Two Kinds of Truth

[Amazon Link]

Tale of shopping: purchased in July of last year from "ThriftBooks - Blue Cloud" for a cool $5.98 (original price … much more than that). It turned out to be a rescue book from the Vineyard Haven Public Library. In good shape, those washashores are gentle readers. (Hey, for all I know, James Taylor might have read this very book before I did.)

Anyway: It's 2017 Connolly, which means I am only two years behind.

The plot threads in this book were also the basis for the most recent season of the Bosch series on Amazon Prime. There were some changes, most to adapt the details of the series' reality,

There are two major things going on: first, Harry Bosch is investigating the murder of father-and-son pharmacists in a tiny farmacia in the Hispanic section of San Fernando. It soon becomes apparent that the business was part of the oxycontin trade run by the mysterious "Santos". Harry goes undercover as a pill-popper to infiltrate the scheme that relies on fraud and coercion to funnel millions to the bad guys. Which puts him in major physical peril, I don't need to tell you.

Second, Harry gets the bad news that a thirty-year-old case where he put a murderer/rapist on death row is being re-opened. A deathbed confession from a different lowlife has been alleged. Reopening the evidence box seems to show exculpatory DNA on the victim's pajamas. And (worst of all) Harry is accused of planting a vital piece of physical evidence. If this conviction is overturned, Harry's reputation will be ruined, and it will cast Reasonable Doubt on the hundreds of bad guys he's put away since then.

The usual Connelly magic: the story hooks you and keeps those pages turning.

A bit of trivia: I said there were differences between the show and the book. Most are minor, as said, but there's one biggie on the show that might (as they say) Change Everything.

Logan Lucky

[4.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

For the record, if you are fired by your employer for some bullshit reason, leaving you with few prospects, Pun Salad does not recommend hatching a detailed scheme to rip off the concession proceeds from the local NASCAR track.

On the other hand, watching a movie where that happens can be pretty enjoyable.

Channing Tatum plays Jimmy Logan, to whom the above happens. He enlists the aid of brother Clyde (Kylo Ren) and together they rope in explosives expert Joe Bang (James Bond). Who happens to be in the slammer on an unrelated matter, so as a side-scheme, they have to break him out, do the thievery, and break him back in again with nobody at the pen noticing.

It's all a good deal of fun, a lot of comedy is involved. Jimmy's family (ex-wife and precocious/cute young daughter) are lovingly drawn. Hillary Swank shows up as an on-the-ball FBI agent late in the movie, and she's great too.

The Netflix algorithm said I'd like this and it was correct. I watched it on Amazon Prime, where it was free. I recommend it if you've got Amazon Prime and a couple hours to spare.

URLs du Jour

2019-12-06

  • David Henderson writes at the Hoover Institution on The Assault On Wealth. He's against it. The assault, that is. RTWT, of course, but he hits one of my own bugaboos near the end:

    One final note. I know that politicians of all stripes lie, but one highly misleading line that Warren likes to use is that she’s asking the very wealthy to “pitch in two cents” line. I’ll put aside the fact that she really means two percent. She knows that and, hopefully, the vast majority of her audience knows that. My big problem is the word “asking.” She’s not asking; that’s not how the IRS operates. Warren is threatening to use force on those who don’t comply […]

    Note that the Warren campaign lingo also calls for her Medicare For All scheme to be partially paid for by an employer "contribution" for each employee. The Orwellian doublespeak is strong with this one.


  • At the Daily Caller, James Bovard exposes The College Hunger Hoax.

    “Nearly half our college students are going hungry,” presidential candidate Bernie Sanders proclaimed on Saturday. Sanders’ tweet went viral, spurring more than 20,000 retweets and likes. Starving college students are a new rallying cry for social justice warriors, spurring demands for new federal handouts and maybe even a college student meal program modeled after school lunches.

    I occasionally walk my dog on the well-maintained sidewalks of the University Near Here, and I can report no visible emaciation. What's the hoax?

    In reality, the College Hunger Hoax is largely the result of a bait-and-switch by social scientists. Rather than seeking to measure actual hunger, questionnaires ask about the vaporous topic of “food security.” Surveys rely on sentiments and opinions, not actual food consumption. If someone fears missing a single meal, they can be categorized as “food insecure,” regardless of how much they ate. And if someone desired to consume better quality or more expensive cuisine (attention Whole Foods shoppers), they can join the ranks of the “food insecure.”

    Why, it's almost as if the questions are designed to maximize the "problem", so that Bernie and his ilk can propagandize.

    [I should point to UNH's Swipe It Forward page that allows compassionate parties to donate free meals in the dining halls, which are all-you-can-eat.]


  • I'm a sucker for these state comparisons, and the security site Safehome.org has done one for telling us Which Americans Are the Smartest?. There's the Lake Wobegon Effect:

    There’s a well-known phenomenon in psychology where people tend to think they are smarter than the average person. For Americans, that belief may approach certainty. A 2018 study found that 65% of Americans believe they have above-average intelligence.

    In addition to about 2 in 3 Americans saying they are smarter than most other people, the study found that certainty of one’s superior intellect increased with income and education but decreased with age.

    OK, that's boring. Skip down, how did our state do…

    Well, that's also boring. New Hampshire is near the mediocre middle (#22). At least we ain't Idaho (#51, they included D.C.)

    Number one on the smart parade: New Jersey. Which makes me want to ask: if those folks are so smart, why do they live in New Jersey?.


  • And Atlas Obscura dinged our LFOD bell with its report on Old Man of the Mountain Profiler Plaza.

    The state of New Hampshire is known for its “Live Free or Die” mentality (it is, in fact, the state’s motto) and beautiful foliage, so tourists and newcomers may be confused to see the profile of a rather chiseled-looking man adorning the state’s highway signs, license plates, driver’s licenses, and even the state’s coin. Few are aware that this man was once one of the most-visited attractions in all of the northeastern United States—and that it’s not really a man at all.

    The OMotM has been gone since 2003, but the plaza remains, and if you stand just right the state has arranged some of the old support hardware to "create the illusion of the Old Man of the Mountain, sitting high above Franconia Notch once again."