Saturday, June 12, 2010
Great Beards of History
Whenever the Ski Bum travels sans me, I ask her to bring back paper money. Not sure why, as I don't collect it, but I always get a little charge out of seeing the overseas bills. Especially when the people pictured sport facial hair like this fellow. Doing a little Wikipedia searching, he was a leader of 19th century resistance to Dutch colonization of Indonesia. He died in exile at the age of 92, never knowing that his facial hair would later inspire every bouncer in metro Atlanta.
For the record, 5000 rupiah = about 54 cents, but if I can convince someone that the exchange rate is 1:1, I'm set.
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#23 -- "Zamboni Rodeo" by Jason Cohen
Back in college, my friend Jon and I were devotees of the book "Generation Ecch," which mocked just about everything in the very-mockable mid-'90s, and had the bonus of Evan Dorkin art as well. Then a few years back, I heard about this book, which sounded right up my street (though despite that, and repeated recommendations from Tapeleg, it took me a long long time to get it). It wasn't until I finally ordered it a couple months back that I realized that the author of ZR was the co-author of the long-ago "Generation Ecch," a connection that I found both kind of cool and a tad unsettling, perhaps an indicator of some great conspiracy.
That's all neither here nor there. I finally read it and I'm happy to say that it's one of the finest hockey books I've read, one of the very few that boasts real writing skill in addition to hockey knowledge. The opening description of a goal captures the moment perfectly; the main narrative, as Cohen travels along with the lower-minor league Austin Ice Bats, is honest and funny. In the past I've bemoaned the relative lack of great puck writing in comparison to other sports, and I'm glad to be able to add another hockey tome to the "recommended" shelf.
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World Cup time -- I watched both matches Friday at work but could only give them half my attention, missed South Korea-Greece, watched enough of Argentina-Nigeria to know that we're going to be treated to a whole lot of overblown "what's wrong with Lionel Messi?" talk (and enough to know that even when they're on TV, vuvuzelas aren't good for a hangover), but the first match that's getting my full attention is England-USA. It's my occasional opportunity to get my patriot on, and I will, as much as possible (I'll be wearing an Albania jersey, since I lack a U.S. one -- I'm a bad American).