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Monday, June 10, 2013

'Tis the Season

I'm a die-hard fan.

I love baseball, football and basketball, and more than I love the sports I love my
hometown teams -- the Yankees, the Knicks, the Giants, and the Jets.  Hell, the Nets
even snuck in this year with the novelty of being from Brooklyn.  But as the NBA season
winds to a close and my New York Knicks yet again robbed unjustly of a chance to hoist
a championship banner to the rafters at Madison Square Garden, I turn my attention to
my equally beloved Yankees.  The Knicks did better this year than they have in almost
15, so I've only been peripherally paying attention to baseball.  I heard the Yanks
were dealing with some injuries, and there was this while A-Rod steroid thing
happening, but it was April and May.  I mean baseball in April and May might as well be
Spring Training.  Nothing interesting happens in baseball in April and May, right?

Holy crap.

The Yankees started out the season missing Mark Teixiera, Curtis Granderson, Derek
Jeter and Alex Rodriguez?  What the... that's the two through six hitters in our
lineup!  Kevin Youkilis got hurt?  Wait... you mean the Red Sox guy?!  When did we get
the Red Sox guy?  Who the hell is Reid Brignac?  Why is Jayson Nix playing?  And didn't
Vernon Wells retire?  You step away from the game for one minute and all hell breaks
loose!

More bizarre?  With everything I just said, the Yankees are only a game and a half out
in the East.

It's going to be one hell of a summer.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Review: Coyote Blue

Over the last seven years, Christopher Moore has become one of my favorite authors.  To
date, he has published 13 novels and counting.  I own every one, and it's his second,
Coyote Blue, that ranks among my favorites.  Equal parts love story and supernatural
comedy, Moore shows off his unique talent for putting the ordinary guy through an
extraordinary paranormal wringer.

Coyote Blue follows Sam Hunter, a California insurance salesman who has all the
trappings of the good life as well as a closely guarded secret: he's really Samson
Hunts Alone, a member of the Crow tribe who ran away from home after accidentally
killing a cop.  his life is turned completely inside out when he meets the stunning
flower-child, Calliope Kincaid and -- immediately after -- the Native-American
trickster god Coyote.  The chance encounter with Calliope leads Sam on an unlikely road
trip across the American West with the trickster at his side as he chases his newfound
love back toward his childhood home and the past he ran away from.

Right away, you see that Moore has a much tighter grasp on his characters than he did
in his debut.  Whereas Practical Demonkeeping's Augustus Brine (who is mentioned in a
cameo) acted as a lens through which we observed the inhabitants of Pine Cove, Sam
Hunter is undoubtedly the star of the show.  This is his journey and it makes for a
much more intimate story as we watch him grow as a person over the course of his
adventure.  We watch his priorities shift and we watch him accept a part of himself
long thought buried.  The secondary characters, Coyote -- an immature immortal god --
and Calliope -- who starts out as the free-loving counterpart to Sam's very grounded
life -- both go through journeys of their own, but neither one is as compelling as that
of the lead character.  His growth is fantastic and quite relateable.

Coyote Blue is Christopher Moore refining the very distinct voice we saw flashes of in
Practical Demonkeeping.  It's alternatively funny and heartwarming and always fun.
Highly recommended.

Rating: 9 of 10.