Friday, September 30, 2011

How many of these Scream Award-winning movies, TV shows have you seen?

On Saturday, I mentioned that the recent movie, “Thor,” has been nominated for recognition at this year’s Scream Awards, which got me to wondering about what movies have brought home Scream Awards in the past.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Scream Awards, don’t feel bad. They haven’t been around for long. The inaugural Spike TV Scream Awards were held on Oct. 10, 2006, and this year’s Scream Awards, officially known as “Scream Awards 2011,” is Spike TV’s sixth annual “celebration of the sci-fi, fantasy, horror and comic book genres and the actors, creators, icons and pioneers who have influenced and shaped the industry over the past year.”

The award categories have changed over the years, and what follows is a selection of the movie, TV and book awards that have been handed out since 2006.

Winners in 2010 included the following:

The Ultimate Scream (Best Genre Film from Preceding Year): Inception
Most Anticipated Movie: Green Lantern
Best Science Fiction Movie: Inception
Best Fantasy Movie: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Best Horror Movie: Zombieland
Best TV Show: True Blood
Best Comic Book or Graphic Novel: The Walking Dead
Best Comic Book Movie: Kick-Ass

Winners in 2009 included the following:

Ultimate Scream: Star Trek
Most Anticipated Fantasy Film: Alice in Wonderland
Most Anticipated Science Fiction Film: Iron Man
Best Comic Book Movie: Watchmen
Best Foreign Film: Let the Right One In
Best Horror Movie: Drag Me to Hell
Best TV Show: True Blood
Best Fantasy Movie: Twilight
Best Sequel: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Best Comic Book Movie: Watchmen

Winners in 2008 included the following:

The Ultimate Scream: The Dark Knight
Best Fantasy Movie: Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Best Horror Movie: Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Best Science Fiction Movie: Iron Man
Best TV Show: Dexter
Best Sequel: The Dark Knight
Best Remake: Halloween
Best Comic Book: “Y: The Last Man”
Best Comic Book Movie: The Dark Knight

Winners in 2007 included the following:

The Ultimate Scream: 300
Best Horror Movie: 28 Weeks Later
Best Fantasy Movie: Pan’s Labyrinth
Best Science Fiction Movie: Transformers
Best TV Show: Heroes
Best Sequel: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Winners in 2006 included the following:

The Ultimate Scream: Batman Begins
Best Horror Movie: The Devil’s Rejects
Best Fantasy Movie: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Best Science Fiction Movie: V for Vendetta
Best TV Show: Battlestar Galactica
Best Sequel: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Best Remake: King Kong

You won’t have to wait long to see who will win this year’s slate of Scream Awards, because this year’s awards ceremony is scheduled to be held on Oct. 15 at Universal Studios. The show will be broadcast on Oct. 18 on Spike TV.

In the end, which of the movies, TV shows and books mentioned above are your favorite? Which did you like or dislike and why? Which movies, TV shows and books would you pick to win this year’s awards? Let us know in the comments section below.

For more information about the Scream Awards, visit their official Web site at www.spike.com/shows/scream.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hillcrest, Sparta post big wins for second week in a row

Hillcrest High School and Sparta Academy both posted big wins on Friday, and it’s the second week in a row that they’ve both won on the same night.

Hillcrest handed W.S. Neal a 19-6 loss, and Sparta beat Lowndes Academy, 38-30. Both of those games were played in Evergreen.

Last Friday night’s game was the 18th all-time meeting between Hillcrest and Neal in football, and Hillcrest is now 9-8 all-time against Neal thanks to their win last week. The Jags haven’t lost to Neal since the 2007 season, and Friday night’s game was Neal’s 20th straight loss.

Sparta’s homecoming win against Lowndes on Friday was Sparta’s first ever victory against Lowndes. Sparta is now 1-1 all-time against Lowndes. Last year’s game was the first ever between the two schools in football, and Lowndes won, 33-13.

Hillcrest and Sparta will have their work cut out for them tomorrow (Friday) night when they take on Andalusia and Autauga Academy, respectively.

Andalusia enters its game against Hillcrest with a 5-0 record and fresh off a big win over T.R. Miller in Brewton. Autauga, led by former Sparta head coach Mike Sims, is 6-0 and coming off a 48-12 win over Meadowview Christian.

This is not to say that Hillcrest and Sparta won’t win. They’ll just need to bring their A-games and cut out the mistakes to keep their winning streaks alive.

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If you’re looking for a good, sports-related book to read this week, you might want to check out “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” by Michael Lewis.

Originally published in 2003, “Moneyball” is about Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane, and how he assembled a team based largely on an analysis of statistics and despite the team not having a lot of money to pay players.

“Moneyball” reappeared on Publishers Weekly’s trade paperbacks best-sellers list last Thursday thanks in large part to all of the publicity generated by the motion picture adaptation of the book, which opened in theatres on Friday.

The film stars Brad Pitt, so I imagine that this will be my wife’s favorite baseball movie of the year.

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I get a big kick out of the SoundOff section each day in the Mobile Press-Register, and Monday’s edition included one that made me chuckle.

Entitled “World turned upside down,” the caller said that “The Lions and Bills are both undefeated. I have to go sit and contemplate life.”

The caller was referring to the fact that the Buffalo Bills and the Detroit Lions, both perennial NFL bottom-feeders, were a surprising 3-0 after Sunday’s round of games. The league’s other undefeated teams, as of Monday morning, included the Washington Redskins and the Green Bay Packers.

A handful of teams were still winless. The Miami Dolphins, the Indianapolis Colts (!), the Kansas City Chiefs, the Minnesota Vikings and the St. Louis Rams were all 0-3 as of Monday morning.

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Here are my picks for this week’s slate of SEC football games. I like Alabama over Florida, Texas A&M over Arkansas, South Carolina over Auburn, LSU over Kentucky, Fresno State over Ole Miss, Georgia over Mississippi State and Tennessee over Buffalo. Vanderbilt does not play.

Last week: 7-0 (1.000), Overall: 33-5 (.868).

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Sept. 29, 2011

10 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 27, 2001

“The Knud Nielsen team were the 2001 Evergreen Babe Ruth League Champions. They finished the season with a perfect 12-0 record. Players are Ben Crane, Will Ivey, Tony Raines, Joseph Gray, Joe Windham and Blake Stanford, Coach Thad Ellis, Hunter Pemberton, Jamie Simpson, Virgil Lynam, Coach Sammy Brown, Rod Dukes, Brady Gaskin and Coach Jackie Gorum.”

“Quarterback Pete Van Horn passed for 110 yards and a touchdown and Josh Post kicked two field goals to lead Charles Henderson to a 12-8 homecoming win over Hillcrest last Friday night in Troy.
“Defensive back Maurice Bradley’s interception and return to his own 40 set up Hillcrest’s only score of the night. The Jaguars moved quickly to the Henderson 38, and quarterbackc Chenson Griffin sprinted into the end zone. Griffin then ran in the two-point conversion, cutting the deficit to 12-8 with 6:23 left to play.”

“Sparta Academy scored the first touchdown and the last touchdown, but, in between, South Montgomery County Academy scored 41 straight points as the visiting Raiders defeated the Warriors, 41-13, Friday night at Stuart-McGehee Field.
“Rusty Salter scored the first TD for the Warriors on a six-yard run in the first quarter and kicked the PAT. Perry Castleberry scored on a four-yard pass from Derrick Williams in the fourth quarter for the other TD.”

25 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 25, 1986

“Grove Hill Academy blanked Sparta Academy 46-0 Friday night at Stuart-McGehee Field.
“Robbie Bolton carried eight times for 60 yards to lead Sparta’s attack. Jeff Carrier had 58 yards on six carries; Jeff Walker, 11 on seven; Lee Adams, five on two; and Bradd Watts lost two on one try. Walker completed five of 19 passes for 62 yards, but had one throw intercepted. Watts failed to complete any of three throws. Johnny Brock caught one pass for 24 yards; Carrier, one for 16; Watts, one for 11; Bolton one for six and Lynn Ralls one for five.
“Lee Wild topped the tackle chart with six solos, three assists and an interception. Brock had four and one; Bolton, four and one; Lynn Ralls, four and one; Shannon Kendall, three and one; Watts, three and one; Kenny Bledsoe, three solos; Carrier, two and two; Adams, two and one; Glynn Ralls, two solos; Tim Wilson, two solos; Ebb Hagen, one solo; Chris Davis, one solo and Scott Adams three assists.”

“Last Friday night proved to be the Sidney Carmichael and the Tony McPherson show, as they were unstoppable, as the Monroeville Tigers defeated the Evergreen Aggies, 40-7, for their second win of the season.
“The Aggies only score came on a Monroeville turnover as the Tigers fumbled on the Aggie four-yard line and Jimmy Stanton returned it 96 yards for the touchdown. Bobby Johnson kicked the extra point and the score was 20-7 with 4:23 left in the third quarter.”

40 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 30, 1971

“The Sparta Academy Warriors rode to their second straight victory on the talented toe of Jeff Nichols and an alert, aggressive defense as they edged Stephen-Spear School, 7-6, in Montgomery Friday night.
“Sparta broke a scoreless deadlock early in the second quarter, marching 52 yards in seven plays for the TD. Dwight Watson got 23 of those yards on two carries before Larry Tranum exploded for 27 yards and the score on a beautiful run, breaking several tackles along the way. On came Nichols to boot it to 7-0 and provide the ultimate margin of victory.
“Sparta’s great school spirit was evident as Evergreen folks followed their team up I-65 and outnumbered the home team considerably. Led by the Sparta Band, local fans filled the air with cheers throughout the game as they spurred their favorites on.”
Other standout Sparta players in that game included George Baggett, Karl Baggett, Donnie Griggers and Joey Nix. Mickey Goneke was Sparta’s head coach.

“For the third time in as many outings, the Evergreen Aggies were plagued by mistakes as they dropped a 22-18 fight with the Choctaw County Tigers of Butler.
“A determining factor in the Aggie loss was the absence of last week’s captains, middle guard Whalen Oliver and running back Frank McMillian, who were injured.”
Standout Evergreen players in that game included Anthony Armstrong, Charlie Johnson, Robert Johnson, Willie Paige and Harold Rogers.

55 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 27, 1956

“Those ‘never say die’ Aggies came from behind twice last Friday night in Andalusia to edge the Bulldogs, 13-12, and notch their first victory of the young season.
“Aggie captain Wayne Frazier was easily the outstanding player on the field, although sophomore Robert Ellington pushed him for the honors. Frazier was credited by the Alabama Journal and Andalusia Star-News sports writers with over 75 percent of the Aggie tackles and boosted by them as a surefire bet for All-State honors.
“Ellington was the leading ground gainer with 106 yards in 18 carries and scored both Aggie touchdowns. Only a sophomore, his hard running and ability speak of better days ahead for the Aggies. Quarterback Billy Grace, playing in his second varsity game did an outstanding job and completed five out of 11 passes for 102 yards.
“But to name stars, you have to list the whole Aggie team. Co-captain Russell Deason and guard James Nelson came through with bone-jarring tackles all night and did some neat blocking. Big Mickey Joyner played a sterling game both on defense and offense, grabbing four of Grace’s tosses for 95 yards and setting up both touchdowns.
“Bert Cook played a neat defensive end and hauled in one of Grace’s tosses. Buddy Zukowski and Byron Warren turned in some fine defensive play along with George Bolton and Howard Claybrook. Jack Harper, Bert Tuggle and Robbie Boykin handled their backfield chores in fine style.”

40 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 25, 1941

“BOY SCOUT NEWS: We had a business meeting last Monday night. We will have district court of honor here on the 13th of October. We hope to have many badges awarded to us so as to outnumber Brewton and Castleberry.
“The contest was over last Monday. The Bat Patrol won and as a reward they are going to the Auburn vs. Howard football game Friday night at Montgomery.”

Compiled by Sports Reporter Lee Peacock from past issues of The Evergreen Courant. To read The Courant’s weekly Sports Flashback feature online, visit leepeacock2010.blogspot.com.

Was an important Confederate artifact lost in Conecuh County in 1865?

Several months ago, one of our readers told me an interesting story about an important Confederate artifact that may be lost somewhere in Conecuh County. I’m passing the story along today to see if any of you might know more details about the story.

The story begins in 1865, in the last days of the Civil War, when Union forces began to move north out of Mobile towards Selma, where there was a large armory and munitions factory, which supplied most of the South’s ammunition. Sensing what was to come, Confederate agents in Selma began to gather important documents and other items, including a valuable Confederate seal. This seal, which was very much like a notary public’s seal today, was used by Confederate government officials to stamp documents with an embossed mark that certified the document’s authenticity.

According to the story, Confederate agents made their way south with these items, possibly in hopes of hiding them in the vicinity of Pensacola, Mobile or New Orleans. One version of the tale has them making their way to Sanders Cave at Brooklyn, where they hid the documents and items from Union officers.

On the way to Brooklyn though, as the story goes, the Confederate seal was supposedly either lost or stolen, giving rise to stories about a lost Confederate seal somewhere in the vicinity of Conecuh County.

Since first hearing this story, I spent a couple of months trying to track down more details, but did not have much luck.

Steve Stacey of Monroeville, who I consider a Civil War expert, especially in regard to the local aspects of the war, doesn’t put much stock in the “lost seal” tale.

“It is part lore, part factual that documents left Selma (true) for Brooklyn (not proved) and the seal was part of the shipment (not proved),” he told me in an August e-mail. “A facsimile of the seal ‘may have’ traveled to Brooklyn and would have crossed the Federal Road in the journey.”

In any event, the Selma seal was likely one of a number of identical seals used by Confederate officials in important cities like Montgomery, Atlanta and New Orleans.

The “Great Seal of the Confederacy,” the one used by Confederate President Jefferson Davis, can be seen today in the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Va.

It was designed by the firm of Joseph S. Wyon in London, the same firm that served as engravers for Queen Victoria and made the Great Seal of England.

According to officials at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., the seal was completed and given to James Mason, who was a Confederate agent operating in England. Mason then turned it over to Confederate naval officers, who were charged with transporting it back to America. Being a sensitive (and no doubt expensive) item, the seal took a round about trip to the Confederate States in order to avoid the Union naval blockade. It went from England to Canada by ship and then traveled by ship to the island of Bermuda before finally coming ashore in Wilmington, N.C.

In April 1865, around the time that Union forces were marching on Selma, Mrs. William J. Bromwell, the wife of a Confederate State Department official, smuggled the Great Seal out of Richmond, when the rebel government fled that doomed city. The Great Seal was hidden in a barn nearby along with other important archives and documents, and the seal remained in private hands until 1915. It was officially presented to the Museum of the Confederacy in 1943, and it remains there today.

Before I close this thing out, here’s a description of the Confederate seal. The actual seal is round with a picture of George Washington on a horse, surrounded by a wreath composed of cotton, tobacco, sugar cane, wheat and rice. Embossed around the edge you’d find “The Confederate States of America: 22 February, 1862” as well as the Confederacy’s motto, “Deo Vindice.”

In the end, I’m hoping that someone out there will read this story and will provide me with more information about the “Lost Seal” story as it relates to Conecuh County. If you know of any additional details, please contact me at The Courant by calling 578-1492 or by mail at P.O. Box 440, Evergreen, AL 36401. You can also reach me by e-mail at courantsports@earthlink.net.

(In addition to Stacey, a number of people helped me in my search for information about the “lost seal,” and I would be remiss if I didn’t thank them in this space. Special thanks to Larry Ryland of Bermuda; Sherry Johnston, the Genealogist-Historian at the Evergreen-Conecuh County Public Library; Bill Rambo, Site Director at Confederate Memorial Park in Marbury; and Lee Anne Wofford at Preserve Alabama.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My movie picks this week are 'Dream House' and 'Transformers III'


It’s Wednesday, so today I give you my weekly list of movies that will open in theatres this week as well as a list of movies that will be released this week on DVD.

I hope this will serve as a useful guide as to what’s going on this week if you happen to be near a movie theatre or if you’re looking for something to drop into your NetFlix queue.

Movies that are scheduled to hit theatres this week include:

50/50 (Comedy, Drama, R): Directed by Jonathan Levine and starring Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anna Kendrick and Anjelica Huston.

Bunraku (Action, Crime and Mystery, Martial Arts, Westerns, Fantasy, R): Directed by Guy Moshe and starring Josh Hartnett, Woody Harrelson, Demi Moore, Ron Perlman and Kevin McKidd.

Courageous (Drama, PG-13): Directed by Alex Kendrick and starring Alex Kendrick, Kevin Downes, Ken Bevel, Ben Davies and Rusty Martin.

Dream House (Drama, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, PG-13): Directed by Jim Sheridan and starring Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Marton Csokas and Rachel G. Fox.

Finding Joe (Documentary, Special Interest, Not Rated): Directed by Patrick Takaya Solomon and starring Deepak Chopra, Mick Fleetwood, Tony Hawk, Rashida Jones and Laird Hamilton.

Margaret (Drama, R): Directed by Kenneth Lonergan and starring Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Sarah Steele and Matthew Broderick.

Sarah Palin: You Betcha! (Documentary, Special Interest, Not Rated): Directed by Nick Broomfield and starring John Bitney, Colleen Cottle, Walt Moneghan, Mike Wooten and Chuck Heath.

Take Shelter (Drama, Thriller, R): Directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Katy Mixon, Shea Whigham and Kathy Baker.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (Comedy, Horror, R): Directed by Eli Craig and starring Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss and Philip Granger.

What’s Your Number (Comedy, Romance, R): Directed by Mark Mylod and starring Anna Faris, Chris Evans, Martin Freeman, Zachary Quinto and Andy Samberg.

New DVD releases for the week of Sept. 27 include:

American Loser (Comedy, Drama, R): Directed by Tod Harrison Williams and starring Seann William Scott, Gretchen Mol, Jeff Garlin, Jayce Bartok and Ian Buchanan.

Angel of Evil (Suspense, R): Directed by Michele Placido and starring Kim Rossi Stuart and Filippo Timi.

The Boxer and the Bombshell (Drama, R): Directed by Jonathan Ogilvie and starring Hugo Weaving, Rose Byrne and Matt Le Nevez.

The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman (Action, Comedy, PG-13): Directed by Wuershan and starring Masanobu Ando, You Benchang, Liu Xiaove, Ashton Xu and Kitty Zhang Yugi.

Dum Maaro Dum (Action, Crime, R): Directed by Rohan Sippy and starring Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu, Prateik Babbar, Aditya Pancholi and Harry Key.

Go For It! (Drama, Family, Musicals, PG-13): Directed by Carmen Marron and starring Aimee Garcia, Al Bandiero, Jossara Jinaro, Gina Rodriguez and Louie Alegria.

Good Neighbors (Comedy, Drama, Suspense, Thriller, R): Directed by Jacob Tierney and starring Jay Baruchel, Scott Speedman, Xavier Dolan, Emily Hampshire and Gary Farmer.

L’Amour Fou (Art and Experimental, Documentary, Special Interest, Not Rated): Directed by Pierre Thoretton.

The Ledge (Drama, Suspense, Thriller, R): Directed by Matthew Chapman and starring Charlie Hunnam, Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson, Terrence Howard and Christopher Gorham.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Action, Science Fiction, PG-13): Directed by Michael Bay and starring Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson and Patrick Dempsey.

If I could only watch one movie at the theatre this week, it would be “Dream House,” and if I had to pick just one DVD to rent this week, it would be “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”

In the end, let me know if you get a chance to watch any of the new movies in theatres this week or if you’ve already seen any of the movies that have just been released on DVD. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sept. 24-Oct. 1 is the American Library Association's Banned Books Week

If you love books, then this week is one of the most important weeks of the year.

While it hasn’t received a lot of publicity, Sept. 24-Oct. 1, is the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week.

According to the ALA, this special week is “an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.”

“Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week (BBW) highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

“Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.

“The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections. Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.”

To draw attention to banned books, the ALA releases a list each year of frequently challenged books. The most recent list, covering the 2010 calendar year, was released in April and contains more than a few titles that you will recognize.

The previous year’s most challenged books included:

- “And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

- “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie

- “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley

- “Crank” by Ellen Hopkins

- “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins

- “Lush” by Natasha Friend

- “What My Mother Doesn’t Know” by Sonya Stones

- “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich

- “Revolutionary Voices,” edited by Amy Sonnie

- “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer.

Only two of these books were on the Top 10 list of most challenged books in 2009 – “And Tango Makes Three” and “Twilight.”

Books that fell out of the top 10 included “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger and “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker.

The American Library Association reported 348 challenges to books in 2010 and at least 53 outright bans on some books. They also noted that there were likely other challenges and bans that went undocumented.

According to their Web site, the library association defines a challenge as any effort “to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves.”

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers and the National Association of College Stores. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. In 2011, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English and PEN American Center also signed on as sponsors.

For more information about Banned Books Week, visit www.bannedbooksweek.org.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Check out The New Statesman's '50 Books That Will Change Your Life'

I ran across an interesting recommended reading list earlier today called “Fifty Books That Will Change Your Life,” and I’m passing it along to you tonight for your enjoyment.

Originally compiled and published by The New Statesman magazine in August 2009, this list consists of more than a few classic (and controversial) books. The New Statesman is a British magazine, so you’ll notice that the list has somewhat of a British flavor.

Books that made the list include the following titles, listed in alphabetical order:

1. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
2. Areopagitica And Other Political Writings Of John Milton by John Alvis
3. The Black Jacobins by C.L.R. James
4. Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake
5. The Cannery Boat and Other Japanese Short Stories by Takiji Kobayashi
6. Catch-22: A Novel by Joseph Heller
7. The Communist Manifesto by Friedrich Engels
8. The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
9. Consciencism by Kwame Nkrumah
10. Culture and Society 1780-1950 by Raymond Williams

11. Equality (The Halley Stewart Lectures for 1929) by R.H. Tawney
12. Essential Works of Lenin: "What Is to Be Done?" and Other Writings by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
13. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
14. Germinal by Émile Zola
15. God's Bits of Wood by Sembene Ousmane
16. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
17. Hard Times by Charles Dickens
18. Henrik Ibsen - An Enemy Of The People
19. How We Should Rule Ourselves by Alasdair Gray
20. In a World I Never Made by Barbara Wootton

21. The Iron Heel by Jack London
22. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
23. Let Us Face the Future--: The 1945 Anniversary Lecture by Tony Blair
24. The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius by George Orwell
25. Love on the Dole by Walter Greenwood
26. Making of the English Working Class by E.P. Thompson
27. Mi Revalueshanary Fren by Linton Kwesi Johnson
28. News from Nowhere and Other Writings by William Morris
29. The New Testament
30. No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs by Naomi Klein

31. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
32. The Other America: Poverty in the United States by Michael Harrington
33. Prometheus Unbound by Percy Bysshe Shelley
34. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell
35. The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine
36. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe
37. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
38. Selections from the Prison Notebooks by Antonio Gramsci
39. Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord
40. The Soul of Man Under Socialism and Selected Critical Prose by Oscar Wilde

41. South Riding by Winifred Holtby
42. There Ain't no Black in the Union Jack by Paul Gilroy
43. Tom & Clem by Stephen Churchett
44. To the Finland Station by Edmund Wilson
45. V. by Tony Harrison
46. The Water-Babies by Charles Kingsley
47. What a Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe
48. Why Socialism? by Albert Einstein
49. The World Turned Upside Down by Christopher Hill
50. The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon

For more information about these books and to read the original article about the list, visit http://www.newstatesman.com/books/2009/08/wing-reads-rights-sex-susie.

In the end, how many of these books have you had the chance to read? Which did you like or dislike and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

'Moneyball' reappears on Publishers Weekly best-sellers list

It’s Sunday, so that means that it’s time for my weekly review of this week’s Publishers Weekly Best-Seller List. According to the list, we’ve got two new books at the top of the four major best-seller lists this week.

"New York to Dallas" by J.D. Robb replaced "Kill Me If You Can" by James Patterson and Marshall Karp as the No. 1 book on the hardcover fiction best-sellers list.

"Jacqueline Kennedy" foreword by Caroline Kennedy replaced "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir" by Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney as the top book on the hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list.

"Port Mortuary" by Patricia Cornwell remained the No. 1 book on the mass market paperback best-sellers list.

"The Help" by Kathryn Stockett retained the top spot on the trade paperbacks best-sellers list.

There are six books on this week’s hardcover fiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They (along with their place on the list) include "New York to Dallas" by J.D. Robb (1), "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern (2), "Abuse of Power" by Michael Savage (4), "Robert B. Parker's Killing the Blues" by Michael Brandman (5), "How Firm a Foundation" by David Weber (9), "Goddess of Vengeance" by Jackie Collins (10), "State of Wonder" by Ann Patchett (14) and "Only Time Will Tell" by Jeffrey Archer (15).

There are seven books on this week’s hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They include "Jacqueline Kennedy" foreword by Caroline Kennedy (1), "Every Day a Friday" by Joel Osteen (2), "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries (4), "Pearl Jam Twenty" by Pearl Jam (8), "Here Comes Trouble" by Michael Moore (11), "The Black Banners" by Ali H. Soufan with Daniel Freedman (14) and "Arguably" by Christopher Hitchens (15).

There are four books on this week’s mass market paperbacks best-sellers list that weren’t on that list last week. They include "A Storm of Swords" by George R.R. Martin (8), "Painted Ladies" by Robert P. Parker (13), "The Inner Circle" by Brad Meltzer (14) and "Wicked Appetite" by Janet Evanovich (15).

There are three books on this week’s trade paperbacks best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They include "The Sixth Man" by David Baldacci (3), "Moneyball" by Michael Lewis (12) and "Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang" by Chelsea Handler (15).

As a reminder, I’m posting these lists each Sunday because they, as a whole, represent a great, contemporary recommended reading list. These lists are initially released each week on Thursday, and if you’re interested in reading them then, visit Publishers Weekly’s Web site at www.publishersweekly.com. Below you’ll find all four of this week’s best-seller lists.

HARDCOVER FICTION
1. "New York to Dallas" by J.D. Robb
2. "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern
3. "Kill Me If You Can" by James Patterson and Marshall Karp
4. "Abuse of Power" by Michael Savage
5. "Robert B. Parker's Killing the Blues" by Michael Brandman
6. "A Dance With Dragons" by George R.R. Martin
7. "The Race" by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
8. "The Art of Fielding" by Chad Harbach
9. "How Firm a Foundation" by David Weber
10. "Goddess of Vengeance" by Jackie Collins
11. "Dark Predator" by Christine Feehan
12. "The Paris Wife" by Paula McLain
13. "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larrson
14. "State of Wonder" by Ann Patchett
15. "Only Time Will Tell" by Jeffrey Archer

HARDCOVER NONFICTION
1. "Jacqueline Kennedy" foreword by Caroline Kennedy
2. "Every Day a Friday" by Joel Osteen
3. "That Used to Be Us" by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum
4. "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries
5. "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir" by Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney
6. "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand
7. "A Stolen Life" by Jaycee Dugard
8. "Pearl Jam Twenty" by Pearl Jam
9. "The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor's Plan Design for Rapid Results" by Dr. Mike Moreno
10. "Go the F--k to Sleep" by Adam Mansbach and Illustrations by Ricardo Cortes
11. "Here Comes Trouble" by Michael Moore
12. "Living Beyond Your Feelings" by Joyce Meyer
13. "In the Garden of Beasts" by Erik Larson
14. "The Black Banners" by Ali H. Soufan with Daniel Freedman
15. "Arguably" by Christopher Hitchens

MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS
1. "Port Mortuary" by Patricia Cornwell
2. "1105 Yakima Street by Debbie Macomber
3. "American Assassin: A Thriller" by Vince Flynn
4. "The Confession: A Novel" by John Grisham
5. "Lost Empire" by Clive Cussler with Grant Blackwood
6. "The Reversal" by Michael Connelly
7. "Envy" by J.R. Ward
8. "A Storm of Swords" by George R.R. Martin
9. "A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin
10. "A Clash of Kings" by George R.R. Martin
11. "Strategic Moves" by Stuart Woods
12. "The Emperor's Tomb" by Steve Berry
13. "Painted Ladies" by Robert P. Parker
14. "The Inner Circle" by Brad Meltzer
15. "Wicked Appetite" by Janet Evanovich

TRADE PAPERBACKS
1. "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett
2. "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo, Sonja Burpo, Colton Burpo and Lynn Vincent
3. "The Sixth Man" by David Baldacci
4. "Sarah's Key" by Tatiana de Rosnay
5. "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot
6. "Cleopatra" by Stacy Schiff
7. "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese
8. "One Day" by David Nicholls
9. "Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell
10. "Room" by Emma Donoghue
11. "Safe Haven" by Nicholas Sparks
12. "Moneyball" by Michael Lewis
13. "Fall of Giants: Book One of the Century Trilogy" by Ken Follett
14. "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein
15. "Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang" by Chelsea Handler

In the end, let me know if you’ve had a chance to read any of these books. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Comic book fans should be smote with Mjolnir if they don't see 'Thor'

The recent film version of “Thor” was a lot better than I thought it would be, and I highly recommend it to readers who have a taste for action and fantasy.

Released in the U.S. on May 6, this movie is based on the Marvel Comics character, which is based on the hero from Norse mythology. In the movie, Thor’s brother, Loki, has launched a misguided plot to seize control of their home world, Asgard. Their father, King Odin, exiles Thor to Earth to teach him a lesson, and then Odin falls into a deep, coma-like sleep, which allows Loki to take the throne.

On Earth, Thor is stripped of his super powers and begins his quest to find his magical hammer, called "Mjolnir," so that he can return home. He meets a group of scientists and falls for researcher, Jane Foster. They, in turn, butt heads with government agents, who have been dispatched to the New Mexico desert to investigate something unusual in a crater there, i.e., Thor’s legendary, magical hammer.

Before all is said and done, a group of Thor’s friends from Asgard travel to Earth to tell Thor about his father’s condition. Loki sends a seemingly invincible robot called “The Destroyer” after them with instructions to wipe them out. What follows is an epic, fantasy-action battle that is more than a little satisfying.

Directed by Kenneth Branagh, this movie features an all-star cast of well known actors and actresses, including Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Natalie Portman (Jane Foster), Anthony Hopkins (Odin) and Rene Russo (Odin’s wife).

Being an adaptation of a Marvel Comics hero, this movie also includes the obligatory cameo of comic book legend, Stan Lee, who created the Thor comic character along with Larry Liebert and Jack Kirby. Lee makes his appearance as a truck driver, who snatches the bed off of his pick-up truck in an ill-advised attempt to uproot Thor’s hammer from the desert floor.

To say that this movie was a blockbuster would be an understatement. Filmed on a budget of $150 million, it posted box offices totals of over $448.5 million. It’s too early to tell how many awards this movie will bring in, but it’s already been nominated for several, including this year’s Teen Choice Awards and Scream Awards.

For those of you who enjoyed “Thor,” you’ll be interested to hear that there’s already a sequel in the works. “Thor 2” is supposed to hit theatres in July 2013, and Hemsworth will return in his role as Thor.

Watching this movie made me want to delve back into the comic book series and brush up on my Norse mythology. Thor made his first Marvel Comics appearance in August 1962, when he graced the pages of “Journey Into Mystery” No. 83. He would go on to appear in several series of his own, and you can buy trade paperback editions of these early appearances inexpensively today through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

In the end, how many of you have seen the movie “Thor”? What did you think about it? Did you like it or not? Why? Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday, September 23, 2011

'Anno Dracula' answers question of 'What if Dracula had won?'

I finished reading any awesome book a few days ago, (Mr.) Kim Newman’s 1992 novel, “Anno Dracula.”

The idea behind the novel is simple and elegant and results in one of the best “what if” books I’ve ever read. In short, the novel tries to answer the question of what would have happened if Abraham Van Helsing and his colleagues had failed to killed Count Dracula? In Newman’s novel, Dracula not only survives his undoing, but ends up rising in power and marrying Queen Victoria. As the Royal Consort and Protector of the Realm, Dracula rules the British Empire with a bloody, iron fist.

In addition to Dracula’s rise in power, London is full of vampires, many of which have been turned voluntarily for political reasons. Enter Jack the Ripper, as in, Dr. John “Jack” Seward, who was in love with early Dracula victim, Lucy Westenra. Seward, Van Helsing and others put Westenra out of her vampiric misery with a wooden stake, and Seward is driven mad by the experience.

Seward begins waging a one-man war on vampire prostitutes, who bare the same names as the canonical Jack the Ripper victims of real history. Government agent Charles Beauregard, a member of the mysterious Diogenes Club, is called in to capture Jack the Ripper, aka, “Silver Knife,” and the story goes from there.

Probably the most fun and interesting thing about this novel is its entertaining mix of historical and fictional characters. It’s Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” meets “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” meets “From Hell” – ON STERIODS! Real, historical characters that appear in the book include Jack the Ripper investigator Fred Abberline; Joseph Merrick, aka, The Elephant Man; playwrights George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde; Wild West outlaw Billy the Kid; “Dracula” author Bram Stoker; the poets Algernon Charles Swinburne and Alfred, Lord Tennyson; London police commissioner Charles Warren; all of Jack the Ripper’s victims (Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly); as well as Queen Victoria.

Characters from fiction that appear in the novel and intermingle with the characters mentioned above include Gunga Din, Fu Manchu, Mina Harker, Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Henry Jekyll, Inspector Lestrade, the Vampire Lestat, Doctor Moreau, Professor Moriarty, Allan Quartermain, Abraham Van Helsing and others.

The edition of the novel I read was published in 2011 by Titan Books and features a number of extras. In addition to 29 pages of interesting annotations, acknowledgements and an afterward, the extras include an alternate ending to the novel, which was first published in “The Mammoth Book of Vampires”; extracts from the screenplay for “Anno Dracula: The Movie”; an article by Newman titled “Drac the Ripper,” which was originally published in the 2005 magazine, “The Ripperologist” No. 60; and a short story by Newman called “The Dead Travel Fast,” which was originally published in 2000’s “Unforgivable Stories.”

“Anno Dracula” is the first book in a four-part series of novels that explore the vampire-what if? theme. Other books in the series include “The Bloody Red Baron” (1995) and “Dracula Cha Cha Cha” (1998). The fourth novel in the series, “Johnny Alucard,” is scheduled to be published sometime next year by Titan Books.

I have to admit that “Anno Dracula” is the first Kim Newman book that I’ve had the chance to read, and I’m looking forward to checking out some of his other books.

Newman’s other novels include:

- The Night Mayor (1989)
- Bad Dreams (1990)
- Jago (1991)
- In Dreams (1992)
- The Quorum (1994)
- The Original Dr. Shade and Other Stories (1994)
- Famous Monsters (1995)
- Back in the USSA (1997)
- Andy Warhol’s Dracula (1999)
- Life’s Lottery (1999)
- Where the Bodies are Buried (2000)
- Seven Stars (2000)
- Unforgivable Stories (2000)
- Binary 2 (2000)
- Time and Relative (2001)
- Dead Travel Fast (2005)
- The Man from the Diogenes Club (2006)
- Secret Files of the Diogenes Club (2007)
- Mysteries of the Diogenes Club (2010)

For more information about Newman and his books, visit Newman’s official Web site at www.johnnyalucard.com.

In the end, how many of you have read “Anno Dracula” or any of Newman’s other books? What did you think about them? Let us know in the comments section below.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hillcrest, Sparta post big road wins in football last week

Hillcrest High School and Sparta Academy posted a pair of big, road wins in football last Friday night.

Hillcrest beat Straughn, 27-26, in overtime at Straughn. Sparta beat Ellwood Christian, 48-0, in Selma.

Hillcrest’s win on Friday was their first ever against Straughn, and the Jags are now 1-1 all-time against the Tigers.

Sparta’s big win over Ellwood was Sparta’s biggest win in football since the 1997 season, when the Warriors beat Lakeside, 60-0.

Friday night’s game dropped Ellwood to 0-5 on the season. This year is Ellwood’s first ever in 11-man football after two seasons of playing in an eight-man football league. So far, Sparta’s 48 points are the most that Ellwood has allowed in a single game.

Ellwood gave up 47 points to Lowndes Academy earlier this year, and Sparta will face Lowndes tomorrow (Friday) night in Evergreen.

Sparta and Lowndes don’t have much of a football past. Their game last year was the first ever between the two teams in football, and Lowndes won that game, 33-13, in Lowndesboro.

Hillcrest plays W.S. Neal in Evergreen, and the Jags are 8-8 all-time against Neal. Hillcrest hasn’t lost to Neal since 2007, and the Jags have posted some big wins against Neal since then. Hillcrest won 55-18 in 2008, 34-14 in 2009 and 47-28 in 2010.

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One of our readers put me on to an interesting (and unusual) high school football story earlier this week, one that describes how a team in Arkansas built a 29-0 lead over one of its rivals before the opposing team ever got the chance to run their first offensive play.

In the Sept. 16 game between Arkansas powerhouses, Cabot High School and Pulaski Academy of Little Rock, Pulaski led, 29-0, before Cabot ever ran an offensive play.
While such a feat is rare, how Pulaski pulled this off was pretty simple and involved several onside kicks. Pulaski won the opening coin toss, elected to receive and drove down the field for a touchdown.

Pulaski then kicked an onside kick, recovered it and quickly scored another touchdown. Moments later, they pulled the same stunt: kicked an onside kick, recovered it and scored another quick TD.

Pulaski then proceeded to kick another onside kick, recovered the ball and scored another touchdown with 7:35 left in the first quarter.

Leading 29-0, Pulaski went for a fourth onside kick, but Cabot finally recovered. In the end, Pulaski, ranked No. 99 in the country by Rivals.com, won, 64-34.

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The NFL season is well underway, and the number of undefeated teams are falling by the wayside with each round of weekly games. As of Monday, the only undefeated teams left in the NFL were the New England Patriots, the Buffalo Bills, the N.Y. Jets, the Houston Texans, the Washington Redskins, the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions.

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Here are my picks for this week’s slate of SEC football games. I like Alabama over Arkansas, Auburn over Florida Atlantic, LSU over West Virginia, Georgia over Ole Miss, Mississippi State over Louisiana Tech, Florida over Kentucky and South Carolina over Vanderbilt. Tennessee does not play.

Last week: 7-2 (.777), Overall: 26-5 (.839).

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Sept. 22, 2011

ONE YEAR AGO
SEPT. 23, 2010

“Hillcrest High School came up just seven points shy of upsetting the No. 5-ranked team in Class 4A last Friday night in Evergreen.
“Class 4A, Region 2 rival, Straughn High School, entered Brooks Memorial Stadium Friday night as the fifth-ranked team in Class 4A and escaped with a 22-15 win over the Jags.
“Hillcrest took an 8-7 lead when quarterback Justin Nared completed a two-point conversion pass with three minutes left in the second quarter.
“With 10 minutes left in the game, Hillcrest went up 15-12 when Nared completed a pass in the end zone.”

“Sparta Academy picked up its second win of the season Friday night by beating Dixie Academy, 42-19, at Stuart-McGehee Field in Evergreen.
“Junior running back John Perry Johnson led the Warriors with eight carries for 154 yards and two touchdowns. His two scores came on runs of 57 and 68 yards.
“Dalton Baggett followed with 10 carries for 94 yards and two touchdowns. His rushing touchdowns came on runs of eight and 26 yards. Baggett also completed an 11-yard pass and had a two-yard pass reception.
“Devlin Crosby ran the ball five times for 18 yards, including a five-yard touchdown run. He also completed three of three passes for 19 yards.
Other outstanding Sparta players in that game included Tom Andrews, Joey Bradley, Michael Cook, Hunter Hanks, Drew Hardin, Dylan Middleton and Eli Tyree.

16 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 28, 1995

“Sparta Warriors given thrashing by Rebels: The Sparta Academy Warriors dropped their first game of the season Friday night when the Dixie Academy Rebels whipped the Warriors 50 to 8.
“The Warriors could get nothing going on offense all night until Brent Worrell caught a Roderick McIntyre pass for a touchdown late in the ballgame.”

“These lovely young ladies are cheering the 1995 Hillcrest High School Jaguars Football team every Friday night. Pictured are Tamekia Williams, Lameka Rankins and LaTracie Hines, Co-Captain; LaTonya Grace, Daryl Hahn, Co-Captain and LaTricia Scott. Not pictured is Shakela Brye, Captain.”

“JV Warriors lose to Monroe Aca. 12-8: The Sparta Academy Junior Varsity Warriors lost a close game September 19 at Stuart-McGehee Field to the Monroe Academy Volunteers. The Warriors lost 12 to 8.
“Stephen Salter scored the Warriors only touchdown on a 25-yard run. Seth McIntyre scored the extra points.
“Salter led the Warrior rushing attack with 28 yards on 14 carries. Aaron Clanton had –2 yards on one carry, and Seth McIntyre had –6 yards on 10 carries.
“Seth McIntyre completed three of his 11 passing attempts for 63 yards. He had three interceptions. Steven Salter had two receptions for 54 yards and Aaron Clanton had one catch for nine yards.”

31 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 25, 1980

“Mr. and Mrs. Bill Seales accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Pete Wolff Jr. of Evergreen, enjoyed the Auburn and Duke football game at Auburn on Saturday.”

“Warriors lose first decision; host So. Butler: The Sparta Academy Warriors will try to bounce back from their first defeat of the season when they host the South Butler Academy Raiders on Friday night.
“The Warriors lost their first game of the season last Friday night to Fort Deposit Academy by 27-14 in Fort Deposit. Sparta went into the game with Ed Carrier, leading rusher, hobbled by an injury. The number two runner, Bobby Mason, played well, but was injured during the game. These injuries hurt the Warriors greatly.
“Mason, in spite of being ‘shook-up,’ netted 53 yards on 10 carries and scored all of Sparta’s points. He plunged one yard for the first t.d. and then romped 42 yards for the second and added the two-point conversion. Andy Hammonds had six yards on four carries as Sparta’s attack was blunted by the Patriots’ defense and miscues.
“Jeff Johnson completed only two of seven pass attempts for 13 yards and suffered one interception. Ed Carrier caught one for eight yards and Darwin Nix one for five. Andy Hammonds had 10 solo tackles and one assist; Scott Baggett, five and two; and Richard Nix, six and one and a fumble recovery to top the tackle chart. Mike Mixon and Mason had six solos each.”
Other standout Sparta players in that game included Scotty Grace, Gaylen Griggers, Tracey Hawsey, Joe McInvale, Russ Raines and Terry Shipp.

46 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 23, 1965

“The Repton Bulldogs defeated the Fruitdale eleven Friday night 26 to 7.
“Quarterback Barry Boatwright started the Bulldog scoring with a yard touchdown in the first quarter. Bulldog halfback Terry Andrews made the PAT.”
Other outstanding Repton players in that game included Larry Baggett, Gary Boatwright, Scott Dyess and Wayne Price.”

“Coach Joe Mason’s improving Lyeffion Yellow Jackets brought their season mark to .500 last Friday night when they racked up their first victory. Camp Hill High’s Wolverines were the victims by a 6 to 0 county in Camp Hill.
“Don Jones was the man of the hour for the Jackets up in far off Tallapoosa County Friday night. He slammed over from the one in the third quarter for the game’s only counter.”
Other standout Lyeffion players in that game included Harold Brown and Jerry New.

“A heavier and faster Monroeville Tiger squad swamped the Aggies in their attempt to break into the win column with a 28-0 shutout.”
Standout Evergreen players in that game included Glenn Bolton, Bubba Faulkner, Bill Snowden and Jack White.

“The game movies of the Aggies’ loss to Monroeville will be featured on the program at the weekly meeting of the Evergreen Quarterback Club tonight at 7:30 in the EHS lunchroom.
“Coach Cliff Little says the films are unusually good and clear and will give these rabid Aggie boosters a better look at individual performances than you get during the excitement of the actual game.”

61 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 28, 1950

“Ileana Stallworth and Pat Everage have been elected cheerleaders by the students of E.H.S. to fill the places left vacant by two of last year’s cheerleaders who graduated.
“Evergreen High School is proud of its two new cheerleaders and feels confident that they will do their part in cheering E.H.S. on to victory.”

“The Aggies will play tomorrow (Friday) night in a stadium that ranks with the best in the state when they go upon the turf of the Municipal Stadium in Andalusia. The city of Andalusia completed the stadium last spring at a cost of $150,000. No need in telling you that $150,000 is a lot of coin, but from all reports the money was well spent. The stadium has concrete seats for several thousand. Temporary bleachers on the visitor’s side of the field will seat several hundred more. Included in the layout, without conflict, are a baseball field, track and football field. The field is lighted by the newest type system with the light posts back on the stands giving spectators a clear view of the field. The lighting system is equaled in few of the state’s larger stadia. A number of local fans took advantage of last Friday’s open date on the Aggie schedule and went over for a look at the Andalusia team and at the new stadium. All of them came back raving about the stadium.”

Compiled by Sports Reporter Lee Peacock from past issues of The Evergreen Courant. To read The Courant’s weekly Sports Flashback feature online, visit leepeacock2010.blogspot.com.

What happened in downtown Evergreen on the night of Oct. 16, 1973?

On Oct. 11, 1973, two Mississippi men made headlines around the world when they claimed that they were abducted from the banks of the Pascagoula River by space aliens.

Five days later, three people in Evergreen – including two police officers – reported seeing a UFO over downtown Evergreen.

The 1973 sighting in Mississippi made headlines again recently when Charles E. Hickson Sr., the eldest of the two men who claimed to have been abducted, died on Fri., Sept. 9, at the age of 80.

Hickson, then age 42, and Calvin Parker, a 19-year-old co-worker at the now-defunct Walker Shipyard in Pascagoula, went fishing after work and claimed to have encountered a domed, cigar-shaped aircraft that was about 35 feet across and about nine feet high.

The men reported that the aliens floated toward them with a glowing egg-shaped object with blue lights at its front, and that the aliens levitated them into a spacecraft. Both men reported feeling paralyzed, and Parker fainted from fright.

Once inside, the aliens examined the two men with a football-shaped mechanical device that scanned their bodies.

After about 20 minutes, the aliens levitated the two men back to the west bank of the river, and the two men reported the incident to the local sheriff’s department at around 10:30 p.m.

The two men passed a polygraph examination about the incident, which received massive, international media attention. To date, it is one of the most famous alien abduction cases ever reported.

In the Oct. 25, 1973 edition of The Courant, Publisher and Editor Bob Bozeman made a rare mention of UFOs in his weekly editorial column, “The Colyum.”

“I’m not going into the UFO bit this week as it has been thoroughly covered on radio, TV and in the daily newspapers,” Bozeman wrote. “I’m sure all of you know that three persons saw a UFO over City Hall last Wednesday night. Two were policemen who tried to focus spotlights on the object but were unable to do so.

“Frankly, I don’t know what they saw, but I still believe there is a logical explanation for UFOs, and it doesn’t involve creatures and spaceships from another planet.”

All of this raises a number of questions, in my mind, about the incident in Evergreen.

Who were the two police officers that witnessed the UFO in Evergreen? Who was the third witness? What made them notice the object? What were they doing when they noticed the object? What time of night did the event occur? What did the UFO look like? Did it make any sounds? How long was it visible? Did it just disappear or fly away? In which direction did it appear to travel? What was the weather like that night? Where were the witnesses standing when they saw the UFO?

In the end, I’m interested in hearing more about the incident in Evergreen, especially since we’re approaching the 38th anniversary of the event. If any of you in the reading audience remember the event and can provide more details, I’d like to hear from you. You can reach me by phone at 578-1492, by mail at The Evergreen Courant, P.O. Box 440, Evergreen, AL 36401 or by e-mail at courantsports@earthlink.net.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My movie picks this week are 'Killer Elite' and 'Area 51'

It’s Wednesday, so today I give you my weekly list of movies that will open in theatres this week as well as a list of movies that will be released this week on DVD.

I hope this will serve as a useful guide as to what’s going on this week if you happen to be near a movie theatre or if you’re looking for something to drop into your NetFlix queue.

Movies that are scheduled to hit theatres this week include:

Abduction (PG-13, Drama, Suspense, Thriller): Directed by John Singleton and starring Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins, Alfred Molina, Jason Isaacs and Maria Bello.

A Bird of the Air (Not Rated, Comedy, Drama, Romance): Directed by Margaret Whitton and starring Rachel Nichols, Jackson Hurst, Judith Ivey, Linda Emond and Buck Henry.

Dolphin Tale (PG, Drama, Family): Directed by Charles Martin Smith and starring Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson and Nathan Gamble.

Killer Elite (R, Action): Directed by Gary McKendry and starring Robert De Niro, Jason Statham, Clive Owen, Yvonne Strahovski and Dominic Purcell.

Limelight (Not Rated, Documentary, Special Interest): Directed by Billy Corben.

Machine Gun Preacher (R, Action, Drama, War): Directed by Marc Forster and starring Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan, Kathy Baker, Michael Shannon and Madeline Carroll.

Mardi Gras Spring Break (R, Comedy): Directed by Phil Dornfeld and starring Nicholas D’Agosto, Josh Gad, Bret Harrison, Arielle Kebbel and Regina Hall.

Moneyball (PG-13, Comedy, Drama, Sports): Directed by Bennett Miller and starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright Penn and Chris Pratt.

Puncture (R, Drama, Crime, Mystery): Directed by Adam Kassen and Mark Kassen and starring Chris Evans, Michael Biehn, Vinessa Shaw, Kate Burton and Brett Cullen.

Thunder Soul (PG, Documentary, Music, Special Interest): Directed by Mark Landsman.

New DVD releases for the week of Sept. 20 include:

Area 51 (R, Horror, Science Fiction): Directed by Jason Connery and starring Bruce Boxleitner, Jason London, Rachel Miner, John Shea and Vanessa Branch.

Breaking the Press (PG, Drama, Family): Directed by Andrew Stevens and starring Drew Waters, Farah White, Tom Maden, Chad Halbrook and Burton Gilliam.

Bride Flight (R, Drama, Epic, Historical, Romance): Directed by Ben Sombogaart and starring Karina Smulder, Waldemar Torenstra, Anna Drijver, Pleuni Touw and Petra Laseur.

Bridesmaids (R, Comedy): Directed by Paul Feig and starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper.

The River Murders (R, Crime, Suspense): Directed by Rich Cowan and starring Ray Liotta, Christian Slater, Ving Rhames, Gisele Fraga and Sarah Ann Schultz.

Set Up (R, Action): Directed by Mike Gunther and starring Bruce Willis, Ryan Phillippe, Curtis Jackson, Jenna Dewan and James Remar.

Spooky Buddies (G, Comedy, Family): Directed by Robert Vince and starring Harland Williams, Elisa Donovan, Sierra McCormick, Jennifer Elise Cox and Tucker Albrizzi.

Today’s Special (R, Comedy): Directed by David Kaplan and starring Dean Winters, Aarti Majmudar, Kevin Corrigan, Jess Weixler and Aasif Mandvi.

If I could only watch one movie at the theatre this week, it would be “Killer Elite,” and if I had to pick just one DVD to rent this week, it would be “Area 51.”

In the end, let me know if you get a chance to watch any of the new movies in theatres this week or if you’ve already seen any of the movies that have just been released on DVD. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy 63rd Birthday, George R.R. Martin!

Today is author George R.R. Martin’s 63rd birthday, and this popular sci-fi, horror and fantasy writer has had a very good year.

I have to admit that I didn’t know much about Martin prior to this year, but that changed for me (and a lot of other people) when HBO adapted his popular “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series for into a television series called “Game of Thrones.” Thanks to the popularity of this hit show, his books have returned to and have remained on the best-sellers lists for months and months.

His star has risen so much during the past year that TIME magazine listed Martin on its most recent list of top 100 most influential people in the world.

Martin is a prolific writer and has written dozens of novels, novellas, novelettes, collections and TV scripts, including teleplays for shows like “The Twilight Zone” series in the 1980s, “Beauty and the Beast” and “Game of Thrones.”

He has 12 novels to his credit, and here’s a complete list of them below, in order of publication.

- Dying of the Light (1977)

- Windhaven (1981)

- Fevre Dream (1982)

- The Armageddon Ring (1983)

- Dead Man’s Hand (with John Miller, 1990)

- A Game of Thrones (1996)

- A Clash of Kings (1999)

- A Storm of Swords (2000)

- A Feast of Crows (2005)

- Shadow Twin (with Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham, 2005)

- Hunters Run (with Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham, 2008)

- A Dance with Dragons (2011)

He has also published a number of short story collections, including:

- A Song for Lya and Other Stories (1976)

- Songs of Stars and Shadows (1977)

- Sandkings (1981)

- Songs the Dead Men Sing (1983)

- Nighflyers (1985)

- Tuf Voyaging (1987)

- Portraits of His Children (1987)

- Quartet (2001)

- GRRM: A RRetrospective (2003)

- Starlady/Fast-Friend (2008)

Fans of Martin will be happy to hear that he has two forthcoming novels due out soon, and these books will be part of his popular “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. To be published by Bantam Books, their tentative titles are “The Winds of Winter” and “A Dream of Spring.”

Before I close this thing out, I have to admit that I’ve never watched even a single episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” series, which debuted in April 2011. The first season featured 10 episodes, and the second season is scheduled to begin in 2012. Written by Martin and others, the series stars Sean Bean, Mark Addy, Michelle Fairley, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Lena Headey.

To learn more about Martin and his books, visit his Web site at www.georgerrmartin.com. His Web site is pretty cool and features a ton of interesting content. I especially enjoy his “What I’m Reading” section, which updates his fans on the books that he’s currently reading.

In the end, how many of Martin’s books have you read? Which did you like or dislike and why? Which would you recommend and why? How many of you have watched the HBO series? Do you like it or not and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Recommended books from Alabama Alumni Magazine's Fall 2011 'Bookshelf'

Over the weekend, the Fall 2011 edition of Alabama Alumni Magazine arrived in my mailbox and the first thing that I flipped to was their quarterly “Bookshelf” feature.

Regular readers of this blog will know that “Bookshelf” is a regular feature of Alabama Alumni Magazine and that it provides reviews and descriptions of new books with Alabama connections.

Books mentioned in the latest installment of “Bookshelf” include the following titles:

1. Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives by Brad Watson

2. Tuscaloosa: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow by Donald and Hannah Brown

3. Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay by Montgomery J. Granger

4. When Winning Was Everything by Delbert Reed

5. My Journey: A Memoir of the First African American to Preside Over the Alabama Board of Education by Ethel Hall

6. Dynamic Stretching by Mark Kovacs

7. Iron & Steel: A Guide to Birmingham Area Industrial Heritage Sites by James R. Bennett and Karen R. Utz

8. From Janitor to Justice: The Life of Felipe Reyna by Bart Cannon

9. Why Judges Wear Robes by J. Samuel Johnston

10. Water Skiing and Wakeboarding by Ben Favret

In case you missed them, books recommended in the Summer 2011 issue included the following titles:

1. Georgia Bottoms by Mark Childress

2. Steel Magnolias by Debra Shriver

3. Yvon’s Paris by Robert Stevens

4. Dictionary of Louisiana French, contributed to by Dr. Michael D. Picone

5. Stories from the Hart by Anne Hart Preus

6. Butterflies of Alabama, text by Paulette Haywood Ogard, photographs by Sara Bright

7. Mosquito Soldiers by Andrew McIlwaine Bell

8. When Universities Are Destroyed by Dr. Jack Kushner

9. Nature Journal by L.J. Davenport

Books mentioned in the Spring 2011 edition were:

1. “Wings of Opportunity: The Wright Brothers in Montgomery, Alabama” by Julie Hedgepeth Williams

2. “Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family” by Condoleeza Rice

3. “Teddy’s Child” by Virginia Van Der Veer Hamilton

4. “Heart of a Small Town” by Robin McDonald

5. “Bottle Tree” by Jennifer Horne

6. “The Crimson Tide, National Championship Edition” by Winston Groom

7. “If These Stones Could Talk” by Calvin G. Lyons

8. “The Healer’s Apprentice” by Melanie Dickerson

9. “Attached at the Heart” by Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson

10. “Encyclopedia of Death and the Human Experience,” edited by Dr. Clifton D. Bryant and Dr. Dennis L. Peck

For more information about Alabama Alumni Magazine, visit alumni.ua.edu/publications/alabama-alumni-magazine.

In the end, how many of the books mentioned above have you had a chance to read? Which did you like or dislike? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Clive Cussler's 'The Race,' 'Lost Empire' appear on best-sellers lists

It’s Sunday, so that means that it’s time for my weekly review of this week’s Publishers Weekly Best-Seller List. According to the list, we’ve got one new book at the top of the four major best-seller lists this week.

"Port Mortuary" by Patricia Cornwell replaced "The Reversal" by Michael Connelly as the top book on the mass market paperback best-sellers list.

"Kill Me If You Can" by James Patterson and Marshall Karp retained the No. 1 spot on the hardcover fiction best-sellers list.

"In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir" by Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney remains the top book on the hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list.

"The Help" by Kathryn Stockett retained the top spot on the trade paperbacks best-sellers list.

There are six books on this week’s hardcover fiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They (along with their place on the list) include "The Race" by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott (2), "Dark Predator" by Christine Feehan (3), "The Art of Fielding" by Chad Harbach (5), "Prey" by Linda Howard (6), "Pirate King" by Laurie R. King (7) and "The Tears of the Sun" by S.M. Stirling (13).

There are six books on this week’s hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They include "Start Something That Matters" by Blake Mycoskie (2), "That Used to Be Us" by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum (3), "The Two-Second Advantage" by Vivek Ranadive and Kevin Maney (4), "Willpower" by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney (12), "Living Beyond Your Feelings" by Joyce Meyer (13) and "Just My Type" by Simon Garfield (14).

There are six books on this week’s mass market paperbacks best-sellers list that weren’t on that list last week. They include "Envy" by J.R. Ward (4), "Lost Empire" by Clive Cussler with Grant Blackwood (6), "The Emperor's Tomb" by Steve Berry (10), "Strategic Moves" by Stuart Woods (12), "Canyons of Night" by Jayne Castle (14) and "Archangel's Blade" by Nalini Singh (15).

There are two books on this week’s trade paperbacks best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They include "The Mercy" by Beverly Lewis (3) and "Cleopatra" by Stacy Schiff (7).

As a reminder, I’m posting these lists each Sunday because they, as a whole, represent a great, contemporary recommended reading list. These lists are initially released each week on Thursday, and if you’re interested in reading them then, visit Publishers Weekly’s Web site at www.publishersweekly.com. Below you’ll find all four of this week’s best-seller lists.

HARDCOVER FICTION
1. "Kill Me If You Can" by James Patterson and Marshall Karp
2. "The Race" by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
3. "Dark Predator" by Christine Feehan
4. "A Dance With Dragons" by George R.R. Martin
5. "The Art of Fielding" by Chad Harbach
6. "Prey" by Linda Howard
7. "Pirate King" by Laurie R. King
8. "Flash and Bones: A Novel" by Kathy Reichs
9. "The Leftovers" by Tom Perrotta
10. "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larrson
11. "The Paris Wife" by Paula McLain
12. "The Sookie Stackhouse Companion" by Charlaine Harris
13. "The Tears of the Sun" by S.M. Stirling
14. "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett
15. "A Trick of the Light: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel" by Louise Perry

HARDCOVER NONFICTION
1. "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir" by Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney
2. "Start Something That Matters" by Blake Mycoskie
3. "That Used to Be Us" by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum
4. "The Two-Second Advantage" by Vivek Ranadive and Kevin Maney
5. "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand
6. "A Stolen Life" by Jaycee Dugard
7. "In the Garden of Beasts" by Erik Larson
8. "The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor's Plan Design for Rapid Results" by Dr. Mike Moreno
9. "Bossypants" by Tina Fey
10. "1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created" by Charles C. Mann
11. "Go the F--k to Sleep" by Adam Mansbach and Illustrations by Ricardo Cortes
12. "Willpower" by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney
13. "Living Beyond Your Feelings" by Joyce Meyer
14. "Just My Type" by Simon Garfield
15. "The Dukan Diet" by Pierre Dukan

MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS
1. "Port Mortuary" by Patricia Cornwell
2. "American Assassin: A Thriller" by Vince Flynn
3. "1105 Yakima Street by Debbie Macomber
4. "Envy" by J.R. Ward
5. "The Confession: A Novel" by John Grisham
6. "Lost Empire" by Clive Cussler with Grant Blackwood
7. "A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin
8. "The Reversal" by Michael Connelly
9. "Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue: A Cynster Novel" by Stephanie Laurens
10. "The Emperor's Tomb" by Steve Berry
11. "Canyons of Night: Book Three of the Looking Glass Trilogy" by Jayne Castle
12. "Strategic Moves" by Stuart Woods
13. "A Clash of Kings" by George R.R. Martin
14. "Canyons of Night" by Jayne Castle
15. "Archangel's Blade" by Nalini Singh

TRADE PAPERBACKS
1. "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett
2. "Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back" by Todd Burpo, Sonja Burpo, Colton Burpo and Lynn Vincent
3. "The Mercy" by Beverly Lewis
4. "Room" by Emma Donoghue
5. "Sarah's Key" by Tatiana de Rosnay
6. "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot
7. "Cleopatra" by Stacy Schiff
8. "One Day" by David Nicholls
9. "Safe Haven" by Nicholas Sparks
10. "Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell
11. "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese
12. "Fall of Giants: Book One of the Century Trilogy" by Ken Follett
13. "The Glass Castle: A Memoir" by Jeannette Walls
14. "Unlikely Friendships" by Jennifer S. Holland
15. "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein

In the end, let me know if you’ve had a chance to read any of these books. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Check out these books to celebrate the U.S. Air Force's 64th birthday

Tomorrow (Sept. 18) will be the U.S. Air Force’s 64th birthday.

Originally part of the U.S. Army, the Air Force was formed as a separate branch of the U.S. military on Sept. 18,1947. Today, it remains the world’s most technologically sophisticated air force.

To salute my friends and family who are (or have been ) a part of the Air Force, I present to you today the 2011 USAF Chief of Staff Air Force Reading List.

The list was compiled to “inform, analyze, inspire and educate,” according to the U.S. Air Force web site. Titles were selected “to inform readers about the history of the Air Force, analyze on-going conflicts and their relevancy to the future, inspire readers with success stories and provide lessons learned from conflicts.”

Book on the list were divided into three categories – Military Heritage, Leadership and Strategic Content. Without further ado, here’s the list:

Military Heritage

- The All Americans by Lars Anderson (2005)

- Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds by Robin Olds, Christina Olds and Ed Rasimus (2010)

- Red Eagles: America’s Secret MIGs by Steve Davies (2008)

- Cataclysm: General Hap Arnold and the Defeat of Japan by Herman S Wolk (2010)

Leadership

- Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (2007)

- Partners in Command: George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in War and Peace by Mark Perry (2007)

- The Lost Peace: Leadership in a Time of Horror and Hope, 1945-1953 by Robert Dallek (2010)

- Secrets of Special Ops Leadership: Dare the Impossible; Achieve the Extraordinary by William Allen Cohen (2008)

Strategic Content

- Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power by Robert Kaplan (2010)

- Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It by Richard Clarke and Robert Knake (2010)

- The Return of History and the End of Dreams by Robert Kagan (2008)

- Technology Horizons: A Vision for the Air Force Science and Technology by Dr. Werner Dahm (2006)

- Descent Into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid (2008)

The Air Force Professional Reading Program was created a number of years ago “to develop a common frame of reference among Air Force members – officers, enlisted and civilians – to help each of us become better, more effective advocates of air and space power.”

In addition to the books mentioned above, a number of other titles have been recommended over the years including the following books:

- 10 Propositions Regarding Air Power by Phillip S. Meilinger

- 1776 by David McCullough

- The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One by David Kilcullen

- Afghanistan: A Short History of its People and Politics by Martin Ewans

- Air Force Roles and Missions: a History by Warren A. Trest

- Airpower Against Terror: America's Conduct of Operation Enduring Freedom by Benjamin Lambeth

- Air Power: The Men, Machines, and Ideas that Revolutionized War, From Kitty Hawk to Gulf War II by Stephen Budiansky

- The Air War: 1939-1945 by Richard J. Overy

- American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day by Robert Coram

- America: The Last Best Hope Vol I, From an Age of Discovery to a World at War by William J. Bennett

- America: The Last Best Hope Vol II, From a World at War to the Triumph of Freedom by William J. Bennett

- At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor by Gordon Prange

- Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James M. McPherson

- Beating Goliath: Why Insurgencies Win by Jeffrey Record

- Beyond Horizons: A Half Century of Air Force Space Leadership by David N. Spires

- Billy Mitchell: Crusader for Air Power by Alfred F. Hurley

- Bury Us Upside Down by Rich Newman and Don Shepperd

- Chennault: Giving Wings to the Tiger by Martha Byrd

- Contemporary Nuclear Debates: Missile Defense, Arms Control, and Arms Races in the Twenty-First Century by Alexander Lennon

- Could Never Be So Lucky Again: An Autobiography of General James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle Gen. Doolittle with Carrol V. Glines

- Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice by David Galula

- Courage and Air Warfare: The Allied Aircrew Experience in the Second World War by Mark K. Wells

- The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror by Bernard Lewis

- Cyberdeterrence and Cyberwar by Martin C. Libicki

- Daring Young Men: The Heroism and Triumph of The Berlin Airlift June 1948 - May 1949 by Richard Reeves

- The Dream Palace of the Arabs by Fouad Ajami

- Eddie Rickenbacker: An American Hero in the Twentieth Century by W. David Lewis

- Empire by Default: The Spanish-American War and the Dawn of the American Century by Ivan Musicant

- Fast Tanks and Heavy Bombers: Innovation in the U.S. Army, 1917-1945 by David E. Johnson

- A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon by Neil Sheehan

- The First Heroes: The Extraordinary Story of the Doolittle Raid, America's First World War II Victory by Craig Nelson

- First Light by Geoffrey Wellum

- The Foreigner's Gift by Fouad Ajami

- Forgotten Continent: The Battle for Latin America's Soul by Michael Reid

- From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East by Bernard Lewis

- General George Washington: A Military Life by Edward G. Lengel

- Gods of Tin by James Salter

- Guardians of the Revolution: Iran and the World in the Age of the Ayatollahs by Ray Takeyh

- A History of Air Warfare by John A. Olsen

- A History of the American People by Paul Johnson

- A History of the Arab Peoples by Albert Hourani

- The Influence of Air Power upon History by Walter J. Boyne

- In the Graveyard of Empires: America's War in Afghanistan by Seth Jones

- Jimmy Stewart: Bomber Pilot by Starr Smith

- John Warden and the Renaissance of American Air Power by John A. Olsen

- Last Chance for Victory: Robert E. Lee and the Gettysburg Campaign by Scott Bowden and Bill Ward

- The Last Days of Innocence: America At War 1917-1918 by Meirion and Susie Harries

- Leading Change by John P. Kotter

- Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation by James P. Womack and David T. Jones

- Learning Large Lessons: The Evolving Roles of Ground Power and Air Power in the Post-Cold War Era by David E. Johnson

- Lemay: The Life and Wars of General Curtis Lemay by Warren Kozak

- Locating Air Force Base Sites: History's Legacy, edited by Frederick J. Shaw

- Louis Johnson and the Arming of America: The Roosevelt and Truman Years by Keith D. McFarland and David L. Roll

- MacArthurs's Airman: General George C. Kenney and the War in the Southwest Pacific by Thomas E. Griffith

- Making Twenty-First-Century Strategy: An Introduction to the Modern National Security Processes and Problems by Dennis M. Drew and Donald M. Snow

- Master of Airpower: General Carl A. Spaatz by David R. Mets

- Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War against Nazi Germany by Donald L. Miller

- Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2000 Years by Bernard Lewis

- Modern Strategy by Colin S. Gray

- Not a Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda by Sean Naylor

- One Day Too Long: Top Secret Site 85 and the Bombing of North Vietnam by Timothy Castle

- On Nuclear Terrorism by Michael Levi

- On the Edge of Earth: The Future of American Space Power by Steven Lambakis

- The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America by Ken Pollack

- The Philippine War, 1899-1902 by Brian McAllister Linn

- A Question of Loyalty: Gen. Billy Mitchell and the Court-Martial that Gripped the Nation by Douglas Waller

- Rivals: How the Power Struggle between China, India and Japan will Shape our Next Decade by by Bill Emmott

- The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power by Max Boot

- Seven Deadly Scenarios: A Military Futurist Explores War in the 21st Century by Andrew Krepinevich

- Sir John Fisher's Naval Revolution by Nicholas A. Lambert

- Thinking about America's Defense: An Analytical Memoir by Glenn A. Kent

- Victory at Yorktown: The Campaign that Won the Revolution by Richard M. Ketchum

- Victory on the Potomac: The Goldwater-Nichols Act Unifies the Pentagon by James R. Locher III

- Why Air Forces Fail: The Anatomy of Defeat by Robin Higham and Stephen J. Harris

- Winged Defense: The Development and Possibilities of Modern Air Power Economic and Military by William Mitchell

- Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P.W. Singer

In the end, how many of these books have you read? What did you think about them? Which did you like or dislike? Which would you recommend and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday, September 16, 2011

'TKAM' appears in 'The Essential Men's Movie Library'

One of the few Web sites that I check on daily is The Art of Manliness (artofmanliness.com), and last Friday, I posted a pair of recommended reading lists from that site called “The Essential Adventure Library.”

While visiting that site earlier today, I ran across another great best-of list that their writers published back in mid-July called “100 Must See Movies: The Essential Men’s Movie Library.”

Movies that made that list include, in alphabetical order:

1. 12 Angry Men
2. The African Queen
3. All Quiet on the Western Front
4. All the President’s Men
5. American Beauty
6. The Apartment
7. Apollo 13
8. Ben Hur
9. The Best Years of Our Lives
10. The Bicycle Thief

11. The Bourne Identity (The Series)
12. Braveheart
13. Bridge On the River Kwai
14. Bull Durham
15. Bullitt
16. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
17. Casablanca
18. Chariots of Fire
19. Chinatown
20. Cinderella Man

21. Citizen Kane
22. Cool Hand Luke
23. Das Boot
24. Dead Poets Society
25. Die Hard
26. Dirty Hairy
27. Double Indemnity
28. Dr. No
29. The Endless Summer
30. Enter the Dragon

31. Field of Dreams
32. Fight Club
33. First Blood
34. The French Connection
35. From Here to Eternity
36. Gandhi
37. Gangs of New York
38. Gentleman’s Agreement
39. Ghostbusters
40. Gladiator

41. Glory
42. The Godfather (I and II)
43. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
44. The Grapes of Wrath
45. The Great Escape
46. Groundhog Day
47. High Noon
48. Hoosiers
49. The Hustler
50. Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade)

51. In the Heat of the Night
52. The Iron Giant
53. It’s a Wonderful Life
54. Jeremiah Johnson
55. The Karate Kid
56. Last of the Mohicans
57. Lawrence of Arabia
58. The Longest Day
59. Lord of the Rings (The Series)
60. Malcolm X

61. The Maltese Falcon
62. The Manchurian Candidate
63. Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside)
64. Mississippi Burning
65. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
66. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
67. The Natural
68. North by Northwest
69. Old Yeller
70. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

71. On the Waterfront
72. The Outsiders
73. Patton
74. Pride of the Yankees
75. A Raisin in the Sun
76. Rebel Without a Cause
77. Remember the Titans
78. The Right Stuff
79. A River Runs Through It
80. Rocky

81. Rudy
82. Saving Private Ryan
83. Schindler’s List
84. The Searchers
85. Seven Samurai
86. Shane
87. The Shawshank Redemption
88. The Shootist
89. Spartacus
90. Star Wars (The Original Trilogy)

91. The Sting
92. A Streetcar Named Desire
93. Swingers
94. To Kill a Mockingbird
95. Top Gun
96. True Grit
97. Unforgiven
98. The Untouchables
99. Vertigo
100. Zulu

In the end, how many of the movies mentioned above have you had a chance to watch? Which is your favorite and why? Which did you like or dislike and why? Which other movies do you think should have made the list and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

For more information about the movies mentioned above and for the editors’ comments about the list, see the original list at http://artofmanliness.com/2009/07/13/100-must-see-movies.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Straughn's Russell Gunter set state carries record in 1986

Hillcrest High School and Sparta Academy both suffered losses last Friday, but they look to bounce back this week when they go on the road to face Straughn and Ellwood Christian, respectively.

Last year’s game between Hillcrest and Straughn was the first time that the two teams had ever met on the football field, and Straughn barely won that game, 22-15.

Every time that I think of Straughn, I can’t help but think about Russell Gunter.

Gunter became somewhat famous in 1986 when he set the state record for most carries in a single game. He ran the ball 72 times against Coffee Springs, and went on to run the ball 426 times that season for 2,220 yards.

Gunter still holds the state record for most carries in a game. In fact, no one’s come close to breaking it. The second-closest guy on the list is Lee-Huntsville’s Dwone Hicks, who had 52 carries in a game against J.O. Johnson in 1998.

If you’d like to learn more about Gunter and other players like him, you should check out a great little book called “Tales from Alabama Prep Football” by Ron Ingram and Rubin Grant. Ingram and Grant, both long time sports writers in Birmingham, published the book in 2006, and copies of it are still available on Amazon.com.

The book includes a section on Gunter as well as other Alabama prep football legends like Bobby Bowden, John Hannah, Bo Jackson, Terrell Owens, David Palmer, Kenny Stabler, Bart Starr, Pat Sullivan, Pat Trammell and Carnell “Cadillac” Williams.

Tomorrow night’s game between Sparta and Ellwood will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools in football.

Ellwood Christian is a relatively new school, and this season is their first for full varsity football. In 2009 and 2010, they played eight-man football against other small schools like North River Christian, Victory Christian, Heritage Christian, Tabernacle, Tuscaloosa Christian, Victory Baptist, Marion Academy, Flint Hill and New Life Christian School.

Ellwood has yet to win a game this season, but Sparta shouldn’t make the mistake of taking them lightly. They don’t want to be the first team to give up a game to a school that’s never beat a team in 11-man football.

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I’m glad that the NFL season has finally kicked off, and pro fans will have plenty of decent games to watch this Sunday. Games that you won’t want to miss are Jacksonville at the New York Jets and Arizona at Washington. Not counting the games from Monday night, only a handful of teams remain unbeaten – Buffalo, the New York Jets, Houston, Jacksonville, San Diego, Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, San Francisco and Arizona.

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Here are my picks for this week’s slate of SEC football games. I like Alabama over North Texas, Arkansas over Troy, Clemson over Auburn, LSU over Mississippi State, Ole Miss over Vanderbilt, Florida over Tennessee, Georgia over Coastal Carolina, Kentucky over Louisville and South Carolina over Navy.

Last week: 8-2 (.800), Overall: 19-3 (.864).

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Sept. 15, 2011

12 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 16, 1999

“Warriors defeat Greenville 38-32: The Sparta Academy Warriors claimed their first victory of the season with a 38-32 win over the Greenville Academy Tornadoes last Friday night in Greenville.
“(David) Bush was the leading rusher for the Warriors with 121 yards on 22 carries.”
Other standout Sparta players in that game included Lee Booker, Jared Brogden, Derek Faulkner, Kyle Johnston and John McKenzie.

“The Hillcrest Jaguars moved to 3-0 on the season and 1-0 in area play with a big 42-8 win over the Monroe County Tigers last Friday in Evergreen.
“Running backs Sedrick and Fredrick Rudolph accounted for three touchdowns and linebacker Jason Watkins returned a blocked punt for another score as the Jags built a 27-0 halftime lead.
“Stephen Branch and LaCheston Moore added third quarter TDs to give the Jags a 42-0 lead.
“Demetrius Etheridge kicked two extra points, Seth McIntyre had a two-point conversion run, and Ronald Grace tossed a two-point PAT pass to Sedrick Rudolph during the Jags’ winning evening.
“J.R. and Jason Watkins, Sam Fountain, Kelvin Fluker, John Nettles and Reco Williams led another strong defensive effort for Hillcrest.
“The Jaguars have given up only three touchdowns in three games, with two of those scores coming as a result of offensive miscues.”

27 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 20, 1984

“Aggies win 3rd over Sumter: The Evergreen Aggies won their third game of the season with a 41-6 win over Sumter County of York.
“Some of the top players for Evergreen on offense were Andrae McMillan with 11 carries for 168 yards, QB Darrin Bradley who went 4-4-0 with three touchdown passes and Fredrick Middleton who caught three passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns.”
Other standout players for Evergreen that night included Howard Jones, Marion Oliver and Dewan Salter.

“Sparta falls to Escambia 9-6: The meeting between long-time rivals, Sparta Academy and Escambia Academy, turned into a defensive battle as the visitors downed Sparta’s Warriors, 9-6.
“Al Etheridge scored Sparta’s lone touchdown on a four-yard pass from Danny Reed.”
Other standout Sparta players in that game included Chris Cook, Thad Ellis, Thomas Floyd, Chad Grace, Jim Marino, Lynn Ralls, Jim Reed, Mark Rigsby, Todd Townson and Tim Wilson.

“Repton defeats Yellow Jackets: The Repton Bulldogs ran their record to 3-0 on the year last Friday night in the WEGN and Evergreen Courant’s game of the week, when they defeated the Lyeffion Yellow Jackets by the score of 23-2 at Mabry L. Covin Field.”
Standout Repton players in that game included Winston Davison Jr., Mitchell Rankins and John Thompson Jr.
Standout Lyeffion players in the game included Michael Bledsoe Jr. and Joe Mixon.
42 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 18, 1969

“The Evergreen Aggies blasted a big Monroe County High School team here Friday night 20-6 to notch their second straight win of the season. An overflow crowd was on hand long before kickoff time for Evergreen’s home opener.
“Coach Wendell Hart’s team used a ball control offense to grind out two first half touchdowns for a 13-0 lead. The Tigers went into an unbalanced line in the second half, that the Aggies failed to pick up for a while, and got back into the game, but Evergreen came on strong, driving 89 yards for a clinching score in the final minutes.
“The line showed much improvement on blocking assignments over the Atmore performance. They were opening up some nice holes although outweighed greatly by the huge Tiger line.
“(Larry) Peacock came up with his finest performance as he, (Hollis) Tranum and (Jimmy) Bell sparked the runners. Larry got off fast and ran tough as he netted 83 yards on 17 carries. Hollis had two big runs as he traveled 66 on 14 tries. Jimmy, a marked man on whom Monroeville keyed all night, did the toughest running of the night as he battled for 55 on 17 carries. (Eric) Pugh flashed brillance on his two carries and picked up 10 yards.
“If you name a standout on defense, you name all of ‘em. Coach Hart and assistants Mike Bledsoe, Charles Branum and Mickey Goneke termed it ‘a fine team effort.’ Ernest Shipp, Tim Skipper, Eddie Ralls, Reggie Smith, Jimmy Hamiter, John Brantley, Ronald Halford, Tranum, Pugh, Bell, (Larry) Thomas and Peacock were all in the thick of it.”

57 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 16, 1954

“2500 Persons Watch Aggies Crush Tigers in Rough Contest: The Evergreen Aggies struck like lightning, scoring twice in less than two minutes, midway of the first quarter and then coasted in for a 26-12 victory over the Bay Minette Tigers last Friday night.
“Perhaps the largest crowd ever assembled in Brooks Stadium watched the long rough game marked by numerous penalties and poor officiating. More than 2,300 paid admissions plus bands, teams, etc. brought the crowd to upwards of 2,500 persons.”
“(Buck) Lewis led the Aggie ball carriers with 113 yards in five carries for 26-yard per average.
Other standout players for Evergreen that night included Ward Alexander, Timmy Boykin, Jimmy Frazier, Wayne Frazier, Charlie Roberts and Richard Taylor.

“Coach Albert Arnold’s Repton Bulldogs start off their 1954 football season with a road trip to Coffeeville tomorrow (Friday).
“Repton’s attack will be built around the hard running of full back Eddie Kelly and the shiftyness of speedy Floyd Morgan. Tommy Nall will handle the quarterbacking chores and Terry Nall will get the starting nod at the right halfback slot.”
Other players on Repton’s team that year included William Ashcraft, Ray Blackwell, Billy Farish, Charles Lee, Lowell Lee, Johnny McInnis, Cleveland Morris, Jerry Nall, Gerald Owens, Wendell Roberson, Selvyn Robinson, Braxton Ryland, Clinton Ryland, Thomas Salter, Bert Stacey and Warner Watson.

Compiled by Sports Reporter Lee Peacock from past issues of The Evergreen Courant. To read The Courant’s weekly Sports Flashback feature online, visit leepeacock2010.blogspot.com.