Winning & Musing…..Volume 6.12

Today we put a bow on the NFL Draft, finally pay some attention to the NBA (now that the playoffs have begun), and address whatever else The Voices scream about.


As per usual I watched the vast majority of all 7 rounds of the annual NFL Selection Meeting, more commonly known as the draft. A few observations:

  • I really like what my Steelers accomplished. Guard David Decastro isn’t a sexy pick, but he is exactly what the team needed. It was quite the pleasant surprise when Decastro was still available, as most “experts” had him being off the board within the top 20 picks. There are some questions about OT Mike Adams due to poor choices involving marijuana usage and lying about said usage, but if he grows up and plays to his full potential it will certainly help an offensive line that has been a weakness for a few years now. Many many months ago several of the earliest mock drafts had the Steelers taking nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu in the first round. Instead they end up getting him in the fourth round which could end up being a huge steal, as Casey Hampton will likely be finished after 2012. RB Chris Rainey provides a versatile, speedy weapon and might become a solid kickoff/punt returner.


  • Kudos to the suits in Minnesota for getting the idiots in Cleveland to move up one spot in the first round to take RB Trent Richardson, whom they could have had anyway by standing pat. It’s not like the Vikings were going to take a running back since they already have Adrian Peterson. Yes I know AP is recovering from torn ACL/MCLs, but he’ll be back. Maybe the Browns became convinced that other teams were interested in moving up to get Richardson?? At any rate the Vikings got the guy they wanted all along, left tackle Matt Khalil, plus three extra draft choices out of the deal and are welcome to accompany me to haggle with used car salesmen any day.


  • There are only two possible explanations for the Redskins taking QB Kirk Cousins in the 4th round after taking Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick. First, they aren’t completely sold on RGIII. That seems unlikely. Who would take a guy that high if you don’t believe he can be a difference maker?? The second, more likely train of thought is that he can spend a few years as a solid backup and then be flipped in a trade for multiple picks, like what the Green Bay Packers just did with Matt Flynn, the New England Patriots did when trading QB Matt Cassel to the Kansas City Chiefs a couple of years ago, or the Atlanta Falcons did when they sent QB Matt Schaub to the Houston Texans in 2007. I’m not completely against that strategy, but coming off a 5-11 season I would think there would be better uses for a middle round draft pick.


  • Did the Seattle Seahawks “reach” when selecting former WV Mountaineer pass rusher Bruce Irvin with the 15th pick in the first round?? Maybe. But if Irvin turns into the next Mario Williams, DeMarcus Ware, or Terrell Suggs then it might eventually look like a pretty shrewd choice.


  • I don’t know whether new Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill will be more like the next Dan Marino or the next Dan Orlovsky, but I am absolutely sure that his wife is s-m-o-k-i-n’ hot and television cameras WILL find her during Miami games.


  • The biggest bust of the first round may turn out to be DT Dontari Poe, taken 11th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. The consensus seems to be that all he has going for him is his massive size, and there are a lot of questions as to why he wasn’t more dominant in college against Conference USA competition. I’m glad the Steelers stayed away from that potential disaster.


  • Getting WR Michael Floyd to play opposite the amazing Larry Fitzgerald is a nice pick for the Arizona Cardinals. If only they had a quarterback that was worth a damn.


  • Speaking of wide receivers, the negatives on NY Jets 2nd round choice Stephen Hill are his hands and his route running. Call me crazy, but aren’t those kind of important skills for a receiver?? Sure the guy is 6ft5 with sub 4.4 speed, but those things won’t matter if he can’t catch the ball.


  • Obviously the San Francisco 49ers didn’t need to add too much to the mix seeing as how they fell just short of the Super Bowl when they lost to the NY Giants in overtime of the NFC Championship game. However, picking wide receiver AJ Jenkins with their first rounder choice is a real head scratcher. AJ Who?? In a draft deep at the receiver position, how in the heck does a team manage to spend its top choice on the one guy no one has ever heard of?? And why did they need a receiver anyway after signing Randy Moss & Mario Manningham in the offseason??


  • I think QB Russell Wilson goes to Seattle and immediately becomes the backup behind free agent signee Matt Flynn, and may eventually turn out to be better than Flynn. Sure he’s about as tall as a hobbit, but guys like Doug Flutie & Drew Brees have proven you don’t have to be 6ft.4 to be a winning quarterback, just like Jamarcus Russell proved that you can be 6ft.6 and not belong within a 5 mile radius of a football field.


  • Chicago Bears’ 2nd round choice WR Alshon Jeffery has the potential to become one of the best receivers from this draft…if he can wean himself off the Sally Struthers diet he’s apparently been utilizing.


  • I really like the Broncos choice of QB Brock Osweiler to be the heir apparent to Peyton Manning. The guy is 6ft.7 and reminds me just a little bit of Ben Roethlisberger. If Manning can stay healthy and sticks around 3 or 4 years there is no better teacher to bring along Osweiler slowly and groom him to take over down the road.


  • New Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden won’t get the benefit of being seasoned slowly & learning from a legend. Since he’s already 28 years old (having spent a few years playing minor league baseball before becoming the signal caller at Oklahoma St.) and the Browns have apparently already lost faith in Colt McCoy after just 2 seasons.



A melancholy farewell to the Chicago Bulls’ chances of winning an NBA title after star player Derrick Rose was lost to an ACL tear in the very first post-season game. It looks like, much to my chagrin, the Miami Heat have a fairly easy path to the Eastern Conference crown, and can only be stopped in the finals, possibly by the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers, or the San Antonio Spurs. But even that prospect doesn’t look all that promising.


As I have stated many times, I don’t pay hardly any attention to the NBA until the playoffs begin, so I was kind of amazed when I saw that Michael Jordan’s Carolina Bobcats went 7-59…the worst season in NBA history. Really?? A team owned by Michael Jordan…the best basketball player that ever lived…is that bad?? Of course a quick glance at their roster reveals that the only players worth anything are small forward Gerald Henderson and guard Kemba Walker. Everyone else just needs to be released.


After the much ballyhooed signing of free agent slugger Albert Pujols, who would have ever guessed that the LA/Anaheim/California Angels would be sitting in last place, 9 games behind the Texas Rangers?? Now granted, we’re only a couple of dozen games into the season, but Pujols is only hitting .216 with NO home runs. The folks in St. Louis…home of the defending World Champions and first place Cardinals (even without Pujols)…have got to be smiling from ear to ear.


Since the Steelers didn’t really address their woeful defensive backfield in the draft, I must have faith in the black & gold brass and hope that middle-of-the road guys picked up with mid to late round choices over the past few years are finally ready to blossom. Specifically I am talking about cornerbacks Cortez Allen, Keenan Lewis, and Curtis Brown. They simply must step up and not let opposing quarterbacks shred them for big plays.

The Hobbit

I really love a good biography. And I am fond of history in its various forms. In the more than half dozen book cases at The Bachelor Palace you’ll find tomes on a variety of subjects, from statesmen like Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, LBJ, and both Presidents Roosevelt, to entertainers like Frank Sinatra, Charles Schultz, and Evel Knievel, to explorations of things like The Civil War, Titanic, olive oil, and philosophy. Then of course there is my love of sports, which explains the shelf entirely dedicated to Roberto Clemente, Jerry West, all things Pittsburgh Steelers, and a strange fascination with golf…among other things. But sometimes one just needs to escape into a whole other world, to ride the wave of a writer’s imagination and bask in the glow of the land of make believe. No one helps a reader do that quite like John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.


It’s probably safe to say that Tolkien is most beloved for his epic Lord of the Rings trilogy, not only because it is a fantastic story but also because it received a huge revival about a decade ago in the form of a well done, hugely popular, critically acclaimed film series. However, I’m a big believer that occasionally less is more and brevity is the soul of wit. Lord of the Rings is, if I’m being quite honest, a bit of a slog. It’s kind of like a fat guy running a 10K. He may make it to the finish line, but he’ll be exhausted, hungry, hallucinatory, begging for water, and quite possibly crawling & in need of medical attention. Conversely, The Hobbit is like a lazy summer weekend spent on the front porch sipping iced tea and enjoying the gentle breeze. I’m not completely against drama & action, I just prefer it in small doses. The Hobbit has plenty of excitement, but it has it in a perfect quantity and in an easily digestible, eminently readable package.


Tolkien was certainly not the first author to write about things like epic quests, hidden treasure, dragons, wizards, elves, dwarves, goblins, and trolls. However, I do believe that his works are among the best of the fantasy genre. His success has inspired generations of new writers, all of whom do their best to borrow from their guru while mixing in original elements, but it is a lofty standard very few can ever get close to reaching.


The Hobbit introduces us to Bilbo Baggins and his home village in Middle-Earth called The Shire. Hobbits are described as a diminutive race of beings that are related to Men, but are different. They are between two and four feet tall with hair covered feet, live on average 100-130 years, and prefer a conservative, leisurely, simple life of farming, eating, smoking, singing, and socializing. They reside in hobbit-holes, which are underground homes with round windows & doors found in hillsides and banks. The Shire is an idyllic, pastoral, fertile land whose inhabitants keep to themselves and don’t really worry about what goes on in the outside world. I think I would get along really well with hobbits, and I could definitely dig living in an awesome place like The Shire.


Bilbo seems to feel the same way as me, and is outwardly quite content with his uneventful little life. However, his wizard friend Gandalf the Grey apparently knows more about the adventurous spirit and valiant wisdom that lies deep within Bilbo than even Bilbo himself. Gandalf introduces Bilbo to Thoren Oakenshield & his party of dwarves who are on a quest to The Lonely Mountain to retrieve the vast treasure that was stolen from them when the evil dragon Smaug destroyed their kingdom. Somehow Bilbo gets persuaded to join this excursion. Adventure ensues. Along the way the group encounters goblins, trolls, wolves, and giant spiders. And Bilbo stumbles upon a certain magic ring that we’ll learn much more about later.


Tolkien not only manages to create fascinating characters, but he places them in a world that is just familiar enough to be comfortable yet imaginatively dissimilar enough to produce the escapism readers seek. His writing is unpretentious to the point that youngsters can enjoy the stories, but charmingly lyrical enough to be appreciated by adults. It is not easy to pull off the task of writing a story that appeals to readers of all ages, but somehow Tolkien does it with aplomb. One can read The Hobbit as a pre-teen then read it again three decades later in middle age, and both experiences will be enormously gratifying.




Hall of Influence – Class 3

Before I bestow the honor of being inducted into the Hall of Influence on new members, let us first refresh the collective memory and recall who has already been previously enshrined. On 9/27/09 the inaugural member was my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. Then five months later in February 2010 we inducted The Rooney Family (owners of my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers), the greatest fictional detective of all time Sherlock Holmes & his creator author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and The Chairman of the Board Frank Sinatra.


Today we celebrate three new honorees from the worlds of music, literature, and politics.


While Mr. Sinatra always did and still does seem to get most of the attention & respect of fans of mid-20th century popular music, I submit that there is another member of the legendary Rat Pack that deserves just as much admiration for his immense talent and unmistakably smooth, rich baritone. That man was born Dino Crochetti in 1917 just a couple of hours up the highway in Steubenville, OH, but we all know him better as Dean Martin. Dino was the very definition of multi-talented. He could sing, he could act, and he was what I like to call quietly funny. Lots of people…Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, etc…are hilarious in a sort of loud, obnoxious, crude way, and that is fine. Whatever works. But I tend to be drawn to humor that is more casual, caustic, & low-key, probably because it reflects my own personality. Martin honed his comic chops while working as zany partner Jerry Lewis’ “straight man” in the 40’s & 50’s and perfected his shtick as part of the Rat Pack in the 60’s. He also conquered the world of films, starring in over 50 movies…everything from screwball comedies with Lewis to war dramas to westerns. Then he became a television star in the 70’s. However, it is the music that stood the test of time. About 15 years ago I was in the car with my sister driving to a family dinner. I put a CD in and the soothing sounds of Dino emanated from the speakers. My sibling looked at me strangely and said “Oh my God…you’re turning into Dad”. At the time I just chuckled & shook it off. Now I realize that it might be one of the best compliments given me in my lifetime, not only because my father is undoubtedly among the finest men I’ve ever known, but also because somewhere along the line I was taught to appreciate good music and respect the wonderful gifts that God bequeaths to his children.


Our second honoree is one of the best writers that America has ever produced. Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, wrote some of the greatest books of the 19th century, and 150 years later most of them are still being read by millions of appreciative bibliophiles. Works like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and Pudd’nhead Wilson have left an indelible mark on the hearts & minds of readers everywhere, including your humble Potentate of Profundity. His writing is an interesting marriage of humor & societal contempt that I adore. Twain himself is a true piece of Americana, having grown up on the shores of the Mississippi River and tried his hand at a fascinating variety of gigs, including riverboat pilot, newspaper reporter, gold miner, and printing apprentice. Everything I have ever read by & about Twain indicates that he was just the sort of fellow I might have gotten along with famously…witty, charming, and self-educated, with just the right mix of intellectual curiosity & wanderlust to fuel the creative juices. I have tremendous respect for almost any writer that manages to get their stuff published & read by the masses, and when those stories are still being enjoyed centuries later it is worthy of the deepest admiration.


The third and final new member of the Hall of Influence is the man I like to refer to as The Godfather of Conservatism. I am, of course, speaking about Rush Limbaugh. I grew up and still reside in the hardcore liberal state of West Virginia, where we hate rich people, love unions, and rely on the government to take care of our every need. My Dad has always voted a straight Democrat ticket, as did my grandfather. From a very young age I had an affinity for politics and fondly recall being fascinated by the memorable keynote address of New York Mayor Mario Cuomo at the 1984 Democrat National Convention when I was 12 years old. Then I went to college and met my friend Greg. Strangely enough Greg grew up just 15 minutes down the road, but we’d never met until the fall of 1991 when I was a resident advisor at Marshall University in my sophomore year and he was a freshman on my floor. Though we couldn’t be more different on the surface we quickly found out that we had much in common and were soon, as Forrest Gump might say, just like peas & carrots. I forget the exact circumstances and sequence of events, but it was Greg who first introduced me to Rush. At first I was reluctant. I don’t know how Greg managed to escape the Appalachian liberal indoctrination, but it was firmly entrenched in my mind that Republicans were mean, evil crooks that didn’t give a damn about poor people, and poor people were pretty much the only kind I knew. But I’m a bookworm who respects the opinions & recommendations of my friends, so when Greg gave me a copy of Rush’s first book, The Way Things Ought to Be, I gave it a whirl…and it changed my life. Everything Rush said made sense and the veil was lifted from my eyes. Rush taught me about conservatism and shed new light on things like media bias, the BS about  feminism, environmentalism, & racism, the truth about economics, and the value of liberty, rugged individualism, and self-reliance. In the ensuing 20+ years I have read Rush’s second book, See I Told You So, and for a long time was a regular listener of his radio show. In the past few years I have become less intensely involved in sociopolitical issues simply due to age, spiritual growth, and the conscious choice to concentrate on things that bring me more tranquility & quiet pleasure. However, I still listen in on occasion and would buy a new book by Rush in a heartbeat. I wholeheartedly agree with most of what he says, and become aggravated by those who criticize him without really reading or listening to what he says versus what others say about him. My only regret is that I was not exposed to conservatism far earlier in my life. I sincerely believe in the greatness of our nation and that, even though not everyone will succeed, everyone has the opportunity to succeed if they are taught the right values, provided access to the proper tools, and given the freedom to attempt to succeed. That is the biggest problem with government – so many people never really try, because not only are they taught that they aren’t good enough, smart enough, good looking enough, or rich enough, but they are taught that these deficiencies aren’t an issue because they’ll be taken care of no matter what. No need to overcome obstacles, no need to make tough choices, no need to go out on a limb and try something outside the comfort zone – just sit tight and let Big Brother pay your bills, put food on the table, and take care of everything from clothing to housing to medical expenses and it’s only getting worse. There’s only so much a lone radio host can do to fight this moral & ethical decay, but for over two decades Rush has done more to combat such destructive attitudes than anyone could have ever expected, and for that I salute the man.




Winning & Musing…..Volume 5.12

Spring has sprung and we’ve got all kinds of sports goodies in the treat bag!!




I’m glad I was hesitant to jump back on the Tiger Woods bandwagon. His performance at The Masters proved that his head still isn’t right and might be an indication that the old Tiger may never fully re-emerge. Galatians 6:7-10 says “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”


Congratulations…I guess…to NCAA basketball National Champions the Kentucky Wildcats. Since their coronation had been all but a foregone conclusion most of the season the result was a bit anticlimactic. I suppose no one can blame the folks in Lexington for playing by the rules and taking advantage of the whole one-and-done scenario, but I long for the days when kids had to stick around a few years before jumping to the NBA and there was a lot more parity in the college game.


Is anyone really shocked that now former Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino once again has proven himself to be a dirtbag?? Those who are the least bit surprised are naïve. Kudos to the folks in Fayetteville for getting rid of Petrino because he is a dirtbag instead of keeping him because he wins football games.


Speaking of dirtbags…

I know the sports media loves new Miami Marlins skipper Ozzie Guillen because he is colorful, quotable, entertaining, and controversial. I also know that the Marlins aren’t going to fire Guillen a week into the season. But how idiotic does the manager of a team in MIAMI have to be to say that he loves Fidel Castro?? It is mind boggling to ponder just how stupid that really is. And no matter how contrite Guillen tries to be there is simply no way that one can apologize their way out of a statement like that. He wasn’t misquoted and the declaration was not taken out of context. It’s a shame such a moronic turn of events overshadowed opening weekend and the christening of a brand new Marlins ballpark.


Most people would probably agree that the pro basketball lags far behind both the football & baseball in popularity (although still ahead of hockey), and though there are likely a lot of reasons for that I find one particularly disturbing. There are certainly superstar players in each sport, but it seems like only in the NBA can one or two players be of such importance that they dictate how a franchise operates. These elite players are put on such a pedestal that they actually hold the coach’s fate in their hands. We’ve seen two examples of this recently, with the NY Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony forcing coach Mike D’Antoni to resign and the still ongoing drama in Orlando where Dwight Howard seems intent on getting Magic coach Stan Van Gundy canned. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I thought the players were supposed to be subservient to the coach…not the other way around. I know it all comes down to money and the star player is making a whole heck of a lot more than the coach, who is viewed as easily expendable. And I also know that individual players being the main focus of the marketing machine rather than the team as a whole goes back atleast 30 years to the Larry Bird/Magic Johnson era. But I still find it regrettable that these spoiled millionaire crybabies wield such power, especially in cases like Anthony & Howard, who are way overrated in comparison to real legends like Michael Jordan, Dr. J, Bill Russell, and many more.


A genuine & hearty congratulations to new Masters champion Bubba Watson. I must admit that I was pulling for my man Phil Mickelson, but Watson seems like a sincerely decent Godly fellow and a good family man who has his priorities straight.



Stephen King’s 11/22/63

I’m not really a Stephen King kind of guy. I have nothing against one of the 20th century’s foremost authors, and greatly respect the fact that he has sold more than 300 million books & had his work adapted into more than three dozen feature films, numerous TV movies, and even plays & comic books. It’s just that I’m not a big fan of the horror/suspense genre. Until now the only King book I’d ever read was Christine (about a possessed 1958 Plymouth Fury) when I was probably 13 or 14 years old. I’ve seen bits & pieces of movies like Stand By Me, Misery, Carrie, & The Shining, and found the 1996 adaptation of Thinner creepy in a good way. I had absolutely no clue that The Shawshank Redemption (a splendid film) was based on a King novella until years after I’d first seen it.


This lack of any meaningful history or connection with Stephen King’s work was why I found it odd when I decided not all that long ago to place his latest novel, 11/22/63, in my Amazon shopping cart.


I knew from the outset that 11/22/63 had three things going for it. First, it is not a traditional horror story of the ilk that made Stephen King a household name. It’s more of a fantasy with a little bit of history thrown into the mix. Second, the assassination of JFK serves as a major plot point. I was not yet born when Camelot was beguiling the nation and Kennedy’s death rocked it to its core, but it is just one of those stories, like the Titanic or The Civil War, which continues to fascinate generations of people centuries after the event itself. And finally, a key element of 11/22/63 is time travel, and time travel is almost always a very cool literary device. Those three things convinced me to give the book a whirl, and after reading it I am very seriously considering going back in time myself and giving the rest of King’s novels a looksee.


One of the most beloved time travel adventures…from my generation anyway…is the 1980’s Back to the Future film trilogy. But the adventures of Marty McFly & Doc Brown were child’s play compared to the intricacies of this story. King takes the concept a step further by giving us rules. First of all, the main character, a 30-something Maine high school English teacher named Jake, can only go back to a particular point…specifically September 9, 1958. Secondly, whatever Jake changes when he goes back in time will be reset to its original outcome if he comes back to present day and then goes back thru the “rabbit hole” into the past again. These rules are very important to  keep in mind.


Jake is introduced to this time portal by Al, the elderly owner of a local diner. Al discovered this path to the past several years ago in the back of his eatery’s pantry, and has made several trips to what Jake eventually comes to refer to as the Land of Ago. No one in modern day Maine knows this because every time the traveler comes back only 2 minutes have passed in the present. At some point Al became obsessed with the idea of stopping the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but has concluded that he will not be able to complete the mission because he is quickly dying from lung cancer. So he wants Jake to do it. Al believes that if JFK had lived and Lyndon Johnson not become President other significant events might not have occurred. The Vietnam War…and the deaths of millions of American soldiers…would not have happened. Martin Luther King Jr. would have lived. Bobby Kennedy would have lived. Basically the whole path to hell that the United States seemed to take in the 60’s would have been prevented.


Surprisingly Jake agrees to do this crazy thing, but he wants to kick the tires a bit first. Going back to 1958 Jake becomes George and just has to hang out for a few weeks…long enough to prevent the mass murder of almost an entire family by their drunken husband/father on Halloween night. Jake/George knows about the situation because the only survivor of the massacre is the high school janitor who wrote an essay about it in a GED class Jake teaches. This subplot takes up about the first quarter of the book and might actually be the stronger portion. At any rate, Jake/George quickly learns firsthand something that Al taught him, something that becomes an ongoing theme…the past is obdurate and does not want to be changed. He runs into roadblocks that Marty McFly could never have even dreamed of. I will not reveal the outcome of the mission, but suffice to say that, despite the past actively fighting against change, Jake/George becomes comfortable enough with the whole idea that once he comes back to modern day he does not hesitate to again go back in time to pursue Lee Harvey Oswald.


And that is the meat of the plot. Once Jake/George is back in the Land of Ago for the second time he must hang out for 5 years until the events of that fall of 1963 begin to unfold. This is not really a hardship, as he begins to enjoy a time when the root beer tasted better, the cars were far cooler, and life was quieter & lived at a slower pace. He moves to a small burb outside of Dallas. He makes friends. He gets a job at the local high school. He stalks Oswald’s every move to make sure that he really did act alone and that none of the plethora of conspiracy theories are true. He makes a boatload of cash by betting on sports events of which he already knows the outcome. And he falls in love with the young & beautiful Sadie, the school’s librarian.


It is these last two things that gets Jake/George into trouble, complicates his life, and compromises the outcome of his mission. The past is indeed obdurate and does not want to be changed.


Does Jake/George prevent Oswald from blowing Kennedy’s brains out?? Does this make 21st century America a better place?? Does Jake/George come back to modern day Maine and resume his life, or does he decide to stay in the Land of Ago with the love of his life?? These are questions I will not answer. You’ll have to read the book.


At over 800 pages I must admit that King probably could have tightened things up a bit and trimmed atleast a hundred pages or so, but it’s a small nit to pick. 11/22/63 is an engrossing read. It is thought provoking, well written, and quite possibly one of the finest time travel yarns ever told. I read somewhere that a movie has already been given the greenlight under the capable direction of Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia). But unfortunately I know how these things go. With such a big novel they’ll end up eliminating whole characters & subplots, robbing the story of its rich nuance and depth. Ah well…that’s Hollywood. At any rate, no matter how much the Left Coasters end up butchering the story on the big screen, we’ll still have the book. And that’s not a bad deal.