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Len S. (lens) - , - Reviews

1 to 16 of 16
Anyone You Want Me to Be : A True Story of Sex and Death on the Internet
Review Date: 8/4/2011


The author tried to paint the internet as a lawless place teeming with criminals at every turn, as if people like John Robinson were the rule rather than the exception. Robinson scoured fetish-related chat rooms, offering jobs and a master/slave relationship. A simple search of the same internet would've revealed Robinson to be a career criminal.

The unintentional comical highlight for me was a wildly inaccurate description of computer forensics: "It's a trade secret.", says the court expert when asked how erased files can be recovered.

I did like how slowly the story moved in the beginning and the reasonable depth of info on victims of this heinous man.

What I took away from this book was how an evil man with an ability to smooth-talk the ladies had his playground enlarged by the internet. He then used laws designed to protect criminals to facilitate killing scores of women before he was captured.


Bossypants
Bossypants
Author: Tina Fey
Book Type: Audio CD
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 36
Review Date: 12/2/2013


I find this audio book perfect for listening while on a treadmill/exercise bike, etc. Ms. Fey kept me entertained and the time seemed to pass very quickly as I got lost in her stories and marveled at her comedic intellect. I'm starting my second "cycle" through the CDs just to catch the jokes that I missed the first time around (because I was still laughing from the previous joke).

If there is a place that plays Tina Fey monologues 24/7, "I want to go to there".


Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home : And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals
Review Date: 9/6/2011
Helpful Score: 1


Do not read this expecting to learn the science behind the remarkable actions of animals. The book is 3/4 full of repetitive, anecdotal evidence from pet owners with only a sprinkling of pseudo-scientific testing arranged with a few owners. Dr. Sheldrake spends a lot of time expounding on his theory of morphic fields, which to me seems an oversimplified intro to collective conscious.

All that said, the appendices made this book worthwhile to me. Especially concerning Rene P'eoch's experiments with baby chicks imprinting on, and then affecting the actions of a robot.

I have no doubt that dogs, cats, horses and many other animals are able to accomplish feats that humans cannot understand. Guess I'll have to wait another decade or so to find out how.


Don't Stop Believin': How Karaoke Conquered the World and Changed My Life
Review Date: 9/30/2021


This was a fun read. The author combines a history of karaoke with a memoir of his personal travails practicing the art.


Early Graves: The Shocking True-Crime Story of the Youngest Woman Ever Sentenced to Death Row
Review Date: 2/26/2009
Helpful Score: 1


This is the true story of a couple of ne'er do wells (Alvin & Judith Neeley) that came to my hometown, holed up in a cheap motel, and then kidnapped a teen. After a week or so of abuse, they carried her to Alabama and executed her in a most vicious way.

It's not in the book, but when Alabama Governor Fob James was leaving office, he commuted Judith's sentence from death to life in prison. This prompted the Alabama legislature to enact a law that prevented commuted death sentences from being eligible for parole.

The book contains several small factual errors that I knew only because I live here. Certainly makes me wonder about the accuracy of the stuff I didn't know.

As far as being a page turner, what the author lacks in style is made up for by the heinousness of the crimes he's reporting. He does paint a clear picture of two hopeless scumbags and the tragic chemistry between them that caused innocent lives to be lost.


The Glory of Their Times : The Story of Baseball Told By the Men Who Played It
Review Date: 7/23/2008
Helpful Score: 1


This book features stories about the way baseball used to be, each chapter told by a different former player. There's a certain degree of myth in some of the stories, but that's okay because the stories are being told by the players that experienced them, and we all know how memories grow!

My favorite chapter is by Goose Goslin; I have no doubt that he's being honest when he says that there's absolutely nothing better to him than hitting a fastball ("In they come, and out they go!"). Charlie Gehringer's tale of being a devout Jewish ballplayer is also an interesting read.

When MLB players go on strike again, I'm going straight to the bookstore to buy another copy of this (I'm about to swap my copy on PBS to share the wealth). This book will restore your faith in our national pastime.


John Prine Beyond Words
John Prine Beyond Words
Author: John Prine
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/21/2019


What an absolute treasure.

John Prine, the singer/songwriter who's career has spanned six decades, walks us through his mostly-under-the-radar years with beautiful lyrics, personal photographs, stories, crib notes and first drafts.

It's also a quality songbook--all the lyrics have the guitar chords correctly spaced above them. The pages are thick and glossy with a strong binding that stays open to your song of choice.

This book preceded his breakthrough "Tree of Forgiveness" work. What a great way for his newly-won fans to catch up!


John Prine: In Spite of Himself (American Music Series)
John Prine: In Spite of Himself (American Music Series)
Author: Eddie Huffman
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 11/4/2016


This is an unauthorized biography by a journalist who has covered John's career as a professional and a fan.

There is not much information here that can't be gleaned from other sources, but it does serve the purpose of gathering the info in one place for easy access. Add to that the excellent writing style of Eddie Huffman and you get a reference book well worth the cover price.


Living on the Black: Two Pitchers, Two Teams, One Season to Remember
Review Date: 11/4/2016


Baseball fans will delight in this up-close look at two great major league pitchers in the waning years of their careers. Tom Glavine and Mike Mussina provide insight into every aspect of baseball and the lives of the players and their families.

It is especially interesting to see the other side of the Glavine trade that was espoused in John Shuerholz's book.


R.E.M. Inside Out: The Stories Behind Every Song
R.E.M. Inside Out: The Stories Behind Every Song
Author: Craig Rosen
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 6/4/2014


Author Craig Rosen does a decent job of researching interviews of R.E.M. members and those who've worked with the band. He divys up quotes to present insight into the each song's lyrics--often quotes that conflict with each other.

Rosen does tend to overplay possible distant theme links among songs, but usually only when he has little else to work with for a particular song.

The photos in this book are a definite plus, both thorough and applicable to the text.

On balance, this is not a definitive guide to exact meanings of R.E.M. songs. Those familiar with their work understand that is not possible. It is, however, a great official introduction to the band as well as a pleasurable encyclopedia to accompany most of R.E.M.'s catalog.


Serial Killers
Serial Killers
Author: Joel Norris
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 4/13/2012
Helpful Score: 2


An interesting look at commonalities among serial killers (did you know a longer third toe is common for serial killers?!?) and a virtual scolding of the parties that the author deems responsible for missed opportunities to recognize and treat sociopaths destined to kill without remorse.
For me, the best part was the "In their own words" section where serial killers told their stories. I did not look for truth in their words, rather for hints at the basis for self-serving mentality and lack of empathy.
I would recommend this book for anyone curious about the type of human that is driven to kill for reasons not apparent to normal humans.


The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail-But Some Don't
Review Date: 11/4/2016


I still remember when Nate Silver joined our research team at SABR... we all agreed that this young lad was going places.

This book is a very enjoyable read for both statisticians and laypersons. Nate delves into the human element that often misguides us when we forget how statistics can be manipulated toward an end game... and shows us that these same statistics can be used in context to predict outcomes with remarkable accuracy.


Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs
Review Date: 9/25/2012


My interest in this book was inspired by my desire to better understand how people can be brainwashed into doing things that are contrary to human nature, e.g., to give up any relationship with immediate family (including their biological children) to appease a spiritual or religious leader.
The childlike tone of the book didn't bother me as I came to learn about education (or lack thereof) in the FLDS. It was also pretty obvious in places that the author wasn't beholden to telling the whole truth, which is a shame because the strength of her important message is diminished by her whitewashing certain events.
While far from great literature, this book serves to open the eyes of those who ignore the abuse of women and children in the name of religion here in our own country.


The Things That Keep Us Here
The Things That Keep Us Here
Author: Carla Buckley
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 32
Review Date: 5/17/2012
Helpful Score: 1


A Wonderful Return to Fiction
This book was a change of pace for me. I read non-fiction almost exclusively now, though I've had plenty of experience with fiction in my past. :)

There are already a few good reviews of the story, so I'll take this opportunity to complement this book and its author on some of the finer points that made this a real treat for me.

The short chapters made this book especially hard to put down. Gentle cliffhangers would be revisited after the focus shifted for some five or six pages and it was easy to keep up with multiple story lines.

The long-running mysteries of the book are treated perfectly. With one, I was anxious for tidbits of information in order to solve what I knew was being saved for the big reveal. In another, the signs were there all along, but they were so seamlessly interwoven into the story that I didn't even know the mystery existed until it was solved! A great touch.

The technique of introducing certain chapters with press releases really set the mood and added a definite sense of realism.

Finally, I'll list a few of the themes that Ms. Buckley explored to perfection: the bonds between a mother and her children, the accepted inconsistencies of many types of relationships and most notably, human (and inhumane and even non-human) nature in the face of varying degrees of adversity.

I highly recommend this book and await the opportunity to enjoy the author's second offering.


Umpire Strikes Back
Umpire Strikes Back
Author: Ron Luciano, David Fisher
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 2.3/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 6/18/2007
Helpful Score: 3


A thoroughly enjoyable book, due mainly to Luciano's humor. Like a good Scrubs episode, he'll drop a tidbit in passing and then reference it humorously several chapters later. His baseball stories are very interesting, like the time he swapped jobs briefly with third baseman Buddy Bell during a spring training game. If you love baseball and have a sense of humor, you won't regret reading this book.


You're Out and You're Ugly, Too!: Confessions of an Umpire With Attitude
You're Out and You're Ugly, Too!: Confessions of an Umpire With Attitude
Author: Durwood Merrill
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 7/19/2007
Helpful Score: 1


All in all, an interesting read for baseball fans of the 80s and 90s. His ego does get in the way of the story, but as much should be expected from an umpire!


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