American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century

American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century
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Publisher:
Published: 7/2/2019
Go deep into the investigation behind one of the most frightening and enigmatic serial killers in modern American history, and into the ranks of a singular American police force: the Alaska PD. Most of us have never heard of Israel Keyes. But he is one of the most ambitious, meticulous serial killers of modern time. The FBI considered his behavior unprecedented. Described by a prosecutor as "a force of pure evil", he was a predator…

Lock the doors before reading.

Book Review: Tooth and Claw, by Jo Walton – Pride and Prejudice and Dragons

Tooth and Claw
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Author:
Genre:
Publisher:
Published: 11/12/2019
Now in a new pocket-sized hardcover edition, the World Fantasy Award-winning tale of contention over love and money--among dragons. Tooth and Claw Jo Walton burst onto the fantasy scene with The King's Peace, acclaimed by writers as diverse as Poul Anderson, Robin Hobb, and Ken MacLeod. In 2002, she was voted the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Now Walton returns with a very different kind of fantasy story: the tale of a…

What a perfect little book, introducing us to a lush Regency-era romance of manners and family intrigue - but with dragons. 

How would such a society operate? What happens when the Industrial Revolution hits and manual dexterity becomes even more critical? And how the devil do they fit on the steam trains?

I read this book - no, I devoured it whole, as is proper - within a few hours. The local library happened to have the pocket hardcover edition, and it’s a beautiful little volume.

it doesn’t seem to be part of a series, and leaves some intriguing questions about the ancient history of dragons. I’ll definitely read more by Jo Walton, an award-winning author, and hope that she’ll answer some of those questions some day.

Lock Your Doors Before Reading: American Predator, by Maureen Callahan

American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century

American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century
Category:
Publisher:
Published: 7/2/2019
Go deep into the investigation behind one of the most frightening and enigmatic serial killers in modern American history, and into the ranks of a singular American police force: the Alaska PD. Most of us have never heard of Israel Keyes. But he is one of the most ambitious, meticulous serial killers of modern time. The FBI considered his behavior unprecedented. Described by a prosecutor as "a force of pure evil", he was a predator…

Lock the doors before reading.


This is the first book I’ve read in a long, long time that lived up to the “could not put it down” cliche – I picked it up from the library, brought it home, and left a soft drink to go flat nearby while I read it in one sitting. 
 
And yes, I got up to check that the deadbolt was thrown on the front door, not that that would have stopped Israel Keyes.
 
I’ve read true crime for decades – starting with Ann Rule’s classics on Ted Bundy and Diane Downs. Like those books, American Predator is set in parts of the country uncomfortably close to where I’ve lived; Israel Keyes got all over the country, and I was shocked at how many of his murders took place in familiar locations that I could visualize.
 
We will never know who, and where, the victims of Israel Keyes are. But given his odd travel habits, there’s probably a body or a murder cache disturbingly close to you.
 
The old advice stands: lock your doors, don’t stop or slow down for a stranger, and keep talking calmly until you can figure out how to escape. Read this book, and be thankful that someone like Keyes is so rare.
 

Why Was Suleimani Killed? Deep Dive By BBC World Services Adds Surprising Details In Only 23 Minutes

I highly recommend this short 23-minute radio documentary – it covers a lot of surprising details to round out the portrait of Lt. Gen Qasim Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s QUDS force. His assassination via US drone-fired missiles at Teheran’s airport set off a cascade failure of tragedy: Iran fired missiles at US bases, and then  a passenger airliner was shot down in error by Iranian defense forces.

The BBC World Services pulls a lot of narrative threads together, including the surprising fact that just after the 9/11 attacks, the US and Iran were actually cooperating against a mutual enemy in Afghanistan…and Suleimani provided crucial tactical information. But this short respite in the two countries’ contentious relationship ended abruptly in 2003 when Pres. George W. Bush named Iran as a part of his “Axis of Evil” in a speech. No more cooperation. 

Imagine what might have been if we had left that door open instead of slamming it shut. Even all this time later, GWB’s disastrous presidency is still causing human misery.

There’s plenty more covered in the doc – it’s a very thorough look, up to and including the current US presidential campaign, and Trump’s likely motivation for strengthening his position ahead of next week’s impeachment trial in the Senate.

It’s so tragic. Now that Iran has admitted human error, families and governments in Canada, Ukraine, and many other countries will have to mourn, demand compensation, and try to move on. I’ve been trying to avoid news stories showing the aftermath of the crash; a short clip showing a burned stuffed animal absolutely devastated me.

It’s easier to listen than to see, in this case.

I’m better informed on the back story of Lt Gen Suleimani now – he was a very, very, very bad guy. But at one time, for a short year or two, his political aims aligned with ours; the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and that sort of thing. But we Americans made the typical mistake of lacking nuance in how we viewed Iran, maybe filtered by the old dispute over the hostage crisis during the Carter presidency (which we now know was used to Reagan’s advantage). 

What a damn shame. We almost went to war over a stupid mixture of Trump’s ego, his impeachment woes, and posturing on both sides. And 176 innocent people died (plus more that were not so innocent).

Lt Gen Qasem Soleimani of Iran QUDS force

Lt Gen Qasim Suleimani

 

President Trump’s decision to assassinate Qasem Soleimani came as a shock to America’s foes and allies alike. He was Iran’s top general and has been described as one of the country’s most powerful figures, second only to the Supreme Leader Ayotollah Ali Khamenei. He was, effectively, head of Iran’s foreign policy. He’s been credited as being instrumental in the fight against ISIS but has also been accused of arming and supporting terror groups. But why did Donald Trump order his death?

— Read on www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csyth6

What’s For Dinner: Healthy Shepherd’s Pie {Cauliflower-Potato Topping!} from SimplyRecipes.com

Comfort more than nutrition usually comes to mind when you think of a meat-and-potatoes meal. This recipe qualifies as both. It has all the comfort of classic shepherd’s pie, but works in extra veggies, olive oil instead of butter, and leaner beef. Nobody will be the wiser, since it remains so flavorful and satisfying.
INGREDIENTS
For the potato-cauliflower topping:
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for salting the cooking water
8 ounces cauliflower florets (2 heaping cups)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup low-fat milk
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
For the filling:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 large celery stalk, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more if needed
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh or frozen English peas
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine (substitute chicken broth, if desired)
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
— Read on www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/healthy_shepherds_pie/

We have most of these ingredients on hand. But I have to substitute more cauliflower for potato, swap the dairy milk for nut milk, and swap the cheddar for Swiss, so my dear hubby can eat it. May add some parsley, garlic, and paprika to the cauliflower too. We’ve had good like making faux mash potataux that way.

Speeding Car Hits Police Car, Injures People In Dispensary Line

A speeding car hit an Elmwood Park police vehicle and nearly hit the police chief and people waiting in line on the first day of legal cannabis sales in Illinois.

Those waiting in line who were not injured…were remarkably determined to keep their appointments with legalized destiny.

“It’s kind of funny. It didn’t stop people from going into the dispensary,” he said.

— Read on www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elmwood-park/ct-elm-speeding-crash-tl-0109-20200103-g2rtag3nbjcp3hv4astgzmd74i-story.html

Sinclair Broadcasting: Buy Pot? No Guns For You (LIE)

Freshly legalized, and already Sinclair is scarecasting fake news about buying pot: they’re claiming your name will be added to a database and you won’t be able to buy a gun.

Illinois Sinclair Station Fearmongers Misinfo On Pot And Gun Ownership

Read at — https://crooksandliars.com/2020/01/illinois-sinclair-station-fearmongers

This Is Bad. Really Bad. And Also A Great Distraction

Imagine! A third war about to begin as a distraction from impeachment, polls, North Korea, and everything else that’s going wrong.

Meanwhile, did anyone think to check on whether there were big, mysterious purchase of futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exxhange in the last few days? Just sayin’.

U.S. strike killed Iran Quds Force chief Soleimani: U.S. official https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-security-blast-usa/u-s-strike-killed-iran-quds-force-chief-soleimani-u-s-official-idUSKBN1Z203V?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews

Review: Why do these shoes have such high ratings? Bagivy “Beans” Slip-On Shoes

BEANS – WOMENS LIGHTWEIGHT SLIP ON COMFORT – Bagivy

WITH BEANS SHOES – YOU’ LL GO FURTHER THAN EVER SPECIAL DISCOUNT: 70% OFF TODAY WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT The healthiest technology in a shoe, our patented BEANS SOLE keeps the natural cushioning of your heels where it belongs for a pain-free life Easy On/Off With Slip-On Shoes Easy on/off design with pull tabs on the heel an
— Read on bagivy.net/products/70-off-today-beans-womens-lightweight-slip-on-comfort

Way, way back on November 28, I foolishly ordered some shoes that I’d seen advertised everywhere online – these slip-on, washable, well-nigh indestructible shoes that were shown in a video being filled with soapy water, run over by a car, and bent into different shapes. They looked cute, and fun, and they were affordable, so I recklessly bought a set of 3 in different colors. My thought was that I’d wear them around the house (I work from home) but they could go outside for short trips, etc.

They didn’t arrive until December 30, via China Post and then USPS. Good thing I wasn’t planning on giving them as a gift! I had been really worried, as after the first week, I noticed that the tracking site Arriva that I had to use wasn’t showing any progress after the initial flurry of activity. It took them a week to move within China from their origin to some sort of postal depot. Then for weeks, nothing. I started to worry that I’d fallen for one of many “fake product” sites hosted by Shopify, and that when they arrived, if at all, I’d realize I’d been “tooken.”

When they finally, finally arrived, they came in a postal bag that was only half-sealed – there was a gap wide enough for a shoe or two to fall out. Fortunately, all three pair were inside.

I had ordered purple, black, and grey. Tried them on with a fairly thick pair of wool socks.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the bags was an extremely strong chemical smell. The soles felt a little slick and plastic-y, not rubbery or grippy as you might expect for a shoe that at least SORT OF appears to be based on a sports shoe last.

The uppers feel nice and solid, and mold to my feet well. The inside lining is sort of harsh, and I swear, I can feel the little “beans” on the bottom (the traction things) through the inner sole and my socks. And the air-cushion in the heel is just odd, like balancing on a wobbly kitten heel. There are inner columns (visible through the side “window”) that I swear I can feel in my heels.

Maybe if I wear a thinner sock? Trying that with a pair, and also barefoot, since they’re washable, seems reasonable. If I had planned on wearing orthotics or some sort of insert, I’d have had to go a size up.

With thinner athletic-style socks, they are looser, but I can still feel the “beans” on the sole, and the height of the heel throws my weight forward onto the ball of my foot, which makes this sensation even more noticeable.

There are removable inserts, and I have several pair of light orthotic-type shoe liners, which may improve the way the shoes feel when worn. But on each pair, it feels like there is a defect inside the right sole, just behind the toes, like a slight bump.

I’m not going to bother trying to return them. They are good enough for schlepping around at home and out to the mailbox, and I wore them to go to lunch just now (it’s not a wet or particularly cold day). They are very squishy, and frankly aren’t a super stable platform for anyone with balance issues, and they have too much flex and not enough arch support for anyone that’s on their feet all day. But for office work, seated, they’re fine.

I just can’t understand, though, why these shoes have such high 4 and 5 star ratings at various sites. I found numerous different sellers on Amazon offering the identical shoes, and most of them had 5 star reviews. Some of them were a bit suspect – rave reviews in not-quite-perfect English (you might even say they read like “Botlish”), interspersed with occasional 1 star reviews complaining about the chemical smell, the fit, and some inconsistencies.

Still, your mileage may literally vary. You may not get a pair with the “right toe bump” in the sole. If you don’t have high arches, they’re not bad and they look cute. Just don’t expect to receive them for at least 4-6 weeks.