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 JanisJoplin.com 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. 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

What will replace Windows?

With Microsoft admitting, yes our business is concentrating on services like Azure server and with Windows really not a big priority anymore there will come a time soon that an operating system will come along and replace it. Also it's all the big tech companies misusing our data, privacy is really important now and people are asking themselves, what they should do about that? I know I have. And for a long time we have heard about Linux. It's faster more secure and there is a fierce competition to build a operating system that people that use Windows would be willing to switch to. There are more than 300 distros they call it, types of Linux out there that people are using, mostly geeks and developers. A website called Distrowatch shows the ranking. Programmers take the source code and tweak it to make it look a certain way and change the menus and and add their own software. All of them are free to download and use. But all of them use the basic "kernel" of Linux, there is a whole history there. I have been playing around with this for about 10 years. But it's always been a little hokey. They were interesting, but not worthy of daily use. Well today things are getting so advanced that one or more of these Linux operating systems may break that barrier. I can download one of these OS's and put it on a thumb drive and install it on my computer. I have a modern browser like Chrome. I can do just about everything I can do on Windows. 

Then comes one operating system called Zorin OS. Just upgraded to version 15 in June 2019. Artyom Zorin and his brother Kyrill who live in Dublin, Ireland (their parents are ethnic Russians) in 2008 they started building this OS. They were 12 and 14 years old at the time and did not know how to program. They learned in a hurry. Now over 17 million people have downloaded their OS. They have an Ultimate version which I bought that costs $39. It comes with a ton of software programs. But they also offer free versions.

I have been using this OS for 24 hours and it's just damn impressive. The Zorin OS is now at number 10 in the Distrowatch rankings. I love this story and the dedication it takes to do this. I'm just really rooting for these guys. 
Check it out for yourself at https://zorinos.com
They are now selling laptops with their software too.

Also an interview with Artyom Zorin is on Youtube from 3 weeks ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sb7IzgG1yYo

Friday, August 16, 2019

The Alienist By: Caleb Carr Narrated by: George Guidall Length: 20 hrs

This is one of the best told murder mysteries I have ever heard. If you are one of those True Crime fans this is a must hear, even though this is fiction. Amazing writing and dialog that brings all the characters to life, they feel like real people. And the setting in New York in 1896 is breathtaking. You get a real sense of the place including a place frequented often in this book Delmonico's restaurant. I would loved to have seen this city then. And to hear what Teddy Roosevelt would have sounded like was incredible, he appears in this book as the Police commissioner as he really was during that time exclaiming "bully!" 

This is a very fast moving story with carriage rides from here to there on named streets in Manhattan. It does cover a dark underbelly of child prostitutes and a hideous crime perpetrated on them. This story is not for kids or weak stomachs.

And it can not be understated what an amazing job the reader of this book George Guidall did. The voices he employed in this book are like a room full of actors doing them. Just reading the novel or watching the TV show will not give you what this unique audiobook will. I am looking forward to seeing the TNT series (supposed to be on Netflix soon), but like they say it can't be better than this book. I give this 5 stars way up.