Friday, April 27, 2012

Between You and Me by Mike Wallace

Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: Hyperion (May 2, 2007)

Following the death of 60 Minutes legend Mike Wallace, the first thing I did upon getting back to Louisville--following the first days of Passover being spent in Chicago--was head over to the Louisville Free Public Library to pick up a copy of this book. It was a rather quick read for me but that's also because Wallace's voice was in my head while reading.

Wallace goes in-depth on his battle with depression during the Westmoreland lawsuit and how he felt betrayed by the whole incident with getting the Jeffrey Wigand interview onto the small screen.

There are excerpts upon excerpts of a countless number of interviews that Wallace did throughout his career, starting when it was just a local show in New York. The hardcover version includes a 90 minute DVD--no doubt including clips in the recent 60 Minutes clip show to celebrate Mike Wallace's life in the news.

There's no doubt that Wallace has been missed by many since he went into retirement a few years back. There's not that many people, in news these days, that can do what the iconic newsman was able to do. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. That's what I'll say as you begin to read his book.

Peter Rader just wrote Mike Wallace: A Life, published earlier this month. Brilliant timing on the part of the publisher. It's sitting in my book pile at the moment and I expect to get to it shortly.

Grade: A

Book Review: Elite Eighth by Larry Vaught

Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Triumph Books; Commemorative Edition edition (April 17, 2012)

With an introduction and articles by acclaimed Kentucky sportswriter Larry Vaught, this book is a must-read and must own for Wildcat fans. After recapping the championship and Final Four games, the rest of the season is highlighted--mainly the big games during the season and the postseason.

Vaught includes feature articles on all the players that were published during the regular season.

If you are looking for a keepsake book to celebrate the championship, you can't do any worse than this one. While there are a few typos, those are trivial compared to the rest of the book. I let it slide myself and enjoyed every minute of reading it.

Grade: A

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Some news

I'm now writing for Wildcat Blue Nation as far as the Kentucky Wildcats go. You can view my latest post on the lack of veteran leadership and the fire ESPN has fueled over here.

Please be sure and check it out!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

David Williams lies again

David Williams recently said, and it was caught on video, too, by WLKY News in Louisville. Well, he said it while in the state capital of Frankfort. Nevertheless, here are State Senate Dictator David Williams comments:
"We get threats, we get verbal assaults when we go out. I absolutely, at this juncture, would not go to Louisville, Ky., to a sporting event or to a concert or anything because of what I've experienced with people."
Nevertheless, I have photographic evidence proving otherwise. The senate dictator was at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville when the Kentucky Wildcats took ob the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.

Was there a negative feeling when he attended that game? I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. It’s hard to say if you ask me.

The senator does not have that many fans in this neck of the woods. If he does, they are not really admitting that they like him. Regardless, David Williams is nothing but a bully.

Book Review: The 50 Funniest American Writers according to Andy Borowitz

Editor's Note: This was saved as a draft a few months ago instead of getting posted. Sorry!
Hardcover: 461 pages
Publisher: Library of America (October 13, 2011)

I'm not going to lie. When I first heard about this book, I thought that Andy Borowitz would not only rank his favorite comedic writers in order but that he would have some sort of introduction to any pieces that there might be. Nope. Far from it. The complete opposite, in fact.

Borowitz pens an introduction to the book but does not pen intros to the pieces in the book so as to "let the writing speak for itself."

All of that said, it's a fairly good selection of American comedy writers. Having said that, Borowitz ignores stand-up albums and comedic sketches that have aired on television. Those stand-up comedians, like George Carlin, are included because of books that they wrote.

All of these writers are notable in their own ways. However, if you are like me, it is hard to read some of these writings because of the old English used. Maybe that's why it took me so long to get this one published here on the blog. I started writing and then stopped all of a sudden as if I wanted to give the book a fair shot. In fact, my original grade was a C. Then I reflected on it and decided to give it another chance.

Grade: A-

Book Review: Jewish Major Leaguers in the Own Words

Paperback: 227 pages
Publisher: McFarland (March 5, 2012)

Written by Peter Ephross with Martin Abramowitz, this book is a oral history of 23 former major league baseball players.

When you think of Jewish ballplayers, the first three that people tend to think of are Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax, and Shawn Green. At least, that's how it is in my case. There have been well over 100 Jewish baseball players and appendix of the entire list follows at the end.

Sandy Koufax gets mentioned a lot, especially from Larry and Norm Sherry, but that's about it. He was not interviewed for the project as he's become somewhat of a recluse since he retired.

Peter Epross, a longtime editor for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, did a superb job editing down what probably could have been 1000 pages into 227 pages. We get more of a "what's it like" for Jewish ballplayers than anything else.

Jewish Major Leaguers, Inc. sponsored many of the interviews that were provided by president Martin Abramowitz.

While I think that there could possibly have been room for a Shawn Green, I can see why they limited to 23 players. Most of the players were from the pre-70s although there were some that made their debut later like Jesse Levis. He shared a funny story about Shawn Green wishing him and umpire Al Clark a "Happy New Year" on Rosh HaShanah.

That's another thing that's brought up. Taking off for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. One player, who had a Jewish coach, said he had no interest in taking off for Rosh HaShanah but then the coach talked him into it.

We get a sense of how players responded to anti-Semitism both on and off the field. We also see how they developed a rapport with the African-American players who were dealing with the restrictions in the Deep South.

In reading, I could not believe the numbers that played for the Chicago Cubs but also that Jose Bautista, a player who came from the Dominican Republic, is a member of the tribe.

Jesse Levis also shared a story of being invited to Bud Selig's house for Rosh HaShanah dinner.

If you are Jewish and a baseball fan, this is a very good book and I highly recommend it. In fact, I give it the following grade: A+

You can purchase the book directly from McFarland at 1-800-253-2187.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Whole Lotta Reading Going On!

While college basketball and Pesac have certainly kept me busy, I have a pile of books that I have been working on slowly but surely. I hope to get, at the very least, one of these reviews up on Sunday.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

2012 MLB Preseason Predictions

In keeping with a longtime tradition, I'm posting these picks here and Redbirds Fun. Bud Selig, though, has made it even harder with the addition of another Wild Card team, and thus allowing for a one-day play-in game. What's next, a First Four?

East: Philadelphia Phillies
Central: Cincinnati Reds
West: San Francisco Giants
Wild Card 1: Los Angeles Dodgers
Wild Card 2: St. Louis Cardinals

Battle of the Wild Cards: St. Louis over Los Angeles
NLDS: Philadelphia over Cincinnati, St. Louis over San Francisco
NLCS: Philadelphia over St. Louis

East: New York Yankees
Central: Detroit Tigers
West: Los Angeles Angels
Wild Card 1: Tampa Bay Rays
Wild Card 2: Texas Rangers

Battle of the Wild Cards: Tampa Bay over Texas
ALDS: New York over Los Angeles, Detroit over Tampa Bay
ALCS: New York over Detroit

New York Yankees over Philadelphia Phillies, 4-1

National League
ROY: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
MVP: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
Cy Young: Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies

American League
ROY: Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays
MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Cy Young: Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels

President Obama's Statement on Monday Night

President Barack Obama issued a statement with regards to the Wildcats winning #8:
Today, President Obama called John Calipari to congratulate him and the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team on their 2012 NCAA championship victory. The President told Coach Calipari that his team played with class and dignity, and that it was a great game to watch. Coach Calipari passed the phone to Anthony Davis, and the President congratulated the Chicago native on earning the Final Four Most Outstanding Player Award. The President also commended Coach Calipari on his first title win and told him that he looks forward to congratulating the entire team in person and receiving his own Wildcats jersey at the White House.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

PSA: Your couches

If you are going to be the drunk idiot that decides burning couches and flipping cars is kind of fun, please stop now. If you are very inclined to burn your couch, please consider donating it to the tornado victims. They'll appreciate it more than the fire houses that would rather not worry about a drunk idiot burning couches.