Friday, September 30, 2016

PAINFULLY RICH The Outrageous Fortune And Misfortunes Of The Heirs Of J. Paul Getty by John Pearson

This is one of my hard-backed books that I first finished (in the hot tub at the club) on We 4/21/99 and had bought the previous Saturday at the main branch for a dollar.


J Paul's parents, George and Sarah were both religious fanatics. The father was a Christian Scientist and his mother became deaf as the result of an illness. Neither parent ever thought that Paul was up to snuff.

The Sarah Getty Trust was set up by Sarah during the Great Depression. She felt that Paul would squander his fortune, so she invented a tax free haven that would prevent this from happening. However, Paul was correct. When the market is at the lowest is the time to spend, and spend big.

Paul's biggest goal in life (after sex, mostly with very young girls) was the quest for more money. This trust allowed him to get more and more of it, and to keep it safe from the taxman. And by amassing this fortune, it help to prove that his parents were wrong in their low estimation of him.

J Paul claims that he never paid the US government more than 500 dollars of tax in a year.

His Sons-

George, the oldest

Ronald- this boy was cut out of the inheritance because J Paul felt that his grandfather would be able to always pay for Ronald's needs. J Paul was in a bitter divorce with Ronald's mother and he hated his very rich father in law. However, this man lost his fortune not long after.

Paul- A sixties Hippie and drug addict. His wife died under mysterious circumstances and this haunted him all of his life. Decades later he got clean and became a master of old books and sailing. He was knighted and became a major philanthropist.

Gordon- the most business oriented of the sons.

3788 Clay St., San Francisco

Paul's son was the boy that was kidnapped and lost an ear in Italy during the early 70's. Lots of information about this very interesting case.

"I have fourteen grandchildren and if I paid a single ransom, I'd be paying ransom for all of them"
This was the logic as to why J Paul did not want to pay for the release of his grandchild.

A great read and very informative.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


This was the September selection for the Contemporary Book Club. I got a used hard-cover, library copy of the book from Amazon and received it on Tu 9/1/16.

Finished Mo 9/26/16

An easy read, yet a tragic/comic story. The story is told through the eyes of a 78 year old woman, but the story is written by a young man.

I was surprised to learn that this author wrote the novel THE REVISED FUNDAMENTALS OF CAREGIVING. This was made into a film by Netflix and I saw it a few months ago- starred Paul Rudd and Selena Comes. The highlight of the film is when the caregiver facilitates his client to be able to piss standing up (his client has multiple sclerosis).

Harriet is the hero; Skip and Caroline are her adult children
Bernard is Harriet's dead husband and current 'ghost'.

Mildred is Harriet's friend. This woman had a decades long affair with Bernard. Harriet learns of this while she is on an Alaskan cruise that Bernard won before he died. Mildred confesses in a letter that she gives to Harriet.
Dwight is Mildred's adult son. Takes Harriet to meet the boat: Cowboy hat/smokes pot on the drive.

"I'm not a terrorist....I'm an Episcopalian"!!

CTO Carmichael  This is an angel who tries to keep Bernard from visiting Harriet from the afterlife, although 'nothing' will happen.  Chief Technology Officer of Heaven????

Throughout the novel Harriet chastises Mildred Honeycutt's 'weak coffee' and 'unshaved legs'.

Novel is set in Sequim, WA. Near Seattle and in the Banana Belt. Olympic Rain Shadow. Pop. 29,000.

Sunny Acres is the nice nursing home where Mildred lives and Sherwood Arms is the not so nice place where Bernard ends up.

Charlie Fitzsimmons molests Harriet when she was nine and years later, rapes her when Harriet works for him as a legal assistant. Caroline is the result of this sexual encounter. Both secrets are kept by Harriet until the end of her life.

"Welcome to the sexual revolution, Harriet Chance, you won't be staying long"!

I really liked the novel and have his first book, ALL ABOUT LULU on reserve at the library. Most of the group enjoyed the book, but Becky didn't like the 'this is your life' format.

A review of the book-

Author's page at wikipedia-

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

THE HUNTED by Elmore Leonard

Finished Tu 9/20/16

This was one of my paperbacks that was purchased at the library book sale on Fr 6/13/99 and never read. I picked it out to read because I only have a day or so before I must tackle the September selection for the Contemporary Book Club.

Leonard is always a pleasant read; excellent dialog and nearly all of his books belong on the silver screen and THE HUNTED is certainly no exception.

Set in Israel during the seventies; the novel was written in 1977

Al Rosen is a businessman living in the witness protection program. He was vacationing in Israel when a hotel fire happened and he got his picture taken and it was published in the newspaper.
Then, The Bad Guys knew where he was and begin their attack.

Rosen also was in Israel to pick up money from his lawyer. This was $195,000.

A Marine who is about to leave the service helps Rosen during the ensuing mayhem.

Dave Davis- Marine stationed at the American embassy who helps Rosen
Atalia (Tali)- young woman who is Rosen's secretary
Mel Bandy- Rosen's lawyer

Valenzuela (Val)- the boss
Teddy- explosive expert
Rashad- 'Alabama Arab'; converted to Islam in federal prison

Rosen is shot and killed during the final shootout. All the bad guys are killed and Davis takes the money from Mel 'because he can'.  The money belonged to the company and the lawyer doesn't really care (or want to become involved); he did the handoff so he's out of it.

Great read and any Leonard novel is worth a look. The language of the characters is the saving grace- very pithy!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

THE SILENCE by Jim Kraus

Refinished Sa 9/17/16

This is one of my books that I originally finished Sa 1/20/07 and I bought it at the West Branch for a dollar. My comment on the book was 'Claptrap'. However, I liked it much more the second time through.
Jim Kraus is an author from Illinois and he writes Christian books.

Reverend Jerry Moses
The Temple of God's Calling
Stonefort, Il is where the novel is set

Although I liked it better this time, the writing is still only to the level of Young Adult.

Interesting Idea-
Christians in the time of an unprecedented international turmoil and must grapple with the concept of 'end of times'. Probably it was really a very large solar flare that coincided with bad earthquakes all over the globe, but not The Second Coming.

Tom- screenwriter from Malibu, CA
Megan- stock broker from NYC. The breakdown prevented her from being busted for illegal trading.
Peter- small farmer from southern Illinois, a few miles from Stonefort. A true Christian.
Peter and Linda Wilson- daughter, Becca. Linda sings for the temple and 'kidnapped' by Rev Moses. Her voice on the radio is responsible for the hordes that are attracted to The Garden.
William- Catholic priest; brings Megan from NYC
Elijah- Old 'holy man' brings Tom from California
Ernie and Mike- vigilantees from Arizona who follow Tom to Stonefort to rob him of the gold.
Revelations- Tom's dog; originally belonged to Calvin. This was a Christian friend of Tom's before the breakdown. He wants Tom to take his well equipped Hummer to Las Vegas to give a large quantity of gold to his ex wife. He left her badly at the start of his career; he want forgiveness for his act and thinks that the gold will give her a new start. She had become a junkie and a prostitute.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

BEAUTIFUL BOY- A father's journey through his son's addiction

Finished Mo 9/12/16

This is a library book that was mentioned in Pete Townshend's autobiography, WHO I AM. When I found it on the shelf at the library I was shocked to notice that it was next to TWEAK, a book I own. Later I found that TWEAK is written by the author's son, Nic.

The family lives in Inverness, CA. Forty miles north of San Francisco, along the coast. Point Reyes Station is the town. Absolutely beautiful country!

A different look at Codependency. Usually it is taken to mean a person who facilitates another's addiction. Ex. I buy your booze, but you must drink it in the house (so that I can keep an eye on you). Or, When you call for rent money (or whatever) I pay up.
However, this Codependency is different. Will's son, Nic drug the whole family into his addiction, although they clearly allowed it- they thought it was for the overall good. They became part of the problem. The family was so drawn in, Will couldn't even think, feel, or react without first thinking of his son.
In the end, Will (and the family) learn to accept that in the end, it is Nic's life and they must learn to separate from him.

The only possible thing that Will could have done to effect Nic so badly was his divorce from Vicki. Will was a hippie in Berkeley and divorced when he was young. He later married an artist, Karen, and had two children, Jasper and Daisy- Two years apart in age. Of course, millions of young children have divorced parents and do not become addicts.

No easy answers or explanations, It Just Is.

Quote from Kurt Cobain's suicide note that I liked.

"I have a daughter who reminds me too much of what I used to be, full of love and joy, kissing every person she meets because everyone is good and will do her no harm. And that terrifies me to the point to where I can barely function."

My take on what this means-
What can you do when you feel like this? Nothing.....It's like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. Painful feelings can be good, but only if you can act on them. Sometimes the only sane 'action' is 'inaction' or to do nothing.

I was struck by how close Will was to his children, even Nic. They all listened to Good Music. Jasper and Will share a love for Beck's MIDNITE VULTURES. They surfed, went to beautiful areas of the country, went to the best art galleries and museums, and much more. Their lives seem textbook perfect, yet Will is convinced that 'something is missing'.

How about God? The family are not believers, but there are millions of addicts or all the religions both major and minor,

I would have loved to have had Will as a father, and I think that while reading the book, most people would agree. In spite of this, the book could be seen as Will's search for absolution from a mistake that he made that really didn't even exist.

That's probably the key message of the book. Addiction isn't really 'caused', it just is.

Considering how many millions of people are affected by the disease, it's shocking how little is known of the cause of the treatment. 'Having six kids is no guarantee of being a superior OB/GYN'. After an observation that many of the so called 'experts' only claim to the title is that they were addicts before they stopped using.

Van Morrison- SUMMERTIME IN ENGLAND from Common One

"It ain't Why Why Why.....It just Is"

This song could be the soundtrack for the entire book, or even the family's experience.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

INNOCENT VICTIMS by Scott Whisnant

Finished Sa 9/10/16

This was one of my paperbacks that I first finished on Th 10/21/99. According to the notes- 'after an OT run to Moline ; Four reels on a crane trailer- 2hrs 15".

I didn't remember any of the book, but it was a real page turner.

When I finished the book I checked on the Internet and couldn't believe the fallout from the case.
Tim Hennis was brought out of retirement from the military in 2007 and retried and CONVICTED. DNA evidence at the scene proved that he had sexual intercourse with Katie. He admitted this but claimed that he didn't mention it in the first two trials because he wanted to spare the feelings of Gary, Katie's husband, and Jana, the daughter that lived.

Best wrapup of the case-

The book at amazon (customer comments!!!)

At the military trial Hennis admits to sex with the victim but says that it was consensual. OK, but whose DNA was found under Katie's fingernails? It wasn't his, so isn't it possible that the murders occurred AFTER the sex?

I wish there was a comprehensive follow-up to the case which includes the results of the military trial. Sounds like there was so much evidence in that house that was not analysed. The book claims that the scene was released far to early. The defense team was not even allowed in before the owner was allowed back to paint and cleanup (the home was a rental).

Before I learned of the military retrial and the 'consensual sex', I felt that this book proves how bad eye witness testimony can be. Pat Cone was clearly either lying or delusional, but he was most likely drunk as a skunk. And, the woman at the ATM sounded like her recollection was tainted by the violent and heinous  nature of the crime. She felt that somebody should pay, and Hennis looked like a likely candidate. Both witnesses were only seeing what they wanted to see, and maybe that's the case with many eye witnesses.

And, the case was mostly circumstantial and nothing at the scene really tied Hennis to the crime. Even the DNA only proves that he had sex with the victim. I still think that it's possible that the murders could have been done by somebody else either later that night, or even Friday or Saturday. There seems to have been numerous vans and autos outside the Eastburn house on that Mother's Day Weekend.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

WHO I AM by Pete Townshend

Finished Tu 9/6/16

A library book from that very attractive section......

For decades I thought his name was 'Townsend', it ain't.

Had an epiphany in Rolling Meadows Illinois????? Heard the voice of God on a water bed?

I was surprised about how much respect and admiration he had for the other members of the Who.
Pete Butler was 'Dougal' who was Keith Moon's handler. He wrote a great book (that I own) about his life with Moon.

Knew John Entwistle since he was eleven years old. Although they were roughly the same age, Pete always saw John as more of an adult.

"I am the best Keith Moon type drummer in the World"!!!!

His mother and father were involved in Big Band and Swing. Mother a singer and heavy drinker; father a clarinetist and reed man, also alcoholic.

When he was seven, his parents decided to ship him to his maternal grandmother's home. She was losing her mind and they felt that it would be good for Pete and Denny (the grandmother). Really I think that they wanted to get a handle on their deteriorating marriage, but a crazy thing to do. Pete says that the grandmother was cruel and he hints that he might have been sexually abused during that time.

The Grandmother had split from her husband and became a 'kept woman'. This made her daughter (Pete's mother) insecure for the rest of her life.

Townshend is an avid sailor. His house at Twickenham, London is right on the Thames. He can commute to London via the river.

I was taken aback had how big his solo career is and he would have 'been somebody' if there were no Who.

Child pornography issues began when he met a Russian man who was trying to raise money for Soviet orphanages. When Pete tried to locate this guy a few years later, he could not be found. It's possible that this man could have been a front for a human trafficking ring.

Years later, when checking this out on the Internet Pete logged onto a site that dealt with child porn. Although he did not look at the images (he says) the law is written that you are guilty regardless of your intentions.  Sounds like you would have better luck in a Salem Witch Court in Massachusetts.

Most authorities believed him and nothing was found on his computers, but this scandal no doubt damaged his reputation.

Loved the book, but the absolute best rock bio must be Keith Richards book, LIFE.

amazon page-

his page at wikipedia-

Friday, September 2, 2016

I'LL SLEEP WHEN I'M DEAD- The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon

Finished Th 9/1/16

This is a library book that I had read before. The Lou Reed bio, DIRTY BLVD has gotten me back into that very attractive section of the library.

Name is pronounced   'Zee-von'

Extremely high intelligence and IQ

Crippled with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and very superstitious

Always liked to wear the color gray

Was the musical arranger for The Everly Brothers

In a musical duo in his teens and was on a B side of a Turtle's single

For a time is manager/producer was part of a famous English duo from the sixties, Peter and Gordon.

Friend of the writer Carl Hiaasen.

Played and arranged for the Rock Bottom Remainders

Known for his drug and alcohol excesses, yet he was sober of 17 years.

Fell off the wagon when diagnosed with lung cancer.

Lived to see the birth of his twin granddaughters by his daughter, Ariel.

The book is a compilation of reminiscences by various people that were close to him. It is compiled by his ex-wife, Crystal. However, they retained some semblance of a relationship over and beyond his turbulent years.

David Letterman was a big fan and had him on the show numerous times.

I loved the book and always worth another look.