books, movies

When the Bough Breaks by Jonathan Kellerman

When the Bough Breaks is … the first novel in the Alex Delaware series.

Though published 1985 I found it smart and surprisingly contemporary.

The Psychologist’s sidekick is LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis, a big, shambling Gay man. In 1985. Yet it’s not at all cliche.

Delaware appears in 32 of Kellerman’s books. I might read on.

Kellerman was a practicing psychologist in L.A. when he wrote the first 5 in the series.

Bough Breaks was made into a movie 1986 with Ted Danson as Delaware. You can watch that on YouTube.

books, movies

Michael Koryta – Never Far Away

Nina Morgan’s blood-stained car was found a decade ago on a lonely Florida road. Forensic evidence suggested she’d been murdered, although her body was never found.

Her disappearance left her infant children to the care of their father.

Once a pilot, mother, wife, and witness to a gruesome crime, Nina had to flee her old life to save her family.

She reinvented herself as Leah Trenton, a guide in the Allagash Wilderness in northern Maine.

She never expected to see her children again, but now tragedy has returned them to her—only they have no idea that she’s their mother—and delivered all of them back into danger. “Aunt Leah” will need some help, and an old ally has a suggestion: an enigmatic young hitman named Dax Blackwell.

michaelkoryta.com

Koryta is one of my favourite authors. This 2021 book is one of his best.

Most impressive are his villains. Dax Blackwell is fascinating.

Koryta’s “Those Who Wish Me Dead” should be released in film in 2021.

Rights to “Never Far Away” have also been acquired.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books, movies, TV

The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell

The second book of the Kurt Wallander series.

Wallander continues as the most troubled and unlucky hero in any detective series.

For example, at the critical moment of the book — Wallander has to take a dump in a waste paper basket.

I actually liked the book. But the plot is totally unbelievable.

It was made into a Swedish film. And was adapted for season 3 of the of the British production of Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books, movies

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

This excellent 2015 book sold over 4.5 million copies worldwide before I read it.

Kristin Hannah has become one of my favourite writers.

… the story of two sisters in France during World War II and their struggle to survive and resist the German occupation of France.

It was inspired by the story of a Belgian woman, Andrée de Jongh, who helped downed Allied pilots to escape Nazi territory. …

wikipedia

Dakota and Elle Fanning will star in the planned movie as the sisters — which would be excellent casting, IF they were French. They were born in Georgia.

This book reminded me of Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan, the story of a young Italian man helping Jews escape over the Alps.

books, good news, health & fitness, movies, science, things getting better

The Code Breakers by Walter Isaacson

Have you heard of CRISPR?

(clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)

Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their contributions in the development of a method for genome editing.

It’s called the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors.

Based on how bacteria fights off virus attackers, in future CRISPR will be used to fight coronavirus variations.

Click PLAY or see how it works on YouTube.

Most people my age know about Watson and Crick’s discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA. But I certainly couldn’t explain anything about CRISPR before reading this book.

Once again, Walter Isaacson made a complex story entertaining with this 2021 biography:

The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

The bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns with a gripping account of how Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and have healthier babies.

When Jennifer Doudna was in sixth grade, she came home one day to find that her dad had left a paperback titled The Double Helix on her bed. She put it aside, thinking it was one of those detective tales she loved. When she read it on a rainy Saturday, she discovered she was right, in a way. As she sped through the pages, she became enthralled by the intense drama behind the competition to discover the code of life. Even though her high school counselor told her girls didn’t become scientists, she decided she would.

The development of CRISPR and the race to create vaccines for coronavirus will hasten our transition to the next great innovation revolution. The past half-century has been a digital age, based on the microchip, computer, and internet. Now we are entering a life-science revolution. Children who study digital coding will be joined by those who study genetic code. …

After helping to discover CRISPR, Doudna became a leader in wrestling with these moral issues and, with her collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier, won the Nobel Prize in 2020. Her story is a thrilling detective tale that involves the most profound wonders of nature, from the origins of life to the future of our species.

simon and schuster

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The first half of the book is the story. Very entertaining.

Then it gets better.

A detailed look at the drama over WHO wins the awards. WHO gets the patents.

Of course there are many other scientists who could have and should be lauded for breakthroughs in this field. They are covered in the biography, as well.

Most worthy — perhaps — is Feng Zhang. But he and his boss Eric Lander come off as BAD GUYS in this book, unethical in their collaborations.

ONE bit of good news. When COVID-19 was announced early 2020, both Zhang’s and Doudna’s companies changed research priorities towards developing CRISPR-based coronavirus tests. Both were successful and both hope to make simple at-home tests ready for market in 2021: Sherlock and Mammoth.

The most entertaining of the CRISPR giants is geneticist George Church. When the movie is made, he’ll be the fan favourite.

Emmanuelle Charpentier is an intriguing personality, as well. I’d read her biography.

ethics, movies, philosophy

The Man from Earth – Film

The Man from Earth is a 2007 American drama science fiction film … starring David Lee Smith as John Oldman, the protagonist. …

John … claims to be a Cro-Magnon (or Magdalenian caveman) who has secretly survived for more than 14,000 years. The entire film is set in and around Oldman’s house during his farewell party and is composed almost entirely of dialogue. …

Almost a home movie, a budget of just US$200k.

The most impressive man John ever met was … the Buddha.

And John was Christ.

Click PLAY or watch the trailer on YouTube.

movies

Amy Poehler’s MOXIE!

MOXIE! is a 2021 American comedy-drama film directed by Amy Poehler.

Very important social commentary.

A teen feminist classic already.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

… Sorry to say, but my favourite character … is a guy.

In fact, pretty much everyone agrees that the star of the film is Nico Hiraga as Seth Acosta.

How Amy Poehler’s ‘Moxie’ Is Bringing Riot Grrrl — and Bikini Kill — to a New Generation