wanted and loved daughter, Tate Elise, who was not going to be able to live outside of Senator Davis' uterus. And it is true that she and her husband divorced after he helped put her through law school, but the divorce was more than a decade after she graduated.
As to the actual story, it's more interesting than most. Davis wasn't born with a silver spoon in her mouth - it was more like a plastic spork. And the trailer park story - yes, it's true.
As to writing style - it was more Harvard than Texas. Personally, I prefer the twang. I was about to criticize the narrator's pronounciation of Spanish words, but I decided to check first, and discovered that Texas Spanish isn't necessarily the same as California/Mexican Spamish. Especially when it comes to "San Jacinto".
The title of this review is from a quote of Leticia Van de Putte, a fellow senator who famously said, "At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?”
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'm not a 'B-School graduate'. My undergraduate degrees is in Business Administration. It's from a prestigious private university. I could have chosen to go on to get a Master's from the same place. Instead, I chose to get a Juris Doctor, and I've been a litigator ever since.
Do I want to manage people? Unless it's a trial team assembled on an ad hoc basis, I would rather clean tile grout with a toothbrush. I still love the theory of business management. I've been following it for the last quarter century. I work for a Major Company (you've heard of it) and I get to watch how the theories come and go, from the managed point if view.
Some trends are a flash, or so radical they won't happen for at least a generation - but it Is fun to watch management try the ideas. Adam Grant's "Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success" (2013) is an example. Nice idea, but it didn't work for the Soviet Union (1922 - 1991) and it's not working now. It might eventually - but the world's leading economy, the United States, and it's business leaders aren't at the tacit socialism Grant proposes.
Megan McArdle's "The Upside of Down: Why Failing Well Drives Our Success" (2014) discusses a "trend" that's working well, from the perspective of the managed worker: learning from failure. I'm using "trend" in quotes because it sounds like a facile lesson, but it's really not. It's also not new - "Billion Dollar Lessons: What You Can Learn from the Most Inexcusable Business Failures of the Last 25 Years" (2008) is a wonderful book on the same subject by Paul B. Carroll and Chunka Mui.
After discussing Old Coke/New Coke (THE quintessential B-mistake), "The Upside of Down" and "Billion Dollar Lessons" talk about different failures; the ways to approach and analyze them; and their causes.
McArdle distinguishes an accident as "while there's lots of things you could have done differently, there's nothing you should have done differently" (Chapter 5 on Audible) and "failure" as a "mistake, performing without a safety net." It's a good way to distinguish them. McArdle emphasizes that a lot of mistakes are the result of large, well funded research that carefully asks exactly the wrong questions, or asks the right questions in the wrong situation.
"The Upside of Down" is thought provoking, but there's an issue that I'd like to see addressed more fully: how to create an atmosphere where employees aren't subtly - or sometimes even overtly - required to hide mistakes, especially those that can compound and result in failure. After all, even one of the world's most successful investors, Warren Buffett, reported an $873,000,000 investing mistake to shareholders May 1, 2014. Referring to a bad investment, Buffett said, "Most of you have never heard" of the company, he wrote. "Consider yourselves lucky; I certainly wish I hadn't." What a no-nonsense way to share a problem without sharing the blame.
The Audible narrator was fine, but the editing was rough - there were some long pauses.
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At the beginning of every September, A&E takes a few hours away from 'reality' shows like "Duck Dynasty", "Storage Wars" and "Flipping (some American city hit hard by the Great Recession)" and shows actual reality - 9/11 documentaries, or somtimes, sanitized 9/11 docudramas. The History Channel sets aside "Ice Road Truckers" and "Ax Men" and returns to its roots and spends the weekend showing various aspects of 9/11, from a long interview of former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani to a three hour show exploring conspiracy theories.
I don't watch those shows, but it's not out of sense of boredom or a misplaced sense of outrage that basic cable is exploiting the anniversary. 9/11 is history, and just like my father has had a life long fascination with World War II (he was alive for the bombing of Pearl Harbor) I have a fascination for what happened, and why, that beautiful September morning. The reason I don't watch the shows is first, I'm really primarily a reader/listener; second, "The 9/11 Comission Report" (2004) is so thoroughly researched and well written, it was a finalist for a National Book Award, and no non-fiction show compares to it; and, finally, I was watching CNN as the attacks happened. I don't have to see what happened on video again. I remember all too well.
I read the entire book on line in 2004, and every year since then, I listen to parts of this book. I've been doing this long before I joined Audible. Since the book has always been in the public domain, it's been available through Librivox for years. The Librivox version was read by 19? 20? volunteer readers, the year of its release, and the quality ranges from astoundingly good to mediocre, especially with pronunciation of The Middle Eastern names. After 10 years of war, we are all mich better at Arabi names.
The question is, isn't whether the book is worth the time. It most definitely is. It's like reading/listening to a Tom Clancy on steroids. So, then, is it worth it to buy on Audible a book you can listen to or read on line for free? It definitely was and is for me. I was able to easily download it to my iPhone, although it's 200 + mB, so make sure you're on WiFi when you do. It's well narrated, and the production quality smooth. The speed of the narration is a bit of an issue - one narrator is much slower than the others. Listen to that narrator at 1.25 speed, and it's fine.
Which leads me to why I listen or read, year after year. I worry that I'll forget. No, I'll never forget some things - like watching the second plane crash into the other tower, as it happened. But I worry that I'll forget the littler things, like Barbara Olson, the wife of then Solicitor General Theodore Olson, was on Flight 77 when it was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon, and she called him during the hijack. Conservative Theodore Olson was fresh from successfully representing George Bush in Bush v Gore (2000). Theodore Olson subsequently turned to Gore's lawyer, David Boies, and together, they were responsible for overturning laws against same sex marriage. I wonder if somejow, that singular assault on democracy on 9/11 made Theodore Olson a formidable champion of civil rights for a group that hadn't been embraced by the political right.
This book also has the clearest explanation of Islam and the difference between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims that I've found. It explains a Caliphate - which is even more relevant today than it was 10 years ago, when the report was published. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (prosaically nicknamed ISIS) controls far more land than Osama bin Laden ever did.
I listen to remember; to think of how we all changed; and to keep trying to understand why.
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