Friday, June 22, 2007

The Civil War meets World War II

OK, remember I mentioned I was going to post about the book I finished after Paul Shirley's?

Well, here it is, and it's...

Civil War trivia time.

Except, it's also World War II trivia time!

You all know Ulysses S. Grant, hero of the Union.

Well, some people say Grant won the Civil War at Fort Donelson and Fort Henry.

Those battles, early in the war, earned "U.S. Grant" his nickname, "Unconditional Surrender" Grant.

The man he demanded that unconditional surrender from, at Fort Donelson, was an old friend turned Confederate general, the slightly improbably named Simon Bolivar Buckner.

I guess he must have been named for Simon Bolivar...?

Anyway, Buckner not only survived the Civil War, he wound up the last surviving Confederate general above the rank of brigadier. He lived, in fact, until 1914.

Along the way, he had a son, whom he named Simon Bolivar Buckner (Jr.).

Buckner the younger also became a general. In fact, he was commander of the forces at the battle of Okinawa, the subject of the book I was reading.

Unfortunately, "Buck" Buckner failed to live up to his father's example in one regard: He was killed in action on Okinawa, making him the highest-ranking general killed (by enemy fire) during the war.

Interestingly, a bit of Wikipedia research reveals the family is up to Simon Bolivar Buckner IV and Simon Bolivar Buckner V.

It's a strange name, to be sure, but it's a proud one, and the men who bore it have served their countries pretty well.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The finest book in the English language... this week

I have just finished one of the best books I've read in quite some time. Enough so that I've craved it for months, bought it and read it in less than a week, and put off doing plenty of important stuff I absolutely must do in order to read it and post this, um, post about it.

The book is Paul Shirley's "Can I Keep My Jersey?"

If you've heard of Shirley - and most likely, you haven't - you know him as a sometime NBA scrub who kept a blog on one year and for sporadically.

The thing about Shirley is, apparently unlike many of his teammates, he's something of an intellectual. So his book is not exactly a tell-all, nor is it a sports cliche. In fact, as one of the people involved puts it, it's sort of what you might get if a regular guy found himself immersed in the world of pro basketball.

And it's great. Absolutely brilliant. Both funny and at the same thoughtful and thought-provoking. Look, if you like your basketball heroes coated in gold and armor and soaring like MJ above the sky, don't read this book.

But if you like sports, and yet wonder about the modern concepts of ego, greed and disdain for rules and fans and how they factor into the life of an athlete, it's worth a read.

The man's damn funny. And yet down-to-earth. He pulls few punches and tells some terrible jokes. He's not very PC. And yet, he writes a quick, light read that will nonetheless leave you thinking.

Sports fans, I can't say enough. Like Shirley himself, I'm not a fan of pro basketball. But this book, as much about life - albeit a different sort of life from mine or yours - as sport, is well worth the money.

Buy it. Because I said so.

And watch for a future post related to the book I put down to pick Shirley's up.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What a day

Spent the morning/early afternoon running around like a munkee with his tail on fire.

I must be insane. If I'm not, I'm getting there. My life is chaos.

Apologies for the lack of postage lately. I'm up to my eyeballs in stuff that needs to get done - and these days, the wedding's not even to blame. I can't wait for a day when I can just sit on my rear end and do absolutely nothing.

Maybe after I'm committed, they'll let me.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Survey of the day!

I stole this from The Lesley, just because it sounded cool and, well, munkees like surveys!

1. Two Names You Go By:
1. Eric.
2. Ace.

2. Two Things You Are Wearing Right Now:
1. Pajama pants.
2. My "Real Men Wear Black" Oakland Raiders tank.

3. Things You Would Want (or have) in a Relationship:
1. Marisa (duh!).
2. An end to all the wedding-related stress.

4. Two of Your Favorite Things to do:
1. Read.
2. Watch movies.

5. Two Things You Want Very Badly At The Moment:
1. More time in the freakin' day.
2. More money for the wedding (yeah, I know, selfish city - sorry!).
And, insomniac fans, for my freakin' leg to stop hurting so I could go to sleep!

6. Two things you did last night:
1. Went to "Beyond Glory" at the Roundabout Theatre - an outstanding one-man show, starring Stephen Lang.
2. Looked at china possibilities for the registry (see Question 3, Part 2, above).

7. Two things you ate today:
1. Technically, I haven't eaten anything today yet.
2. Last night, I had duck (*smack!* I told you to duck!).

8. Two people you Last Talked To:
1. Marisa.
2. Whichever of my parents I said goodbye to last, yesterday.

9. Two Things You're doing tomorrow:
1. Sampling the food at the potential wedding place (see Question 3, Part 2, above).
2. Trying to get done all the crap I have to do (see Question 5, Part 1, above).

10. Two longest car rides you've ever experienced:
1. Driving to Pittsburgh, mostly during college - 6 or 7 hours each way.
2. I'm sure I've had other ones, but I can't remember; metaphorically speaking, probably one of the nights driving home from the movie set on no sleep at like 2 in the ay-em.

11. Your two favorite beverages (right now):
1. Anything with caffeine.
2. Smoothies! With berries!