This being the dregs of summer.....
Quite an assortment of reading material in my WaPo mailbox this morning.
1) "Fitness Made Simple" by John Basedow. The power to change your body, the power to change your life. 3 Steps, 8 Weeks, 1 Killer Body! Sample passage:
"Johnism: Don't be an energy vacuum, sucking the joy from people. Negative people can clear a room quicker than a fart."
[Yeah, really, that's a verbatim quote. You stay classy, John Basedow.]
Sample Illustration: John Basedow, in various states of upper-body undress.
2) "Hot Laps: A STOCKCAR Thriller," by Steve Eubanks. A monkey-wrench salesman named Roger English (um, it's not "Bill French," it's "Bill France") buys the rights to market and operate a stock-car race on the beaches of North Florida. Then he buys more tracks, forms a league, names it Street Track and Oval Course Championship Auto Racing, or STOCKCAR, featuring such stars as Junior Senior Jr. and Redball Redding. If I'm NASCAR, I'd sue this guy anyhow, just on principle. Sample passage:
"In the ten years that Myrna Dungleder had been pouring coffee and cooking grits at Gobblers Diner, she'd never seen an odder pair. Her daddy would have called them "quar," which was how people of another generation in the south pronounced "queer," which, in itself, had nothing to do with homosexuality. "Quar" meant "uncomfortably peculiar," exactly the description Myrna would have used for the well-dressed pudgy guy with the dark slicked hair and his partner, a mean-looking Mexican in jeans with a ruddy face and black eyes."
So Mexicans are mean and have black eyes, gay people are uncomfortably peculiar, fat people with slicked hair shouldn't be trusted and all Southerners are named Myrna and eat grits. Can't wait for Chapter 27, which introduces the crooked untrustworthy new STOCKCAR cheat named Tyrone Ali Goldfarb.
3) "The Entitled," by Frank Deford. Sample cover blurb: "The Entitled is a baseball masterpiece....Frank Deford writes like he played in the majors for ten years" - Mike Schmidt. It Mike Schmidt likes it, it's probably good enough for me. Sample passage:
"It was, he thought, one of the more important secrets of managing a team of baseball players. You talk Jesus with some guys and [bleep] with others. You just want to make sure the Jesus guys don't hear you talking too much [bleep] with the [bleep] guys."
I'm going to the Nats clubhouse tonight; I'll be sure to ask for directions toward the [bleep] guys. I'm guessing I'll be sent in Robert Fick's direction.
4) "Alphabad: Mischievous ABC's," words by Shannon Stewart (no, not that Shannon Stewart, which is at first why I thought I had received it) and illustrations by Dusan Petricic (yeah, that Dusan Petricic, I think). Sample passage:
"N is for naughty. Running naked through the neighborhood is very naughty."
That is naughty. I have no idea why someone sent this to a sportswriter. But speaking of naked,
5) The Amanda Beard copy of Playboy. Not something you want to open up in the Washington Post mailroom while others are around, drinking their morning coffee. I did not request this, nor have I ever before received such mail in the Washington Post mailroom. I asked my boss to advise, and together we threw it away. In his trash can, not mine. Pubescent boys everywhere, cry your eyes out.
6) "NASCAR ABC's," by a bunch of people. Crazy how all these books intersect: Deford novel goes to NASCAR novel, which goes to NASCAR ABC's, which goes to Mischievous ABC's, which mentions naked people, leading to Amanda Beard on Playboy, and also John Basedow, who probably shows more skin than Amanda Beard did. Sample passage:
"O is for OVAL, roundy round they run. Do you like superspeedways? Are short tracks more fun?"
No, silly, I like road courses, and also those boring cookie-cutter mile-and-a-half tracks.
Anyhow, excepting for the trashed copy of Playboy, feel free to stop by the WaPo offices if you need some extra reading material this week.