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Archive for March 3rd, 2009

kerouacJack Kerouac‘s ‘lost’ novel The Sea is My Brother, which he wrote during his years as a merchant seaman, is to be published in its entirety for the first time.

“Described by Kerouac as being about ‘man’s simple revolt from society as it is, with the inequalities, frustration, and self-inflicted agonies,’ the 158-page handwritten manuscript was Kerouac’s first novel, but was not published during his lifetime. He wrote in his notes for the project that the characters were ‘the vanishing American, the big free by, the American Indian, the last of the pioneers, the last of the hoboes.’

“The novel follows the fortunes of Wesley Martin, a man who Kerouac said ‘loved the sea with a strange, lonely love; the sea is his brother and sentences. He goes down.’ By contrast another sailor, Kerouac continued, ‘escapes society for the sea, but finds the sea a place of terrible loneliness.'” (via The Guardian)

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oddmanout“Matt McCarthy, a graduate of Yale and of Harvard Medical School now working as an intern in the residency program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital in New York, has gained national attention in recent weeks for “Odd Man Out,” his salacious memoir of his summer as an obscure minor league pitcher. He writes about playing with racist, steroids-taking teammates, pitching for a profane, unbalanced manager and observing obscene behavior and speech that in some ways reinforce the popular image of wild professional ballplayers.

“But statistics from that season, transaction listings and interviews with his former teammates indicate that many portions of the book are incorrect, embellished or impossible. It comes during a difficult period for the publishing industry, which has recently had three major memoirs — James Frey’s infamous “A Million Little Pieces” and the recollections of a Holocaust survivor and of an inner-city foster child — exposed as mostly fabricated. The authors of those books have acknowledged their fraud.” (more @ NY Times)

Disputed passages from the book can be found here.

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sportsstuff“The sports collectibles industry looks like it is going to take a big hit because of the souring economy, and there’s lots of speculation that the hobby’s biggest auction house, Mastro Auctions, won’t be around much longer. The Illinois company – the nation’s largest sports memorabilia auction house – is the target of a federal investigation into shill bidding and fraud, and [last month], the Daily News reported that it has problems paying consigners.” (via NY Daily News)

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[Until a few years ago, and for more than a decade, I was a prominent and respected member of the sports collectibles industry. Early on, I ran a mail order business specializing in historic and rare sports programs and tickets; and for several years after that, I ran a catalog auction, Sloate & Smolin, in partnership with Barry Sloate, a specialist in early cards and memorabilia; I also ran my own online memorabilia auction, About Time Auctions. So when I say that the sports collectibles industry has never been a place for the faint of heart, I speak from experience.

Bill Mastro, the founder and president of Mastro Auctions, has a long and complicated history with the “hobby” – Mastro is one of the people most responsible for transforming a one-time hobby into a major industry and for making a fair number of people, himself especially, quite wealthy along the way. But there are low moments in the Mastro story as well, some of which are reported by Michael O’Keeffe and Teri Thompson in their 2007 exposé, The Card: Collectors, Con Men, and the True Story of History’s Most Desired Baseball Card.

As for the broader concerns of the hobby-industry, a “crash” in the hobby market has been anticipated for years — since before I became a full-time dealer in the early 1990s — but never materialized. But this time might be different – facing the one-two punch of a sinking world economy and the possible demise of one of the industry’s leading auction houses, the hobby this time really might be going down for the count.]

Update:

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al

“Newt [Gingrich] owes some of his staying power to his conservative fans and admirers like [Grover] Norquist, but I think the biggest contributors to Newt’s longevity in the spotlight are political reporters. Let’s face it: Newt makes for great copy. Unlike a lot of conservatives, who hate talking to (presumably liberal) journalists, Newt will talk to you. And talk. And talk. And talk. Just plop a tape recorder down in front of him, and you’ve got a story. I like to think the media’s relationship with Newt as being the conservative version of its relationship with Al Sharpton. Just as the national media used to view Sharpton . . . as a ‘one-stop shop’ for ‘all things black’ . . . Newt has found his greatest constituency among journalists who turn to him as a one-stop shop for all things conservative.” (via The New Republic)

RelatedNewt. Again. (via New York Times Magazine)

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