Archive for December, 2017

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology – Leah Remini

I first became aware of Leah Remini’s issues with the Church of Scientology through her series on the A&E network, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. Not that criticism of the Church of Scientology was new to me. I had read Jenna Miscavige Hill’s book earlier so I was already familiar with some of what Leah Remini writes about.

It always surprises me when someone who seems to be as strong-willed as Ms. Remini is able to be controlled and manipulated by an association where participation is voluntary. Granted, when you grow up in something, that voluntary aspect of things does not always seem obvious to the participant. Sometimes it is just plain old hard to see the forest for the trees. However, it does speak to the intelligence and will of those who are able to break free from the psychological grasp of such organizations as the Church of Scientology.

If you are put off by street language, you may not care for this book. It didn’t bother me. The world Leah grew up in is reflected in her personality, which comes through loud and clear in this book. It seems to be a typical story of an unfulfilled need that gets filled by someone or something that shows up at just the right time. In this case it was Scientology, introduced to Ms. Remini by her mother, who was introduced to it by a boyfriend. It’s fascinating how something that can make us feel empowered can also imprison us. Which is pretty much Leah Remini’s case.

This book is not entirely about just the Church of Scientology, though you might argue that every aspect of Leah’s life, every decision she made (and perhaps still makes) was influenced by Scientology. When it has been such an intimate part of your being for so many years, it is hard to shake the thinking. It is actually an autobiography, and a pretty revealing one at that. She knew that if she was not honest in her writing that the church would take every opportunity to use something she left out against her. Even still, you can find stuff all over the internet where the church has been attacking her for her efforts against the church.

You won’t be reading this book or watching her television show about the church if you are a member of the church. It’s against the rules, so it is interesting that there are people from the church attacking her. Then again, most religious people follow the teachings of their church when it is most convenient to them and ignore the rest, though there are zealots in all “religions” who swallow everything hook, line and sinker. And then there is “management” in the church that knows that it is critical to their survival to put down critical thinking about their organization.

You may not appreciate Leah Remini’s, um, shall I say “abrasive” personality, but I do. I respect someone who thinks for herself, even if it comes later in life. Sometimes you just need that more mature perspective to put things in their proper place. Overall, I recommend this book.

Finished 12/16/17

long time, no post

Well, that’s not exactly true. I have been posting my bookmarks – reviews of books I’ve read. Even there I think I have missed at least a couple of books. Oh well. So why no other posting?

I suppose because my life has become more “settled,” with a bit less sturm und drang. I know, doesn’t make for an interesting blog. But then again, I don’t think that anything I have written so far would be of any interest to anyone but myself. Rather narcissistic, this blogging stuff.

There are always the ongoing issues. A bit more weight than I like to carry is slowing me down and making it a bit difficult to maintain any form of active lifestyle. Ha! Like I have ever had an active lifestyle. But even things as simple as getting up and down the stairs is a bit more torturous than it needs to be. It’s more likely that things will get done around the house if it doesn’t feel like a physical punishment to do them. That’s something to add to my New Year’s resolutions – losing weight. I actually mean it. Really, I do.

The house is a mess. Not in the sense of dirt piling up in the corners, but rather in the sense that we have not been able to motivate ourselves (my wife and I) to really tackle all the stuff that needs a home from the reunification of our two households. There are still a few boxes in the dining room and the attic really needs to be gone through. I guess that is what winter – and New Year’s resolutions – are for.

Christmas is coming and we are hosting my wife’s side of the family this year. That always involves a good amount of preparation. We are trying to arrange it so we are not in panic mode as the guests are walking in the door, but my level of confidence in our ability to do that is not as high as I would like it to be. Still, we have the rug cleaned and the Christmas tree purchased, so it is heading in the right direction. Can’t be complacent, though. Tempus fugit.

Retirement seems as far away as always. It’s hard to conceive of living on just Social Security, so I’m not really complaining. Yes, it would be nice to have the rest of my life to do what I want to do, rather than go to work each day, but then I wouldn’t have the money to do it. Catch 22. Well, it gets me out of the house and let’s my wife run her day without me being in the way. And I certainly could have a more demanding job, so I should shut up and appreciate what I have.

That’s it for now, just to let you know I’m still alive. When I feel a bit more rant-y, I’ll post again. Until then, at least you’ll know what I have been reading.

Hope you all have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Spider Woman’s Daughter – Anne Hillerman

Long ago I found Tony Hillerman’s mystery books set in Navajo country. I enjoyed the exposure to the Navajo culture that was part and parcel of each novel. An additional benefit was that my mother shared the same love of the books. I read every one that Tony wrote and after his passing was sad to think that no more would be written. Little did I know that his daughter would take up the baton.

While Tony’s novels focused primarily on the characters of Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, the focus of Anne Hillerman’s first foray into this series is Jim Chee’s new wife, Bernie Manualito. I suppose this is logical since I think it is easier for an author to get into the head of a character of the same sex (and no, I don’t think this is a sexist idea). This change of point of view does not change the style of story, which retains the atmosphere of the Navajo country and culture.

I think that Ms. Hillerman has done a fine job of carrying on her father’s legacy and I look forward to reading her other available novels and any additional that she may write. It’s tough breaking into a new genre and even tougher picking up the style of another author, but she has done it with excellent results.

Finished 12/4/17