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The Athenaeum - Reading updates and Literary Review from the Obsidian Elite (this means you)

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Reading biography of Peter the Great, has been an interesting read which is good as this is a tome of a book, hah. 


Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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Now reading and thoroughly enjoying:

51vMbuQ-0SL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

@Leferd

@Hurlshot

I recommend this one for you guys. Not just because of area and era familiarity but because this one is just so well written. 

Edited by Guard Dog
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"There is something about mayors, politicians and dignitaries that troubles me. They are too fat. They talk too much. And they never think twice about asking men to die for them."

BGen John Buford USA

 

 

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An excerpt from the book mentioned above. As free agency began to take off in the MLB the big stars like Reggie Jackson began chafing at the long contracts signed before that had them seriously underpaid. The tensions between Jackson and Oakland A's owner Charlie Finley finally came to a head in 1976 and the A's traded Jackson to Baltimore. The following year while the Orioles were playing the White Sox at Comiskey Jackson received a call in his  hotel room from Finley himself asking if they could meet. Curious, Jackson agreed to meet with Finley in Portage Park. Jackson found him sitting on a park bench. Finley began by apologizing for and promising to pay a small amount of money still owed on Jackson's contract. Then the conversation became more personal: 

 

Quote

The man Jackson found himself sitting next to was not the same one who so exactingly governed throughout his time in Oakland. Gone were the bluster and grandiosity, the untarnished conviction that everything in the world would be better if only Finley himself were in charge. There they were. The young star and the old man, reminiscing on a park bench about times past. It was as if their heyday had occurred in a different era rather than just eight months earlier. 

In Jackson, Finley saw a manifestation of the times - someone who had outgrown Oakland just as the very structure of baseball had outgrown Oakland's owner. He had summoned Jackson under the pretext of money- did they even have a personal relationship anymore?- but he wanted to see his former player of reasons unrelated to finances.

"You doing alright in Baltimore?" Finley finally asked. "Are you comfortable?"

The irony was impossible to miss. What Finley really wanted to hear  was how much better things had been with the A's. In the good old days.

Jackson responded in the affirmative, said the playing for Earl Weaver was a terrific experience. That was all it took. Finley began to lament. He lamented that payrolls were growing too rich for his bank book to sustain. He lamented the new salary structure was taking his players- the guys he had signed and groomed and carefully tended- away from him. They were just playing out their contracts, almost to a man, and before long he'd have nobody left. Finley had put his own personal motto- "Sweat plus sacrifice equals success"- to the test and built one of the best teams the sport had ever known. And now he could do little more than watch as it unraveled, strand by agonizing strand. Charlie Finley had been a lonely man for many years, but perhaps was realizing it only now.

After a time the two fell silent, watching the sun filter through the elm trees all around them. After all those years, all those championships, all those words, maybe there were no words left. What really did they have to say? Finally Finley tried.

"We had some times didn't we Reggie?"

"We had all of that." Jackson replied

"You are going to do alright," the older man said wistfully. Whether he was talking to Jackson or himself was not entirely clear. What was unmistakable was that even though he was invoking the future his mind was squarely in the past.

"Every time you hit another home run, or Sal, or Joe, or Cat wins another game," he continued "it's going to be another feather in my cap."

That was it then. Finley still owned the A's, still purported them to be of championship caliber still employed many of the people who had been instrumental to their success, but something has changed. The man who couldn't sit still even as his team was winning titles, who always needed to be moving toward next and bigger, who was the closest personification of Don Quixote his generation of baseball ownership had known seemed to be giving up and calling it a career. He continued to insist he'd never sell the A's, but what he'd do with them- what he could do with them- had become an elusive question. 

Finley was an iconoclast among baseball owners. The most prominent and successful member of an exclusive club that couldn't stand him. And now it was that club that was marginalizing him right out of the sport.

"You should be proud of yourself Reggie," he said in the go-on-without-me tone of a movie hero. "You're going to make a lot of money and you can bet you haven't played in your last Series"

Jackson could only offer a contemplative grin. Hell Reggie himself didn't now where he would be playing next season. 

When they had sat for what seemed like long enough for both of them the men shook hands and parted ways. After his season with Baltimore, Jackson would sign a multi-million dollar deal with the New York Yankees, hit three home runs in three swings in Game 6 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, sweep MVP honors, then hit .391 in the following season's Series as the Yankees won him his 5th title in seven years. 

Finley, meanwhile, trundled off into obscurity. Without Reggie, Oakland finished in second place in 1976, the first time in six years they had been anything but first. And then, after Finley's prediction of mass player exodus was realized, nosedived into a three year run of baseball obsolescence, finishing an average of 32 games off the pace. In 1980, unable to reconcile the finances of his divorce, Finley finally stopped fighting and sold the team.

This was a young man's game and Charlie Finley hadn't even been a young man even in his youth. His meeting with Jackson represented the mortal sigh of a dying franchise, offering only the barest hints of the awful spectacle and downright brilliance of the fifteen years that preceded it. A whisper into the wind off Lake Michigan is a hell of a way to go out. But for this team it was somehow fitting. 

The A's players were themselves scattered to the breeze to Anaheim, San Diego, and Arlington. Why not let the idea of those dominant seasons flutter off in much the same way?

Which is exactly what Charlie Finley did. 

 


"There is something about mayors, politicians and dignitaries that troubles me. They are too fat. They talk too much. And they never think twice about asking men to die for them."

BGen John Buford USA

 

 

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I see I failed to mention that I used my November's free Prime E-Book on The Goblet of Fire and am now reading The Order of the Phoenix. And dear god, Harry (w)angsts even more in the book than he does in the film, which was already annoying enough.

 

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On 12/8/2019 at 5:58 PM, majestic said:

I see I failed to mention that I used my November's free Prime E-Book on The Goblet of Fire and am now reading The Order of the Phoenix. And dear god, Harry (w)angsts even more in the book than he does in the film, which was already annoying enough.

 

I suggest you read Brian Herbert's Dune books after.  Since you seem to enjoy torturing yourself literature-wise 😛

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Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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2 hours ago, Malcador said:

I suggest you read Brian Herbert's Dune books after.  Since you seem to enjoy torturing yourself literature-wise 😛

If he's really into inflicting mental damage to himself he could always try Sanderson. 

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Thanks guys, but I've read almost the entire Star Wars expanded universe (Legends these days), so there's not much that could possibly scare me. :p

As far as Sanderson's and Brian Herbert's sub-par sequels go, how could they possibly be worse than 50 Shades of Grey?

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Now reading:

51o3AeSi-lL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

It's been way too long since I went bluewater fishing. Last March I went to Cedar Key but the gulf does not compare to the Atlantic. Time to start planning a spring trip to South Florida.

I wish I had a boat. 


"There is something about mayors, politicians and dignitaries that troubles me. They are too fat. They talk too much. And they never think twice about asking men to die for them."

BGen John Buford USA

 

 

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smithsonian

the best books of 2019

includes the history books we already shared, plus categories for favorites, science, children, travel, and food.

a few o' the science books (particular the cancer offering) will be added to our must-read list for 2020.

curious, but the food book 'bout which am most intrigued is in the kid's section: United Tastes of America: An Atlas of Food Facts & Recipes from Every State! am finding our young cousins, o' which we have many, like our kitchen almost as much as they like our dogs. am not sure if is some kinda criticism or compliment that Gromnir is most interesting to young people when am preparing food. anyways, kids cookbooks gives us a chance to let the visiting crumb-snatchers choose a recipe (or two) we can prepare together. 

HA! Good Fun!


"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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The Washington Post did a piece a few weeks ago on The Joy of Cooking and how it has been one of the most popular titles in US history. It has been in constant print since the 1930's and is second only to the King James bible in number of books sold over that whole time. I have a copy but can't say I've ever gotten much use of it. What cooking I do is usually very simple. 


"There is something about mayors, politicians and dignitaries that troubles me. They are too fat. They talk too much. And they never think twice about asking men to die for them."

BGen John Buford USA

 

 

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the lies of locke lamora

for a book with obvious quality it feels very boring and pointless

only entertaining part are fraud for cloth

and only interesting character die very quickly off camera

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Read The Witcher series. While not the worst series I read or even bad, I do have to say that parts of the books that where not Geralt's or Ciri's POV were a slog to read through.

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Nothing turns me off of a book than the words "First book of a new series". Yeah. F--k that. Wake me up when they are all written. but this one was on Kindle Unlimited so it didn't cost anything. It's actually pretty good. If you like space opera with political intrigue this one does not suck completely. 

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I also bought this one. Starting it next:

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"There is something about mayors, politicians and dignitaries that troubles me. They are too fat. They talk too much. And they never think twice about asking men to die for them."

BGen John Buford USA

 

 

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1 hour ago, Guard Dog said:

Nothing turns me off of a book than the words "First book of a new series". Yeah. F--k that. Wake me up when they are all written.

About 15 years ago I resolved to never pick up a series still in progress unless it's something episodic like the Dresden Files.

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Now reading:

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&

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Edited by Guard Dog

"There is something about mayors, politicians and dignitaries that troubles me. They are too fat. They talk too much. And they never think twice about asking men to die for them."

BGen John Buford USA

 

 

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On 12/8/2019 at 11:58 PM, majestic said:

I see I failed to mention that I used my November's free Prime E-Book on The Goblet of Fire and am now reading The Order of the Phoenix. And dear god, Harry (w)angsts even more in the book than he does in the film, which was already annoying enough.

Funny how I always assumed the narrative issues of the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie were due to a somewhat cropped adaptation. The novel is a door stopper after all.

Turns out they weren't. Eh. That was a chore to read through.

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