Friday, July 07, 2006

Mnookin, not just a funny last name...

Seth Mnookin, whose column on the whole James Frey situation was discussed on my myspace blog earlier in the year, is about to drop what looks like the next sports book to be added to my collection (sorry for the link overload there.) My brother and I have discussed to some great extent the complicated 2005 Red Sox season, and the emotional crash that followed the World Series, with the front office bumbling all over itself, the Manny drama, and the corpse of Kevin Millar blocking my favorite young players path to stardom. Mnookin's book couldn't be coming out at a better time for me. The day after it's release (and my birthday) I head out for my wedding and a two week honey moon. I think my anger over last years season has subsided, and my love for Manny is great enough that I can laugh off his characterization of the owners as White Devils. This is probably just because winning heals all wounds. This season has all the feel of the 2004 season, with even the streaky play (see 12 game win streak followed almost immediately by three tanks in Tampa) and a studly back-end bullpen looking eerily similar. If Beckett can pitch more like the Beckett of June (was his success all thanks to the National League lineups he faced?) they even have the devestating Double-Ace punch. After a disappointing series, they head in to a HUGE series with the Cap'n Oz and the Pale Hose in the Chi-town Cell. Things to watch:

1. The argument that says the White Sox advantage in the AL over Boston is "pitching, pitching, pitching," will be put to the test. The Sox have their three hottest arms dealing in Lester, Beckett, and Schilling. They will be facing the three best pitchers for the White Sox in Buehrle, Garcia and the lucky Jose Contreras (you'll remember him from my Popmatters article on Cuban baseball.) If the Sox starters can out-perform Chicago's go-to-guys in two out of three games, it would be a huge moral boost for the staff.

2. Man-'Tiz vs. Tho-'Nerko. The 1-2 punches on each team are the best in their respective divisions (and probably the best in all of baseball.) All of the focus is going to be on which one of these brutal duos is more productive, but...

3. Look for the role-players to be the difference-makers in this series. Tonight is the biggest game of the series, and a few Red Sox whom you might not immediately expect, have taken the rake to tonights starter--the guy filling Schilling's spot on the All-Star roster--Mark Buehrle. Jason Varitek and Covelli Crisp are going to take Buehrle behind the tool-shed tonight, and that will be the difference in the series.

Look for the Crimson Hose to take 2 of the 3.

Enjoy the weekend!


Thursday, July 06, 2006

hot warm nervous hands

Welcome World!

For a number of reasons I have decided to move my Blog over to this site from myspace. First of all, it is a little bit more user friendly, and I like the look of it better. Most importantly, though, it is easier for people to access this site. Hopefully I can eventually get family members and more friends on board to peer into my daily ranting, and get all voyeuristic on me, as well. This will help to cut down on those group emails everybody loves to write but hates to receive, as well. Alright...what to expect: I think this should, more or less, be a continuation of my previous blog (thoughts on books, movies, music, etc..); I am hoping it will be less personal ("feeling voyeuristic today?!") type of stuff, although chances are that stuff will still pop up as a means of keeping people filled in on what's going on; expect more politics. Speaking of politics: eventually I am going to link this to another blog that I hope people will checkout called "Tremendous Slouches." This is a site my friend Tim and I are going to get going in order to get some banter and exchange some ideas on politics, sports, whatever. Basically a good cop/bad cop type of deal.

Ever Thus to Deadbeats

Currently reading: Ulysses

Here's the problem with Ulysses and, more importantly, the treatment the book receives from academians: it is treated far too much like some sort of talisman. There is a myth that has been propogated by the Joyce scholars that the book is an "untouchable," and that it cannot simply be picked up and enjoyed but must rather be poured through with strenuous study and appreciation of the fact that every page is teeming with religious symbolism, historical and literary reference, and dense prose. This myth is both true, in context, and false, in general. Having attempted to read Ulysses before without the proper "reading guide," or any guide for that matter, and knowing now how helpful such a book can be, I can say with little uncertainty, that background literature helps, if only to filter through the density of the nuances and references. However, it can be intimidating, and downright put-offish to suggest it is impossible, or wrong to do so. The problem with the way scholars approach the book, as described recently in the New Yorker by Joyce's own grandson (who seems a bit of a crumudgeon, I'll admit) is that it turns away the regular reader. Many people, myself included, had been under the impression that reading Ulysses is an almost insurmountable task, best left for the academics and pretensious snobs. This prevents a whole mass of people from picking up one of the best books, in my mind, ever written. What makes the novel amazing, rather than intimidating, is the very fact that so much history, literature, and religion can be referenced in each page. Does it help to have a guide to sort through all of this information? Absolutely. Is it impossible to read even with the help of such a guide? Certainly not. To travel through Dublin as a foreigner, one can only benefit from a tour guidebook. In many ways this novel is a tour through Dublin in a literary mode. A guidebook can't hurt.