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Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries

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Frequently hilarious, sometimes disturbing, always entertaining, these compelling encounters with people on the edge of madness will have you wondering just what humans are capable of. But this year I was looking for something I could leave on the table during my holiday break, to pick up briefly and leave off again without worrying about losing the narrative thread. If you had read all of his books, you will find that some stories were repeated from books Out of the ordinary and What I do. It's a soft voice, and Ronson exerts a gust of energy into each utterance before the phrase or sentence softens at the tail, resulting in oddly-placed emphases.

The Amazing Adventures of Phoenix Jones Jon follows a group of real-life superheroes as they try and fight crime on the streets of America.Ronson uncovers in each story the various phobias, compulsions, and peccadilloes that fill the world with oddity and mystery. Religion and pseudo-religious beliefs play a big part in the articles where Ronson meets the Jesus Christians, a fringe Christian group with a membership of 24 people worldwide, most of whom have decided that as well as giving away most of their possessions that they will give away a kidney as well! The rest of the chapter is taken up with interviews with Chris' friends who talk about their empathy for his actions, and also a charming joke about prostitutes. He's travelled to the Alaskan theme town of North Pole (where every day is Christmas Day) to investigate a high school mass-murder plot.

even though it's easy to verify online that the Alpha Course is frequently -- and some contend primarily -- marketed to and attended by new Christians seeking guidance after their initial conversion, and that the marketing of the course as a silver bullet for agnostics is deliberately misleading to make it seem more effective. Putting aside for a moment the fact that the witnesses in this case were complaining about sexual assault, and *not* statutory rape, I just want to let it sink in that a supposedly-unbiased journalist decided to take space here to register the opinion that sexual crimes against 15-year-old girls shouldn't be prosecuted in the name of 'fairness'. Other subjects are equally fascinating such as finding out pop star Robbie Williams is a UFO enthusiast and that Stanley Kubrick was a hoarder of everything related to his film career. He goes to a UFO convention in the Nevada desert with Robbie Williams, asks Insane Clown Posse (who are possibly America’s nastiest rappers) whether it’s true they’ve actually been evangelical Christians all along and rummages through the extensive archives of Stanley Kubrick.

There are a few that fell flat but over all the subjects were fascinating, as always, and Ronson's writing is sharp. Ronson misses classes, and the entire chapter chattily refers to Gumbel as "Nicky" and ends with the glowing observation that Gumbel is "quite brilliant" and "wonderful". As with the Chris Foster chapter, the chapter on Jonathan King ends not with any kind of sympathetic statement for the victims, but with a sentimental statement on the difficulties faced by people who are attracted to underage boys and who are willing to abuse and sexually assault them for their own gratification: "Chris Denning asked me if I wanted to know the worst thing about being attracted to underage boys.

He is seemingly capable of taking any topic and making it not only interesting but tangibly, and often beautifully, human. Here I felt that Ronson was laughing at a group of odd religious people who meant well, albeit in a rather strange way by offering to donate their kidneys to strangers. He goes to a UFO convention in the Nevada Desert with Robbie Williams, asks Insane Clown Posse (who are possibly America's nastiest rappers) whether it's true they have actually been evangelical Christians all along, and rummages through the extensive archives of Stanley Kubrick. The people he talks to in Lost at Sea are strange, and rather than indulge them, Ronson asks the tough questions and gets to the root of things.I’ve Thought About Doing Myself in Loads of Times… A really dark exploration of family men who lose it and kill their entire families and themselves. There was no connection between the chapters other than that they were quirky slices of life: Jonathan King's trial; a famous psychic; missing girl from a cruise ship; credit debt and suicide; neural linquistic programming; the coughing major. I loved reading about real life "superhero" Phoenix Jones as he patrols the streets of Chicago, trying to make drunk drivers eat tacos before getting behind the wheel, or discovering that the rap duo Insane Clown Posse have been covert Christians their entire careers, believing they were making converts of their listeners subliminally for 20 years. I wish I could remember the original review but I can't and I am so unhappy about this now, I don't even feel like it.

Though a few of the pieces didn't really go anywhere, all foreplay and no climax, if you will - alien hunting with Robbie Williams, is one that left me scratching my head - most are solidly written, absorbing studies of unusual and provocative subject matters. In this short journalistic story, Ronson interviews the Insane Clown Posse about their recent claim that, for the last 20 years, they have been promoting Christianity through their music. But Ronson blithely observes: "Frantz talks a lot about respect and the opposite of respect--humiliation. Lord Kitchener (1922 – 2000) was one of the most iconic and prolific calypso artists of the 20th century. There are a couple of cases in this book that he didn't even attempt to find apology for, and with good reason.One of the stories involves a man who killed himself because he got in way over his head with credit card debt; another story involves an inventor who murdered his whole family after his fortune evaporated. My favorite essays concerned director Stanley Kubrick's remarkable collections, a sinister murder plot originating in the most Christmassy place on the planet, and the sad tale of a young Disney cruise employee who went over the ship's side, appropriately leaving behind a slipper. Collected from various sources (including the Guardian and GQ ) Lost at Sea features the very best of his adventures.

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