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Book Notes

December 5, 2013

Professional football players live on another world

Some people may think that professional football players live in an alternative universe. How else do you explain the constant moaning about outlawing helmet-to-helmet contact and the juvenile hi-jinx that goes on in the locker room? Do National Football League (NFL) players that seem so human and down-to-earth away from the game actually inhabit another “planet” on the field?

There have been two major areas of controversy this season in the NFL. The first is the whole issue of concussions. Several retired players have committed suicide, lost their memory, or dealt with excruciating headaches because of concussions they suffered during their playing days. 4,500 former players sued the NFL because they felt the league covered up the effects of head shots. The league denied the charge but settled the case for $675 million and currently finances studies on brain injuries and has outlawed head shots from the game.

While retired players are suffering and accusing the NFL of misleading them the current crop of players are complaining that the new rules are ruining the game. Young “studs” think like the old ones used to, that they’re invincible. Apparently they have to be retired for ten years and have their brains and bodies break down before they learn their lesson.

It may not be surprising that the second issue of concern is the spoiled-children-like behavior in the locker room. It recently came to light that a shy, sensitive, highly educated young lineman on the Miami Dolphins was being hazed, bullied, and ostracized by his teammates. He left the team because he couldn’t take it anymore.

Despite putting up with racial epithets, being left to eat alone, and forced to pony up $15,000 for a “team” trip to Las Vegas he didn’t attend, most current players defend the “system” and blast the young lineman for not being able to take it. Apparently taping rookies to goalposts, forcing them to pay for extravagant dinners, and treating them like pariahs are just standard operating procedure in the NFL.

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Book Notes
  • Libraries provide vital services Some people think that libraries are becoming obsolete due to the Internet and the growing popularity of e-books. Nothing could be further from the truth. Libraries are a repository for more than just the written word and reference materials. They provide a basic need for every community and will for the foreseeable future.

    April 17, 2014

  • WWII collection grows with 'Those Angry Days' The main lesson history teaches us is to learn from our mistakes and not repeat them. There’s also an old saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Perhaps the two notions have something in common because we continually prove that history does indeed repeat itself.

    April 10, 2014

  • 'Blue Jasmine' shows talent of troubled Allen It's a shame that Woody Allen is caught up in controversy in his personal life because it deflects from his talent as a filmmaker. You can see the brilliance in his most recent release, "Blue Jasmine" now available for rental at the Cooperstown Library.

    April 3, 2014

  • 'Nebraska' helps give Dern his due Bruce Dern has been a character actor for over half a century yet hadn't really gotten the acclaim he deserves.

    March 27, 2014

  • Book captures both sides of 'Splended Splinter' Ted Williams is an American icon. As the mainstay of the Boston Red Sox from 1939-1960 he was one of baseball’s all-time greats, a first ballot Hall-of-Famer, and perhaps the greatest hitter the sport has ever known. He was admired for his devotion to the game, his service to his country, and his support for children with cancer. But there was an ugly side to him too. Williams’ life was a set of contradictions where his talent and humanity were offset by fits of rage and cold-heartedness.

    March 20, 2014

  • Wouk has amazing body of epic work One of the problems with eulogies is that they only seem to occur posthumously. I often wonder why people who have produced something noteworthy aren't honored until after they die and don't get to hear the acclaim they deserve. In that vein I want to recognize an aging classic novelist while he is still with us.

    March 13, 2014

  • 'Miracle' shows when Olympics were pure The Winter Olympics ended recently and somehow they seemed to have lost their luster. It wasn’t so much that they were in Sochi where most of the events were on tape delay. It was more due to the new events (many we have never heard of) that have diluted the games. The Winter Olympics have gone from an intimate edition of their summer counterpart to one where it appears medal counts and commercialism is all that matters.

    March 6, 2014

  • Sometimes bad films, books called 'Classic' About 40 years ago a movie was made that set the standard for overhyped and underwhelming films. It was "The Great Gatsby" starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. Redford was the hottest thing in Hollywood at the time and Time Magazine ran a cover story on the film. When it was finally released it completely bombed.

    February 27, 2014

  • British films that will warm your heart With all the snow and sub-zero temperatures this winter there are enough nights where the easiest thing to do is hunker down and enjoy a good movie. I thought I’d offer a few suggestions with a British twist. These are films with Americans that are filmed in England. The one thing they all have in common is that they’ll warm your heart in the end.

    February 20, 2014

  • Giants-Dodgers rivalry entertains One of the fiercest rivalries in all of sports is the Giants and Dodgers. These two proud franchises have been going at it for well over 100 years. First it was New York vs. Brooklyn. Now it's San Francisco vs. Los Angeles. There's no love lost between them. Victories over each other are sweeter than those over any other team. Even when they're not going head-to-head it feels good when their arch-rival loses. If you're a Giants' fan, hating the Dodgers is a way of life (and vice versa).

    February 13, 2014