A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the White House: Humor, Blunders, and Other Oddities from the Presidential Campaign Trail by Charles Osgood
There is very litle commentary in this little book. The title says it all. Beginning with the campaign of 1948, Osgood has collected quuotes from both sides and independent observers during the Presidential election years. (Up to 2004; none from the current campaign, but this book almost had to have gone to press before the selection of this year's candidates)
Some of them are kind of flat, but some are downright hilarious. All of them are entertaining, no matter which side of the aisle you are usually seated. And it can be read in a couple of hours, always a good thing in today's attention span deficit society.
I give this one 8 stars.
I first picked up this book because I thought it centered on the championship season of the 2005 University Of Texas Longhorns. That is, after all, the championship team in the foreground, and the Rose Bowl was where it all came to fruition. If I had read the dust cover blurb, i would have dissauded of this notion, but I didn't.
The book, rather, is about the trials and travails of one man and his family, with attention given to the ups and downs of the Texas Longhorns over a period of about 20 years as sort of a side note. it is in essence an autobiography, not that that is a bad thing in and of itself, but since before picking up the book I had never ecen heard of the author, I didn't really care about him or his family.
That said, I did find the book intriguing enough to read all the way through and found it entertaining to a point. Getting to the last two chapters (which actually deal with two games played during that season, the last one recording his feelings during that Rose Bowl) was at times a rough row to hoe. If you are looking for a sports history look elsewhere, but if you are the kind of fan who can commisserate with a fellow fan through your own lives, you might check it out.
My personal rating for this one is 6 stars.
One of the more fascinating genres of science fiction is post-end-of-the-world stories. These can range from classics like Walter M. Miller, Jr's A Canticle for Liebowitz to more offbeat stuff like this little jewel. The story begins with our "hero", Mortimer, living in isolation in the mountains of Tennessee, where he took up residence prior to the "apocalypse".
He has been out of touch with what he world has become for some time, but it comes crashing in on him due to the accidental killing of three intruders into his fortress of solitude. He makes a decision to go into town to track down his estranged wife, whom he has not seen in 10 years.
The world has changed completely in his absence. A mercenary group called the "Red Stripes" runs roughshod over the existing enclaves of villages that still try to exist. The villages, formerly such big cities like Atlanta, are primarily formed around a chain establishment of strip clubs called Joey Armageddon's Sassy-a-Go-Gos. The height of rich life is having a few Armageddon dollars to spend in these bars.
But Mortimer is not interested in lap dancers, he wants to find his wife. So he teams up with a cocky cowboy named "Buffalo" Bill and a feisty girl named shiela to make the trek from Tennessee to Atlanta where she was last seen. Along the way he has to deal with cannibals, the Red Stripes and renegade gangs on speed. Will he make it? I will say, this its a real page-turner.
I rate it 8 stars
Vincent Bugliosi is no slouch when it comes to the courtroom. He was the prosecutor of Charles Manson and several others in the 1969 trial for the Tate-LaBianca murders. He has since published several books outlining his viewpoint from a prosecutorial stance on such things as how the prosecutors screwed up in prosecuting O. J. Simpson, and a fairly well written piece on the assasination of John F. Kennedy.
Here he makes what seems to be an excellent case for prosecuting the current president, George W. Bush, for murder. The case hinges on evidence that Bush committed troops to a war in Iraq that had no basis on facts that were purported at the outset of that war. Assuming that all of his facts are true, then I agree wholeheartedly with his summation.
Here is the problem, though. There are no footnotes or references given from which these facts are derived. You are left entirely up to yourself to delve into the mountain of archives to find out if the information is factual. From a political point of view, left-wingers can take it all as proof positive, while right-wingers can disparage the facts, saying that he got them wrong,both of them without any proof on their side to back them up. Unless they want to go through the effort to do all his research for themselves.
Based on this fact, even though Bugliosi does make a sound case on the face of it, due to his omission of references, as a rater I can only give this 5 stars.
Yeah, I know. If anyone is actually reading this blog, I claim I'm going to get around to all the books I've read that I haven't posted reviews of yet. (Believe me, I have been reading. just not posting.) A couple of political books are coming up soon. Its that time of year. See you soon.