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December 2007

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2pac legacy
I was at the mall Christmas shopping today and came across a book while waiting in line to check out. It was in the Bargain Books section. The book is Tupac Shakur Legacy. Originally priced at $45, I picked this gem up for $4.99. It’s kind of sad that it went for this cheap. I was even more shocked when I opened the book and saw just how cool it is. The book is about Tupac’s life, but the way it presents it is great. I’ve seen this done with World War II books before, but never a biography. What it does is includes reproductions of things from Tupac’s life with it. There’s programs from when he attended his school for the performing arts, poetry written in his own handwriting, pages from the Gridlock’d script, his recording contract with Death Row Records, and various other documents. It is a really cool book. I’m so glad I went to the mall today and saw this.

I just took a test to see who my ideal candidate would be, meaning who represents my interests best. No surprise here. Barack Obama represents what I believe in. We have an 84% similarity rating. The two we disagreed on were gay rights and medical marijuana, which I am more liberal on than him. Nowhere near me in similarity rating was Hilary Clinton. Not surprising there. Check out who your ideal candidate it over at Glassbooth.

I’ve had a MySpace page for a long time now. I’ve had it before MySpace became the huge thing it is now. I’m not quite sure why I have it. I never use it. The only people I really have friended on there are rappers (that have friended me via various websites like midwestinvasion.com and midwestmixtapes.com and other connections). I don’t message people. I don’t even go to an artist’s website if it is just a redirect to their MySpace. I detest MySpace. It’s ugly, it’s bloated and it doesn’t work half the time. It’s everything that’s wrong with the internet in one place. The worst thing lately is all the spam friend requests. I get at least two per day. Sure, I can probably prevent a few of these by setting my profile to private, but the point is, I shouldn’t have to. MySpace should be smart enough to prevent the spammers from sending out friend requests. Oh well. I’m deleting my MySpace page and I won’t look back. (and if you absolutely need to belong to social networking sites, try out Virb. It’s MySpace done right.)

Sometimes when reading a book I think how great a movie it could be. Of course, with some books, others see the same potential and make a horrible movie out of it (Michael Crichton’s Timeline is a superb example of a great book and horrible movie). Now, I’m usually drawn to a specific style of writing and I think it would be hard for these books to be made into movies. I don’t think there is much money in making movies off some of these unless they are handled with care and done right.

Neanderthal by John Darnton- This is a great book about archaeologists who stumble upon a community of Neanderthals living in Tadjikistan, high in the mountains, cut off from the rest of the world. Think Indiana Jones type story, but without the Nazis. Rumor has it the rights to this book have been sold to Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks, but I doubt we’ll see this as a movie anytime soon.

Survivor-Chuck Palahniuk- Great book. Starting from chapter 47 and working it’s way backwards, it tells the story of Tender Branson. Branson aged 33, has commandeered a Boeing 747, emptied of passengers, in order to tell his story to the “black box” while flying randomly until the plane runs out of gas and crashes. Again, movie rights have been bought for this book, but it seems unlikely to be made since it is very dark and movies about plane crashes post-9/11 are not likely to garner much in the way of box office success.

Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey– Chuck Palahniuk- This would never make it as a movie, and probably shouldn’t, but it would be an interesting one to see. Think the book and movie Breakfast of Champions. Great book. Really messed up movie that was…. just weird. This book was told in a unique way. The entire story was told by people who knew Buster Casey. The entire book is in interview format and sometimes the stories even contradict each other. If this was made into a movie it would either be the best movie ever made or the worst. There is no in-between.

Velocity-Dean Koontz- None of Dean Koontz’s books have worked as movies. Anyone remember Phantoms? They just suck. Mostly because most of Koontz’s works deal with the supernatural or aliens. Lately his books have been more suspense thriller. Velocity is one of those. If you recieved a note saying you had to choose who would live and who would die, what would you do? Billy Wiles’s life spirals out of control after he finds a note on his windshield telling him that he has a choice: involve the police, and a lovely blonde schoolteacher dies. Do nothing, and an elderly woman active in charity work dies. The following events are a cat and mouse chase to stop the killer before he kills again. This could be an excellent movie that would keep you at the edge of your seat (much as the book did) the entire time.

I’m sure there are more books I’d like to see turned into movies, but so far that’s all I can think of. I think if these were made, and made with care, they could be really great and do quite well at the box office.

Another post about St. Louis history. This one involving my favorite sport, baseball. Many St. Louis people may already know this because a St. Louis baseball fan isn’t just a fan. We are usually historians on the topic.

Today we wear Cardinals’ Red, but it could have been Maroon’s maroon.

In 1884, St. Louis millionaire and baseball aficionado, Henry Lucas attempted to bring the National League to St. Louis. But his attempts were thwarted and the league did not grant him a team. Not to be out done, Lucas decided to draw upon his personal fortune and create his own league, which became the Union Association.

St. Louis’ team, the Maroons, were clearly the best team in the league and their owner, Lucas, did not hide the fact that he loaded the St. Louis team with as much talent as possible. While this made for a successful team in St. Louis, it did not bode well for the rest of the league. The Union Association lasted one season.

According to Christopher Gordon, Director of Library Archives at the Missouri Historical Society, soon after the league folded, Lucas’ luck continued to go down hill.

“He had built Union Park, which was the baseball stadium for the Union League. In the midst of all this, fireworks during a fireworks display, the stadium caught on fire and he had no insurance so the last of his money was wiped out,” said Gordon.