A WEB-SITE SERVING NO GOOD PURPOSE, FOR NO GOOD REASON
WHY ARE YOU HERE?
Welcome to the world's least-effective web-site, created and web-mastered by the world's least-effective "techie." There's no good reason for your visit, but now that you're here you might as well make yourself comfortable. Check out some of these books from the desk of author Daniel Paisner, and note with disinterest some of his accomplishments and miscalculations, and while you're at it wonder how it is that we live in a world where such as this deserves even virtual space in our pop-cultural firmament.
You can’t make this shit up. Izzy Paskowitz’s autobiography, Scratching The Horizon: A Surfing Life, is the sort of story that’s so crazy and bizarre it has to be true. It’s the sort of tale that could only come from decades spent living like a windblown seed. Some of it is incredible. Some of it is horrible. But it’s a true roller coaster ride through and through — a shocking and unpredictable adventure that would probably be terrifying if you actually cared how it turned out. But it’s not so much that Izzy didn’t care. He just possessed a sort of blind faith that most people will never understand.
The big question, which Izzy sets out to answer in Scratching The Horizon, is how do you get that way? Really, he was just born into it. His father, the famed Doc Paskowitz, was a non-conformist if there ever was one. Trained as a doctor, he abandoned the entire concept of making a living in favor of traveling the world as an international waveriding vagabond. Wherever big things were happening in surfing, he was there. Catching waves with Duke in Hawaii, introducing the sport to Israel’s waters, living on the beach at San Onofre as Trestles first opened to the public… you name it, Doc had his hand in it. But the most unbelievable part was that he brought his wife and nine children, Izzy included, along for the ride. They lived like a colony of feral cats. They were broke, they were often hungry, they lived in tents or out of a camper, and the only education they ever got came from the ocean.
Things were always close to spinning out of control, but Doc never seemed worried. He was, after all, something of a con artist, so they’d get by one way or another.
Inevitably, you’ll have two distinct and very opposite reactions to all this. At times, you’ll truly envy the freedom that the Paskowitz family enjoyed. But at other moments, you’ll be turned off by their negligence. It was something of a dysfunctional family, to be sure, but although he struggled a bit, Izzy seemed to turn out pretty good. He had a professional longboarding career. He married
the woman of his dreams. He ran the family surf camp. And, most famously, he dealt with his son Isaiah’s autism by founding Surfers Healing, an organization that has since helped thousands of others. Overall, it hasn’t been a bad life. Just one wild, crazy ride. A true, never-ending adventure. The sort of story that inspires. The sort of message that will make you want to take a good, hard look at your own life. After all, Izzy’s story is the stuff of legends. You can’t make this shit up. -- Allison Arteaga.
"One of the Top Ten Sports Books of 2011" - Publishers Weekly
AN INTENSE REPLAY OF THE PERFECT GAME THAT WASN'T
Published: Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 6:00 AM
By Plain Dealer guest writer The Plain Dealer
Atlantic Monthly Press, 246 pp., $24
By Paul Hoynes
The game was going too fast -- pitch after pitch, out after out, inning after inning. I had a notebook, a blog and game story to write, but Armando Galarraga and Fausto Carmona weren't cooperating. Baseball is not ruled by the clock, but in this game between the Indians and Tigers, the clock seemed stuck in overdrive.
The speed of the game and the precision of the pitchers are what I remember about the perfect game that wasn't on June 2, last year at Comerica Park.
The blown call by veteran umpire Jim Joyce on what should have been the 27th and final out in Galarraga's perfect game is what everyone else remembers. For me, it was the fear that I was going to blow my deadline.
"Nobody's Perfect: Two Men, One Call, and a Game for Baseball History" sinks its teeth into the anxiety that men face when history jumps on them like a 95-mph fastball.
Co-author Dan Paisner writes that Galarraga and Joyce knew exactly what was steaming toward them. He alternates chapters between the two men's first-person voices.
Venezuela-born Galarraga, who signed with the Montreal Expos for only $3,500, remembers retiring the Indians in order in the eighth inning with a 1-0 lead. He left the field telling himself, "I am not thinking so much about keeping it close. I am not thinking anymore about the win or the shutout. I am not even thinking about a no-hitter. I am thinking only about the perfect game."
Joyce, the blue-collar son of Toledo Jeep factory workers, was working at first base. With two out in the ninth and Cleveland's Jason Donald batting, he says, "Deep down I know the play is coming to me. And I know it's going to be close."
It wasn't close. Donald was clearly out, but Joyce called him safe to ruin Galarraga's date with history.
I interviewed Donald, and he was astonished. He figured the umpire would call him out even if he was safe. Who messes with history after 26 straight outs?
Joyce's description of what took place in the umpire's locker room after the game is revealing. He describes the terrible feeling that overcame him as he watched the replay, and breaking down as he told reporters that he'd "kicked the play." Finally, he asks Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski if he could talk to Galarraga. The pitcher hugs and forgives him.
Believe me, these are rare occurrences in an umpire's locker room.
The best part of "Nobody's Perfect" is reading Galarraga's story. Roughly 28 percent of the players in the big leagues are from Latin America, but the language barrier often prevents English-speakers from learning much more than their statistics.
Here, we sense his deep knowledge of his craft, and his worry about staying in the major leagues. Going into the game against the Indians, the hitter he feared most was Shin-Soo Choo. During the game, it became infielder Donald because he was as "hungry" as Galarraga to prove he belonged.
Then the flow of the game took over.
"One-two-three, one-two-three," says Galarraga, referring to how quickly the innings flew by. "I am keeping the dance going. I am keeping the rhythm."
The dance ended when Joyce called Donald safe. Galarraga had his foot on first base when he took the throw from teammate Miguel Cabrera on Donald's grounder. He knew Donald was out. He knew he had thrown the 21st perfect game in history. The only person who didn't was Joyce.
All Galarraga did was smile and walk back to the mound as his teammates charged Joyce. When play resumed, Galarraga retired Trevor Crowe for the final out in a 3-0 victory. The game took 1 hour and 44 minutes. "Nobody's Perfect" reads almost as fast.
Paul Hoynes covers Major League Baseball for The Plain Dealer.
© 2011 cleveland.com. All rights reserved.
An Amazon.com "Top Twenty" best-seller
An Amazon.com #1 best-seller
(okay, so this was in the Bargain Books category, but Gilbert's fans are cheap, cheap, cheap...)
GILBERT GOTTFRIED'S LAUGHS AND GAFFES
May 13, 2011
By PETER KEEPNEWS
RUBBER BALLS AND LIQUOR
By Gilbert Gottfried
Illustrated. 272 pp. St. Martin’s Press. $24.99.
In comedy, the saying goes, timing is everything. The publication of Gilbert Gottfried’s first book, which is kind of a memoir but not really, comes little more than a month after Gottfried made news by tweeting jokes about the Japanese earthquake and tsunami so tasteless that they cost him the longest-lasting and perhaps most lucrative job of his career: providing the duck’s voice in those omnipresent Aflac commercials. He quickly apologized, but the damage was done.
Or was it? If it’s true that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, then the attention Gottfried got for making offensive jokes and being fired can only help sell copies of “Rubber Balls and Liquor.” And since much of the book is devoted to Gottfried’s various career disasters, then at the very least this latest misstep has given him great material for his next book.
“Rubber Balls and Liquor” — the odd title is explained at the end of the book — is, among other things, a lesson in survival. As a young comic, Gottfried survived being a “Saturday Night Live” cast member in what is widely regarded as the show’s worst season. A decade later, he survived a barrage of criticism after joking about masturbation at the 1991 Emmy Awards. His deadpan accounts of these and other professional low points are some of the funniest parts of the book.
And make no mistake about it: although Gottfried has enjoyed success as everything from the voice of the parrot in “Aladdin” to the teller of a graphically unprintable story in the acclaimed documentary “The Aristocrats,” he has had more than his share of professional low points. Some of them were surely devastating at the time. But in the grand tradition of self-deprecating comedy, he plays them, often brilliantly, for laughs.
“Rubber Balls and Liquor” is for fans. I can’t imagine it will find much of an audience among those who know Gottfried only as a comedian with an annoying voice who occasionally gets into very public trouble. He unquestionably is that, but for some of us he is a whole lot more: a thoroughly original performer, with an inventive mind to match his oddball delivery. His humor is located somewhere between the borscht belt and the theater of the absurd, in a strange netherworld where invading aliens ask questions about Ben Gazzara, where Tony Curtis and Gavin MacLeod have surrealistic conversations about doughnuts (Gottfried is a preternaturally gifted impressionist), and where an expression like “I was literally gone” can be the jumping-off point for a frantic comedic riff that threatens to go on forever. If you are a devotee, you will be eager to see how well his humor translates to the printed page, and you won’t be disappointed: there are dead spots, and sometimes he tries a little too hard, but over all it translates well.
You will be disappointed if you expect much insight into Gilbert Gottfried the person, but why would you? Gottfried’s comedy has always been more about getting laughs than getting real. The same is true of his book.
He seems more or less on the level when talking about his life in show business, while what few details he offers about his personal life come off as, shall we say, less than trustworthy. As he explains it, most of his stories are true, “except for the ones that aren’t.”
I mostly believe his wonderful account of seeing Wayne Newton perform in Las Vegas. I don’t believe that his father owned a hardware store called Gilbert’s Father’s Hardware Store. I definitely don’t believe that his father was ever a Nazi. And while his tales of sexual inadequacy and frustration have the ring of comedic, if not literal, truth, you have to read carefully to learn that he is married — by my count he mentions his wife exactly twice, and the second mention is a thank-you on the last page.
In other words, the story of a man equally well known for doing cartoon voices and making sick jokes is, unsurprisingly, not your average celebrity tell-all. It is also not to be taken seriously — except, of course, when it is.
Peter Keepnews is an editor at The Times.
JUST REGULAR STUFF
... a New York Times best-seller, from Ohio's Governor-elect
"If questioning certainties is an art, John Kasich has mastered it..."
-- Elie Wiesel
"This is the best sea story ever; the saga of being the first son of the legendary ocean explorer, Jacques Cousteau -- a boy thrust into history-making adventures in the unknown depths of the sea, and, while discovering the nature of the world, finding the human side of his father, deep respect for his mother, and a place in the world for himself."
-- Sylvia A. Earle, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence
"The Daymond John 'brand' is all about being out in front and going your own way. In THE BRAND WITHIN, he gets readers thinking about what it means to succeed in business and in life. One thing about Daymond, he takes charge, and here he puts his own spin on our consumer culture and challenges us to change things up."
-- Mark Burnett, television producer
... a New York Times best-seller
"Revealing, candid, and full of surprises, Mika Brzezinski's compelling memoir tells the story of a woman, a wife, and a mother at the top of her game who never stops questioning the choices she has had to make to be true to her own high standard." -- Tina Brown, founder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast
... a New York Times best-seller
"The Trump Card is appealing, grounded, smart, and has a sense of humor. Ivanka Trump proves that believing in yourself and working hard never go out of style."
-- Anna Wintour
... a New York Times best-seller
"Serena has dredged deeply into her emotions and those of the First Family of tennis-hopes and fears, aches and triumphs-to craft an exceptional memoir. Ascending from nowhere to the top of the world, she has run an exciting zig-zag course transforming darkest days into bright victories on her way to the International Tennis Hall of Fame."
-- Bud Collins
AND HERE'S A BRAND-NEW BIT OF FAINT PRAISE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE (August 19, 2012)
"... a better-than-average entry in the genre of the co-written sports memoir..." John Jeremiah Sullivan
JUST REGULAR STUFF
"When most former major leaguers write memoirs, you wonder why they bothered; with Ron Darling - Yale graduate, former New York Met and Oakland A, and current Mets broadcaster - you wonder why it took him so long. What other former athlete could write a sentence like this even with assistance from a professional writer (Daniel Paisner): 'This right here (his legendary college pitching duel against St. Johns star Frank Viola) was one of the great epiphanies for me as a competitive athlete, only it took a while for it to resonate.' Most former pitchers can't resonate even with help..."
-- Allen Barra, San Francisco Chronicle "Best Baseball Books of 2009"
"Met fans already know Ron Darling as one of the game’s most insightful commentators, but this is a book for all of Baseball Nation to cherish. Just as artfully as he once changed speeds, Darling moves adeptly between his own experience on the mound and his probing analysis of the art and psychology of pitching to offer us a rare glimpse inside the world of the loneliest man on the field. The result is the pitching equivalent of Ted Williams’ 'The Science of Hitting.'"
–Jonathan Mahler, author of "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning"
"Darling's little gem of a book immediately takes its place alongside 'Ball Four' and 'Moneyball' as a classic, and the best account ever of the way pitchers think."
–Joseph J. Ellis, author of "American Creation"
The harrowing story of survival and hope, set in a web of sewer tunnels beneath the streets of Lvov, Poland during the Holocaust...
"Every so often a Holocaust memoir comes along that transcends the breathless survivor narratives and is recognized as a classic of its kind, such as Elie Wiesel's 'Night' or Primo Levi's 'Survival in Auschwitz.' 'The Girl in the Green Sweater,' a first-person account by Krystyna Chiger, a retired 73-year-old dentist, written with Daniel Paisner, a professional ghostwriter, could possibly become such a book..."
-- Netty C. Gross, The Jerusalem Report
"Despite the substantial number of Holocaust memoirs that have been published, 'The Girl in the Green Sweater' manages to touch us in an unexpected way, revealing highs and lows in man's capacity for evil, as well as his capacity to love life and other human beings. Through the eyes of the child that Krystyna Chiger was in Lvov, Poland in 1939, we see the whole moral universe."
-- Naomi Ragen, author of "The Saturday Wife"
"Congresswoman DeGette provides an explosive, first-hand account of how the right-wing has manipulated public policy on issues ranging from choice, reproduction, and stem cell research for pure political gain. Her compilation of experiences from inside the halls of Congress reveal how sound-science and scientific evidence have been ignored for far too long. Everyone should read Congresswoman DeGette's book and learn from it."
-- Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
“Mark McEwen’s CHANGE IN THE WEATHER is a heartwarming tale of triumph against overwhelming odds. For anyone who has suffered a stroke or knows someone who has, Mark’s words will make them laugh and cry, but mostly will give them hope.”
-- George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States
“Mark McEwen is one of America’s great communicators. Read this book and you’ll learn about the adventures of morning television, but you’ll also find out how love and hard work brought a man who almost died back to life.”
-- Harry Smith, anchor of "The Early Show" on CBS
"In the 1984 Orange Bowl, Boston College's Doug Flutie threw a last-second 48-yard Hail Mary pass to Gerard Phelan that stunned viewers and gave the Eagles a 47-45 victory over the University of Miami Hurricanes. Fans still talk about that game, about that pass, about the talent, determination, and bit of luck that inspired sports lovers everywhere to believe anything is possible if you work and dream hard enough.
"Twenty-two years later, another athlete had a similarly life-changing experience. For Jason McElwain - dubbed J-Mac by his teammates - it happened not during a nationally televised college football game, but on the Rochester, N.Y., Greece Athena High School basketball court in front of wildly cheering schoolmates, teammates, friends, and family. Those four minutes - detailed in McElwain's 'The Game of My Life' - catapulted him to national stardom.
"And those four minutes also challenged our view of what children with autism can accomplish with supportive teachers and the love of a devoted family and loyal friends.
"Caught by team cameras, the video of McElwain's amazing achievement - 20 points scored in the final four minutes of the team's last regular-season game, including a school-record six 3-pointers - has been viewed more than 300,000 times on YouTube; it also ran on ESPN and the national evening news. McElwain won a 2006 ESPY Award for "Best Sports Moment," beating Kobe Bryant and the George Mason University men's basketball team. The game made him so popular he even had Peyton Manning's number in his cellphone directory...
"For thousands of parents of children with autism, reading 'The Game of My Life' is a window into your child's world. Recounting his memories of growing up with autism, as a child who didn't speak until he was 5 years old, he talks about idolizing his older brother and making friends with neighborhood children. As he discovers sports, we see a young man with exceptional drive and persistence emerge...
"But it was the game of basketball that became the center of McElwain's world. Although he practiced shooting hoops every day, and all summer long, he never made the cut on either the high school junior varsity or varsity teams. Instead, he was named the team manager. And he embraced the position.
"As the final game of his senior year approached, the coach offered McElwain the possibility that he would get to play for a few minutes. With four minutes left in the game, and their team ahead, 59-31, coach Jim Johnson said, 'Jason, you're in,' and the rest is history. McElwain's account of those four minutes will make you feel every moment of his excitement and joy...
"Co-author Daniel Paisner has added context to McElwain's story by including comments from his family, therapists, coaches, and teammates. We see his struggles with autism from their point of view. But it is McElwain's words of determination that resonate through the book. 'Stay focused,' he says to the players during every game and every practice.
"Flutie, who has an autistic son, may have identified with McElwain's shining moment on many levels. 'His story is an inspiration for all parents and provides hope for those facing a diagnosis of autism,' the former quarterback says in a quote on the jacket of 'The Game of My Life.'"
-- Leah P. Baily, Boston Globe
REALLY, REALLY OLD STUFF
(some of these books go back to the invention of movable type, but what the hell...)
Paisner's second "first" novel... the story of an aging Hollywood icon who stages his own death, and the hack obituary writer hired to complete his presumably posthumous memoirs..."A cult favorite" (Kirkus Reviews)
"The author, a prolific ghostwriter (his string of credits includes books cowritten with George Pataki, Willard Scott, and Anthony Quinn), published his first novel, 'Obit', in 2000. It featured Axel Pimletz, an obituary writer for a Boston newspaper. Paisner's second novel, also starring the hapless Pimletz, is altogether a superior piece of work. Where 'Obit' was lumbered with a clumsy mystery plot, this one is a breezy comedy that moves at a brisk pace. Terence Wood, a famous actor, apparently has died, and after Pimletz's lengthy obituary is published, Pimletz is approached for an even bigger assignment: writing Wood's memoirs. How does a minimally talented obit writer produce the memoirs of an actor about whom he barely knows anything? And what will happen when he - and the world - discovers that the actor is not dead? Paisner has polished and expanded all the good things in his first novel and jettisoned all the things that didn't work. If there is anyone who could write a good novel about a ghostwriter, it's a ghostwriter, and this novel is just a whole lot of fun. Here's a book that, with enough word of mouth, has the makings of a cult favorite.
-- David Pitt, Booklist (starred review)
2006 QUILL AWARDS ANNOUNCED
"LOSERS" DEMAND RE-COUNT
The winners of the 2006 Quill Book Awards were announced Tuesday, October 10, 2006 during a star-studded gala at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, hosted by NBC News' Lester Holt. It was a who's who of authors and best-selling publishers as awards were handed out in 20 categories. The winners were chosen by the public, who cast their votes online.
The Quills' highest honor, Book of the Year, was awarded to "Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings," by Tyler Perry, published by Riverhead Books.
The most anticipated award of the evening, in the Best Sports Book category, went to Holly Robinson Peete and Daniel Paisner for "Get Your Own Damn Beer, I'm Watching the Game!" -- a guide to professional football that somehow beat out nominated entries from noted Pulitzer Prize winners David Halberstam and David Maraniss.
"Go figure," Paisner told reporters, when informed of his award while enjoying the pre-season rates at Gstaad.
The author had retained famed ceremony-stealer Sacheen Littlefeather to accept the award on his behalf. "She's good at this sort of thing," he said. "Me, I'd be too nervous, meeting Roger Moore and that Bond girl, and making a speech in front of all those people. And besides, that line people always say, about how it's an honor just to be nominated. No way I could deliver that with a straight face. Sacheen, though, she's got the routine down. She's a real pro's pro."
The black-tie audience at the 2006 Quill ceremonies enjoyed performances by American Idol's Fantasia, comedian Lewis Black and the Tony Award-winning cast of Broadway's "Avenue Q." Celebrity presenters included Donald Trump, Stanley Tucci, Harry Connick, Jr., Suzanne Somers, Rhea Perlman, Dana Delany and other notables from the world of letters.