26 June 2013

"This Love Is Not For Cowards" Quotes

Here are selected quotes from the book This Love Is Not For Cowards: Salvation and Soccer in Ciudad Juárez by Robert Andrew Powell.

- "'When I was young, I wanted to travel abroad,' he tells me. 'I wanted to see more of the world. My mother gave me a card. It had a picture on the front and in the picture there was a desert. Nothing but sand. Except for this one flower growing. Where God places you, that's where you must do your work.'" (37)

- "The owner concludes with a line cribbed from Mike, of all people. The El Kartel captain has printed the phrase on those t-shirts he sells outside the stadium before every home game: Este Amor No Es Para Cobardes. The line is El Kartel's rallying cry, a testament to the strength of their bond with the Indios. It's Francisco Ibarra's rallying cry now, too, a statement that clearly speaks to a struggle that has nothing to do with soccer, and to a commitment to more than just a sports team." (70)

- "I'm often struck by the fluidity of the border. Radio signals flow freely in both directions. If I'm driving around Juarez at midday, I'm in the jungle with Jim Rome. In the morning and late afternoons I'm usually following Washington politics on NPR. Most nights, even when I'm in El Paso, I like to listen to Orbita radio out of Juarez, the most eclectic radio station in the world, home to a playlist that bounces from a French torch singer to Ozzy Osbourne to an Appalacian folk song. Juarenses ask for 'sodas' when they order a soft drink, using the English word although everyone else in Mexico says 'refrescos.'

Yet the border is so concrete. The woman who cuts my hair in Juarez has never set foot in El Paso despite living along La Frontera for thirty-six years, her entire life. When I'm surfing the Web at the burrito stand near my apartment, I can't watch clips of The Daily Show over the internet, because they are available only to people physically in the United States. Ken-tokey is unable to visit his girlfriend, Sofia, at her house in El Paso. To him and to hundreds of thousands of other Juarenses, the border is as impregnable as the Indios' defense against Cruz Azul. How impregnable? The U.S. government will kill to secure it." (113)

- "I find Paco's life story pretty interesting, even if he's young. His grandfather is passionately Mexican, yet we're speaking English in the car, a language Paco says he learned from watching television; his parents don't speak it. He's a Mexican, yet he's also an American, more and more so. He's a young man in both cultures in the Fussion sense, but he's also an unwitting pioneer. The rich and connected of Juarez are all setting up shop in El Paso these days. Even Paco's high school, the most elite prep school in Mexico, is opening its first American branch in El Paso." (133)

- "There is a toxic energy in Juarez. It flows underground, vibrating to the surface in scenes like this, scenes I witness in some form almost every day. Living here is like living in that Shirley Jackson short story. We accept that a few of us will be chosen for the daily killing ritual, that the likelihood of being chosen is very small, and that the killing is a cost of residency. We try to to wipe the violence from our minds, to "go about living as best we can." But it takes a toll, this game of chance. It flavors every aspect of our lives. A poison leaches into everything." (146)

- "It was a nice day and I wasn't in any particular hurry, so we talked for a while longer. She invited me over for dinner with her family whenever I'm free. She told me the violence is making her crazy, but she can't leave.
Our young people, they don't watch what they're doing, so we send them to El Paso. But we're all going to stay. We have a mission here. When our mission is up, then we'll go up.'
She pointed not north, to Franklin Mountain, but straight up, to the sky. What is her mission?
'To love people. To help people.'" (153)

- "The longer I've lived in Juarez, the more I feel the city's problems have little to do with gender. Girls are not being snatched off the street by serial killers or kidnapped and killed by U.S. Border Patrol officers making snuff films or whatever it was Gaspar de Alba conjured up for her mystery novel. The problem is that life itself in Juarez, across the board, has been devalued. Murder is effectively legal. You can kill almost anyone you want." (191)

03 March 2013

Book Review: "A March to Madness" by John Feinstein

This is a review of A March to Madness: A View from the Floor in the Atlantic Coast Conference by John Feinstein. It is one of the best college basketball books that I have ever read.

This is a book in which John Feinstein followed around the ACC teams for a season and talks about what happened, what they did, how they did it, etc.

It was a very interesting book that I really recommend reading, especially in conjunction with The Last Amateurs: Playing for Glory and Honor in Division I College Basketball, another book by Feinstein.. The differences and similarities really showcase the difference between low-major college basketball and perhaps the most powerful conference in the NCAA.

One obvious difference and part that I loved was seeing the differences in the conference tournaments. In the Patriot League Tournament he detailed, it was do-or-die every game, because there were no at-large bids. In the ACC Tournament, there were probably 2 teams that were really playing in games that they saw as "must-win." Quite a difference, obviously.

Another difference was a lot of the players themselves. In The Last Amateurs, the academic lives of the players were frequently discussed. In this book, there were far less references to any type of academics, and more to attitude problems of a lot of the players. Not say that Feinstein cast them into a bad light, because he didn't, but the differences between big-time and small-time college basketball were evident.

Overall, one of the most interesting books I've read, and definitely one of the best college basketball books I've read. If you get a chance, I definitely recommend you take a gander at it.

18 February 2013

Book Review: The Extra 2% by Jonah Keri

I got the chance to read The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First by Jonah Keri and thought this it was a fantastic book.

The book begins by talking about the early parts of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays franchise - how they came to be, and how they first ran things under the initial owner and general manager. It was a period marked by futility, alternating strategies, and a lot of losing. Fans lost interest, and the D-Rays were a joke of an MLB franchise.

Around the mid 2000s, they were sold to a buyer that had a history on Wall Street. The people he hired to run the team also had extensive experience on Wall Street, which is where the title of the book comes from. It talks about some of the areas where the Rays looked for inefficiencies in the market to build the baseball team, since they knew they would not have the financial resources to compete against teams like the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox.

The book's most obvious comparison is Moneyball by Michael Lewis. It wants to be like that, and reaches out for the same fans that liked Moneyball. It is not that good - the detail into what makes the Rays successful is not shown in nearly as much detail as Lewis' famous book, but it is a great look into an MLB franchise. I would recommend it to baseball fans.

08 January 2013

"Your Money or Your Life" Quotes

Here are selected quotes from Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, one of the best personal finance books ever written.

- "For many of us, however, 'growing up' has meant outgrowing our dreams. The aspiration to write a great book has shrunk to writing advertising copy. The dream of being an inspiring preacher has evolved into being an administrator and mediator between the factions of the congregation. Instead of really knowing who their patients are, how the patients live or the challenges in their lives, doctors today are plagued with back-to-back fifteen minute patient visits and malpractice suits. The dream of traveling around the world becomes two weeks a year of hitting the tourist traps. Living a fulfilling and meaningful life seems almost impossible, given the requirements of simply meeting day-to-day needs and problems. Yet, at one time or another practically every one of us has had a dream of what we wanted our lives to be.

Wherever you are, take a few moments now to reflect upon your dreams. So many of us have spent so many hours, days and years of our lives devoted to someone else's agenda that it may be hard to get in touch with our dreams. So many of us have whittled away at our uniqueness so that we could be square pegs in square holes that it seems slightly self-indulgent to wonder what kind of hole we would be inclined to carve for ourselves. Indulge yourself now. Stare out a window. Shut your eyes. And envision what would be a truly fulfilling life for you. To help you get started on your journey, ask yourself the following questions:

- What did you want to be when you grew up?
- What have you always wanted to do that you haven't done yet?
- What have you done in your life that you are really proud of?
- If you knew you were going to die within a year, how would you spend that year?
- What brings you the most fulfillment - and how is that related to money?
- If you didn't have to work for a living, what would you do with your time?" (109-110)

- “If you live for having it all, what you have is never enough.”

- “Waste lies not in the number of possessions but in the failure to enjoy them.”

- “Americans used to be 'citizens.' Now we are 'consumers.”

"The Screwtape Letters" Quotes by CS Lewis

Here are selected quotes from The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis. It is one of the best Christian books I have ever read.

- "Aggravate that most useful human characteristic, the horror and neglect of the obvious. You must bring him to a condition in which he can practice self-examination for an hour without discovering any of those facts about himself which are perfectly clear to anyone who has ever lived in the same house with him or worked in the same office." (16)

- "He wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them." (28)

- "Provided that any of those neighbors sing out of tune, or have boots that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes, the patient will quite easily believe that their religion therefore be somehow ridiculous." (12)

"Pippi Longstocking" Quotes by Astrid Lindgren

Here are selected quotes Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.

- "The children came to a perfume shop. In the show window was a large jar of freckle salve, and beside the jar was a sign, which read: DO YOU SUFFER FROM FRECKLES?

What does the sign say?” ask Pippi. She couldn’t read very well because she didn’t want to go to school as other children did.
It says, ‘Do you suffer from freckles?’” said Annika.
Does it indeed?” said Pippi thoughtfully. “Well, a civil question deserves a civil answer. Let’s go in.”

She opened the door and entered the shop, closely followed by Tommy and Annika. An elderly lady stood back of the counter. Pippi went right up to her. “No!” she said decidedly.

What is it you want?” asked the lady.
No,” said Pippi once more.
I don’t understand what you mean,” said the lady.
No, I don’t suffer from freckles,” said Pippi.

Then the lady understood, but she took one look at Pippi and burst out, “But, my dear child, your whole face is covered with freckles!”

I know it,” said Pippi, “but I don’t suffer from them. I love them. Good morning.”

She turned to leave, but when she got to the door she looked back and cried, “But if you should happen to get in any salve that gives people more freckles, then you can send me seven or eight jars."

06 January 2013

"Story of a Soul" Quotes by St. Therese de Lisieux

Here are selected quotes from Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux by St. Therese de Lisieux. It is one of the best Christian books ever written, in my opinion.

- "This desire might seem presumptuous, seeing how week and imperfect I was and still am, even after eight years as a nun, yet I always feel the same fearless uncertainty that I shall become a great saint. I'm not relying on my own merits, as I have none, but I put my hope in Him who is goodness and holiness Himself. It is He alone who, satisfied with my feeble efforts, will raise me to Him, will clothe me with His infinite merits, and will make me a saint." (37-38)

- "She showed me how one could achieve sanctity by being faithful in the smallest matters." (39)

- "Sometimes I felt lonely, very lonely, but then peace and courage would come back to me if I repeated the line: 'The world's thy ship and not thy home.'" (48)

- "It's absolutely true that 'nothing is impossible to love, for love is convinced it may and can do all things.'" (64)