Saturday, July 11, 2020

10th Anniversary of a Monument

10 years ago, July 11th, 2010, I and a group of people got together and built a monument for the man who wrote the American Anthem Take Me Out To The Ball Game. His name was Jack Norworth. He died in 1959 and his final resting place is a half mile from Angel Stadium home plate in the Melrose Abbey Cemetery in Anaheim. Even after 10 years this fact is not widely known. There was a dedication that morning and the Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers was there. 

Rollie Fingers with Little Leaguers

I learned about the location of Jack Norworth at a book signing from Chris Epting who wrote about the history of socal ballparks. I was stunned at this news and put up a facebook page to campaign to build him a monument. In about 4 months we had the resources to build it thanks to a stone that was donated and funds from a private donor and AOL. It was extremely exciting to be a part of this. I only wish more people knew about it.  

The Jack Norworth Trophy was given to Jack at the LA Coliseum by the Cracker Jack Company celebrating the 50th anniversary of the song. This trophy is in the possession of the Laguna Beach Little League, and it was there that morning. 


Jack and his wife Amy handing out Cracker Jack

Jack back in the day

Text of the monument:

Take me out to the ball game lyrics... then,

This monument was placed in July of 2010
to honor songwriter Jack Norworth
laid to rest nearby in this cemetery in 1959

The project became a reality thanks to the passion
of several baseball fans who thought that 
Mr. Norworth deserved a more visible tribute--
what you see before you

May we remember this great American now, 
and during after every 7th-inning stretch

OC Register writes about the new monument on July 11, 2010

Harry Carey leads the song

More photos in the link list at the top right of this page.

Time flies. Happy 10th!

- JP Myers

Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Shrike

Have you ever heard of a Shrike? I haven't till about a month ago. According to it's a bird famous for impaling their victims, these songbirds use a special maneuver to break the necks of small rodents, coming up from behind them. Shrikes are also known as butcherbirds because of their feeding habits. It's no wonder that this bird can be used in literature, movies and TV as a metaphor for a murderer or a serial killer. And maybe it has been mentioned in things I have read or watched in the past and I just don't remember.

A Wikipedia entry says that Shrike is the name of multiple fictional characters appearing in publications from DC Comics.

Then last month I'm listening to an audiobook called Bitter Brew. It's a small town murder mystery taking place in upstate New York where a prominent citizen is killed. The local detective investigates. This is written and read by Kelsey Grammer of Cheers and Frasier fame. A very entertaining book. The town has a couple birds that they love and care for like town mascots and one bird ends up dead. Tom the Shrike he's called. This is the first time I heard this word. Grammer explains that it is a predatory bird. They eventually find who killed Tom the Shrike.

Then I'm watching a great film called The Mechanic with Christian Bale. The camera follows him into his dilapidated apartment right past his building manager's apartment. She opens the door and asks when she's going to get the rent. Tomorrow Mrs. Shrike, he says. Camera pans to the mailboxes on the wall "Mrs. Shrike" it says. I was taken aback. There is that word again.

Then a week ago I'm listening to Michael Connelly's new book called Fair Warning. They are searching for a possible serial killer that picks his victims using stolen DNA. They call the killer, The Shrike. I was like, are you kidding me? I start writing this down now.

Then I turn on a great series on Netflix called Hannibal. There was a character called Garret Jacob Hobbs (also known as "The Minnesota Shrike") who was a serial killer who abducted and killed eight young women. I did a double take.

I say to myself, what the hell is going on here with this word Shrike? You know what it is? Just a silly coincidence. Rim shot.

- JP Myers (still taking notes)


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Michael Connelly's New Book Fair Warning Has an Easter Egg

I finished listening to 10 glorious hours of Michael Connelly's new book Fair Warning. I really enjoyed this new thriller and the reader Peter Giles was great. Connelly's character Jack McEvoy (Mac A Voy) is back as a reporter for Fair Warning, a consumer news website. And joining him is Jack's on again off again girlfriend slash former FBI profiler Rachel Walling. The book takes place in the LA/OC area with the offices of Fair Warning above Art's Deli in Studio City. The subject of the book is DNA analytics and what companies like 23 and Me do with the DNA in an unregulated industry. And of course a serial killer gets DNA info for his bad deeds. It's a very detailed and well written and entertaining book.

The Easter Egg: Then after the audio version of this book is over, there is Michael Connelly speaking. He explains that he is going to do an interview with Myron Levin, the founder and editor of the real Fair Warning website,

The interview is 26 minutes long and they talk about the site and what they do. The site has 12 contributors and an editorial board. The site is news for public health, consumer and environmental issues. Connelly and Levin have known each other for more than 30 years. They worked at the LA Times together. Levin explains that journalism may be headed to the non profit model and that Fair Warning uses that model and takes donations. With Connelly and Levin being friends and Connelly on the board he was able to use Fair Warning in his book. I really like these kind of surprises at the end of a book. I think this site deserves more attention and this non profit model is a definite way to get the public high quality journalism. Maybe a model for the future.

-JP Myers  

Friday, June 12, 2020

Just Mercy

Just watched Just Mercy (2019) with Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Rob Morgan, Tim Blake Nelson, Rafe Spall, Karan Kendrick and Brie Larson. It tells the true story of Walter McMillian, who, with the help of young defense attorney Bryan Stevenson, appeals his murder conviction. This story was based on the book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (2014) by Bryan Stevenson.

I admit I have never been a big fan of Jamie Foxx but his performance in this film is solid. Along with Michael B. Jordan who carried this film, did an outstanding job. When I first heard of the film I noticed that Brie Larson was in it. She's the reason I wanted to see this and she was great. After her performance in "Room" she can do no wrong in my opinion.

Walter "Johnny D." McMillian was an African-American pulpwood worker from Monroeville, Alabama, who was wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Based on no evidence and only an eye witness account of a felon who made a deal save himself and frame McMillian. This witness eventually recanted which led to the release or Mr. McMillian.

In the opening of the film it is pointed out that Monroe County, Alabama is the area where the book and film To Kill a Mockingbird took place and where author Harper Lee grew up. And the fact that the white lawyer in the film played by Gregory Peck defends a black man from false rape charge is not lost on me. It seems the local police were not aware of this. They may not be readers or care not to have seen the film. The law enforcement and the community that reelected this sheriff over and over will never be forgotten. This was about pure corruption and racism.

This is a powerful powerful film that I dare you not to cry watching.

I give this an A+ way up

- JP Myers

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Shirley on Hulu

Elisabeth Moss as Shirley

I just watched the film Shirley (2020) on Hulu and I have to say I was quite surprised at how bad it was. I really love these actors, Elisabeth Moss, Michael Stuhlbarg, and an actress I'm not familiar with, Odessa Young who is the only real highlight in this film.

Odessa Young

I'm a huge fan of Elisabeth Moss who's been in countless great things like Mad Men, The Handmaid's Tale, Top of the Lake. And Michael Stuhlbarg who's been in Boardwalk Empire, Fargo, The Post, The Looming Tower is a tremendous actor.

Stuhlbarg and Moss

This film is just a bad version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. It's a beautiful looking film but with some bad handheld camera work. There is just a very thin story with lots or arguing and drinking. These actors deserve better. 

The book that Shirley (Moss) was writing about may have been interesting if it was fleshed out a bit more, a local girl that went missing. They choose not to do that and left us with a very thin film.

- JP Myers

Thursday, November 14, 2019

New Book About Janis Joplin Is Eye Opening

I was only 7 years old when Janis Joplin died in October of 1970 in a Hollywood motel. I lived in a house where Jazz was played and Frank Sinatra and Big Band music with some Partridge Family thrown in. I don't remember hearing about Janis Joplin. Her very loud singing may have turned off my parents and I just never heard about her till I was older. In this new book Janis: Her Life and Music by Holly George-Warren it goes all the way back to her childhood in Port Arthur Texas. This from the website:

She was a tomboy who was intellectually curious and artistic. By the time she reached high school, she had drawn the scorn of her peers for her embrace of the Beat poets and her racially progressive views. Her parents doted on her in many ways but were ultimately put off by her repeated acts of defiance.

When I was listening to the audiobook I would stop it and listen to some of her music. Then in the book it mentioned that she was a Bessie Smith fan. So I would go a listen to some of that and also Lead Belly was mentioned. I would also go on Google and look at some photos of her. 

The book is read by actress Nina Arianda (Billions and Goliath fame). I'm a big fan and it was the reason I picked this book. She did an amazing job reading this. She would actually do a subtle impression of Janis when she read parts where Janis was talking. It sounded just like her with her Texas accent.

I learned a lot and appreciate the talent of Janis Joplin, it's a great book. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Necrosearch, also known as the Pig People, great audio book

By: Steve Jackson
Narrated by: Kevin Pierce
Length: 14 hrs and 3 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 05-04-15
Language: English
Publisher: WildBlue Press

Necrosearch boasts a brain trust of the nation’s top scientists, specialists, and behaviourists who use the latest technology and techniques to help solve “unsolvable” crimes, no matter how decayed the corpse, no matter how cleverly the killer has hidden the victim’s body. They are also known as "The Pig People" because of their experiments in locating graves using the carcasses of pigs. The book goes though several very interesting cases and how Necrosearch found the missing bodies. It's really a fascinating book and a must read for anyone interested in the topic. It's almost like a primer. I highly recommend this book. Also the reader Kevin Pierce is wonderful.