CARRIE SOTO IS BACK by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’m no particular tennis fan, but this book did keep me going.

“The Bitch Is Back,” one of Carrie’s anthems.

It’s simplistically written. Something like a Young Adult novel.

But the pace makes for good storytelling. I do recommend it.

Carrie Soto is the best tennis player in the world, and she knows it. Her father, Javier, is a former tennis champion himself, and he’s dedicated his life to coaching her. By the time she retires in 1989, she holds the record for winning 20 Grand Slam singles titles.

But then, in 1994, Nicki Chan comes along. Nicki is on the verge of breaking Carrie’s record, and Carrie decides she can’t let that happen: She’s coming out of retirement, with her father coaching her, to defend her record…and her reputation. 

Kirkus Review

Themes of how women in sport are treated — compared with men.

Toronto HOLIDAY in December

Having traveled over 90 nations, IF you asked me where to go in December … near bottom of the list would be Toronto, OnTerrible. 😀

Yet for reasons I’m too embarrassed to relate, I ended up staying in a downtown hostel for 5 nights.

ON THE UPSIDE, the Planet Traveler Hostel in Kensington Market is excellent. I knew the eclectic Kensington neighbourhood from the  Canadian television sitcom which aired on CBC Television from 1975 to 1980.

The STAR of King of Kensington was Al Waxman, a household name in those days.

Waxman died in 2001 — but there’s a statue of him in a neighbourhood park. Crowded by homeless tents.

I really did enjoy funky Kensington, however. Weird shops, cafes, and restaurants.

I went looking for the #GardenCar. And found it.

There’s a lot of bad graffiti. And some excellent art.

My best meal was slow cooked ribs and brisket from Hogtown Smoke. I brought it back to the hostel where the wine was cheap. 😀

What do you do in a big city during wet, dark winter?

Photo by Vincent Albos on Pexels.com

MOVIES. MUSEUMS. STAGE PLAY. WALK. WALK. WALK.

First stop was an immersive van Gogh exhibit.

I attended my second NBA game ever. Toronto defeated the defending Champion Bucks — who were without their MVP Giannis that night.

My first visit to the Royal Ontario Museum was a surprise. Expensive. But excellent. The space compares well against the Prado in Madrid, for example.

My highlight? Light of the Desert, the world’s largest faceted cerussite gem, weighing 898 carats (179.6 g).

By Miranda1989

Next December? … Hawaii. 😀

My Name Is Rek” 

Sooley by John Grisham

John Grisham takes you to a different kind of court in his first basketball novel.

Samuel “Sooley” Sooleymon is a raw, young talent with big hoop dreams—and even bigger challenges off the court.

In the summer of his seventeenth year, Sam­uel Sooleymon gets the chance of a lifetime: a trip to the United States with his South Sudanese teammates to play in a showcase basket­ball tournament. …

During the tournament, Samuel receives dev­astating news from home: A civil war is raging across South Sudan, and rebel troops have ran­sacked his village. His father is dead, his sister is missing, and his mother and two younger brothers are in a refugee camp.

Samuel desperately wants to go home, but it’s just not possible. Partly out of sympathy, the coach of North Carolina Central offers him a scholar­ship. …

But how far can Sooley take his team? And will success allow him to save his family?

JGrisham.com

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Playing for Pizza by John Grisham

Not great.

I hate concussion ball. That didn’t help.

Playing for Pizza is a short novel by John Grisham (2007).

… about an itinerant American football player who can no longer get work in the National Football League and whose agent, as a last resort, signs a deal for him to play for the Parma Panthers, in Parma, Italy. …

I did like reading about the food and wine. 😀

The Parma Panthers are an actual American Football team. In fact, they won the IFL championship in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Argentina beats the All Blacks at World Rugby Classic

It was a dark and windy night. Horizontal rain. Ideal for a Rugby tourney final.

Each year Bermuda hosts a tournament for veteran players. Many bring friends and family.

The Classic Pumas (Argentina) delivered a typically physical performance full of pride and passion last night to overcome a strong New Zealand outfit 15-5 and record their first World Rugby Classic title since 2011. …

Royal Gazette

Click PLAY or watch the celebration on YouTube.

Classic Lions (GBR) defeated South Africa 33-5 to win the semi-final.

THE definitive commentary on #TakeAKnee

I think people should just stick to their profession, that is, unless they agree with me politically

Best quote:

Thinking NFL players are protesting the flag and the military is like thinking Rosa Parks was protesting public transportation

“America’s Team” — along with its famous billionaire owner Jerry Jones — kneeled BEFORE the national anthem on Monday Night Football. Good move, Cowboys. A smart compromise.

Bermuda hosts 2017 America’s Cup

Tiny Bermuda, population 65,000, is hosting one of the major sporting events of the world.

bermuda

… June 2017 … contested between the Challenger who will be the winner of the 2017 Louis Vuitton Cup and the Defender, Oracle Team USA, the winner of the 2013 America’s Cup.

One of the attractive features in the successful Bermuda bid was its ability to accommodate coveted time slots in each of the respective teams’ home countries. …

Click PLAY or watch a preview on YouTube.

Most people don’t know much about Bermuda. They’ll know a LOT more after TV coverage of this event. 🙂

Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

Why did famed author Jon Krakauer decide to write about sexual assault?

It was after learning that a family friend had been raped by an acquaintance.

In his research tracking rape cases around the country he came across the sentencing of Beau Donaldson, a University of Montana football player who pled guilty to raping his childhood friend, Allison Huguet.

Beau Donaldson - rapist

He’s guilty. But it’s a weird story.

All the rapes covered in the book were wildly different. In each case both the man and woman involved could have made better choices. Alcohol was involved in all.

Krakauer researched College Football players because of their far too elevated social status in the U.S.A.

They feel entitled. Expect that women will want to sleep with them, even when they don’t.

Krakauer studied 230 rapes in town, most of which either weren’t prosecuted or the prosecutions were bungled. Most rapists walked away without punishment.

The stories told in Jon Krakauer’s new book, “Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town,” remind us of what a brave and risky thing it still is for a woman to report a rape.

Krakauer, who has written for this Web site, explores a spate of sexual assaults that occurred on and around the campus of the University of Montana between 2008 and 2012. For several of the women involved, the risk of reporting their rapes felt even more acute because the men they were naming were football players in a town that, like a lot of college towns, is football crazy. The team was the Grizzlies; Missoula is also known as Grizzlyville. …

The New Yorker

This guy went to trial.  If I were on the jury I would have found star quarterback Jordan Johnson guilty of rape.

Jordan Johnson

Instead the state of Montana paid Johnson $245,000 under a settlement where he agreed to drop claims that the school and its officials mishandled the investigation against him.

Later he had a tryout with a Canadian Pro football team.

As far as I’m concerned, Jordan Johnson is a rapist. Women should be warned about him.

This is Kirsten Pabst. One of Johnson’s lawyers. She comes off very badly in the book. Women do not want to report a rape to her.

Pabst

A good gift for a student going away to University for the first time would be this book – Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

Most young people don’t know the law. Are clueless when it comes to date rape. Acquaintance rape.

By the way, Missoula has a lower than average rate of sexual assaults. If you don’t count football players.

And things are getting better.

In the three years Krakauer spent writing Missoula, the University of Montana (UM), the police department, and the prosecutor’s office have all established agreements with the DOJ to reform their handling of sexual assault. (The prosecutor’s office agreed to oversight by Montana’s attorney general only last June, after first filing a lawsuit against the DOJ.)

60 Minutes – Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton … is a British Formula One racing driver from England, currently racing for the Mercedes AMG Petronas team. He is the 2008, 2014 and 2015 Formula One World Champion. …

Lewis Hamilton

I try not to follow professional sports. Especially motorized professional sports.

Impressively I’d never heard of Lewis Hamilton until a couple of weeks ago. But his story is fascinating.

Watch it on 60 Minutes.