Monday Musings: June 2, 2014

– Last week, I finished reading When Darkness was a Virtue by Michael Grant Jaffe.   When it comes to selecting the next novel I want to read usually one of two things happen;  either I know exactly which novel is next in line, or I have an elimination process that helps me make that decision.  In the first case, I know exactly which novel is next because of some very specific reason, such as the author is coming to town soon so reading it will prepare me for meeting the author, or having met an author at an event and his or her book is relevant in some way that lures me into reading it.

But the second case is much more involved.  I pull sixteen novels from my shelves that I consider on my ‘must read’ list.  Then, much like a sports tournament bracket, I pair them up and between the two I decide which is more compelling for me to read right now.  For example, the first two books on the stack were A Walk Among the Tombstones by Lawrence Block and Liza of Lambeth by Somerset Maugham.  The movie based on Block’s novel is due out in September, so I decided I could hold off and eliminated it, and Maugham’s first novel advanced.  Sixteen books soon become eight, then four, then down to the final two.

For some reason, the process this time was extremely difficult because of the quality of books on my ‘must read’ list.  There were instances where two books met head-to-head, and I really wanted to read them both…now!  However, I did settle on a winner, and last night I started in on Rene Denfeld’s The Enchanted.

–  Speaking of books, I went down to my sister’s house in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky.  Detroit City FC was playing Cincinnati’s new National Premiere Soccer League team, the Cincinnati Saints.  She and my two nieces went to the Friday night match.  But before the game, and before dinner, they took me to Half Price Books.  It was my first visit there, and when the nieces asked why we had to go, my sister told them because book stores are a tourist attraction for me.  Indeed.

The visit was short, wise on their part to take me just a couple hours before kick off.  My first impression?  I think I just met my first used book store corporate franchise.  They stock books, CD’s, audio books, comic books, even vinyl records, a vast majority of it purchased from its previous owners.  All of this in a big box storefront.  The Florence, Kentucky store I was taken to is not the only one.  In fact today’s Shelf Awareness email newsletter reported that Half Price Books opened a 10,000 square foot store in  Chesterfield, Missouri.  My initial visit was short, but I took a little time and added to my personal library when I made my second visit Saturday morning before leaving town.

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– Speaking of Cincinnati:  I have a confession to make to my fellow DCFC fans/Northern Guard Supporters.  I like Skyline Chili.

Prior to kickoff at the match, I overheard a conversation amongst the Rouge Rovers – DCFC and Northern Guard Supporters’ traveling support (of which I am now one) – about their dislike for Skyline and Gold Star chili.  I won’t go into great detail about it because it was pretty graphic.  A lifetime Michigander and Detroiter, when my sister and her husband moved to Cincinnati in 1990, I discovered Skyline and fell in love.  When my wife and I spent a wedding anniversary down in Cincy a number of years ago, we took a guided tour of the city.  That’s when I learned why I preferred Skyline over our Coney Islands.  One of the secret ingredients in Skyline Chili is baker’s chocolate.

My name is Mike, and I am a chocoholic.  However, I refuse to recover.  The source of my addiction an ingredient in the chili is my weakness.

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– Speaking of Detroit City FC soccer:  The match was awesome.  On the way to the match, my sister asked my nieces whether they thought they’d see anyone they knew.  I piped in and said I will probably see more people I know than they will.  And it proved true.  I haven’t seen attendance numbers for the match, but were I to guess I’d approximate maybe three hundred people spectated the game, with about 10% of them Rouge Rovers.  We scored, we shouted, then we smoked them out, naturally.  It was a great game, especially for my sister and nieces.  It was their introduction to a professional soccer match – their prior experience being the youth leagues that both nieces play in.  Staying true to their Cincinnati turf, they preferred to sit opposite the crazy Detroiters, even though I taught them a couple of our chants (“We will sing for you City” and “No one likes us”)  Whereas I joined those in rouge and gold.

Detroit had a 2-0 lead after twelve minutes, and was set to be a route in the making.  The score held to halftime, and meeting my family during the break they were critical of our supporters.  My eleven year old niece complained that we said “a lot of bad words”  My fifteen year old niece complained that we were “annoying.”

We went our separate ways for the second half.  Cincinnati got back in the game with two goals, and I waited for the cell phone in my pocket to ring.  But in the end, a last minute goal by Michael Lamb (captured on video – please excuse my enthusiasm after the goal) gave Detroit the win.

I don’t like seeing us give up goals or leads.  But this was a winning night.  After the game, the excitement in all three of their voices due to the Saints’ comeback and domination of the second half, helped win them over.  Detroit City FC won the match, and soccer won three new fans.  They were impressed by the value they got for their $8 ticket, and of course, my fifteen year old niece wants to go back for more.  I think it’s because of the players more so than the soccer, but who cares, right?  Three new soccer fans is a good thing.

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