Saturday, July 14, 2007

Late Night Tigers Games and You're Lucky You're Funny

When you are young, and in school, late night Detroit Tigers games are great. 10:00 start, fun reason to stay up late, sleep in late the next day. Very enjoyable. When you have work the next day though? Suddenly 10:05 first pitch means the last pitch comes a little closer to 1:00 a.m. which is a little too close to 6:45 when I start my day by updating my MLive.com Detroit Tigers blog and try not to misspell anyone's name while I'm still half asleep (sorry about that newest Detroit Tiger Ryan 'don't call my Rayburn Cutoff Man' Raburn).

But, there are some advantages to such late starts. I get the entire night. Usually, I get home from work around 6:15 or 6:30, have dinner with my family, and then, the Tigers start, first pitch @ 7:05. If I'm still awake at the end of the game (a dicey proposition these days unfortunately) I try to stay awake until Leno starts at 11:30. During the school year, I usually fall asleep after watching Jimmy Kimmel's monologue. Haven't been awake too much for that this summer.

So, this week, with the Tigers in Seattle, I got a few nights. And it was great. I read and read and read. As I wrote on Monday, I recently started reading Phil Rosenthal's autobiographical You're Lucky You're Funny: How Life Becomes a Sitcom. 242 pages, and about 200 of those were read the past two nights before and during the Tigers game (before last night, and before and during tonight). It took me months to find the time and to read John Meacham's American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nationand I really enjoyed it. But Phil's book, I just engulfed. Great, smart, sophisticated, witty text (what do you expect from the guy who created and ran Everybody Loves Raymond for nine years), enough stories from behind-the-scenes of Raymond to make fans happy but enough too about Phil's life and history in television to make it a worthwhile read even if you never watched anything staring Ray Romano (never saw Welcome to Mooseport? Really?). If you are a fan of television, you have to read this book. If you like great storytelling, read the book too. Phil comes across as very relatable in the book (which is maybe why I keep calling him "Phil" in this paragraph and not "Rosenthal" like I would with most references to people). Plus, Amazon.com has it at a "bargain book" price of just $5.19. Just buy the book. And if you don't like it, I'll send you the $5.00 (except, not really).


One of the great stories Rosenthal tells in the book is about writing for and directing President Clinton in a video shot for the annual White House Correspondents Dinner. He wrote about what a joy it was to work with President Clinton and how gracious the President was, even when Rosenthal was getting flustered trying to get the President to pronounce the "t" in Yatzee. I looked up the finished product on YouTube, because everything good is on YouTube, and it's pretty funny stuff.

That's two books down now. I'm thinking perhaps a sports book next, but John Meacham's book has me in a historical mood. Walter Isaacon's Einstein biography is waiting for me, and so is Manhunt, about the search for John Wilkes Booth in the days after he shot and killed President Lincoln (but I think I want to read my Lincoln biographies first, just makes sense chronigically). So, we'll probably go with a biography or Supreme Conflict, Jan Crawford Greenburg's look at the current United States Supreme Court. We'll see.

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