Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Blue Limbo

By Terence M. Green

Mitch Helwig is a cop in the not-too-distant future. Together with another police, Sam Karoulis, they put a big dent in a very powerful criminal organization. But that organization has friends within the police department and a bomb is planted with the intention of killing both Mitch and Sam. But they escape unharmed.
Mitch is in the middle of a painful divorce and it has knocked him a little off balance. He is prone to overreact and to rage and when it becomes apparent that he and Sam were the actual targets of the bombing, he becomes a one-man wrecking crew, arming himself with a variety of dangerous weapons and defensive equipment. It only gets worse when Sam is murdered.
In this future time, a technique has been developed to enable deceased brains to enjoy a short time of reanimation. It's called Blue Limbo because those who have been subjected to the procedure seem to perceive nothing except blueness surrounding them. Mitch rushes Sam's body to the hospital which does the Blue Limbo procedure and Sam is able to identify his killer.
Mitch is itching to take down the responsible parties but his elderly father has been kidnapped by the killers. That isn't going to protect them from their doom. Mitch Helwig is coming for them.

This was an exciting and touching story of a man dealing with his demons, coming to realize the importance of friends and family and of doing his best to right some serious wrongs. I enjoyed it a lot.

AsapSCIENCE: Answers to the World's Weirdest Questions, Most Persistent Rumors & Unexplained Phenomena

By Mitchell Moffit and Greg Brown

Just like the title says, Moffit and Brown look at things that people sometimes wonder about their bodies.

The book has seven chapters:

1. Resolving Persistent Questions, Rumors, and Weird Phenomena: Does being cold make you sick? Are silent farts more deadly? Does shaving make your hair grow thicker? Etc.

2.Body Talk: Brain Farts. The science of bad breath. Why are men so hairy? Etc.

3. Hypotheticals: Just two sections, Could a zombie apocalypse happen? What if you stopped going outside?

4. Sensory Perception: Why do we get pins and needles? Why do we itch? Why does time feel faster as we age? Etc.

5. Hot Sex and Other Amorous Pursuits: The science of sexy. The science of heartbreak. The science of orgasms. Etc.

6. Getting to the Bottom of Bad Behavior: The science of swearing. The science of lying. The science of procrastination. The scientific hangover cure.

7. Dreaming, Waking, Napping, Sleeping: The scientific power of naps. The science of morning wood. What are eye boogers? And more.

Things are explained in clear, easy-to-understand language, using an engaging and often humorous style and accompanied by profuse, charming illustrations.  An enjoyable and fairly short read for those who have inquiring minds.

Under the Banner of Heaven

By Jon Krakauer

In 1984, two brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty murdered their other brother Allen's wife, Brenda, and their baby daughter, Erica. According to the Laffertys, Brenda was a bad person and her baby was a bad person too because she would grow up to be just like her mother.
Ron Lafferty hated Brenda because his wife turned to Brenda for advice and eventually left her husband. He blamed Brenda for this and claimed he had a revelation from God that Brenda, Erica and some other people needed to be killed. The other people were also people that Ron was angry with.
Ron and Dan belonged to the Mormon religion and were fundamentalists. One of the tenets of their religion, as I understand it, is that individual men can have valid revelations directly from God. In fact, I think the head of the Mormon church is regarded as a prophet. So when Ron became angry, he claimed he had a revelation from God saying his particular enemies must be killed. So he and his brother, who, from what I have read about him, is a bit of a lunatic, along with two other men, drove over to Allen & Brenda's place, and burst in on Brenda at a time when Allen was not home. Ron beat Brenda to a bloody pulp and Dan cut Brenda and Erica's throats, nearly decapitating the two victims. All this because one hate-filled, resentful man mistook his anger for divine revelation and talked his gullible brother into joining him in a terrible crime.
Ron and Dan were raised Mormon and the author makes the case for the Mormon religion as a co-conspirator in the murders. Apparently, Mormonism has a bloody and violent history and a persecution complex that, along with any man can have a divine revelation teaching, encourages the kind of extremism practiced by the Lafferty brothers and others of their ilk like Brian David Mitchell, the man who kidnapped Elizabeth Smart and forced her to become his second wife.

This was a very interesting story. Although the actions of the Lafferty brothers is the framework of the story, it is really about Mormonism and delves into the beginnings of it and of the schisms within it. After reading this book, I can't help but feel that Mormonism has many things in common with Islam and the potential to become as dangerous as Islam, given the right circumstances.

A review by The New York Times

Shoot Low, Boys--They're Ridin' Shetland Ponies

By Lewis Grizzard

Grizzard writes about his encounters with people who showed, in his opinion, true grit. He was inspired by the movie of the same name, starring John Wayne. Grizzard was a fan of Wayne's.

It was an OK read, not as funny as I was hoping for and his examples of true grit were not all that inspiring. It seemed to me that just being a working adult was enough for him to perceive you as a person with true grit, whatever that is.