What Are You Reading

Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by Lancealot, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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  2. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    ^ Now I remember seeing a snippet of this on a television show many years ago.
    Dimly recall a Gatsby headstone cemetery marker, tale seemed to unfold looking backward in time,
    and Ladd as Jay Gatsby. Thanks a bunch.
     
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  3. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    A.O. Abbott, Rank Analysis Handicapping; How to Bet Thoroughbred Races Instead of Horses

    Abbott brings an engineer's approach to the profession of analyzing percentage and placement
    within exacta and trifecta wagers and further application to more exotic play.

    I once overlooked a clerical error on an exacta ticket five minutes before the race posted,
    the horses being led to the gate as I caught it-which was my mistake in not catching the ticket
    when issued at the window an hour earlier. Lana, a lovely woman with a chunk of ice on the third finger,
    left hand, was my favorite teller so I rushed back to her, cancelled and corrected, and we shared the
    profit from an $80.00 winning ticket, passing her a $50 bill. Somebody should write a book on proper
    focus at the betting window and not indulging eye candy distraction.:oops:
     
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  4. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    The relationships you develop with some of the tellers at the track can be a lot of fun and, as in all relationships, have their enjoyable nuances and protocols. I've waited in a longer line quite often just to get to "my" teller. That's another personal connect that is being lost to technology with the "betting machines."
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2021
    Harp likes this.
  5. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    Covid, like everything everywhere else everybody ever so much upended the track scene,
    place looked deserted for a very long time, and of course all the regulars were gone with the wind.
    Sad to think what a terrible cost Covid exacted on staff but eventually things did open up a bit,
    gingerly at first, then more so. When I first returned it was to place bets Saturday morning and return
    Sunday to collect on my winners. And only a single clerk in sight, an elderly gent who dispensed cash
    mechanically and of such taciturn nature that convivial discourse all but impossible. Nothing like the
    old days. Considered on-line betting but Illinois-being the corrupt cesspool it is-requires in person
    casino registration, which was all the more asinine since all casinos were Covid closures....

    Even before the Vid struck, a clear bicameral track scene could be seen-some folk preferred a clerk,
    others the machines, which I thought merely a sign of the times. Different strokes for different folk.
    Today, things have improved teller wise and I've started to know a few of the new girls, they me, and it
    is more like the old days, thankfully.
     
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  6. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    And here I thought I was the only guy doing this....;)

    Lana was my favorite: beautiful, sweet, wonderful. I told her she was my lucky charm.
    I caught something in the Delaware Handicap, noticed the previous day goofing off at the office,
    figured it out, worked all the mathematics and next day laid a bundle on the race with Lana taking
    the bet. Cashed the ticket, waited in line for her, and she ran back to the manager's office; he came out,
    looked at the computer and cleared the payment. She was so cute and I tipped her generously,
    something she never forgot.
     
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  7. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    Burying Baronelle Stutzman; Steven D. Smith, First Things 7.6.21

    The advance of societal equality is only achieved at some cost, and, when seen through different perspectives
    public accommodation laws for same-sex couples can lead to further legal entanglement, raising issues
    intrinsic to basic constitutional rights with regard to freedom of religion and free speech.
    Within this constitutional conundrum applicable to free speech is the inherent right of silence.
    Jefferson touched upon this facet remarking that it is tyrannical to compel support of "the propagation of
    opinions which he disbelieves." Consonance with this view would seemingly demand US Supreme Court
    review of a case answering whether the First Amendment's free exercise clause requires religious accommodation. And, when the expressive element intrinsic to a core constitutional issue at hand
    is insistent upon answer, silence echoes thunder. In Arlene's Flowers v. Washington the Court had ample
    opportunity and indeed the solemn responsibility to answer.
     
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  8. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    I started Defoe's A Journal of The Plague Year yesterday morning while aboard the Chicago bound train.
    Half asleep, this Norton Critical edition awoke me by its rich abundance which includes critical reviews;
    among these is a piece penned by Sir Walter Scott and an essay on the Athenian Plague (427BC) by
    Thucydides. A marvelous book, A Journal of The Plague Year is a fictional account of 17th Century London's
    grapple with pestilence and mortality, with lessons no doubt for the present moment.
     
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  9. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    1578126.jpg
    Summer of '49 by David Halberstam originally published in 1989


    While it drifts into nostalgia here and there, Summer of '49 is an engaging account of the early years of the post-war Yankees-Red Sox rivalry with the 1949 pennant race providing the book's pinion. That pennant-race story is wrapped inside an insightful look at baseball's expansive place in American culture in the 1940s.

    You don't have to be a box-score fanatic to enjoy Summer of '49, as a casual fan will find much to like, but if baseball isn't your thing at all, there are other books to read.

    Before Halberstam gets to the 1949 Yankees-Red Sox down-to-the-wire pennant race, he takes a casual look at the more-recent history of baseball and the two clubs to establish the zeitgeist of the teams, the sport and the larger culture going into that season.

    The Yankees, with all the lore (even then) of past dynasties, anchored by names like Ruth and Gehrig, versus the closely-tied-to-their-home-city Red Sox, with its passionate fans, had, by 1949, already developed into an intense rivalry. It blossomed at a time when most boys (and some girls) grew up playing some version of baseball while following their teams and heroes with a singular passion hard to imagine with our present-day plethora of entertainment options.

    Kids in the summer would listen for hours to the, then, mainly day games on radios often placed at odd angles to improve reception. Halberstam argues the relationship a fan develops with the sport listening to it on the radio is more intense than watching on TV. As a kid who did both regularly in the 1970s, I'd agree.

    Newspapers too - waiting on street corners for the latest edition and then pouring over the box scores - absorbed many hours of these young fan's summers. A select few of these boys grew up to be players, while most grew up to be lifelong fans.

    Those who did become players might have come up through a series of semi-pro leagues or as "bonus babies," promising young prospects that, by Major League Baseball rules, had to go straight to the professional teams (that was a new one to me).

    With management in a much stronger negotiating position and endorsements a sliver of what they are today, baseball, the game itself, commanded much more of the players' attention. Less money also meant more camaraderie as, other than the top stars, these were men, while paid more than the average American, with middle-class worries.

    Even the travel, mainly by train, with air travel for teams just starting, had the players spending many of their off-hours together, furthering the team's bond. Along for those enervating rides were the sportswriters whose expenses were subsidized by the management of the teams they covered.

    That acceptable-in-its-day conflict of interest and the era's more-reserved press culture resulted in a symbiotic press-team-management tripartite where the sides fought a bit, but only inside the lines. There were fewer gratuitous and embarrassing stories written and more player hagiography.

    Unacceptable to us today, but in 1949, the baseball press, overall, protected the players and the game itself. Much, much worse than that, though, was the era's and sport's very ugly inveterate racism.

    While it's the conceit of many young today to believe that they are the first to speak up and force the country to look at its racist past, Halberstam, in a mainly otherwise positive look at the sport, writing over three decades ago and like many others at that time, doesn't flinch from identifying and denouncing the ugly prejudice of the Yankees and Red Sox management of that era.

    Those two teams' unwillingness to embrace the period's aborning entrance of black players into the majors is revealed as nothing more than unmitigated racism. Yes, eventually, this hurt the teams (boo-hoo), but for the period, their repugnant attitude slowed the acceptance of black players into the league.

    Sadly, notwithstanding the above, Halberstam isn't wrong in calling baseball the national pastime. The sport, then, was woven into the fabric of America in a way no sport or entertainment is today.

    After framing baseball's place in 1949 America, Halberstam focuses on the players, managers, owners and games themselves that made the Red Sox-Yankees 1949 pennant race special.

    The players, including the big names we know, like Joe Dimaggio or Ted Williams, get their deserved attention, but so do lesser known players like Dimaggio's glasses-wearing brother, Dom, an outstanding outfielder for the Red Sox.

    It's not new information to baseball fans, but Halberstam's reveal of Williams as an intense and almost professorial student of hitting - so much so, he openly shared his secrets with opposing teams' batters (to Red Sox management's displeasure) - wonderfully personalizes the man known as The Splendid Splinter.

    Odd-ball one-season phenom pitchers, undersized stars like Yankees shortstop Phil Rizzuto, tightfisted-and-narrow-minded Yankees general manager George Weiss (who only saw radio and TV as reducing gate receipts, a classic forest-from-the-trees error), private and shy Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey, restaurateur Toots Shor (owner of the unofficial bar of NYC baseball), possibly, the first player agent, Frank Scott, and others are all part of the pennant race story.

    The 1949 pennant race itself, which only becomes the singular focus of Summer of '49 toward the end, is a classic with the Red Sox making an historic run from twelve games back in July to go ahead of the Yankees by one game with a two-games Sox-Bombers series left to end the season and determine the winner. Hollywood couldn't have scripted it better.

    The Summer of '49 is an enjoyable trip through a slice of baseball's history. It admirably shows many of baseball's warts, yet, overall, it is an upbeat look at the national pastime in its post-war glory days.
     
    LizzieMaine likes this.
  10. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    Home run. Man, you're costin me with all the flicks, books, I gotsta get.

    I might run out to look n see if Bookie's is open, what with the Vid all the rage and this place closed
    quickly at-the-get go. Nary a peep since and I need to dive into the baseball stacks for Bradlee's
    Williams bio, and another book, title forgotten about Ted and the D bros pre Second World War,
    know itsza classic, published last year or so. Thanks again. :p;):):cool::D
     
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  11. jswindle2

    jswindle2 One of the Regulars

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    I'm about 1/4 of the way through Widespread Panic by James Ellroy. It's a first person telling of the lurid and lascivious life of the formerly famous and furtive Freddie Otash. I discovered the release just by chance and grabbed it the day of. It's not a masterpiece, but it still manages to entertain. I recommend so far.
     
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  12. Turnip

    Turnip One Too Many

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    Just picked this one up at the book store today, edited reports of German Einsatzgruppen from the Soviet Union 1942/1943.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    ^edited? Cannot be pleasant reading, are you an academic with a professional need to research this era?

    Just curious my friend.
     
  14. Turnip

    Turnip One Too Many

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    I just prefer knowledge over belief.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2021
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  15. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    Verstanden. Ich entschuldige mich, wenn ich unhoflich schien.
     
  16. Turnip

    Turnip One Too Many

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    Nie ma problemu, kolega.
     
    Harp likes this.
  17. dubpynchon

    dubpynchon Practically Family

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    I’ve read that twice now, it’s great, like a horror movie but it was real.

    “Passing through Tokenhouse Yard, in Lothbury, of a sudden a casement violently opened just over my head, and a woman gave three frightful screeches, and then cried, ‘Oh! death, death, death!’ in a most inimitable tone, and which struck me with horror and a chillness in my very blood.”

    I must read more Defoe, I bought Moll Flanders a while ago but haven’t gotten around to it yet.
     
  18. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    51nWDc3fBqL._SX365_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
    The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield originally published in 1995


    I purchased this book after seeing its enchanting movie (comments here: #28982), expecting the book to be better. While the core plot is the same in the book and the movie, the theme is so different in the book, it's not about "better" or "worse," but a different intent.

    Author Steven Pressfield penned a story of Jesus Christ, as a humble caddie, coming to earth to save the soul of a WWI veteran suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. To be sure, that's an interpretation quite open to debate, but I saw a Christ story in this engaging tale.

    Rannulph Junuh is the war hero whose battle trauma has left him shattered and directionless over a decade later. Once a young golf phenom, he now hangs around his dilapidated plantation drinking his days away with his workers and BaggerVance, an enigmatic and impressive man who speaks in a soft-but-attention-demanding tones about the philosophy of finding your place in the world.

    It's now 1931 and the Depression is about to bankrupt the Krewe Island golf resort on the coast of Georgia. Owner Adele Invergordon hits on the idea of a match tournament between the two great golfers of the day: Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen. Her creditors and town officials will only approve the plan if a local golf hero will also play, which leads to Junuh.

    After Junah rebuffs the invitation from the city officials to participate, Vance convinces Junuh that this is his opportunity to find, once again, both his golf and life game. With the tournament now on, professionals Jones and Hagen blast out to a commanding lead over struggling Junuh, while Georgians look on with horror and shame as their local hero falls all but helplessly behind.

    Bagger Vance, till now inscrutable, begins to coach Junah not only as a traditional caddie, but with comments laced with Eastern spiritualism and New Testament forgiveness, expectations and personal responsibility.

    As Junah all but collapses from the pressure of the match, metaphorically reaches rock bottom, Bagger Vance goes full-Christ on him opening up "The Field" to Junah - a sort of extra-dimensional view of the world that can take Junah on a trip through history or as a way to see "waves" of motion that make the world "clearer" in a metaphysical sense.

    Bagger wants Junah to learn fighting the good fight with purity of heart is the point. The goal is to be true to yourself, or something like that as Vance often talks in gnomic riddles. Wrapped in there is Vance's expression of unconditional love for everyone. Sound familiar?

    After delivering all this metaphysics, extra-dimensional insight, spiritualism and biblical echo to Junah, Junah, following a few more ups and down and facing an all but insuperable five-shot deficit with six holes remaining, feels it "click in" as he proceeds to play with pure heart and talent.

    Pressfield clearly loves the game of golf as he writes with a passion and clarity that engages the non-golf fan in the competition and personal struggle of a high-profile professional match tournament.

    His gripping account of the incredible last five holes reads as a Biblical battle between two professionals and a spiritually inspired amateur where all three play for the love of the game and the love of competition, but with no animus toward each other. Is that Pressfield's message - that man is on earth to do battle, but to battle with integrity and honor? Is the game of golf a metaphor for living life?

    Maybe. There are a lot of possible interpretations of The Legend of Bagger Vance with, at least for this agnostic, the Christ parallel being the engaging and trenchant one.

    What makes an author think he can pull off having Christ return to earth in 1931 as a caddie helping a mentally troubled veteran compete in a match golf tournament? The risk of trivializing the Christ story would scare off many writers, but credit Pressfield for taking a big leap of writing faith and pulling it off.

    And what about the movie version? It's still a fun, charming trip back to 1931, which wraps a love story, inside a personal resurrection story, inside a golf tournament all shepherded forward by a pleasant guardian angel. The movie's a good but different and lighter tale than the thought-provoking Biblical sniper shot that Pressfield penned in his impressive novel.
     
  19. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    I have the Norton Critical edition of A Journal of The Plague Year which is fabulous; howsoevahr, the
    edition-as per Academe asinine-contains a piece by Foucault; whom I absolutely cannot stand, despise,
    and would dearly have loved to debate, all irrelevant, and only included out of some f.....g noblesse oblige
    horsehit, commonly found on campus and permeates university press lit no f.....g end. All that pious
    half assed sociological disguised philosphical half assed crap that just had to be included in Norton's critical.

    Norton features an excellent critical analysis of Defoe penned by Walter Scott. Amazing.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2021
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  20. dubpynchon

    dubpynchon Practically Family

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    I've never been a fan of post modernism and deconstructionism and the like, it's too sterile and lifeless. I do like the novels of Thomas Pynchon however, they have a bit of heart. He's very much a post modernist, in his novel 'V' the characters are on a train, when it turns out a fellow passenger is a robot, am automaton with gears for a brain. It's only mentioned briefly, the character doesn't appear in the rest of the novel, and it's the only sci-fi element!
     

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