Audio Book Review: Two Cobb Books, One Review of a Maligned Legacy

After recently learning of a spectacular baseball card find of Ty Cobb baseball cards, I decided I wanted to learn a bit more about this tarnished-legacy baseball player from the ‘dead ball’ era. Since I didn’t want to rely on one source, I chose two books and both were wonderful.

card baseball cobb t206

I purposely waited to review this book until I had read both, War on the Basepaths: The Definitive Biography of Ty Cobb (Tim Hornbaker) and Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty (Charles Leerhsen). When purchasing, I couldn’t decide between the two so I hope this review helps you to decide.

Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): I thoroughly enjoyed ‘War on the Basepaths,’ (4 stars) which I read first, but ‘A Terrible Beauty,’ (5 Stars) has more detail and apparent research to counter some of the more colorful Cobb History. Both books counter the tainted Cobb legacy of a racist, jerk, and spiker.

Regarding both narrators: I listen at 3x speed and neither narrator appealed to me more than the other. If narration performance is important to you, I really can’t help you decide. I gave both 4 stars for performance since I could clearly hear both without adjusting the speed.

Since I read ‘War on the Basepaths’ first, I almost felt like I didn’t need to read the other, but I committed myself to it and this review. Despite both books being about 15 hours (1x speed) the biggest difference is focus of the book. As previously mentioned, ‘Terrible Beauty’ provides more context and theory to Cobb’s upbringing, personality, motivations, and day-to-day life minutia. I felt that ‘War’ covered more baseball statistics but missed some key information that I got from ‘Terrible Beauty’ (e.g., circumstances around Ty’s Father’s death, post baseball life with 2nd wife, personal finances and wealth growth).
It was nice to listen to both books and I didn’t feel like it was repetitive; in fact the juxtaposing of the two books helped inculcate me to Ty’s life. Both books dispel myths of Ty’s alleged racism (which by today’s standard is Racism, but he grew up and lived in a different time (not excusable, but understandable)), his unpopularity with baseball contemporaries (see Field of Dreams quote), as well as the most enduring Cobb legacy as a spike sharpener and spiker of competition when sliding into base (until Rickey Henderson, Ty Cobb was considered the greatest base-stealer of all time even though two others had more stolen bases).

If you have time, read both. If not, read ‘A Terrible Beauty.’

Maligned for Principles: Establishment Republicans hate Senator Mike Lee

I’ve seen a lot of disparaging remarks regarding United States Senator Mike Lee lately. Specifically from John Huntsman Sr. who called him an “embarrassment to the state of Utah“. Much of this comes from the government shutdown last year, and is apparently selfishly motivated by Huntsman, who also complained that his cancer charity lost out on millions of tax dollars.

Listen, you are either for big government or against it. You can’t be against it only to change your tune when your going to benefit. There are enumerated powers (Article I, Section 8) that the Constitution grants the Government. Anything else is superfluous at best and, at worst, grossly exceeding the granted powers by the founders. Opinion and perspective will vary to one degree, but all should agree that funding the former prior to the later is a serious failure of congressional responsibilities; essentially, that was what the shutdown was all about.

Your personal politics and/or what you want to see the Federal Government do, does not matter in regard to the shutdown. The only way congress can reel in a runaway executive is through the power of the purse. Ya it’s unpopular, but the alternative is worse. Meanwhile, this post isn’t about last year’s shutdown, it’s about Mike Lee and a handful of others who were doing their job, representing their constituents and the subsequent fallout (still happening over a year later).Lee and Love 201310

Those who now sit on the “dis-enamored” side of the Mike Lee fence should be aware of a couple of things: first, Mike Lee & company did not shut down the government (I’d explain it but Thomas Sowell does a much better job here); second, the executive branch’s hissy fit, closing war monuments, was a far cry more ridiculous than the shutdown; third, Mike Lee was one of the few who stood up to the executive branch by joining the protesters in DC to reopen those monuments (I was there, so was Senator Cruz and Sarah Palin); finally, like very few elected officials, Mike Lee has stood by his principles, unwavering – in spite of harsh criticism from establishment conservatives – continuing to make sure the Federal Government does what it’s supposed to do instead of what it wants to do.

Of the enumerated powers, a full eight deal with the defense of the country. A logical tangential (albeit a stretch, but again, I’m biased) of those powers would be the Military Veterans, who are the pawns in this political chess game. Used gloriously to start battles, but the first sacrificed for political expedience. Now I don’t stand on the side of  “cut everything, except military benefits.” However, I do think that prior to cutting the defense budget, we should be cutting that which isn’t specifically charged to the Federal Government, I believe that’s called the 10th Amendment. We the people and our respective states have the right and responsibility to do that which is not enumerated to the Federal Government, which is why the OBAMACARE mandate “penalty” was ruled constitutional as a tax; an enumerated power.

JON WW2 Utah

I’m a States right guy. Even a novice study of the founding of this country obviously shows that this Federal conglomerate of agencies and departments is far beyond what even our most “Federalist” of founders wanted.

My Daughter: The American

I was honored the other night to grant US Citizenship on a special young lady. Now, this was nothing more than ceremonial, as I have no authority to grant citizenship. More importantly, I can’t give her what she already has by birthright. However, my three year old doesn’t comprehend this, so it was much to my surprise how she reacted when I informed her that she is a citizen of the greatest country to ever exist.

American Citizenship

I’m a Soldier and I wear a uniform. On that uniform I wear the flag of the United States of America (no, it is not backward, the flag is moving forward; to victory). Scarlett has always associated that flag with me and whenever she sees the flag, she says, “Daddy’s Flag”, to whomever is in earshot. I liked this and I encouraged this, generally responding, “That’s right sweetheart, that’s my flag, my responsibility to protect.” She loves to carry and wave small handheld flags, and insisted on taking one on a hike over the 4th of July. It really makes her daddy, the Soldier, very proud.

So we were watching the latest installment of Transformers the other night when I pointed out a flag on the show as it was falling off the building during an intense battle scene. She responded with her usual, “that’s your flag!” Figuring that the time was appropriate for a lesson about the flag and America, I challenged her response with, “You know Scarlett, that’s your flag too.” After getting a “what you talking about Willis” look from her, I added, “You are an American like Daddy and that flag is just as much yours as it is mine.” This was met by an immediate hug and almost tearful cry of “Thank you Daddy, I love it!”
I couldn’t believe her reaction, it was so genuine, so surprised, so grateful; as if she’d been longing for it. Although I know she doesn’t fully grasp the gravity of citizenship, it was still a gift that she had been wanting; and I was able to give it.

My ad hoc lesson about the flag now subverted by a special moment, I had to contain my excitement to jump to another lesson: What are Robert A. Heinlein’s lessons from Starship Troopers?

It’s about Acceptance not Equal Rights

One of the catalysts for this blog is the continued hypocrisies, ironies, and double-standards that saturate the political extremes of both ideologies. Now I concede that politically, I lean right, although not a Republican. I’m passionate about some very divisive issues that may keep you from further reading, but I’ll ask you to remain with this consideration; my blog and this post are not about my personal politics, until the last sentence.

Last week I finished reading Dr. Ben Carson’s latest book, ‘One Nation‘, which is an admonishment to people of all political leanings to cool the rhetoric and actually have discussions. He touches on his past, what inspired him, and -most importantly- what he thinks we should do to overcome our current, factious, political stagnation. Again, he chastises both political extremes, but does so with excellent suggestions for improvement. Now I’m not reviewing his book, just mentioning it as the subject of my blog. My review is here; if interested.

One of his first chapters discusses a previous media assault regarding his statements lumping homosexuality together with bestiality and pedophilia as well as his subsequent withdrawal as a commencement speaker at Johns Hopkins University. In the book, Dr. Carson’s mea culpa is ignorance to the sensitivity the gay community has to any comparisons of their sexual practices with those abhorrent behaviors of the aforementioned. So with that mentioned, here is the irony. The gay community screams foul at conservatives who don’t want the word ‘marriage’ associated with practices that they find vile, but scream foul again when a group they see as vile is mentioned on par with them. They get it. The LGBT not only gets morality, but image as well. Hell no, they don’t want to be associated with sexual perversions, who’d want to be. So the outrage isn’t about ‘equal rights’ or civil unions would be sufficient. Nor is it even about conservatives not accepting them, rather about how conservatives view them the way they view bestiality, pedophilia and polygamy; an abomination.


Where is the compassion, where is the advocate for equal rights for other downtrodden groups? Well, apparently it’s not anyone in the gay community. They are too busy trying to delineate other paraphilias from the legitimacy of homosexuality. So while anti-gay marriage folks are homophobes and bigots, the same level of vociferation is appropriate regarding the other likening. If their plight were truly about equal rights and not acceptance, then the battle cry would be for all ‘consent-able’ sexual relationships e.g. polygamous, polyandrous, polyamorous (group marriage), bestiality, incestuous, and prostitution to receive the same treatment under the law. But, it’s not. So don’t expect acceptance of your behaviors when you are unwilling to accept the behaviors of others.

Just to be clear, I’m pointing out hypocrisies not my moral beliefs. Personally, I’d like to see the government out of the business of consenting adults’ sexual relationships and not be the official endorsement of marriage (state or federal).

When Opinion Becomes Fodder for the Masses

I had wanted my inaugural blog (the actual first was only introductory) to be something mildly political regarding a hypocritical/ironic stance of a different hot topic (so I’ll wait until post two).

Yesterday I opened Facebook and, as I scrolled, saw this:

Stereotyping beauty pagents

The headline isn’t the point of concern, everyone has a valid opinion as long as they’re not disingenuous. My two friends (both of whom I have immense respect for), obviously are on differing opinions of the subject and again, that is fine. My beef is the disparaging remarks. The first could be construed as completely benign i.e., no insult was intended, but has a hint of “Smart ‘for a’ Beauty Queen.” The second leaves no question of the sharer’s sentiments, casting all beauty contestants as “stupid”.

Do I really need to point this out? Really? First, let me tell you why this is important. My wife and I are raising a little girl; three years old. She potentially could participate, much to her father’s chagrin, in beauty pageants. I want her to do what she wants to do, but our culture seems to say something we would never let escape our lips, “You can’t be beautiful and smart,” or telling a girl she is smart, only because she is not beautiful. WTF? Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty. In my youth, I made the same assumptions and may have even manifested as much. I’m not excusing my actions, but culturally I was just echoing what I had seen and heard. Now that I’m a father, a father to a girl, a father to a beautiful girl (not just father’s bias), I have serious concerns about this stuff. How do I raise her to be herself and not get caught up with what society says she should be? How do I teach her to be a feminist while not forgetting she has the keys of sacred motherhood? How do I teach her to not play dumb for an insecure boy she likes, but embrace her brains and use them (in concert with her beauty) to get the man that will be (hopefully) deserving of her.

In both cases I presume that neither author of the posts were followers of the pageant, but only shared because of the hot topic and they agreed with the sentiments or vitriolically disagreed. I get it, this is a hot topic, but we just can’t do this anymore. I don’t want this to turn into a diatribe about stereotypes being the basis for prejudice, but that is how it starts. Now let me be clear, stereotypes exist for a reason i.e., an above average statistic for an individual demographic or historical precedence e.g., Beauty Queens and intelligence, Mormons and polygamy, Asians and math, African-Americans and fried chicken. But no matter the stereotype, it’s not 100% and to judge any individual by their subculture’s leaning is wrong.

So to my two f/b friends who posted this: We can be better. To the author of “Smart Beauty Queen” I know I took liberty with your post. It is not offensive at all and I know you didn’t mean it that way, but when paired next to the other it stands out as potentially being so. To the author of “Why are they always so darn stupid?” I know for a fact you don’t feel this way and that your comment was in jest. However, I’d caution you with your posts as everything lives forever on the internet. Besides, mocking an individual because you disagree with their perspective is bad enough, but castigating an entire group is bigotry. Finally to Ms. Guidry (aka Miss Louisiana), thank you for having an opinion and not being afraid to express it. I don’t know anything else about you, but in this case, you are a role model to both me and my daughter.

I’ve wanted to star a blog for awhile. Not necessarily for others to hear my thoughts, that’s a nice ancillary (as long as the criticism is constructive), but more so to satisfy an urge to release my thoughts in a coherent and semi-official form.

So that’s it, this isn’t for you, it’s all about me, my inner Howard Roark wanting, demanding a forum for my creations. Your feedback is welcome because I know I’m imperfect (all the while maintaining the aforementioned egoist mentality that your opinion is not needed for my psyche).

If you’ve read anything from me previously, you’ll know my passions don’t carry with the wind or the tide, but are firmly founded in: a belief in God, the Restored Gospel (go ahead, ask, I dare you), the United States of America and founding documents, the United States Military and adjunct organizations, and the US Veteran and his/her sacrifice(s).
This is an opportune segue based on my use of the “Oxford Comma”. I’m a bit of a grammar-Nazi, but try not to take it to extremes. However I do think laziness, both in writing and in actual knowledge, own a majority of the blame. So simply, I live by the following: 1-2 times is accidental, 2-3 is laziness, 3 or more of the same error is ignorance. You have the world at your fingertips, look it up. Once, during a heated exchange on facebook, a girl tried to call me out for not using a “real word” when I said she is irascible. She could have easily looked it up, but her irascible nature decided she knew better and she had to tell me as much. Ironically, she re-wrote the word “irascible” which windows recognized as a real world i.e., it didn’t appear with a red squiggly underline, yet she persisted.

Yes, this is my first blog. It may not be much, but it’s mine; pridefully.