Monday, September 19, 2005

Curmudgeon in the Wry 306

Monday, September 19, 2005---837 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 43 seconds (time well spent)
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Rave: Jamey Johnson
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Rant: Is there any televised sporting event that enjoys more hype and is more tedious than an NFL exhibition?
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Underrated: Fred MacMurray, Gabby Hayes, David Niven.
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Rant: Kanye West should consider visiting the Wizard of Oz and asking for a brain.
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Hmmmm: Why haven’t the Red Sox retired Johnny Pesky’s number?
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Rave: The latest commemorative stamp set from the USPS, “50s Sporty Cars” is absolutely terrific…eye-catching and a reminder to the time when cars had sex appeal.
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Rant: When are sponsors going to learn that naming rights are the biggest waste of money in sports advertising?
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Batter Up: Since Atlanta rookie Jeff Francoeur had zero walks in his initial 130 plate appearances, why would anyone ever throw him a strike?
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Factoid: Since 1920, when Agatha Christie published “The Mysterious Affairs at Styles”, two billion of her books have been sold, a number surpassed only by the Bible and Shakespeare's plays.
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Rant: Finding a grocery store clerk who knows how to pack a paper bag correctly is a real challenge these days…it is another dying art.
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Rave: The ESPN 90 minute tribute to Frank Deford, “You Write Better Than You Play” was beyond outstanding. I feel certain it will be replayed more than once.
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Didjaknow: The great Gypsy jazz guitarist and composer, Django Reinhardt could neither read nor write music. In fact he could not write until very late in life when learned to sign his name. Until then he signed his contracts with an “X”.
He composed hundreds of songs, but only between fifty and seventy were published…and was a most impressive improvisatorial jazz player…maybe the best ever.
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Rant: One would think those who vote for the Baseball Hall of fame are reexamining the non-steroid power stats of Jim Rice, Andre Dawson, and Dale Murphy, to name three.
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Hmmmm: Where did spiders live before there were garages and basements?
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Paperback reader: **“Mallory’s Oracle” (1994) and the subsequent books in the Mallory series have garner outstanding reviews. I can see why as Carol O’Connell writes quite well and presents worthy characters. For my taste it missed the mark. I think her books will hit a bull’s-eye with fans of John Sanford’s “Prey” series psychological thrillers.
**George Pelecanos’ second Nick Stefanos novel, “Nick’s Trip” (1993) is terrific. Nick has received his DC PI License, but keeps the day job tending bar. When a friend from his past hires Nick to find his wife who is missing with $200K taken from a DC crime boss the intrigue accelerates. The subplot has Nick tracking the killer of a reporter friend. The two trails take Nick through DC and Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Mr. Pelecanos delivers wonderful street dialogue, vivid description of the area and a plot that never slows. Every one of his books is a winner!
**”Deader Than Disco” (2005) by David Hiltbrand had a promising start, but then dissolved into a miasma of similes that became just too much. The main character is based on Madonna and one does not need a road map to figure out the others in the record and movie business. Too many clich├ęs and stereotypical characters offset a pretty decent plot.
**Ross Thomas deservedly won the Edgar for Best First Novel for “The Cold War Swap” (1966). Peopled with unpredictable characters with hidden agendas in a world rife with numerous layers of deceptive conspiracies, there never a dull moment. Extremely well written, with suspense building on every page, plot twists and turns, ironies heaped upon shocking disclosures---“The Cold War Swap” has it all. Other than some of the money figures in the espionage game and smoking on airplanes, there is no dated feel. Just a great read!
**I thought P.J. Tracy’s third installment of the Monkeewrench game (“Dead Run” 2005) the weakest of the trio. It has its moments, a pretty neat plot…but gets bogged down by what Elmore Leonard calls the parts that readers tend to skip. As usual in the series, I found the secondary characters most entertaining…and thought they carried the story.
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Rave: The last 23 finals tennis great Roger Federer has played, he has won. Victory in 23 straight finals…has any athlete or team matched that?
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Rant: Someone tell Sean Penn that he can pick up more survivors in his boat if he leaves his "personal photographer" behind.
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Just a thought: It wouldn't be a bad idea for all NHL teams to turn around and applaud the fans before all first pucks are dropped on the respective Opening Nights.
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Rant: I suppose it's only a matter of time before Jesse Jackson shows up in New Orleans to tell the looters that he feels for them.
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If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.