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flout
verb [ T ]
“to intentionally disobey a rule or law, or to intentionally avoid behavior that is usual or expected.”

[They think they can flout the law and get away with it.]
[He conducted business in his pajamas to flout convention.]

Happy Veteran’s Day, 2018. I especially honor those of World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam this year, who fought for what the “Father of Our Country” lead his men into war over: Freedom and our Declaration of Independence, which led to our American Constitution.

When I was raised, not so long ago, we were taught that there are three things you do not talk about in polite company: your religion, your salary and who you vote for. If more people followed these traditional tenets instead of flouting them, there would be less contentiousness these days. It is the main reason I mostly refrain from writing about politics here.

I am of the opinion that ever since we noticed it – I say “we” meaning my good buddies and I who used to look out over and settle our world from a high-terraced apartment in the north Bronx – the “GOP” planned to dumb-down a significant portion of our nation, specifically those not in traditional big cities and urban areas, so that they could capture the less-educated, disenfranchised and less questioning gun-owners, often in the wilds, and turn them into supporters of whatever pablum they fed them. It hasn’t worked as well as they hoped.

This toilet paper to his shoe photo typifies FLOUTUS45’s term and character:

Attacking public education and family unity by encouraging single parenting, they almost have achieved this with a trumped-up Oval Office. We who know better can take it back – and we better before we have a DICTATOR on our hands in the “good ole USA”. I won’t dignify him by mentioning his name in my blog, but this fake “President” speaks to flouting all of the norms we have become accustomed to as a nation, including our Constitution, whether you agree with all he says or not, on a daily basis! This needs to end soonest. IMO, he is a third-party candidate that got in because both major parties laid-down and especially the “Donkeys” ran a weak horse in the race who didn’t challenge @FLOUTUS45 when she had opportunities to be a bitch. The “Elephants” were no better; remember Jeb Bush cowering and almost kneeling without a come-back when Casino Man played the dozens on him during a televised debate? It was shameful!

Someone please give FLOUTUS45 some lukewarm milk with a double-shot of his favorite bourbon whiskey – I recommend 114-proof “Old Granddad”, because it befits his style and is concocted in Kentucky, the state of his fellow good old boy Senator – maybe adding some Fruit Loops to it in a bowl, as homage to the many zanie things he “tweets” all the time would be good. Then put him on ice and to bed for a long winter’s nap in a cave somewhere, before he listens more to his closet advisor, Russia’s Putin (who wants our land by any means), and flouts us into World War III.

Where are our collective manners, common sense, etiquette, patience and respect? Not that far away, but we need smart leadership which teaches the masses to embrace “The Golden Rule”.

Sincerely,

Tired of the Embarrassing Current Foot-in-Tweet Daily Scandal Circus

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I have a friend…well, it has been a while since we hung-out, so maybe I should write, “I know a guy…” who I first saw telling jokes during my DJ time-outs at a bar, formerly located in Uniondale, Long Island, called The Dolphins Cove. He grew up in Roosevelt, Long Island, around the block from the only woman lucky enough to marry me right out of college when we both were too young to do so. He used to come over to my ex’s in-laws house to court her younger sister while I was still in the mix. His name is Eddie Murphy, and I just found a movie in which he starred, that was not one of his typically funny ones, called “Mr. Church”, in my local library’s DVD section!

Actually, it was previewed on another movie’s disc; I didn’t even know that he was still working or that it existed! Mr. Murphy used to leave my name at the door when he was performing his stand-up at the hottest New York City comedy clubs (at the time I was a pretty warm local radio DJ).

This is the first movie write-up I have ever penned on this blog I think, and I do it because “Mr. Church” moved me so much! How much? Well lets just say that I sat there like an old lady with a moist handkerchief, constantly dabbing at my teary eyes throughout the film. I guess I forgot about my sentimental side, calloused by many failed love affairs and poverty through the years. Watching it a second time did not deviate from the previous reactions.

Maybe it is because I knew/know Eddie as a comedian, and remember those at the Dolphin’s Cove “booing” when he was trying-out his material and chanting, “Bring back the Dee Jay, Bring back the Dee Jay!” lol OR…somehow I relate to the story-line of a bachelor who likes to cook and does it well, while slightly self-abusing his talents with whatever medicine while fighting past disrespectful persons in his life. We all “grow up” sooner or later in our creativity – as silly as we used to be and I can testify (but I still like to be “silly” and laugh as much as I can- just seems to be fewer people with a sense of humor now) to the metamorphosis! That clarinet theme song doesn’t dispel my melancholy either – it only encourages this movie’s spiteful therapy at me.

Cannot find the name of that clarinet-led theme song during the ending credits, however. Anybody?

I now will return the “Mr.Church” DVD to my local library, so if someone reads this, they can share my experience – or not – and learn more about ourselves. “Mr Church” is emotional dynamite for Mr. Murphy and the cast! As someone who reviews music and other media, I rate this move with four of five sentimental stars.

Major Props, Eddie on your beautiful wife and new family.

Depending upon who you are ethnically, how old you are, your gender, politics (if any), what country you are from, how long you have been in the USA or how old you are (again), we probably have different views on the recent sentencing of long-time comedian and actor Bill Cosby, who is eighty- one (81) years old, to prison for an alleged sexual transgression decades ago.

Bill Cosby is not my favorite comedian, but he was part of their ilk when I was growing up in the sixties and seventies. I laughed harder at Flip Wilson, Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx’s bits. Yet, I even have a couple of his record albums included within my vinyl! Most notably, “To Russell, My Brother Whom I Slept With”, which has a few hilarious, timeless and memorable bits on it. He really was pretty “clean” with his humor…

That was maybe a different “Coz” than now and one who I prefer to remember, along with “Mr. Huxtable” and acting along side Sidney Poitier in “Uptown Saturday Night” (1974).

I also fondly remember Bill Cosby as one of the first black American actors to be on a weekly show on NBC network TV during the sixties, “I Spy” with his partner, the late Robert Culp! It was an Oreo cookie espionage hit show not to be missed, if my parents allowed me to stay up past homework and curfew bed time. I bet Mr. Culp would be very distressed by this turn of events.

On the album, “Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow…RIGHT” the bit “Noah, Me And You Lord” is one of his best classics! “A Nut In Every Car”, from the same album, is still relevant on our roads today! It is still a great album for congruent laughs.

My understanding of being incarcerated is that it is supposed to rehabilitate the offender of laws. What is Bill Cosby supposed to do in a cell at eighty-one? Jack-off (if he still can)? Contemplate his wrongs and come out a better man? Have contrition, remorse and beg forgiveness? He should have taken the stand to defend himself verbally! Shoot, the man may have dementia and not even understand why he is there! This is like…elder abuse! Surely “house arrest” with electronic monitoring was an alternative, right? No matter what you think of him or his accusers, to put him in a sterile state prison at this point in his life does not seem to rise to the level of punishment fitting the crime and I doubt he survives it for long if appeals fail.
How come the current occupant of the Oval Office, who has tens of similar accusers, isn’t in prison or on trial, by the way?

His accuser? To me looking at it or “her” (looks like a guy to me! lol), I see emotionally disturbance issues (drama) right off the bat and I hate that “Russell’s Brother” felt he had to even waste time on that. What was he thinking? Was his game so lame that he had to resort to slipping a ‘mickey’ to a chick in order to get some ‘strange” – all while having a wife and family back home? I don’t watch television anymore, but I read a headlines clip from USA Today on my android, where this individual seemed to externalize everything wrong in their life to Mr. Cosby! Duh? I believe they had diffidence issues long before the two met and maybe also should spend time in a small locked room reading a self-help book called, “Your Erroneous Zones” [Dyer].

Another part of me remember’s Bill Cosby as a militant during the civil rights protest era when we had to “overcome” segregation and racial prejudice in the USA. I’m not one to always blame things on race, however part of me thinks maybe ‘the man’ had it in for him all this time, and proves that no matter how elderly, “wealthy” or infirm you are in America, if you are a black man accused sexually by a Caucasian woman, you are likely to get no justice – still in 2018 – just a modern day lynching. And that… may be the most telling and saddest, unkind cut of all.

I wanted to do this revu earlier , but got busy helping a new Author get her book out there. Please forgive the lapse as this book is definitely part of my 2018 “Summer of Reading”, like never in recent memory! (smile)
By the time I returned “Hitmen” to my local library, I was already curious about Kurson’s previous book, “Shadow Divers”, which was mentioned in every promotional note I read for his latest work. I know this book has been reviewed – it isn’t on the “new” list and it was published in 2004 – I just want to share it with you, a fan or one of the curious about my blog because it became part of my summer 2018 reading list.
At first, I dismissed it as another boring “fish story” about scuba diving, but boy was I wrong! This book is a great historical narrative of non-fiction which is SO to the point that I had to let you know about the story as this milestone summer wanes.

This volume has elements of suspense, drama, mystery, education and science.
Its about men who dive deepest sunken shipwrecks like the Andrea Doria for sport, coming across an object very near to New York harbor, which they identify as a German U-boat submarine, and their quest to precisely identify it because previous history had no record of such a vessel in those waters so close to our east coast!

As with “Hitmen”, Kurson lays the groundwork of the story, then biographies each character, alternating between perspective, action, more history and biographical perspective which includes their love lives. He teaches us while describing this unique saga of connecting personalities and wartime “dots” to identify this object at the bottom of the sea, not far from the New Jersey coast and New York City. He names the book during chapter 2 at the bottom of page 33.

“Shadow Divers” is a most amazing story that I thought I would never read. These men dive for “sport” so much deeper than Lloyd Brides ever did on one of my boyhood favorite television shows, “Sea Hunt”, which is the first place I ever heard about “the bends”, an affliction caused by the chemistry of nitrogen and oxygen in our blood and returning to the surface of the ocean too fast. You will read and experience the profound, dangerous excitement of the mix of air they breathe underwater and the discovery by these sportsmen to the point that it is so scary, that it catapults you to read-on!

One of the most moving parts of the book is his recounting of the father and son divers, the Rouses, who joined many other divers on Bill Nagel’s Seeker to attempt to recover artifacts and identify the “U-Who”.
“The Seeker rose and fell with nature’s onrushing tantrum, each explosion against the ocean threatening to catapult the divers overboard and crush Chrissy under the stern.” (pg. 218)

In my schooling, the Pacific theater of WWII was taught as a more important battleground than the Atlantic resistance. Yet, throughout this book and feeling the investigative bravery, persistence and fortitude of these divers, I learned that Hitler launched many of these demon submarines and was upon our biggest east coat city’s doorstep. Oh wow! This is true and these few men men saw it through! If a book can be describes as a “nail-biter”, then this is one of them – right until the chapter where Chatterton and Kohler’s rehearsals bear fruit. Even our recently departed and beloved United States Senator and war veteran, John McCain contributed to the back cover liner note endorsements of “Shadow Divers”!

Reading this book brought another one of my favorite underwater dive movies to mind, 1977’s “The Deep” with the great dance beat soundtrack theme by the late Donna Summer and sexy underwater underwear scene with Jacqueline Bisset. Whoa! That shipwreck was only in 70 feet of water, however. Let’s listen to that theme, which I appropriately apply (and it was a great dance music hit during the those days!) below.

If I were you, I would quickly add this book to my library. I actually read it twice and my rating is still five-out-of-five depth charges!

WhipCrashed

Mild mid-January day,
Gift wrapping papered;
Clothed in Tweed birthday suit.
To shop for a treat;
Two new neighbors to meet,
Nearby a new watering hole to celebrate;
This one is a milestone!

Early evening now on the way.
A familiar route,
Around the corner from where I stay.
I cruise the usual way under the limit
When I spy small SUV begin to encroach,
From triangular gas station on my right.
I beeped as he entered the road;
It kept coming unbelievably fast!
Oh shit, oncoming headlights,
I tried to swerve to avoid it,
Then an explosive mid-ship crash!
Popping leather buttons on tweed jacket!
Like two laser robot eyes, they penetrate metal.

I couldn’t dodge it,
Now smoke, airbags and broken glass,
Windshield cracks like spider web.
More fumes permeate me,
Locked together in road suicide lane;
Oh My God! Then silence…will I die tonight?
Would flames be next? I pondered.
Panic attacks my chill,
Ignition won’t let key come out!
My sedan sad and totally demolished;
As was my left pollex wrenched trying to avoid him.

Days later neck pain persists;
Back out of wack.
I have had enough of this!
Weeks later, finding the gold side-view mirror,
In a pile of debris from my machine at roadside,
On the tri-point station property.
Months later I can still see
His oncoming headlights in my sleep,
And hear his bogus apology.

He claims it was me he could not see.
How about glasses and a pillow,
Little mister “failed to yield right-of-way”?
That is what his police summons say.
Now pray insurance, doctors and lawyers,
Awaiting his financial reparation sanction day.

My 2018 “summer of reading” continues with, “Six Years In The Hanoi Hilton An Extraordinary Story Of Courage and Survival In Vietnam”.

Whether you are like me and grew up with the war in Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement as a backdrop to your life or not, you will surely want to check out this book by Amy Shivley Hawk, step-daughter of U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, James Richard Shivley (1942 – 2006), who was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967 – and suffered the consequences. She did a great job of transcribing her Dad’s impressions into this book and her chronological approach is fittingly perfect for learning moments and doesn’t make us wait very long, before we get to the meat of the story of being shot down and captured.

I remember news journalists like Dan Rather referring to many of our servicemen as “never accounted for”, like they wrote about his colleague, Captain Joe Karins, whose plane continued to fly along side of Jim’s after he ejected follwing being hit by enemy fire. [pg. 48]

This is a primer about the horrific prison of war camp conditions our soldiers endured during capture in the Vietnam War. If it wasn’t true history, you might think it is a movie like “Deer Hunter”. To all of my fellow Baby Boomers and high school (eleventh grade and up) or college school history teachers, please use this book as an opportunity to educate!

Have you ever wondered, as I have, what really happened behind the scenes in North Vietnam, when one of our men was captured? Were the rumored extreme tortures they endured really fact? This book will tell you, in graphic detail. Many of us are familiar with the fact that Arizona Senator and former presidential candidate, John McCain was a POW in North Vietnam, but this is a story about the other men who, heretofore were nameless and faceless along side of the great Senator. It is culled from family accounts, Captain Shivley’s diaries, CD, tapes and our unique American perspectives on a war that we fought with “one hand tied behind our back”, as my own WWII veteran Dad said often. And that was true until President Nixon launched the B52s on Hanoi when Henry Kissinger’s peace talks were not yielding the desired results from Hanoi.

This book is the stuff from which solving the MIA/POW movement was made of, a look inside of the infamous network of prison camps in Hanoi under Chairman Ho Chi Min. This is no “Hogan’s Heroes” comedy, for sure. I marveled at the description of how the prisoners learned to communicate via a tapping code, and simultaneously cringed at the tortures described which affirmed that many of my generation are lucky not to have been drafted back then, because we surely would not have survived such an ordeal of capture, if not killed by bullets.

It seems my World History classes taught that the Japanese tortured our captured WWII servicemen similarly; the Asians have special knack for inventing gruesome treatment of prisoners of war, as compared to “waterboarding” of our current “terrorism” era.
The book is a reminder that war is hell, to cherish your own basic freedoms and like James’ slogan says, “Don’t sweat the small stuff – and it’s all small stuff.” (pg. 172) There are many more positive things I could write about this book, but I will let you alone to read and glean them for yourself.

From the ‘Special Notes to POWs’ to the Acknowledgements chapter and how he became a US Prosecutor, my rating is a no-doubt, Five-out-of-five Bronze Spokane stars

I wasn’t looking for another space book to review, but when I returned “Endurance” to the library and then browsed the “New” section, this cover caught my eye:

The rocket men featured are astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders; the crew of Apollo 8.

“Rocket Men”, penned by Robert Kurson, is historical, educational, suspenseful. Those are but a few of the adjectives I can use to describe this incredible book, which is necessary reading at this juncture in American history, given the inexperience we have in the Oval Office currently which has the country in a similar snit as back in 1968. It reads almost like a novel, except it really happened!
Whether you grew up as an American with the “space race” and NASA by your side like I did, or (especially) not, this is a riveting must read!

Kurson had a great planned layout for this book. He gets right into it with the beginnings of the space race and builds some drama as the Russians leap way out in front. Then after he sets up the moon as a goal versus events like the Cuban Missile Crisis, Robert Kennedy getting assassinated, the ongoing unpopular Vietnam War, Martin Luther King, Jr’s assassination and the protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, he goes into the personal stories of Frank Borman, then back to NASA, Jim Lovell then back to NASA, Bill Anders and back to NASA and the strife of our country at that time. I found one of the most endearing qualities of this read to be how he wove the struggles and faith of the astronaut’s wives and families into the story of “Rocket Men”.

We are suddenly launching Apollo 8 before the middle color photo pages! You need to read how they got to that point. Twenty-four chapters, a great Epilogue and Acknowledgement section, plus easy to comprehend diagrams. I couldn’t put it down except to sleep, eat and do my own work.

Its the story of the space race between our USA and the Soviet Union (Russia) and the genius of NASA’s group of scientists, which eventually led to the Apollo space program more particularly. Feeling that we were losing the race, a bold president challenged the nation to be better and win. My favorite president, John F. Kennedy, is mentioned often, because if it were not for his famous gauntlet of words thrown down before the Congress of the United States in 1961, we would have lost the race to the Moon to the Russians. Ironically, within the genius brain-trust that made Apollo 8 a success was Wernher von Braun, a former Nazi Germany rocket scientist, who was responsible for Hitler’s V-2 campaign against London and other European countries, late in World War II. This brought to mind a movie my parents took me to called “Operation Crossbow”, which recounted Europe’s response to the V-2 Campaign. You never know who will become your helpful bedfellow in this life.

The improbable success of the Apollo 8 moon mission is the focus of the book and by the time you finish reading, you will feel, like I do, that its success was something that was “meant to be”. If you ever doubt there are such circumstances, this book will change your mind. Names from my youth like Yuri Gagarin, Sputnick (“fellow traveler”), Laika (Russian for ‘barker’) and Alan Shephard are revisited and for me, personally, all while I was a teenager learning how to become a young man.

Did you know that in all, twelve Americans walked on the moon between 1969 and 1972? I must have known this, but in truth, those mission almost became commonplace back then! Unbelievable that our men flying to the Moon became routine at that point in time! Since Apollo 17, though…we have never returned there. It is fifty years later.

Remembering the name, Chris Kraft (how can one forget such a unique and appropriate handle?) and his quote on page 323, “never more courage than on anything we ever did in the space program”, because they accelerated it in order to meet the, by then late, President Kennedy’s deadline challenge.

One of my favorite quotes from the book came from his mention of the deadline challenge our great President Kennedy threw down, “Only by attempting ‘the impossible’ would a nation truly find out who it is…”

Another one is from Borman’s wife, Susan, who after being criticized for showing emotion after her husband Frank’s first launch on Gemini 7 said, “But…I have come to realize you can’t be all things to all people. So I decided not to pretend and not to try to hide my feelings – I decided to be myself.” The Author equally writes about how Marilyn Lovell and Valerie Anders coped and showed strength and concern for the safety of the sudden mission – in different ways.

This book is real life history, which is so very worthy your time.

Earlier than half-way into the book, Kurson so aptly employs the description the lift-off of the troubled and slightly untested Saturn V booster rocket on that fateful morning in December, 1968, that I had to go find the video on YouTube!

Even the Epilogue is an epic as it reminds us of how Apollo 13 had an explosion which almost doomed the crew. Great job, OMG…

For me, as a personal “by-the-way”, this story reminisced these launches, which were on the news daily back in those days. My father insisted on us watching the evening Walter Cronkite CBS News at dinner time, because our dining together was mandatory; a good thing that I didn’t like then, which, in retrospect should be more emphasized in today’s American families. Space stories are reminders that our earthly “problems” are petty when viewed against the dark vastness of the universe, of which our planet is a beautiful, but tiny dot.

I give this book five-out-of-five Earths!

If you’ve never looked up into a dark clear night sky and wondered which, besides the moon, of those twinkling lights are planets and which are stars, or been curious about the cosmos, astronomy or manned human space travel, then you can stop reading right now – this book review is not for you.

On the other hand, if you look up into the night sky and wonder about our place in the universe, this book is a must-read for you and it might convince you to look up with a renewed understanding of our delicate, fragile place in the vastness of space!

I, and many of my “Baby Boomer” generation were fascinated and captivated by being included in every manned launch into space in the 1960s and ’70s. Being that there were only seven television channels of the day and three of them network (CBS, ABC and NBC), when there was a launch from Cape Canaveral (later to become Cape Kennedy and the Space Center), it was like a national address by The President (which we are sadly lacking these days also)!

Having recently finished another great book, who knows, maybe this will become another regular sub-category of this ole blog, until such time that I am reunited with my musical “children” and beyond. The name of this fantabulous tome is, “Endurance: A Year In Space, A Lifetime of Discovery” by Scott Kelly.

He weaves in and out from personal to NASA professional stories, with believably weird dreams which sometimes draw back the curtain for the next scenes of his space play, in a way that made me think, “this guy must have kept a diary or has one helluva memory!” Truth be told, when you read the final acknowledgements, you realize the collaboration that it took to put these thoughts together in a readable, informative and entertaining fashion.

Pages 304 – 305 offer Kelly’s most profound critique of our behavior on earth, visa v random and unnecessary gun shootings, one of which touched his sister-in-law, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords of Arizona and my favorite quote from the book. I love his call to us earthlings, “We have got to do better.” Major words of advice from a perspective which deserves our respect; too bad many of our bad actors (politicians included) cannot be shot up into space as a sentence in “zero-g” for a while to gain some humility!

To the above paragraph’s end, Kelly describes how well he and the cosmonauts from Russia work together at 17,500 mph (or the closets kmph) without the drama below, along with those from Japan, Italy and Great Britian (the “U.K.”). I like how he mentions learning how to curse in Russian in a jovial way, between “CQ”s (Crew Quarters) visits, describing it as “much more complex!” While different protocols exist, they all co-exist accurately, performing over 400 experiments, with the most important thing in-mind: survival. You will learn what it is like to ascend at the top of “a big bomb” and return through our planet’s protective atmosphere.

For Kelly and his brother Mark, Identical twins who were raised in West Orange, New Jersey, and who could hardly focus enough to study their grade school lessons and pass to the next grades, instead, wanting to “jump off of things”, to suddenly develop the discipline to achieve U.S. Navy fighter jet pilot flight school because of (in Scott’s case) reading the 1980 book by Tom Wolfe, “The Right Stuff”, is truly remarkable.

“Endurance…” Is full of accurate, informative insights about the nuances of becoming and being an astronaut (or cosmonaut) and what it is like to live and work on the International Space Station (ISS). He often refers to his long-time female companion, Amiko, who awaits his return; she too works for NASA!

I remember, as a boy of maybe nine years, when the Gemini project was first announced by NASA and I glued together a model of the spacecraft. Even then, the prospect of human space flight and survival that Mr. Kelly writes about was the stuff of science fiction movies like “2001, The Space Odyssey”! Its a reminder that I have lived to see ‘the future’ scientifically, if not sociologically.

We have come a long way from the late astronaut, Ed White’s first spacewalk during the Gemini IV mission, and NASA doesn’t publicize astronaut’s names like they did when I first started following their space exploration programs during Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, it seems. I wonder why? Maybe because they are a little leery after the Challenger and Columbia disasters, of the worst-case scenarios? These are bound to happen and may again on our way to Mars; another of the cool things about Scott Kelly’s book – he is always making the case that this is why he is making himself a human Guinea pig!

Being a huge fan of H2O, I think his best personal take from being on the ISS for so long is, “Nothing feels as amazing as water/Rain is a miracle.” File that one under ‘Reality Check’/things we take for-granted!

This book which reads three-hundred-and-sixty-five pages, while the actual number of days that Scott Kelly spent on the ISS in “zero g” is 340, it is close enough for me to give him a “year” if you add the wonderful, color photo pages. A great a read as this can only be blessed with five-out-of-five heavenly space shuttles!

As always, I will answer your spaced-out comments.

And now for something completely different for my blog: A Book Review!

First and personally, I am so proud to have finally found and tied into the public library here in the land of Spanish Moss. It always takes a while to humble myself again and do these things – maybe deep in my soul I should own a library! Oh I do, and it is just vinyl record albums. I digress again.

In the Autumn of 2017, I had three titles on my list of books to read and one of them was a no-brainer, when I heard about it, Maria Sharapova’s autobiography. I have always been one of her fans.
Why now? I knew I had to begin to read again because I was in a writer’s limbo, and you know that, as I stated in past blogs, in order to write well you have to read much. So let’s get to it!

I just finished reading Maria Sharapova’s first autobiography,“Unstoppable – My Life So Far” with Rich Cohen in record time (for me)! Masha (her real name in “Russian) weaves a compelling and enlightening story, with candid diary clips throughout that I could only put down to sleep, eat and run my own work errands. If you’ve ever wondered what life is like for a major player on the Women’s professional tennis tour as a girl becomes a woman, this autobiography is a must read and a real page turner.

It is the first sports autobiography I remember reading since The Roy Campanella story, as a teen, and more recently, “Namath” about my main New York Jets quarterback, whose style and ability I grew up admiring, although I must have read Mickey Mantle’s and others through the years.

I learned that we share admiration for Monica Seles, whose audible power release as she hit the ball (some call it a “grunt”, but it is more sexy than that to a man’s ears, believe me, I’ve had sex with many women who make the same sound when they orgasm) first turned my attention into women’s tennis back in the 1990s. Indeed, Ms. Seles’ story of rising as a teenager achieving stardom on one of the biggest stages in sport, the Pro tennis tour is similar to Ms. Sharapova’s!
The Author also emulates Lindsay Davenport, whose classy game I too came to admire and shows respect for another of my favorites to watch, Serbian, Jelena Jankovic`. We learn about her coaches and even a favorite brand of shoes in these pages.

She used what I call the “sandwich” format for this first part of telling about her life. Using this format allowed Ms. Sharapova to recount her life, so that the reader can get to know her better and it works. She started with the present unjust failed drug test scandal drama and then retraced how she got to this point, while setting up her feelings about going forward with her career and life. The major theme was to tell her side of the suspension story to help clear her name of being associated with doping and I commend her for that. Hell, the substance they flagged her for was not even on the list of illegals throughout 99% of her career, and something smells very fishy about how it was suddenly added. It is almost like the suspicion East Germans who were competing in the Olympics were under, back in the Cold War days.

There is a nice pictorial section mid-way through and I like how neutral her cover photo is and how she describes her relationship with her main motivator, Yuri, her father and their initial trek following the ugly Chernobyl, now part of Ukraine, melt-down, eventually into Sochi, Russia and on to Florida as unknowns when she was a little girl with a huge racket.

She speaks about what I have often wondered while following women’s tennis: her main nemesis, Serena Williams. Oddly, she only mentions her older sister, Venus once. I would have like to have read her comparison of their games.

My favorite quote is from her father, Yuri, who said, “When you let your brain overrule your gut, you screw up your life.” Wow, my mentor used that philosophy and so do I programming my radio shows and identifying hit music through the years! Even though I borrowed it from the library, I will gladly purchase it for my private hardcover collection once I move into my own home.
Nice job, tall lady!! Whatta twenty-first century Fox. You are a “hit” and I’d look up to you without insecurity, rating your book with five out of a possible 5 tennis rackets.

“Those without previous governing experience via public election need not apply, nor are eligible”

Its like any other job, if you do not have the experience, you cannot get hired!!

So what happened this last American election should serve as the major reminder to the electorate, Supreme Court of the United States of America and its legislative branches. Here yee, here yee: The most recent past election in 2016 should prove to all USA citizens that unless you have been elected and governed previously, you are unqualified to become elected to the highest office in the land, which is President. There should never again be a choice between “slim” and “none”. One reason that we do not get “great” candidates as in days past is because somehow, those covering them expect them to be “perfect” – and none of us are – getting into their pants! Yes, some transgressions should disqualify prior to Primaries. Last cycle, I am surprised the GOP didn’t dig-up the dirt on the reality TV candidate in order to expose him! I guess they just wanted to “win” at any cost to our national unity, trying to dumb-down the populace along the way.

Even the former Hollywood Actor, Ronald Reagan had been elected and served as the Governor of the great state of California prior to running for President of The United States. Let this be a warning to the “Oprahs” of the world: get some experience and do not be gloated into biting off much more than you can chew due to ego. I met Oprah at a nightclub called Stringfellows in New York City, circa 1990, and she impressed me as a snob. Might be nice to some, however I saw her boy, Steadman following dutifully a few steps behind her as opposed to being by her side as an equal. I was a radio personality in New York City at the time and she ignored me.

Whenever we have all of these “secret memos”, special prosecutors, marital infidelity against The First Lady, investigations into tampering, et al in the first year of a Presidency, impeachment hearings soon follow, as seen during my three score as a lifetime independent thinker.

Unlike any other position, the holder of the highest office in the nation of America, The United States, needs experience, self-control, maturity, coolness, a big-picture vision of the past, present and future peaceful planet in which we share with other nations and move forward in a spirit of help and unity to solve the difficult and unexpected decisions ahead. My ideal President is a war veteran, like my dad was or Colin Powell and Dwight Eisenhower and John F Kennedy, because in order to lead this nation into a war, you must have experienced the tragedy and human cost of it.

Vote for the favorite USA President of your lifetime or yore in the “comments”!

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