Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Smartest Thing I've Read About Politics in a Long, Long Time

"We want a virgin to do a hooker's job."
— AZ state Sen. Lori Klein, on politics

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Good book. Good story but slow in parts for me. What I enjoyed most were Barnes's observations on getting older. Excerpts below...

"What did I know of life? I who had lived so carefully. Who had neither won, nor lost, but just let life happen to him? Who had the usual ambitions and settled all too quickly for them not being realized? Who avoided being hurt and called it a capacity for survival? Who paid his bills, stayed on good terms with everyone as far as possible, for whom ecstasy and despair became just words once read in novels? One whose self rebukes never really inflicted pain?"

"The time deniers say: forty's nothing, at fifty, you're in your prime and sixty's the new forty, and so on. I know this much: that there is objective time, but also subjective time, the kind you wear on the inside of your wrist, next to where the pulse lies. And this personal time, which is the true time, is measured in your relationship to memory."

"Average, that's what I'd been, ever since I left school. Average at university and work; average in friendship, loyalty, love: average, no doubt, at sex."

"But time grounds us and then confounds us. We thought we were being mature when we were only being safe. We imagined we were being responsible but were only being cowardly. What we called realism turned out to be a way of avoiding things, rather than facing them. Time...give us enough time and our best supported decisions will seem wobbly, our certainties whimsical."

Friday, November 18, 2011

Best Sports Book of 2011

I enjoyed reading Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football by John Bacon. Bacon had a behind the scenes look at the Michigan football program when Rich Rodriquez took over the program. The Michigan program struggled during the Rodriquez regime and a lot of the problems were not his fault. I remember reading and seeing a number of very negative items from the press and sports media about Rodriquez so this book provided me a different slant on how things went wrong.

This is an excellent book for coaches and would be coaches on what you can expect as a head football coach.... a lot of grief and hassles-from players, alumni and the press. I see and read similar stories even at the high school level. Coaches are paid to win-NOW! 

Bacon is very sympathetic to Rodriquez and his coaches. Compared to what's happening at Penn State, another Big 10 school, the issues captured are small potatoes. If you want to know what big time college football is all about, this is an excellent book to read.

Five star *****

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

All 125th NBA Team

The Sporting News has just published their 125th Commemorative Issue.

Sporting News                                                         My Picks

Magic Johnson                                                        Magic Johnson

Michael Jordan                                                        Michael Jordan

Larry Bird                                                                   Larry Bird

Bob Pettit                                                                   Tim Duncan

Bill Russell                                                               Wilt Chamberlain

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Doc by Mary Doria Russell ****

I usually don't read fiction written by female authors or stories about the "Wild West." Give what I just said, I enjoyed reading Doc, a book that is part biography and part novel about John Henry "Doc" Holliday. If you have seen either the Wyatt Earp (Kevin Costner, Dennis Quaid) or Tombstone movie (Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer), then you will have a flavor of this book.

There is not a lot of gunplay in this book as Holliday's reputation as a gunslinger and man of violence was exaggerated. Russell does highlight the relationship and respect between Earp and Holliday. Holliday was an interested character. He was a dentist, an excellent gambler and very articulate with his view on life. Doc's greatest challenge was not the villains of the West but his battle with tuberculosis. 

Smartest Thing I Read Today

From Ross Douthat's column in the New York Times...

What you see in today’s Republican primary campaign is a reaction to exactly these kinds of follies — a revolt against the ruling class that our meritocracy has forged, and a search for outsiders with thinner résumés but better instincts.
But from Michele Bachmann to Herman Cain, the outsiders haven’t risen to the challenge. It will do America no good to replace the arrogant with the ignorant, the overconfident with the incompetent.
In place of reckless meritocrats, we don’t need feckless know-nothings. We need intelligent leaders with a sense of their own limits, experienced people whose lives have taught them caution. We still need the best and brightest, but we need them to have somehow learned humility along the way.