Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book Review: Over Time by Frank Deford

Hardcover: 351 pages
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (May 1, 2012)

Over Time is not just a sportswriter’s memoir but a history of American Sportswriting.  Frank Deford is a genius for making it work.  There's a reason that he is one of the most respected sportswriters of his generation.

I zipped through the first 300 pages over Memorial Day weekend and I probably would have finished the book, too, had their been a few more hours in the day!

In Over Time, the longtime Sports Illustrated writer reminisces about some of his favorite moments in sports and some of his favorite sportswriters.  Deford takes us back to the days of when SI was just becoming what it is today.  The relationship between sportswriters and athletes in the 1960s is not what it is today.  Can you imagine NBA players today going out with any writer to a bar after the game, where the writer pays for the drinks?  It happened in Deford's early days, when the NBA was "bush."

There’s some mentions of Kentucky—mainly Lexington but just briefly.  Deford visited former Kentucky Wildcat Frank Ramsey at home to interview him about the tricks of the Celtics.  This was the only time that Deford made the cover of the sports magazine.

Deford goes into detail on how he became an editor for a daily sports newspaper, The National, which failed—of course—but not because of him.  Rather, in the age prior to the internet, it would be because of delivery issues.

Deford’s book is a must-own for sports fans.  If you prefer not to own it, try and find it at your library and read it.  You won’t regret it.  It’s a fun read and a rather fast one.  It's storytelling and sports history in one place.

Grade: A

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Book Review: Watergate: A Novel by Thomas Mallon

Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Pantheon (February 21, 2012)

Watergate was one of the darkest moments in modern American history.  What Thomas Mallon does with Watergate: A Novel is making this period of time captivating to say the least.

Through seven characters, Mallon conveys the drama and comedy of the Nixon Administration.  The "third-rate burglarly" has become a "tulmultous, first-rate enteratinment."  It's the polar opposite of Dick but it solves mysterious in Mallon's own way.

The prose at hand manages to keep the audience reading but at the same time, this is one of those books that will either having you turning pages at light speed or struggling to get by page by page.

Maybe it was the content involved, I’m not sure, but this was a book that took me several weeks just to finish.  Take out the network television season coming to a finish and maybe, just maybe, I could have zipped through this one in less than 2 weeks instead of 6 days spread out through the month of May.

This book is not non-fiction nor is it pure fiction.  It is historical fiction.  It’s not the first time Mallon has undergone a project such as this but I am very certain that it won’t be the last.  I feel somewhat confident in that prediction, actually.  Writers write so it would not surprise me, to say the least, if Mallon is starting his next project now…if he hasn’t already done so.

Mallon will be appearing at the Louisville Free Public Library in June to give a lecture about his book along with signing those that are being purchased.  Whether you are going to attend is your choice.

Grade: B

Two reviews coming soon!

On Thursday or Friday, I'll have reviews up for Watergate: A Novel by Thomas Mallon and Over Time by Frank Deford.  Stay tuned!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Louisville Jewish Community Center fails its mission

I submitted the following editorial to the editor of the Community newspaper in plenty of time for publication prior to being mailed out to Jewish families within the Louisville community.  Unfortunately, they chose against publishing it.  What a shame, though.
As a religious member of the Jewish community, I was very sad to read that the JCC would allow their pool to be open on Yom Tov. Even if it is Memorial Day, the fact of the matter is that it is also the second day of Shavuot. To allow the JCC to open during Yom Tov is saddening.
When I consider financial contributions in the future, I know which organizations do not represent my interests at heart. The JCC has shown that by closing the indoor cafĂ©, previously open year round, they could care less about those of us who eat kosher food. I would love to eat out at a kosher restaurant but Louisville just does not provide that ability. It’s a shame.
 Despite Memorial Day coinciding with the second day of Yom Tov for Shavuot, the Louisville Jewish Community Center decided that it was better to fulfill the needs of their non-Jewish membership that wanted to go swimming than it was to fulfill the Jewish values that they were founded on. As such, Rabbi Litvin had a nice (sarcasm intended) thing to say about the neighbors across the way during the sermon this morning.

This was something that was talked about not just at Kiddush yesterday but then again today! There was some talk that the JCC would do away with the kosher cafe and allow trayf food to be served. That battle has been won, for now, by the Orthodox community for the time being.  Since the Jewish Federation of Louisville has merged with the Jewish Community Center to become the Jewish Community of Louisville, you can understand how the Orthodox community feels when it comes to trayf food being allowed on the JCC premises.

In allowing the building and pool to be open on Shavuot no less, the JCL has failed it's mission statement.
Jewish Community of Louisville (JCL) serves as the collective body to preserve and enrich Jewish life and values in Louisville, Kentucky, and to identify a connection to the State of Israel, by providing the services and resources that meet the educational, recreational, social and cultural needs of the individual and affected organizations.
Can you imagine that?  An organization that wants to preserve and enrich Jewish life and values would be open on Yom Tov.  Shame on you, JCC.  Shame on you.

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Best Article Yet

Over at Wildcat Blue Nation, I wrote a feature story on former Wildcat point guard Rajon Rondo, who now stars for the Boston Celtics.  Please feel free to read it and share it with your friends!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

CW unveils 2012-13 TV schedule

The CW has unveiled their 2012-13 TV schedule.

8/7c 90210
9 pm Gossip Girl  (THE CARRIE DIARIES takes over in January)

8 pm Hart of Dixie
9 pm EMILY OWENS, M.D. (formerly known as First Cut)

8 pm ARROW
9 pm Supernatural

8 pm The Vampire Diaries

8 pm America’s Next Top Model
9 pm Nikita

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

CBS unveils 2012-13 Fall TV Schedule

CBS announced their schedule for the fall TV season.

8/7c How I Met Your Mother
8:30 pm PARTNERS
9 pm 2 Broke Girls
9:30 pm Mike & Molly
10 pm Hawaii Five-0

8 pm NCIS
9 pm NCIS: LA
10 pm VEGAS

8 pm Survivor
9 pm Criminal Minds
10 pm CSI

8 pm The Big Bang Theory
8:30 pm Two and a Half Men
9 pm Person of Interest

8 pm CSI: NY
10 pm Blue Bloods

8 pm Crimetime Saturday

7 pm 60 Minutes
8 pm The Amazing Race
9 pm The Good Wife
10 pm The Mentalist

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

When a website thinks something is fact

PAPERMAG got punk'd rather badly.  My friend, Liz, did a fake TV show poster for a fake sitcom starring John Mulaney and they picked it up as a fact.  Better fact-check next time!

ABC announces 2012-13 TV Schedule

ABC announced their schedule for the 2012-13 TV season.

8/7c Dancing With the Stars/The Bachelor (in January)
10 pm Castle

8 pm DWTS Results
9 Happy Endings
9:30 pm Don’t Trust the B—– In Apartment 23
10 pm Private Practice

In January


8 pm The Middle
8:30 pm Suburgatory
9 pm Modern Family

9 pm Grey’s Anatomy
10 pm Scandal

8 pm Shark Tank
9 pm Primetime: What Would You Do?
10 pm 20/20

In November
8 pm Last Man Standing
9 pm Shark Tank
10 pm Primetime: What Would You Do?

8 pm Saturday Night College Football


America’s Funniest Home Videos
8 pm Once Upon a Time
9 pm Revenge
10 pm 666 PARK AVENUE

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fox unveils 2012-13 Television Schedule

8/7c Bones

8 pm Raising Hope
8:30 pm BEN AND KATE
9 pm New Girl

The X Factor

8 pm The X Factor (Results Show)
9 pm Glee

8 pm Touch
9 pm Fringe

8 pm Fox Sports Saturday

8 pm The Simpsons
8:30 pm Bob’s Burgers
9 pm Family Guy
9:30 pm  American Dad

Midseason: American Idol, Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen NightmaresThe Cleveland Show, The Following (to air Mondays) and sitcom The Goodwin Games (to air Tuesdays) along with Cops

Some thoughts on the 2012 Fall Network Schedules

It’s that time of year again.  The broadcast networks are all releasing their fall 2012 television schedules.  With that comes the chance of your new favorite television show being pulled within weeks of going on the air.

In this age of a thousand cable channels, the broadcast networks are fighting for their life, especially NBC.  It does not matter what CBS puts on the air because, more often than not, it will stay on all season long because their viewers have misplaced their remotes a long time ago.

One of the more promising shows of the next season is being held until the midseason: 1600 Penn, a show that NBC picked up.  The series focuses on a First Family but, as is the case with sitcoms, they all have their own quirks.

The biggest question of all is whether or not viewers will move with their shows?  That’s going to be a very important question for FOX, especially in light of moving Glee to Thursday nights to a very competitive time-slot.

We saw what happened when CSI: NY moved from Wednesdays at 10 to Friday nights at 9.  They lost viewers.  They are continuing to lose viewers.  After being on the bubble for two seasons in a row and getting a last minute renewal, I fully expect the 2012-13 season to be the last for the CSI spin-off.

ABC officially announces their schedule on Tuesday.  I expect them to move Revenge to Sunday nights at 10.  Even with the juggernaut called Sunday Night Football, we saw that Once Upon A Time was able to hold its own so one would think that the Revenge viewers would move with the show.

I do have a bone to pick with NBC.  They might think that they are protecting Community but placing it on Friday nights does hurt the show.  Moreover, instead of airing it at 8:30, the show should kick off the night at 8 PM.  In addition, I expect heavy competition from Fringe during the timeslot.

The CW picked up Arrow, based on the DC comic book Green Arrow.  My gut feeling says that the CW will keep it on their Friday night genre night, thus more competition.

I don’t understand why viewers have not given up on American Idol.  The series sucks.  I don’t even watch it.  Instead, why do you not make the decision to vote with your remote and watch shows that deserve an audience?

One big thing to note is that comedies are back.  NBC has given their schedule a combined 5 hours of sitcoms.  FOX, on the other hand, has two nights of two-hour comedy blocks for a total of four hours.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

NBC Fall 2012 Television Schedule

NBC released their fall schedule for the 2012 TV season.

8/7c The Voice

8 pm The Voice
9 pm GO ON
10 pm Parenthood

9 pm Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

8 pm 30 Rock
8:30 pm Up All Night
9 pm The Office
9:30 pm Parks and Recreation
10 pm Rock Center with Brian Williams

8 pm Whitney
8:30 pm Community
9 pm Grimm
10-11 pm Dateline NBC

Encore programming

7 pm Football Night in America
8:15 pm NBC Sunday Night Football

SUNDAY (Post-football/Winter 2013)
7 pm Dateline NBC
8 pm Fashion Star
9 pm The Celebrity Apprentice
10 pm DO NO HARM

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Dick Lugar's Loss: What Does It Mean?

In last night’s Indiana Senate primary election, longtime Indiana Senator Dick Lugar lost his bid for a seventh term in the United States Senate.

At 80 years old, Lugar is the senior Republican in all of the United States Senate. His leadership on foreign policy alone is what the Senate will miss in his absence.

In a written statement following his concession speech last night, Sen. Lugar has some scathing words when it comes to his opponent, Richard Mourdock. I don’t blame him one bit. In fact, I applaud the senator all the more for his scathing critique.

Mourdock is of the tea party wing of the Republican Party, meaning he is so far to the right that he would rather alienate moderate Republicans and lose votes to Democratic opponent Joe Donnelly, a moderate.

This is all a whole lot worse when you factor in what Dana Milibank wrote about last week in The Washington Post. What we have seen from this Congress is an absolute disgrace. An outrage, if you will. Nothing has gotten accomplished, and the things at have? They came after the threat of a government shut-down.

It gets worse when you look at not just the state of the economy but how much tuition is going up for college—and Republicans are not moving from their stance on the increase of the student loan interest rates that go into effect on new loans, starting on July 1, 2012.

Senate Republicans that are in favor of increasing the burden on the next round of college graduates should look at their views on student loan interest rate as political suicide. It should be viewed as an elected official voting to re-instate the draft or voting to screw with Social Security.

At the same time that Lugar was defeated, the citizens of North Carolina decided that it was more important for Kim Kardashian to make a mockery of the sanctity of marriage than it was for same-sex couples to either marry or have a civil union. What the press really doesn’t tell the simple folk is that these sort of amendments hurt straight couples that have a “common law marriage” but not a “civil or religious ceremony” to honor their commitments to each other, til death do they part.

This afternoon, it was announced that President Barack Obama has announced that he is in favor of same-sex marriages. It came only a few days after Vice President Joe Biden made similar remarks. While the Democratic leadership is in the 21st Century, as Sheppard Smith commented, the Republican Party wants the government in and out of the bedroom.

It’s funny, too, because Republicans are in favor of lesser government but at the same time, they want the government in their bedroom. This is one of those things that will never be understood. Religious conservatives don’t even vote on domestic or foreign policy matters. Rather, they vote on social issues. They do so in droves. Interestingly, these social conservatives are by no means a fan of their nominee for president, Mitt Romney. We shall see what happens come November.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Book Review - Mike Wallace: A Life

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (April 13, 2012)

Scheduled to come out later this year, this biography by Peter Rader was pushed up following the death of the newsman.

Mike Wallace had a lengthy career with CBS News.  His death came just a few months after that of 60 Minutes colleague, Andy Rooney. His most recent memoir was released in 2007, which I read recently.

Rader's writing in the biography uses a cinematic style.  Rader explores how Wallace, a feared reporter, was able to transform his depression into a style of journalism that went on to redefine how television news works.

If you think you knew Mike Wallace, think again.