Daily Archives: November 17, 2010

A classic book I finally got around to reading. And the coach who whips his players

You know those books that people are always telling you to read, the ones that have been on your “I gotta read this book eventually” list? We all have a few of those.
For me, for the last several years, Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” has been on the list.
But I always pushed it off. It was another Vietnam War book, and I’d read enough of those. And I knew it would always be there, and I’d read it “someday.”
Well, someday finally came.  And Tim O’Brien’s masterpiece, a collection of short stories first published in 1990, was every bit as good as I’d heard.
O’Brien, who served in Vietnam, said the stories are “a work of fiction,” but they feel incredibly accurate and real. O’Brien gets you totally absorbed in the jungle and the incredible hopelessness of the war, and what it felt like to be a soldier there.
Two of the stories blew me away, more than the others: One,  called “The Sweetheart of Song Tra Bong,” was about a soldier’s girlfriend who arrives an innocent, and leaves quite different. The other amazing story, “On A Rainy River,” is about how a young man battles his conscience when he’s drafted.
I can’t do justice to how outstanding O’Brien writes, and the vivid language and imagery he uses.
It’s a beautiful, haunting book, that’s as relevant now, with our equally hopeless war raging in Afghanistan, as it was 20 years ago.
It makes me want to read everything else O’Brien wrote; it’s that good.
Check it out if you’re looking for a modern classic that you’ve never read.
As for me, next up is the final Harry Potter book. I know, I know, if I’ve read the first six how come I haven’t read the last one yet?
No good excuse. With the movie coming out, I’ve got no choice but to dive in to the last saga of Harry and Hermione.

**We have a possible new winner in “Most disgusting behavior by a coach,” ladies and gentlemen.
Meet Marlon Dorsey, head boys basketball coach of Murrah High School in Jackson, Miss. Seems that Mr. Dorsey, a first-year coach, has been accused by three players of whipping them using a weightlifting belt.
Corporal punishment, which has only been banned in the Jackson school system since 1991 (Seriously, only since ’91???), is being taken very seriously by the principal, he says in this article.
Whipping players. With a belt. In the year two thousand and freaking ten.

Here’s a clip of Dorsey “in action.” This man should be fired immediately, end of story.