Friday, December 28, 2012

The Prehistory of Occupy Wall Street 1890-1925 by Jasper Gregory

The Prehistory of Occupy Wall Street 1890-1925, Jasper Gregory.  Self-published, 2012.  e-book, 65 pps.

Just when I think I understand some small thing about the Occupy movement, Jasper Gregory comes along and blows everything out of the water.  At least one other book led me into using the word "demand" along with the word "Occupy" in the same sentence.  Jasper Gregory tells me it just ain't so.  And then goes on to recite a bunch of history in such a manner that it makes sense.  The stuff I learned in school-- the bare bones was there-- was skeletal and rotting.  Jasper Gregory makes history quite heady stuff and ties it in well to Occupy.  The Prehistory of Occupy Wall Street 1890-1925 was too short and a bit abrupt in beginning and ending.  That is the only complaint that I have.  I hope Jasper Gregory writes more.

sapphoq reviews says:  Jasper Gregory does a fine job of telling the history of the people, movements, philosophies, thoughts and revolutions from 1890-1925.  He traces the Occupy movement back to its roots.  A fine, if too short book, by a fine but unrecognized historian.  Absolutely highly recommended for anyone who wishes to know more about Occupy.  And for anyone interested in a solid history of the years covered in this book.

Atheist Manifesto by Michel Onfray

Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, Michel Onfray.  New York, Arcade Publishing: 2007, 2008, 2011.  e-book, 210 pps.

Michel Onfray is a French atheist whose writing should be better known in the States than it is.  His writing is scholarly and his grasp on history is immediately clear.  Atheist Manifesto is engrossing.  Onfray addresses the bloody parts of history that the institutions of the peoples of the book have orchestrated, the political scene behind the figure of Jesus, and the forgeries and fakery inherent in the whole mess.  I was amazed to learn that Dewey was anti-intellectual-- this is a factoid that the folks teaching the teachers neglect to mention when covering him.  I was aware that William James was a bit on the whoo-whoo side but Onfray's writing really brings this home.  A lot to learn in this volume, even for the seasoned atheist.

sapphoq reviews says:  Michel Onfray's Atheist Manifesto should not be ignored.  It is a definitive work and points up why the old "you can believe what you want and so can I" is intellectually dishonest.  This book should be required reading in divinity schools.  It is deconstruction of monotheisms at its very very best.  Highly recommended.

Skanks by Keaton Albertson

Skanks, Keaton Albertson.  Compton, California: Fast Pencil Inc., 2011.   e-book, 167 pps.

Skanks details the sexual vagrancies of self-styled man whore and ex-Mormon Keaton Albertson.  Women-- quite a few of them.  Hot fornicating casual sex, check.  Cussing, check.  And some good chuckles.  Writing that delivers with a hefty punch.

sapphoq reviews says:  Skanks, like all of the Keaton Albertson writing that I have seen, is not for folks who offend easily.  There were some good belly laughs in this one.  And a variety of slang words for all kinds of sexual parts and uh, wonderment.  At the end of Skanks is a section on obese women.  Obese women and many others will not appreciate this section.  It is brutally honest.  All of Skanks is brutally honest.  Keaton Albertson tells his memoirs with a certain swagger and joie de vivre.  Feminists may not appreciate it.  But these are his own experiences and he tells it like it is.  Coarse and rude, for readers who like coarse and rude.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Criminal Mischief by Keaton Albertson

Criminal Mischief: Delightful Chronicles of Juvenile Delinquency, Keaton Albertson.  self-published: 2010.  e-book, 288 pps.

Keaton Albertson recollects some youthful disinhibitions in Criminal Mischief.  He has two strange brothers, a dad who understands more than he let on to understanding, a mother who curses when screaming at her kids not to curse, some best friends, and some teachers at a public school who are primarily practicing Mormons, or L.D.S. due to being in Utah and all of that.  Keaton Albertson himself was reared as a Mormon but [in a later book] successfully left that particular faith.

Criminal Mischief is about all boyish pranks that border to-- or at times outright crosses over to-- the criminal.  Although aware that I was rooting for the "wrong side" I could not help but laugh at his antics.  I envy Keaton as a child.  By comparison I was too quiet and never got to vandalize teachers' houses or blow stuff up.  And I'm glad that he didn't get sent away to one of them behavior mod boarding facilities.  That probably would have wrecked his writing style as well as a large measure of his life and what makes Keaton Albertson a cause celebre among folks like us.

sapphoq reviews says:  Yeah, Keaton Albertson was something as a young boy and teen.  I laughed through all of Criminal Mischief.  But there was more than boyhood pranks here.  There was also an astute comment on the hypocrisy of his high school faculty when the call came to deny his buddy's valedictorianship on the basis of a "lack of moral character".  If you object to lots of cursing, trash talk, or kids that aren't behaving in a lily white fashion, skip all things Keaton Albertson.  If you don't, you are in for a rollicking ride with Criminal Mischief.

Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

Sweet Venom, Tera Lynn Childs.  New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2011.  e-book, 231 pps.

Gretchen is a monster hunter and she goes to a public high school in San Francisco.  She is abrupt, proud, and a fighter.
Grace is a geek who just moved to San Francisco.  She goes to a private elite high school.  She is shy, retiring, and quiet.

They meet, and as fate would have it, Gretchen and Grace have quite a bit in common.

sapphoq reviews says:  The monsters were really fun in Sweet Venom.  The monsters were the absolute best part of this book.  The storyline was alright for a young adult novel.  The characters were quasi-teenagerish.  There was no cussing or sordid sex scenes or implied lesbianism in Sweet Venom.  I managed to read through this book but am not planning to buy the rest of the series.  Read it if you can borrow it.  Not too sure it is worth the money.

The Occupy Manifesto by The People and For the People

The Occupy Manifesto, By The People and For the People.  [self-published], Smashwords: 2010.  e-book, 14 pages.

Did you really think I was done with Occupy literature?  There are two parts to The Occupy Manifesto.  Part 1:  The Problem and Part 2:  What We Demand.  The Occupy Manifesto is a white paper and it is very well written. 

The problem is defined as corporate greed and lists the problematic decision by the Supreme Court granting "Personhood" to corporations.  I also have a problem with this decision.  It disgusts me that large corporations now have more constitutional rights than extra-legal civilians in our American society.  By extra-legal civilians I am talking about folks who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, transsexual, transgendered, intersexed, and queer.  Other folks can also be included in the label of extra-legal civilian: anyone who has been hassled or arrested for being out in public or even in a car driving while black, poor folks, folks who work for big corporations for wages that are not living wages, folks who are told that their Catholic employer does not have to provide birth control coverage because it hurts their corporate feelings [in spite of the facts that not all folks who work for Catholic employers are Catholic, that there are medical reasons for needing birth control unrelated to procreation, that the Catholic Church as a corporation is filthy rich.  Note: An insurance company having to put into place a mechanism to provide said birth control to those employees "for free" incurs extra expenses in terms of putting such a mechanism into place and man-hours occured in reaching out to said employees] and so on.  Extra-legal is more than the have-nots rebelling against the haves.  Extra-legal means that some classes of ordinary citizens for a variety of reasons are not afforded the protections of the legal system that other classes of ordinary citizens take for granted.

The slogan "I am the 99 Percent" is explained as it relates to how the richest 400 Americans acquisitioning more wealth than the bottom half of the country.  In other words, the uber-rich are really really rich.  The white paper then defines the problem as an issue of "economic injustice" rather than an issue strictly limited to being a leftist, Democratic, liberal, righty, conservative, Republican or any other political label.  The Occupy movement is now worldwide.  The issue of extreme economic disparity itself is worldwide and not just the problem of disgruntled leftist twenty something Americans.
How I first understood Occpy was exactly that-- I thought it was a movement among disgruntled leftist twenty to thirty years old Americans.  I no longer think that.

The demand of the [American] Occupy movement can be said in four words: End extreme wealth disparity.  The Occupy Manifesto then explains how to do so:
1).  Government regulating corporations toward restraint.  In other words, a return to regulation rather than a continued path of de-regulation;
2).  Goverment breaking up media conglomerates [not numbered in the book but it is #2].  This will prevent news from being reported via the lenses of corporations and their paying advertising sponsors;
3).  Government closing tax loopholes and shelters for the rich, and taxing everyone fairly;
4).  Government creating fair usury [interest rates] law in all of the U.S.A.-- high interest rates on loans would then become illegal;
5).  A constitutional amendment that overturns Corporate Personhood;
6).  Government taxation on companies who send their jobs overseas;
7).  Goverment institution of a living wage law for all workers-- increasing the minimum wage so that anyone earning minimum wage can afford a one bedroom apartment.  Strengthen unions as a way to do this until it gets done.

sapphoq reviews says:  Mandates require money.  There is no such thing as a free lunch.  How any of these demands get into federal legislation [if any of them do] will be interesting to watch.  Of personal importance to me is the Corporation as Personhood garbage.  I would like to see that one be flushed.  [#5].  Anyone who wishes a clear explanation of the United Statesian Occupy movement demands-- regardless of one's take on the issues-- should get this e-book.  Book uses big words and requires some adult reading literacy.  If you are stuck at Reader's Digest level [Grade 5], you will probably need some help in understanding The Occupy Manifesto. 

Occupy LOL Street, Volume II by Travis Haan

Occupy LOL Street Volume II, Travis Haan.  [self-published] Smashwords, 2011.  e-book, 178 pps.

Occupy LOL Street Volume II pleased me greatly by being longer than Volume I.  One of the tubed cats startled me by being very similar looking to one of my kitties.  [Note: I don't care if it actually is a tube of one of my kitties or not.  He is beautiful and he knows it and wants the world to know it too].  The five chapters open with some cats writing a song called "A For Anonymous" in Zucchini Park.  The LOL cats go on to explain S.O.P.A. to the readers.  The next morning there is a police car at Zucchini Park.  The LOL trio is advised that loitering in the park is a-okay but that protesting in the park is not.  The cats go on a papering Op across the country with some posters that explain some of the talking points of the Occupy movement.  The rest of the comic book is dedicated to explaining how Occupiers come to a consensus, going to jail and meeting some Occupy humans, the four footers and the two footers raising money, talking to folks about some Occupy demands, going to jail again, the mean dog food factory owner selling out to "Bane of Your Existence Capital" whose C.E.O. sounds a little bit like Mitt and promptly ships the operation off to really cheap labor sweatshops in China, and ending with an activist during a meeting of some Occupiers who are working on free education getting murdered by a Jesus Freak.

sapphoq reviews says: Occupy LOL Street Volume II goes into more of what the Occupiers want and the hurdles faced in direct actions.  The informed reader is familiar with what the Occupiers want but I will list a few of them here anyway: 
     The end of Corporate "Personhood;"
     Higher Tax Rate for the Rich;
     Free Education;
     Legal Protection for ALL protesters;
     and; Outlawing of Political Bribery [lobbying groups?].

If you loved Volume I, you will totally love Volume II.  Get them; and also an e-book called The Wise Sloth which is over 900 pages of good solid wisdom by Travis Haan.  I am still reading The Wise Sloth and I will cover that in a future review.

Occupy LOL Street Volume I, Travis Haan

Occupy LOL Street Volume I, Travis Haan.  [self-published] Smashwords, 2011.  e-book, 41 pps.

The three LOL cats in this comic live on LOL street.  They are a trio of tabbies with gray fur and black stripes.  The cats and other non-human animals in this delightful book are tubed from real life photos, giving them that adorable kitty look that it is virtually impossible to replicate in a cartoon.  The three LOL cats work at the dog food factory and are barely surviving.  They scrimpt and save.  On Christmas, a dog in a beat-up car crash into the cats in front of their house.  They are forced to use their savings to pay for medical bills, and forced to work even harder after that.  They are forced to work the next Christmas.  A series of misfortunes result in the trio joining the Occupy movement.  In the five included chapters, the LOL cats go to a constitutional convention, become homeless, and some other stuff like that.  There is also a mean guy who owns the dog food factory. The LOL cats become more political and more politically aware as they become more involved in the Occupy movement.

sapphoq reviews says: Although a tad predictable in places, Occupy LOL Street Volume I does an excellent job of explaining the Occupy movement.  The cats and other four footeds are adorable and political.  Most excellent for those who are looking for an explanation of what Occupy is all about.  Also excellent for anyone who enjoys the LOL cat phenomenon and for those who want the politicians to respond TO THE PEOPLE instead of to special interests lobby groups with oodles and oodles of money.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Mormon Mayhem by Keaton Albertson

Mormon Mayhem: Uncouth Stories of a Rogue Missionary, Keaton Albertson.  Compton, California: Fast Pencil Inc., 2010. 
e-book, 275 pps.

Mormon Mayhem chronicles the six weeks or so that Keaton spent as a Mormon missionary, plus a bit of time before and after his experience.  After some instruction in what to do, he was then assigned to some town in Florida with a partner.  Fortunately for Keaton but not for the L.D.S., Keaton's partner was cool.  Partner was willing to show Keaton how to score chicks.  Together they plotted to ditch their witnessing efforts quite a bit of the time there.  They also plotted how to cover that up.  Then Something happened.  It was a big Something.  The result of Something happening is that Keaton stopped pretending his compliance and became outright defiant.  He then decided to ditch the mask and went on his merry way doing what he does best-- irreverence and humor and sex with women.

sapphoq reviews says: Keaton Albertson is a worthwhile writer.  His words zing with truth and have left me in choking hysterics and deep belly laughs.  If you get offended easily by cursing or talk of unmarried sex, don't get this book.  If you are an adult with a sense of humor and the understanding that some folks just don't do church well, by all means get this book.  Anything that Keaton Albertson is designed to tickle the funny bone while imparting some basic fun truths about the human condition. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

.comvict by Gregory Alphonse Nimensky

.comvict: Ivy League Genius, Hacker, Multi-Millionaire and Convict, Gregory Alponse Nimensky.  self-published, 2012.  e-book, 105 pps.

Gregory Nimensky hails from Boca Raton Florida and has two degrees related to Engineering/Finance from a pretigious university.  He is knowledgeable and opinionated.  As a younger man, Nimensky alleges that he and some cohorts set up a bunch of fake companies and spammed folks for money.  He is the founder of  Club Epkin (2010), a business located in Boca Raton. characterizes Club Epkin as being involved with "Handbags - Manufacturers Equipment & Supplies".  Nimensky also claims to be a convict.  This I can neither confirm nor deny.  I did not find any independent verification of an arrest record on the Internet.  I don't use paid sites, so perhaps an arrest record does exist.  Neither could I find an arrest record for his associate Mammad.  [Same caveat].  .comvict does mention which actually does exist.  It is a porn site offering free porn movies and uh, some other things to legal adults. 

sapphoq reviews says: I enjoyed most of .comvict.  It told a good story that captured my attention and held it.  The makings of a hacker were there in Nimensky's early childhood.  The problem with .comvict is two-fold.  The last five pages are written choppily.  Nimensky was supposedly in a fedpen serving a five year bid when he wrote .comvict.  Beyond that, the book is supposed to direct the reader to a site [redacted] where the story is finished in video by an an actress standing in for Nimensky's wife.  Another video on the site [redacted] according to the book has an afterword which includes the notion of, paraphrased here, the stuff Nimensky did is uncool so don't do it.  The last five pages may be honest, I don't know.  But to me, they just didn't ring true.  .comvict is worth a read for the first 100 pages which are cancelled out by the last 5.  Give this one a miss unless you are truly enamoured by hacker culture.

How 2 Be Awsum by Professor Happycat

How 2 Be Awsum: A LOLcat Guide 2 Life, Professor Happycat.  New York: Penguin Books, 2011.  e-book.  144 pps.

How 2 Be Awsum is 144 pages of cuteness.  Delicious cats and kittens peer out from the pages to beseech you to fix the coffee correctly, berate you for offering a pink cupcake or for having an easy to guess password.  There is a cat whose opinion of your art lessons is that you seriously need a refund, a kitten who expected a bigger fish but will accept it, and even reasonable zombie cats.  What's not to love?

sapphoq reviews says:  How 2 Be Awsum is also on my list of books for a sad day.  The formatting for an e-reader is much improved over I Has a Hot Dog.  This is a book full of whimsey.  I was first introduced to this style of tagging photos via Caterday and long cats protesting Scientology in the style of Anonymous.  How 2 Be Awsum is truly that and definitely offers pearls of wisdom for life mixed in with the cuteness.  An endearing win for any library.

I Has a Hot Dog by Professor Happycat

I Has a Hot Dog, Professor Happycat.  New York: Hachette Book Group, 2010.  e-book, 23 pps.  Copyright 2010 is held by Pet Holdings, Inc.

I has a Hot Dog takes LOL Cat-Speak into the neighborhood of things with tails, paws, and teeth which aren't feline.  Soulful eyes look out at the reader from pages denoting artistic canine skill with drawing chalk hearts and from exasperated dogs whose owners are clueless over what their dog pets are thinking.  The e-book version feels longer than 23 pages because some of the pages have more than one picture.

sapphoq reviews says: Fans of LOL Cats who also like cute dogs and puppies with witty captions in the pics will enjoy I Has a Hot Dog.  This is an adorable book that I've included in with my "Happy Kit for a Blue Day".  I Has a Hot Dog delivers deep chuckles in a clever fashion.  Highly recommended.

Young House Love by Sherry and John Petersik

Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update and Show Your Home Some Love, Sherry and John Petersik. New York: Artisan, 2012. 336 pps.

Young House Love is a first effort by blogging couple Sherry and John Petersik with a blog by the same name.  They hail from Richmond Virginia where they are fixing up their fixer-upper home.  The ideas are fresh and creative.  The results pop from the glossy pages of photographs.  One does not need tons of money and a private paid designer to do the projects ideas included in the book. This is a book for regular folks.

sapphoq reviews says: Young House Love is an outstanding book and one worth having for folks who are frugal by nature and enjoy paint splatter.  I usually prefer country style/farm style stuff myself.  But the projects in this book suited me.  I have plans to try some of the crafty ideas in Young House Love .
                                     Recommended for folks like me who fix up flea market and thrift store finds, young couples, and country style / farm style afficiandos.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Second LIfe Has Lost Its Luster

I been on Second Life(tm)  for a few years.  I recently got tired of it and I quit.

I was lonely there.  I kept hoping for something more than superficial but superficial it remained.  I became disenchanted.  And I began to evaluate my priorities once again.  Housemate kept muttering dark things about me being "addicted" to it.

The time that I used to spend there I am now spending on my blogs and my art.  I have connected with a vital web community of folks who are working on changing things that I am also interested in changing.  I have re-connected with some old friends on the web.
I am happier.

sapphoq reviews no longer a clone
this blog post dedicated to Jeremy Crow 4 Life

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon

The Speed of Dark, Elizabeth Moon.  New York: Ballentine Books, 2003.  e-book  312 pps.

Right on the heels of the news that the D.S.M. shrinks have axed Asperger's-- preferring to lump everyone together now under the broad spectrum of autism or autistic-like disorders (sigh)-- came talk about The Speed of Dark.  I was annoyed.  I was and am annoyed at the unknown shrinks.  I was and am annoyed at the bookstores where I go at least once a week for between one and five hours at a time for not stocking this particular book.  I love Elizabeth Moon's Paks series, liked much of her sci fi, but somehow The Speed of Dark escaped my notice.  Apparently it escaped the notice of the buyers for the bookstores too.  Grrrr.  Had this book been anywhere in the bookstores that I frequent, I would have known it.  I practically live in those bookstores.  If not for the marvels of the Internet, specifically a Twitter(tm) feed-- and Twitter is cool except when Twitter does things like ban AnonOpsSweden which is basically a newsreel from a cold place where I hope some of my relatives are doing more than drinking hot cocoa with the reindeer.  That is to say, I hope that some of my unknown relatives are radical, or at the very least doing stuff to change some of the crap in the world.

So, rather belatedly, I got to read The Speed of Dark.  And I found it good.  Actually, I found it excellent.  Truthfully, I don't bother to write too many reviews of books that I've hated.  That is why most of the books I review on here are books that I like or love.  The Speed of Dark falls into the category of love.  The main character in this book by the name of Lou is an Aspergian who, along with the rest of his unit in the company that he works for, is able to work exceptionally well at his job of "finding patterns."  The work crew have special parking spaces, a gym with trampoline and music, and a few other consessions so that way they can work.  Some folks are pissed about that.  There is also a fencing group that Lou belongs to.  A jealous normie man and an attractive woman.  And a young disabled woman from a Center who is pissed off that Lou hangs out with "normies."  All of these people and places and attitudes congeal to deliver a punch ending.

sapphoq reviews says:  The narratives and the dialogues throughout the book were highly realistic.  The Speed of Dark is well worth a read.  Fans of Elizabeth Moon are sure to like Lou.  Folks who like light science fiction or a peak into a not-too-distant future are sure to enjoy.

"...we (meaning society in its judgmental role) create aliens from humans by excluding them, by defining them as too strange, too difficult...Cultures have defined other races, religions, nationalities, and even economic groups as "not really human" and thus outside the rules that govern behavior in the group.  And we've done it with disabilities.  Sometimes the disabled are treated as children (We know what's best for you . . . ) and sometimes as monsters who must be confined or even killed."
                                                       Elizabeth Moon, from an interview towards the back of the book

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Cocktail Hour Unter the Tree of Forgetfulness by Alexandra Fuller

Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, Alexandra Fuller.  New York: The Penguin Press, 2011.  e-book, 197 pps.

Alexandra Fuller is now grown up and married.  Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness tells more of her mother's history, a bit of her dad's, and pieces of what happened in Africa with the various wars and civil unrest.  Mom continues to have a full-fledged drinking problem.  She has also been diagnosed with a psychiatric condition as well and treated with meds and a stay in the hospital. 

Alexandra Fuller's narrative of her mother's history and family background is very well put together and also very interesting.  There are a few old time pictures which aid in setting the mood for this tome.  Mom refers to Alexandra's writing as "Awful books."  Her complaints are reminiscent of a very few accusations that I have received along the lines of, "So, you're going to use our conversation/ my most excellent untarnished personality/ my experiences for one of your characters..." implying that I can write fiction that folks will want to pay to read and that my acquaintances are so interesting that they can't help but wind up in some book that I haven't written yet.  The thing is, Tub Fuller is actually interesting and a natural subject to wind up in one of her daughter's Awful books.

sapphoq reviews says: More of the author's mom's history and background are revealed in this later book about living in Africa.  Alexandra Fuller has grown up, became a naturalized citizen of the United States.  Her sister is residing in London during the book's time period.  Mom and Dad are in Africa and in Africa to stay.  There is indeed a tree of forgetfulness.  Made me wish for my own.  Worth a read for anyone who enjoyed Alexandra Fuller's first book of memoirs Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight

Friday, December 07, 2012

Don't Let'sGo to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller, New York: Random House, 2001.  ebook, 256 pps.

When I was a kid, I briefly knew a girl and her mother who invited me to a museum with them.  Where there, they fawned over the sculptures and pottery that was from what was then called Rhodesia.  "The best stuff isn't here," the mother sniffed.  I didn't understand really.  Turned out both had lived there together when the girl was even younger.  Girl might have been born there, I don't actually recall.  I grew up in an openly prejudiced family.  These two had an Irish surname and freckles.  I knew next to nothing about Africa.  I was a kid as I have stated.  Too young to know that the "Social Studies" books we were given were woefully inadequate.  Neither one of them said anything else about this Rhodesia which I knew was located on the continent of Africa but nothing else.  I have no idea now of where they had lived, what they done there, or why they had left.  They didn't offer any information.  I wasn't prone to asking.  As a matter of fact, I could not even detect an accent.  To me, they sounded like everyone else in my mixed up neighborhood.  At any rate, they both disappeared shortly afterwards.  Perhaps mother and young daughter had gone back to Africa, maybe to a safer place than Rhodesia.  At any rate, I never saw them again.  Alexandra Fuller's book is about a childhood in Africa.  It is the book that I wish I'd had as a child.  Certainly more accurate than our "Social Studies" books.

The family hailed from England but when Alexandra Fuller was a toddler went back to Africa.  There was a farm, a series of farms.  Mom and dad were a bit taken up with the drink.  Especially Mom.  She got a bit maudlin at times, was prone to belting out songs at random.  There were two surviving sibs.  The author-- called BoBo in the book-- was one of them.  Her older sister Vanessa-- called Van-- was the other one.  There was a war and guns and the hazards of living in places where the wild things had been first.

sapphoq reviews says:  A very likeable memoir.  Worth a read for anyone who is an armchair traveler into other peoples' yesterdays living in faraway lands. 

Help at Any Cost by Maia Szalavitz

Help at Any Cost, Maia Szalavitz.  New York: Penguin Group Inc. [Riverhead Books], 2006.  e-book. 297 pps.

I happened upon Help at Any Cost while doing some research on the troubled teen industry.  I saw some names I have been becoming increasingly familiar with-- Robert Lichfield, Ken Kay, David Gilcrease, et. al.  Maia Szalavitz found the one staffer who worked at W.W.A.S.P.S. who in my book is a true hera-- Amberly Knight-- a former director who complained about the conditions at Dundee Ranch to the authorities and quit.  Chapter Five is very thorough and dedicated to all things W.W.A.S.P.S.  The other chapters flesh out the history of Synanon, Seed, and KIDS.  Maia Szalavitz also discusses how group treatment went among the original tough love crowd, exactly what was wrong with the whole tough love movement [something which I myself did not know, and from my background I really should have], lawsuits and court dates, and the difference between abuse and addiction especially as how that difference pertains to teens.

sapphoq reviews says: Help at Any Cost is a valuable addition to the discussion of the troubled teen industry.  The historical background is one that I much appreciated.  The whole idea of love being a commodity to be earned if one behaves is repugnant.  An easy read that is highly informative.  This book should be read by any parents considering sending their teens off to a behavioral modification residential program as well as by professionals who work in any addictions fields.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Anti-Therapist by Keaton Albertson

The Anti-Therapist: Interrogations and Interventions with Sex Offenders, Keaton Albertson.  Self-Published e-book, Keaton Albertson, 2012.  528 pps.

In researching the troubled teen industry, I became curious as to whether or not some sects of the [fundamentalist variety; that is to say the fringe polygamist sects] Latter Day Saints had the underpinnings of an abuse culture.  I came across several e-books by Keaton Alberton.  Keaton Albertson grew up in a Mormon household but departed from that faith as he rocketed into adulthood.  The Keaton Alberton books had nothing to do with the question of abuse culture or the troubled teen industry.  Samples convinced me to read them anyways.  So here is the first one that I've read.

As a young man, Keaton Albertson got a job as a treatment facilitator.  He had to interview various predators who were locked up for treatment as part of their sentences for their various disgusting crimes.  Their crimes were truly disgusting.  And so were some of their behaviors on their living units.  Keaton's clientele included folks who did things with their grandchildren, with barn animals, with shit, and with anything filthy imaginable.  They were required to disclose a full sexual history.  Their perversions were worse than anything that I've seen on television.  And these guys saw nothing wrong with things like trying to get a horse to administer oral sex [FAIL], beating on a Staffordshire terrier and then trying to get it to give them oral sex [FAIL], masturbating with feces in public toilet stalls that were vacated by little girls [FAIL], stealing underwear from a garage sale [FAIL], ejaculating into a hole they secretly created in their neighbor's kid's teddy bear and then leaving it on the pillow uncleaned to fester when the neighbors weren't at home [FAIL].  In spite of the subject matter, I laughed uproariously at Keaton's descriptions of each interview and situation that he ran into.  I don't think I will quite forget for a long time the likes of a dude who left little piles of constipated shit in the communal shower stall at the treatment facility or the guy who stole hot sauce from the cafeteria to use as a lubricant during his special moments with his penis and testicles.  Keaton's story-telling ability shone throughout the book.  The truly frightening thing about this book is that the guys that he described really do exist.  And until they get caught, they are out in public doing things or possibly next door having pool parties and mowing the lawn.  

Keaton also recounted his escapades with a couple of buddies from work after-hours.  And a new boss that he named Assclown who certainly resembled his moniker.

A friend of mine from high school used to hang out quite a bit at her apartment.  Her mother was a stout Irish woman who used to tell us all of the time that "Truth is stranger than fiction."  [She also told us more than once that we stank like a brewery when we descended upon the apartment after a drinking spree in college].  To which I can say, "Yeah.  Truth certainly is."  The Anti-Therapist is a perfect illustration of that motto.

I never really cared for my snooty neighbors-- the ones with the pool parties and mowed lawn-- but now I am leery of them as well. It's far too easy to picture them doing all kinds of really demented sexual stuff while putting on a good front around town.  Just makes me want to go live in a cave very far away from anyone and anywhere.

sapphoq reviews says:  If you object to sexual topics or cursing, then don't read this book.  But if you are able to deal with f-bombs and weird things you've never thought about, then The Anti-Therapist is a winner.  It helps if you've read enough John Douglas or have a decent background in anything related to true crime or perps and how they pick their targets.  Keaton Albertson is a winner of a writer.  I'm looking forward to reading more of his books.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Exposed: Internet Sex Predators by R. Stephanie Good

Internet Sex Predators, R. Stephanie Good.  Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2007.  ebook, 193 pps.

I like case histories.  Case histories are kind of like snapshots into the secret lives of others, a sort of quasi-professional voyeurism.  Shrinks have always loved case histories.  Especially if the identified patient of the case history is dead.  In that case, they call them "psychological autopsies".  The dissection of the dead life is done with words and report folders and a team meeting.  Maybe it's mental masturbation.  So much of life these day is just that.  Some folks like to get their quota by watching those television talk shows-- the ones where you hope that none of your relatives insist that you come along with them to be a guest on but also the ones where you scan the list of guests to see if any of them are your neighbors.  The television docs are on the rise too these days.  Jerry Springer had to tone things down, I myself enjoy Christina on the Spanish station, Sally Jesse Raphael died, I don't know if Doctor Ruth is still around or not.  Exit most of the civilized talk shows and enter the doctor shows.  The docs tell you how to live or how not to live, send your kids away to abusive kiddy camps and "therapeutic treatment" places, make yummy snack foods, and talk about how your pee and poop should look.  With samples.  So lots of folks sit around and tune into these sorts of dirty laundry shows increasingly run by doctors and other perceived experts.  Instead of doing that, I am visiting dearly demented dad or out in the woods with the dog when those shows air.  I get my kicks from case histories of the printed kind.

Exposed: Internet Sex Predators is a series of case histories that R. Stephanie Good has aided the F.B.I. with.  She poses as an un-adult-- someone that grown men and women should not be approaching on-line for sex-- and goes into chatrooms.  She is very specific about what constitutes entrapment and what doesn't.  The pervs approach her persona.  The rule is that they are the ones who have to start with the sex talk first.  Once she ascertains that the perv private messaging her is not just into trading, she allows the perv of the moment to continue the conversation over a period of days or weeks when necessary.  The end result is usually a bunch of penises being transmitted to the e-mail box of a young teen and a request for a meeting.  

I had a gay male acquaintance who was a minister and a bit screwed up.  He did things like entertain strange men in the back of cars near bars and have sex with men with H.I.V. without condoms.  He didn't believe that H.I.V. transmitted A.I.D.S.  He was also fond of telling me some old saw about the cops in Fort Lauderdale who used to arrest gay men for peeking through glory holes in the public bathrooms and well, doing it through those same holes.  I never understood why anyone would want to jack off in a bathroom, especially a public bathroom which by definition is usually scummy.  My former acquaintance didn't really understand entrapment.  He figured that any contact with an undercover cop meant that the cop was enticing the future arrestee by mere presence.  I guess cops in Fort Lauderdale must all be tanned appealing hunks.  Who knew?  At any rate, lots of these sicko b-tards on the internet looking for teens also claim that they are being entrapped when caught.  Must be similar to the "But officer, some dude back there threw this bag of drugs into my car!" line that is heard so often on the television show Cops.

sapphoq reviews says:  While Exposed: Internet Sex Predators doesn't add much new to the discussion, it is rather enjoyable for those of us who like case histories in the printed form.  An easy read.  Not as knowledgeable as a John Douglas on how perps operate.  Even so, a good enough book.  Recommended to true crime afficianos who like Ann Rule and other case histories.

Isn't It Pretty To Think So by Nick Miller

Isn't It Pretty To Think So? Nick Miller.  Berkeley: Fernando French Publishing, 2012.  ebook, 995 pps.

Isn't It Pretty To Think So? is a coming of age novel by Nick Miller and appears to be his first.  It is somewhat autobiographical and fully reminiscent of the talent of J. D. Salinger but way more entertaining.  There's a lot of screwing in the book.  I think the young women were lucky, although as it turns out the narrator wasn't always so lucky.  There's bits of drugs and partying wildly in the book too, along with a typical misdirected belief that switching to beer and wine fixes someone in the throes of an addiction cycle.  Even so, I would not have it any other way.  There was a television series on for a couple of years that had an accurate understanding of addiction.  Once the character went off to rehab, I tuned out of the series.  Somehow I don't want the protagonists to be too good or too healthy.  It is obvious to me also that the beliefs of the characters in a novel are not necessarily those of the author.  So I stand by my statement that the way that the narrator was portrayed was far more realistic than if he had sprinted off to rehab.  If he had sprinted off to rehab, I probably would not have finished this book.

The young man in the book being unlucky in love and jobs and stuff like that zooms off and lives here and there until he winds up renting a room in a funky mansion in Los Angeles.  The mansion turns out to be a drug-infested party place much like the one that I lived in during part of my raucous college years.  There is a party daily, a couple of house cleaners who make everything fresh again on Mondays, and an in-house drug dealer.  Replete with the bars and odd folks living in the mansion and in the neighborhood, our twenty-something kid realizes he ain't getting any writing done and splits for someplace else.  

In the new someplace else, he meets his mentor.  His mentor is an older fellow who pretty much gets him to write-- the book in hand coincidentally.  And then there is finally a woman worthy of our budding author and I'm not telling you any more.

sapphoq reviews says:  995 pages was a lot of book and yet I enjoyed every hormone-laden, angst-swimming, love lost and found minute.  Very accessible to all except those who have no business reading books for older readers and those who object to cussing and sex and want us to care that they do.  Folks if you are so fractured that you cannot deal with a few f-bombs in print or the horniness of youth, you probably should not be reading this particular blog.  If you enjoyed Catcher in the Rye once upon a time when you were young, or you know that Hemmingway had a couple of series of e.c.t. treatments, then you are bound to like this rollicking rocking book with a bit of a serious side to it albeit no mental hospitals.  So yeah, get this book and settle in for a long read.  Highly recommended.

You've Got to be Kidding by John Capps and Donald Capps

You've Got to be Kidding! (How jokes can help you think), John Capps and Donald Capps.  New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.  ebook 127 pps.

The two Capps-- father and son-- have written a thorough understandable book about critical thinking, philosophy, and identifying cognitive fallacies in arguments or discourses.  This is the book that I wish everyone on Twitter would read.  I enjoy a good discussion when all of the parties involved know how to keep on-topic and are able to illustrate their points without descending into "the gods said it" or "you're a smuck" kind of irrational discourse.  This is exactly why I like hanging around my fellow atheists.  Most of us know how to put together a rational defense when talking about current events or belief systems.  If I have to listen to one more "god of the gaps" rant, I think I shall scream.

The Capps divide the fallacies that they address into three logical categories: fallacies of relevance, evidence, and assumption.  They also talk about truth being objective, evidence versus proof, values, and the necessity of thinking.  Although much of this is available on some freethinker websites, the jokes add a flavor that also enables one to remember the fallacies they have chosen to address.

sapphoq reviews says: Yeah, I like this book.  Folks that like humor will find this book appealing.  The book is suitable to general audiences who wish to learn how to argue in a logical and rational manner.  Highly recommended.