SOME BOOKS AND MOVIES
Sometimes I will be glancing at the bookshelf and see something that I forgot I owned. The other night I glanced at CADDIE FOR LIFE by John Feinstein. It’s the story of Tom Watson’s lifelong caddie, Bruce Edwards, and his demise from Lou Gehrig’s disease. The story is a great tribute to a regular guy who happened to be a pioneering touring caddie. I bought the book from the library’s used book store in a stack of so many that I had forgotten about it. Feinstein is a superb writer if you like golf. He’s also frequently on NPR talking with Robert Siegel about sports of the week.
I recently saw THERE WILL BE BLOOD, the PT Anderson movie starring Daniel Day Lewis. I find Lewis a very compelling actor and I was happy to see him win the Oscar. But now that I’ve seen the movie, I don’t think it was one of his better performances. It just seems too much like “acting” to me. He was eccentric in GANGS OF NEW YORK, but what an intense character opposite Leo. Here he’s the lead throughout and no one really matches him in tone and style. I guess the title is a play on “no blood for oil” since it’s based on Upton Sinclair’s novel OIL. Sinclair was an old radical, one of those turn of the century kind that hated capitalism and was always trying to “expose” its worst facets. The evils of capitalism are manifested in our hero’s greed and his eventual madness from wanting more. It’s typical of the genre really. Greed works well in so many movies, but it’s the tail that wags the dog here and I think the beloved recluse D.D. Lewis’ got this movie a lot more ink than it would have gotten had it starred Phillip Seymour Hoffman. That means I have seen 4 of the 5 Best Picture nominees now and I think the Academy picked the best of the four. I only have Atonement left. Soon.
I’m still reading NIXONLAND, a library book I started in Panama City when Trish and I spent the weekend with Sir Saunders and gang. It’s written by Rick Perlstein, the same guy who wrote an objective view of Goldwater’s campaign, although he is politically leftwing. He’s not so easy on Nixon though, or I should say he’s not as gracious to conservatives this time. I don’t know whether I will beat the library’s deadline or whether I want to.
What’s funny is his Goldwater book, universally praised, wound up out of print. Now with the new book out, you can only a buy his first book used and not for less than $100. Right now the cheapest paperback is $160. I suppose I should set up an Amazon account and sell my copy. I bought it at a used bookstore a year ago for $5. The same phenomenon happened in February when William F. Buckley died. Rush Limbaugh recommended his book “Let us Talk of Many Things” and that Out of Print book immediately sold out followed by used copies for $199. The book is still selling used for $60. It came down after a re-print was announced for October. Ebay has become an alternate form of renting. I have a couple of times bought items to rent for view and then sold them back. Before DVD, I bought a an old OOP VHS copy of the Walter Mathau movie HPSCOTCH for $32, watched it and then re-sold it for $46. I turned my LAST DAYS OF DISCO dvd into $80 when it went out of print.
Big businesses are really good at economies of scale and small businesses are good at customer service. Only a growing government with burdensome regulations can put small business out of business for all time.