Posts Tagged ‘books’

Kelly SedingerThere’s this guy in western New York named Kelly Sedinger who has been blogging regularly since early 2002. I have no real idea how I came across Byzantium’s Shores, but it would have had to have been after I started my daily prattling in 2005. For most of the time, he used the nom de blog Jaquandor, but much less so now.

Besides his now-tempered following of the Buffalo Bills football team, his exquisite knowledge of classical music, and his odd attraction to a pie in the face, Kelly’s driving force has always been the power of the written word.

In 2014, he not only wrote but published Stardancer, which he sent to me. I enjoyed it, but have not yet gotten to the other books in the Song of Forgotten Stars Trilogy.

Yet, when I read the prologue to his supernatural thriller, The Chilling Killing Wind, I was compelled to immediately buy the book, a Christmas present from me to me.

It is about a guy named John Lazarus, who had attended the executions of two of the murderers of his wife Michelle and was about to attend the third, and final, one, that of Roy Edgar Chalmers.

Lazarus is a professor and an ex-cop, now living with his fiancee, Ellen, still negotiating the relationship vis a vis the memory of Michelle.

John isn’t expecting “closure” with Chalmers’ death, any more than he felt it after the executions of Luther Mayhew and Raoul Serrano before. He doesn’t know how little closure until a string of murders rock the small Michigan town where he lives.

I received the book on a Friday and finished it by Tuesday. It was a compelling read. I don’t read murder mysteries, but my daughter has begun watching certain TV procedurals, and without getting too much into it, he seemed to follow the form without being formulaic.

Kelly seemed to think his YA sci-fi was something my daughter would enjoy, and she might if she gave it a chance. But I gather she’ll almost certainly enjoy The Chilling Killing Wind. There are minor issues I could note, including at least one typo, but I was glad to have read this.

I’m not sure where Kelly goes from here, though. He has proposed a John Lazarus series, and I’ll be curious how that will shake out.

There was a recent Daily Double on the game show JEOPARDY, in the category PARDONER: Ronald Reagan pardoned this owner for illegal campaign contributions in 1989–the Gipper a Yankees fan?

The contestant guessed George Steinbrenner and was, of course, correct. What other owner of that American League franchise could many people name? And which other owner would be in need of Presidential absolution?

Steinbrenner – The Last Lion of Baseball was written by Bill Madden, a well-regarded writer who had a “mostly pleasant working relationship with George in his “capacity as a baseball writer” for UPI and then the New York Daily News. But Madden was furious when he had been fed some bogus story by Steinbrenner about how Lou Pinella, a manager George fired, was trying to steal the furniture.

Steinbrenner was always firing managers, publicity directors, and general managers, who presumably run the day-to-day operations of a team. But it was difficult for all of them because he was a hands-on owner, luring or aggravating the players.

George grew up in Ohio and made his wealth first by reviving the family-owned Kinsman Marine Transit Company, then purchasing it from his family. He later was a co-owner of the American Shipbuilding Company, and, in 1967, he became its chairman and chief executive officer. By 1972, the company’s gross sales were more than $100 million annually.

CBS bought the New York Yankees in 1965, but it was not a good fit. Early in 1973, Steinbrenner, who had tried and failed to buy the Cleveland Indians in 1971, led a group of investors in purchasing the Yankees for $10 million. However, part of the price was two parking garages that CBS bought back the garages for $1.2 million, so the net cost was $8.8 million.

One of my friends recently told me that, though he grew up as a Yankees fan, he changed allegiances, and it was entirely because of the massive amounts Steinbrenner spent in trying to buy championships. I get that. During his 37-year ownership from 1973 to his death in July 2010, the Yankees did earn seven World Series titles and 11 American League pennants.

Madden’s book was exceedingly thorough and obviously well researched. I was feeling a bit exhausted, though, about three-quarters of the way through the 430-page book. Oh, yeah, ANOTHER manager fired – he hired and fired former Yankee infielder Billy Martin FIVE times as manager!

Or dissing one of his players; in 1990, baseball commissioner Fay Vincent booted Steinbrenner out of baseball “for having paid a two-bit gambler to dig up dirt on the Dave Winfield Foundation.” George once dubbed Winfield Mr. May for a poor post-season.

In many ways, George Steinbrenner was a loud, pompous, opinionated, stubborn rich fellow who reminded me of a current part-time DC resident. At least George could play the stadium organ. Oh, yeah, Reagan pardoned Steinbrenner for his really minor financial role in the Watergate scandal.

Your shadowThe republic for which it stands

The NRA’s Catch-22 for Black Men Shot by Police

US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Demands Taxpayer Money For Religious Schools

The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans Living Paycheck to Paycheck

10 Years After: The Post-Recovery Economy

Stephen Colbert Made DJT’s Hurricane Response Into A Children’s Book

Sexual assault survivors tell ‘why I didn’t report’

Stop Making Victims of Sexual Assault into Martyrs for Virginity

We Need to Rethink Our Ideas About Aging

The Plot to Subvert an Election – Unraveling the Russia Story So Far

China is building a digital dictatorship to exert control over its 1.4 billion citizens. For some, ‘social credit’ will bring privileges — for others, punishment

John Oliver: Facebook’s global expansion has been linked to political turmoil overseas, so maybe their ads should focus less on how they “connect the world” and more on why connecting people isn’t always the best idea.

Doug Ford Cancelled Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot Experiment Because It Was Working

How Golf Digest helped free a golf-course artist imprisoned 27 years for a murder he didn’t commit

Arizona’s Gosar family asks voters NOT to re-elect their brother to Congress

Noor Inayat Khan, one of the bravest women of World War II

RIP Thad Mumford, MASH writer and former Yankees batboy

R.I.P. Norm Breyfogle, 1960-2018, Batman artist

Chevy Chase can’t change

The 2018 Winners of the Ig(R) Nobel Prize

You Can’t See ‘Round Corners: The Vietnam War as a rare TV miniseries

Two People with Paralysis Walk Again Using an Implanted Device

In Saratoga Springs, NY! This Enormous Warehouse Of Used Books In New York Will Be Your New Favorite Destination

Interview with Dick Van Dyke at 2017 Salt Lake City Comic-Con (30 min)

What’s coming to Broadway in the coming months

Premiere night of The Minor League Mecca, the Albany Patroons documentary

The million-dollar brownstone that no one owned​

Bruef slide show on the history of the Horn & Hardart Automats

Now I Know: Why the Big Bad Wolf Wouldn’t be a Good Baseball Player and Why You Shouldn’t Pass Gas Near a West Virginia Police Office and When Flying First Class Isn’t Good Enough and How Long It Takes to Find a Needle in a Haystack

The history of cookies as explained by the world’s foremost authority on the subject

Would-be robber loses trousers

MUSIC

Fugue on “Donald Trump is a wanker” based on Seven-Man Army – White Stripes. Plus So You Want to Write a Fugue? – Glenn Gould

René and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War – Paul Simon (Live from Copenhagen); Feeling Lost with Paul Simon One Last Time

Land of Confusion – Hidden Citizens

Africa -Weezer (starring Weird Al Yankovic)

Estancia, by a composer named Alberto Ginastera

Good Times – Pheobe Snow

Ravel Left Hand Piano Concerto played by Yuja Wang

Overture to The Jolly Robbers -von Suppé

Bonehemian Rhapsody – 28-Trombone Collaboration! (from ITF 2018!)

Gangsta’s Paradise – Jain

Marry An Ugly Woman – Rafael de Leon (Roaring Lion)

Weekend Diversion: Coldplay

How big was Helen Shapiro? The Beatles opened for her in 1963

Paul McCartney: Lands No. 1 Album for First Time in 36 Years and Answers the Web’s Most Searched Questions and Talks to Howard Stern and at the Kennedy Center Honors (2012)

Jefferson Airplane Co-Founder Marty Balin Dead at 76

The Author Talk for Tuesday, October 2 at the Albany Public Library will be by Virginia Eubanks. She will be talking about In Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor. Eubanks “ably demonstrates why everyone should be very, very worried about the present and future of poverty management,” according to NY Daily News.

Here’s the book blurb:
Since the dawn of the digital age, decision-making in finance, employment, politics, health and human services has undergone revolutionary change. Today, automated systems–rather than humans–control which neighborhoods get policed, which families attain needed resources, and who is investigated for fraud. While we all live under this new regime of data, the most invasive and punitive systems are aimed at the poor.

Automating Inequality systematically investigates the impacts of data mining, policy algorithms, and predictive risk models on poor and working-class people in America. The book is full of heart-wrenching and eye-opening stories, from a woman in Indiana whose benefits are literally cut off as she lays dying to a family in Pennsylvania in daily fear of losing their daughter because they fit a certain statistical profile.

Check out the New York Times Review of the book; a story about the book on NPR All Things Considered; an interview with Virginia on PBS’s “The Open Mind”; and the All Over Albany story from book launch in Troy.

Virginia Eubanks is an associate professor of political science at the University at Albany who has worked in community technology and economic justice for 20 years. She is also the author of Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age; and co-editor, with Alethia Jones, of Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith.

Her writing about technology and social justice has appeared in The American Prospect, The Nation, Harper’s and Wired. For two decades, Eubanks has worked in community technology and economic justice movements. Today, she is a founding member of the Our Data Bodies Project and a Fellow at New America. She lives in Troy, NY.

Author talks and book reviews are sponsored by the Friends of the Albany Public Library every Tuesday that the library is open at the Washington Avenue branch of the APL, 162 Washington Avenue, in the main auditorium at noon.

Given all the other tomes on my bookshelf, I surprised myself by checking out from the library, The Quartet by Joseph J. Ellis (2015), the author of Founding Brothers and American Sphinx, about Thomas Jefferson.

The subtitle, Orchestrating The Second American Revolution, 1783-1789, informs how George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, along with others such as Robert Morris and Gouverneur Morris (not related), got the thirteen colonies, who had fought off the British, came to accept another centralized government.

A lot of reviewers noted, and it was my experience as well, that our American history courses in high school presented the narrative of the last quarter of the 18th period woefully incompletely. There was the revolutionary fury of the Declaration of Independence and the war, which was reasonably well laid out. The Articles of Confederation -they failed, but why? – followed. Then the Founders came up with the Constitution – but how? – including the Bill of Rights.

In fighting the American Revolution, the colonists were cohesive in that limited battle against the British. However, the notion that these 13 nation-states would then relinquish their independence to accept the creation of a powerful federal government was no guarantee. Certain visionaries diagnosed that structure created by the Articles of Confederation was doomed to fail. They suggested conventions, purportedly to amend the Articles, but ultimately to throw them out.

As Newsday noted: Ellis’ account of the run-up to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and the subsequent state-by-state ratification process is so pacey it almost reads like a thriller. New Yorker Hamilton, fearful that anarchy was looming, developed a national vision first; Madison was just a bit behind. Jay, serving as foreign affairs secretary, was trying to fashion coherent foreign policy. But all agreed that if their efforts were to succeed, a reluctant Washington, who had retired to Mount Vernon, had to be on board. Washington’s revolutionary credentials were unassailable.

“In 1780, most Americans, having thrown off the fetters of a faraway central power, would have thought the kind of national government envisioned by Washington and Co. as peculiar in the extreme. Some historians have viewed the Constitution as a betrayal of the American Revolution by a cabal of elites who crushed an emerging democracy. Ellis, however, reminds us that democracy was viewed skeptically in the 18th century; he prefers to see the efforts the quartet as ‘a quite brilliant rescue’ of revolutionary principles.”

I totally agree that, for a topic that could be very dry, I found the book surprisingly engaging. Ellis explains how the Founders, even those opposing slavery such as Hamilton, essentially ducked the question for the cause of federalism, hoping the topic would be addressed down the road, which it was, decades later.

I should mention that I got the large-print version of The Quartet because that happened to be the edition near the checkout. I didn’t NEED it, but I’m not complaining about it either.

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