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A Book Sale, A Memorial Service, And Semi Pro

June 17, 2008 - John Whittaker

As promised, the News Gal and I made our way to the Prendergast Library book sale Friday. As always, it was a sale well worth going to. I managed to get a start on Christmas shopping, bought a bunch of books for myself - including the Making of a President 1964 and 1968 by Theodore White and Summer of '49 by David Halberstam. I've already started Summer of '49, and it doesn't disappoint. Then, the News Gal went back to the bag sale Saturday and found The Next Century, another Halberstam book.

Saturday, in addition to working, the News Gal and I had the privilege of attending a memorial service for an old family friend, Fletcher Taylor. The News Gal hadn't met Fletcher, but, by the end of the memorial service, had a pretty good idea of the type of guy Fletch was. It was a little dusty in the room at the Lind Funeral Home (for more than just me!). Our condolences, again, to Donna, his wife, and the rest of the Taylor family.

Sunday took us to the Randolph Arts and Crafts festival. I didn't do much shopping - didn’t' find a lot that tickled my fancy - but the cheese steaks were unbelievable! The News Gal found a few things to buy, the steaks absolutely made my afternoon.

What a great weekend sports-wise, too. Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins his first race since, I may be off here, Seinfeld went off the air, the Yankees sweep a series from Houston and, this coming from someone who rarely watches golf, what an amazing finish to the U.S. Open. For a sports fan, it doesn’t get much better than that - except for the Yankees losing Chien-Ming Wang for six weeks with a bad foot. Stupid interleague play.

With the Yankees having an off-day Monday, the News Gal surprised me with a copy of Semi Pro, last year's Will Ferrell movie. I'd heard bad things about the movie, and read a few reviews that were less than favorable, but, honestly, Semi Pro wasn't bad.

The best way to describe it is as Slapshot without hockey and the Hanson brothers. People looking for Anchorman on a basketball court probably left disappointed. Semi Pro wasn't that type of movie. But, for moviegoers looking for 90 minutes of something better than summer reruns, it was decent. Call this one a bloop single to centerfield.

Among the highlights:

1. The announcers, played by William Daly and Will Arnett were hilarious. Of the funniest five scenes in the movie, at least three involved the announcing duo. Arnett's character does the broadcast with a glass of scotch - a la Bob Eucker's character in the Major League movies, who continuously drinks Jack Daniels. Drinking on the job - the highest of high comedy.

2. Father Pat, who refs all of the Tropics' home games, and Will Ferrell having a fight reminiscent of the classic scene in which Crash Davis gets thrown out of a game during Bull Durham.

3. The running gag throughout the movie in which Ferrell, the team's owner, power forward and coach, tries to avoid paying a contest winner. The winner, who's name is Dukes, even takes a sign to the game saying "I want my money."

4. Nice cameos from Andy Richter as the team's trainer/gopher and David Koechner, who played Champ Kind in Anchorman, who played the league commissioner.

More on debilitating sports injuries on Thursday.


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