Search This Blog

Monday, April 30, 2012

Can't Read Too Many Books -- April

These are the books I read in April. For a link to the book on Amazon, click the cover.

This book caught my attention in my local library.  It was a great read.  Here's a description:

"The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

 Rating 1-5
 I really like Chris Matthews so my expectations were high for this one.  In the end I found it just average.  My opinion may be skewed by the fact that the person who had the book before me must have been doused in old lady cologne which permeated the entire book.
Rating 1-5

This was a promotional copy I've had on my shelve for years.  It appealed to my interest in philosophy and religion.  Pretty good.

"At the center of this philosophical tale by the acclaimed author of The Island at the Center of the World is a simple mystery: Where in the world is Descartes's skull, and how did it get separated from the rest of his remains? Following the journey of the great 17th-century French thinker's bones—over six countries, across three centuries, through three burials—after his death in Stockholm in 1650, Shorto also follows the philosophical journey into modernity launched by Descartes's articulation of the mind-body problem. Shorto relates the life of the self-centered, vainglorious, vindictive Descartes and the bizarre story of his remains with infectious relish and stylistic grace, and his exploration of philosophical issues is probing. But the bones are too slender to bear the metaphorical weight of modernity that he gives them. Their sporadic appearance in the tale also makes them a shaky narrative frame for the sprawling events Shorto presents as the result of Descartes's work: the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the 19th century's scientific explosion, 21st-century battles between faith and reason. Given Shorto's splendid storytelling gifts, this is a pleasure to read, but ultimately unsatisfying." --Publisher's Weekly
Rating 1-5 

After Tom Robbins, Christopher Moore is about my favorite novelist.  This was the sequel to "You Suck".  Like all of Moore's books, this was highly entertaining.
Rating 1-5

Blow Out the Candles April 30

Actor Al Lewis was born in New York City on this date in 1923 (probably)
Al is best known as Grandpa on the TV series "The Munsters".

This is Al Lewis's Obituary from the Associated Press on Feb. 4, 2006:

Al Lewis, the cigar-chomping patriarch ofThe Munsters whose work as a basketball scout, restaurateur and political candidate never eclipsed his role as Grandpa from the television sitcom, died after years of failing health. He was 82.
Lewis, with his wife at his bedside, passed away Friday night, said Bernard White, program director at WBAI-FM, where the actor hosted a weekly radio program. White made the announcement on the air during the Saturday slot where Lewis usually appeared.
"To say that we will miss his generous, cantankerous, engaging spirit is a profound understatement," White said.
Lewis, sporting a somewhat cheesy Dracula outfit, became a pop culture icon playing the irascible father-in-law to Fred Gwynne's ever-bumbling Herman Munster on the 1964-66 television show. He was also one of the stars of another classic TV comedy, playing Officer Leo Schnauzer on Car 54, Where Are You?

But Lewis' life off the small screen ranged far beyond his acting antics. A former ballplayer at Thomas Jefferson High School, he achieved notoriety as a basketball talent scout familiar to coaching greats like Jerry Tarkanian and Red Auerbach.

He operated a successful Greenwich Village restaurant, Grandpa's, where he was a regular presence — chatting with customers, posing for pictures, signing autographs.

In 2000, a ponytailed Lewis ran as the Green Party candidate against incumbent Gov. George Pataki. Lewis campaigned against draconian drug laws and the death penalty, while going to court in a losing battle to have his name appear on the ballot as "Grandpa Al Lewis."

He didn't defeat Pataki, but managed to collect more 52,000 votes.

Lewis was born Alexander Meister in upstate New York before his family moved to Brooklyn, where the 6-foot-1 teen began a lifelong love affair with basketball. He later became a vaudeville and circus performer, but his career didn't take off until television did the same.

Lewis, as Officer Schnauzer, played opposite Gwynne's Officer Francis Muldoon in Car 54, Where Are You? — a comedy about a Bronx police precinct that aired from 1961-63. One year later, the duo appeared together in The Munsters, taking up residence at the fictional 1313 Mockingbird Lane.

The series, about a family of clueless creatures plunked down in middle America, was a success and ran through 1966. It forever locked Lewis in as the memorably twisted character; decades later, strangers would greet him on the street with shouts of "Grandpa!"

Unlike some television stars, Lewis never complained about getting typecast and made appearances in character for decades.

"Why would I mind?" he asked in a 1997 interview. "It pays my mortgage."

Lewis rarely slowed down, opening his restaurant and hosting his WBAI radio program. At one point during the '90s, he was a frequent guest on the Howard Stern radio show, once sending the shock jock diving for the delay button by leading an undeniably obscene chant against the Federal Communications Commission.

He also popped up in a number of movies, including the acclaimed They Shoot Horses, Don't They? and Married to the Mob.

Lewis reprised his role of Schnauzer in the movie remake of Car 54, and appeared as a guest star on television shows such as Taxi, Green Acres and Lost in Space.

But in 2003, Lewis was hospitalized for an angioplasty. Complications during surgery led to an emergency bypass and the amputation of his right leg below the knee and all the toes on his left foot. Lewis spent the next month in a coma.

A year later, he was back offering his recollections of a seminal punk band on the DVD Ramones Raw.

He is survived by his wife, Karen Ingenthron-Lewis, three sons and four grandchildren.
Singer/songwriter, author and actor Willie Nelson is 79 today.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Do It Yourself COMC Pack #11/35

I recently had 8 months worth of Check Out My Cards purchases shipped.  I divided the 153 cards into 35 groups.  I like to think of these as hand picked "packs".   I'm posting them in random order.  "Pack" #31, 1 card, was $.89 including shipping.

This is another skimpy one card pack but for 89 cents it's pretty good.  Who doesn't like some 1950's Don Mossi?  1957 to be exact.
I love the writing, "When the Indians send up a smoke signal spelling trouble, Don swings into action."  Also a great trivia question.  BTW Lefty still owns the record (for a 9 inning game complete game).  On May 21, 1970 Mel Stottlemyre of the Yankees also walked 11 but was relieved by Steve Hamilton with one out in the ninth.  The Ted Williams managed Senators stranded 14 in the game.

Blow Out the Candles April 29

Hall of Fame shortstop Luis Aparicio is celebrating his 78th birthday today.
 1967 Topps #60

 August 10, 1960 with double play partner Nellie Fox

Career highlights and awards
13× All-Star selection (1958, 1959, 1959², 1960,1960², 1961², 1962, 1962², 1963, 1964, 1970, 1971,1972)
World Series champion (1966)
9× Gold Glove Award winner (1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970)
1956 AL Rookie of the Year
Chicago White Sox #11 retired

Musician Edward "Duke" Ellington was born in Washington, DC on this date in 1899.
 2010 Topps American Heritage #86
Ellington received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969.

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is 58 today.
Jerry with "Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David
 Best sitcom ever?  It's up there.
"I don't want to be a pirate!"

Belgian jazz musician Toots Thielemans is 90 today.  

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Blow Out the Candles April 28

New Hall of Famer Barry Larkin is celebrating his 48th birthday today.
Barry won 3 Gold Gloves
Barry was a 12 time All-Star 
Winner of 9 Silver Sluggers
Barry was the 1995 NL MVP
Barry was a World Series Champion in 1990
Barry was the recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award in 1993
He was honored with the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 1994
Barry will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this July along side Ron Santo

Multitlented actor, composer, artist and director  Lionel Barrymore was born in Philadelphia, PA on this date in 1878.

Before they teamed up in "It's a Wonderful Life", Lionel shared the screen with Jimmy Stewart in a much lighter hearted role in  another Frank Capra film, "You Can't Take it With You".

Friday, April 27, 2012

1991 Ultimate NHL 75th Anniversary Original Six Set -- The Golden Jet

I come from an Original Six town and was born during the Original Six era so when I saw this set I had to have it, though I still waited for a good price.  I like it enough that I'm going to show you every card -- no, not all at once.  That would be crazy.  Stay tuned for more.

Hey, a Bobby Hull subset.  OK!

Set Description: Produced by the Ultimate Trading Card Company, this 100-card standard-size set celebrates the 75th anniversary of the NHL by featuring players from the original six teams in the NHL. The cards were available only in foil packs, with a production run reportedly of 25,000 foil cases. Each foil pack included a sweepstake card; prizes offered included 250 autographed Bobby Hull holograms and 500 sets autographed by those players living at the time. The fronts feature color action photos with white borders, with the player's name in a silver bar at the top and the left lower corner of the picture rolled back to allow space for the producer's logo. The backs have a career summary presented in the format of a newspaper article (with different headlines), with biography and career statistics appearing in a silver box toward the bottom of the card. The cards are numbered on the back and checklisted below as follows: Team Checklists (1-6), Montreal Canadiens (7-17), New York Rangers (18-29), Toronto Maple Leafs (30-46), Boston Bruins (47-56), Chicago Blackhawks (57-65), Detroit Red Wings (66-72), Ultimate Hall of Fame (73-78), All Ultimate Team (79-84), Referees (85-87), Bobby Hull (88-92), and Great Moments (93-97). The cards were produced in both English and French versions. Either version is valued the same. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...