Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Book Review: The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (July 16, 2013)

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. is a debut novel from Adelle Waldman.  She tells the story of Nate Piven, a rising star in Brooklyn's literary scene.  She also tells the story from his point of view.

Piven's had his share of magazine assignments and quite a few women.  But as he develops a serious relationship, he is forced to consider what he truly wants in life.

Waldman goes into the psyche of modern men.  At the heart, this book is an inside look at what a guy thinks about women, sex, and love.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Review: Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1St Edition edition (May 7, 2013)

Jennifer K. Armstrong takes us behind the scenes in her recently published book, Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And all the Brilliant Minds Who Made The Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classic.  She goes behind the scenes with all the key players involved with the series, whether it's the creators, writers, or the talent.

MTM is one of the best sitcoms of all time.  All 7 seasons were nominated for an Emmy.  It has been off the air for 35 years and is still considered to be beloved and admired by many.

Without MTM, there's no Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, or Lena Dunham.

But the series, as Armstrong tells us, was not going to be about a woman coming off of a breakup.  Originally, she was going to be divorced but CBS said no.

Anything that could have gone wrong with the taping of the pilot did.  The air-conditioning did not work.  The jokes did not work.  The audience wasn't laughing.  Supported by producer Grant Tinker, producers James L. Brooks and Allan Burns persevered, and the writers helped pave the way.  The talented cast of Mary Tyler Moore, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, Betty White, Gavin MacLeod, Ed Asner, Ted Knight, Georgia Engel brought the show to new heights.

When few shows employed many female comedy writers, Burns and Brooks were willing to hire them, most of whom wrote scripts based on their real-life experiences.  Many would go on to receive Emmy nominations and later to other sitcoms.

In the epilogue, Armstrong looks back at what happened to everyone after the ground-breaking sitcom went off the air.

What Armstrong writes is a must-read and must-own for anyone that is a fan of MTM, sitcoms, or comedy in general.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

65th Annual Primetime Emmy Award Nominations

The 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Award Nominations were announced this morning.

The 2014 U.S. Senate Race for Kentucky

The 2014 U.S. Senate race in Kentucky is going to be huge.  It's a given.  The question right now is who will be running in the Democratic Party primary?

The race will start to play out over the next few weeks.

Joe Gerth did some digging at the Courier Journal.  In short, here is how the race looks right now.


Alison Lundergan Grimes
Ed Marksberry

Not Running
Steve Beshear
Gill Holland
Adam Edelen--he would support Grimes for Senate
Ben Chandler
Jack Conway
Dan Mongiardo
John Y. Brown III
Ashley Judd
Jerry Abramson
Matthew Barzun

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Book Review: Gettysburg: The Last Invasion

Hardcover: 656 pages
Publisher: Knopf (May 14, 2013)

Released last May and due out in paperback in Feburary, the acclaimed Civil War historian, Allen C. Guelzo, has given us a brilliant new history of the three-day battle of Gettysburg.  Of all accounts that have been told, Guelzo's is the most intimate and richly readable account by far.

Guelzo's book draws us into the heat, smoke, and grime of those three July days in 1863.  We're there fighting alongside soldiers.  Over the nearly 700 pages, Guelzo depicts the personalities and circumstances that gave us one of the greatest, and famous, battles in not only the Civil War but in the history of mankind.

There have been several full-length histories of what transpired at Gettysburg over the last 100 years but none have been able to do what Guelzo does.  He looks at how the indidvidual soldier experienced the battle.  He also looks at how politics played a role in the decisions made by the military.  He looks at the battle in terms of the context of the 19th Century practices.

Through his writing, we can imagine the lay of the land, where the fences and stone walls are, the clouds of gunpowder that hurt both movement and vision, to name a few.

Over 150 years after the battle of Gettysburg, it very much comes to life.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Book Review: Out of Range

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (June 4, 2013)

Out of Range comes from Without a Trace creator Hank Steinberg.  Therefore, it should come as no surprise that, as soon as the characters are introduced, there is a mysterious disappearance.

Not only is this book a fast-paced action thriller, it is original but also feels as if it is taken right out of Homeland.  Steinberg comes from the screenwriting world of television and in his debut novel, he writes a hit.  He writes a thriller that feels as if it could also be a movie as well--which, it should come as no surprise that Paramount Studios owns the rights for the film.

The book starts 6 years ago in Andijan, Uzbekistan where there is a protest for democracy similar to what we have seen in the Middle East over the last few years.  The day ends with a massacre and both Charlie and Julie Davis decide to leave and would settle in Los Angeles.  Charlie is an idealistic war journalist.  He put himself in harm's way and on that day, he decides to bring up is son in a better environment.

Cut to present day and Julie Davis is taking her two young children to Disneyland after coming back from visiting her sister in New York.  She mysteriously vanishes after pulling off the interstate on the way back.

Julie has secrets that she is keeping from her husband, Charlie.  Does she still have feelings for her ex-boyfriend from college?  Is she missing the life she lived before they moved to California?

Steinberg combines the domestic suspense that one expects in a book from Harlan Coben and David Balacci with the international intrigue found in the Jason Bourne novels.  What we get is an entertaining story full of suspense, secrets, mystery, and marriage.  There are twists and turns along the way that will make this a breakout hit of the summer.

The Disneyland aspect is inspired by true events as he guided his own wife back from Disneyland and she had to pull over to calm their son down.  Steinberg takes that...to the extreme.

Steinberg admits that in writing the book, he was "trying to combine the domestic set-up that you will find in a great Coben novel with the expansiveness and morally ambiguous, gray universe that you find in [John] Le Carre's work."

Next up for Steinberg is a sequel to Out of Range.  One that will stay in the States.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

John Adams on Independence Day

"The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to G-d Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in G-d We shall not."

-John Adams to his wife, Abigail, in a letter sent on July 3, 1776 about the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 2, 1776.

The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies
In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Independence Photos

G-d Bless the USA

G-d Bless the U.S.A
by Lee Greenwood

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I'd worked for all my life,
And I had to start again
with just my children and my wife,
I'd thank my lucky stars
to be living here today,
'Cause the flag still stands for freedom
and they can't take that away.

I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free,
And I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me,
And I gladly stand up next to you
and defend her still today,
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
G-d Bless the U.S.A.

From the lakes of Minnesota
to the hills of Tennessee,
Across the plains of Texas
from sea to shining sea.
From Detroit down to Houston
and New York to L.A.,
There's pride in every American heart
and it's time we stand and say:

I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free,
And I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me,
And I gladly stand up next to you
and defend her still today,
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
G-d Bless the U.S.A.