Just Give Me The Damn Ball!

keyshawn1 The “Unauthorized story” of star football player, author, fashion designer, ESPN analyst, interior designer, domestic abuser, jewelry designer, DWTS contestant and current Panera Bread franchisee, Keysean Johnson. Although Keysean is the author (with Shelley Smith) of this book about his rookie campaign with “the sorry-ass Jets,” it seems he never got around to authorizing it.

The book itself is actually quite a page turner. Self-absorption, bluster and capriciousness are taken to new heights in this (auto?) biography. That one could actually be this self-centered, is mind boggling and for that reason alone it’s a must read. The sports world teaches many noble life lessons, but it also showcases that if you have (or project) enough talent, you can run around demanding respect, yet giving and earning very little. No worries everyone will tow the line.

A note…we have not come here to bury Keysean, but to praise Keysean and the many Keyseans that came after him. Sure he stole things, sold drugs, scalped tickets and gambled, but that doesn’t make him a bad guy. It’s just life growing up poor in L.A. Keysean just wants to win, give back to the community and those who helped him, see USC clobber Notre Dame & UCLA annually and, of course, end racism.

Another striking thing about Keysean is that his opinions are pretty fluid. He seems to dig Frank Reich, most of the time, unless Frank’s being knocked senseless by the defense and can’t get Keysean the damn ball. He’s fond of Glenn Foley, because Foley likes to throw to him, but Foley is a no-hoper, but how can he be so hopeless when Keysean is open every single play? Wayne Chrebet? He sucks. Keysean admits you have to give Chrebet his props, but he sucks. Heck, Keysean even throws limited support 1-15 Rich Kotite’s way.

Some opinions however are firm. Three time Super Bowl Offensive Coordinator Ron Erhardt has got to go and Keysean means like yesterday. Terrible game planning. Why do you play with power football when you have a Keysean. He’s open every play…get him the damn ball!!! QB Neil O’Donnell? Too afraid to hurt his passing stats, so he dinks & dumps off short passes to his pet Chrebet so old Neil can keep getting $25M contracts. (Keysean likes to get paid too, but he may be onto something here.) 10th all-time NFL scorer and 5 x All Pro Nick Lowery misses a kick, he’s got to go. Keysean has no use for kickers who miss kicks. Legendary USC coach John Robinson is Da Man, on and off the field. He got that one right, and he is right about a few other things too, e.g., the Jets need to figure out a way to draft Tenessee Quarterback Peyton Manning, O.J. was a sellout to the black community, if a locker-room tolerates losing its all over.

The upper case “I” is used thousands of times in the 200 or so pages, but you’ll get used to it. Probably a $3 book on Thriftbooks and a 3-hour read. You decide. We’ll end it here with the way Keysean ends a lot of his stories…”I just laughed.”

All the Light We Cannot See

stmalo There are so many reviews on this book, it’s probably not worth adding to the clamor, but here goes… The last time a book had this much penetration with the masses, it was the Da Vinci Code. Unlike the Da Vinci Code, which thrilled the masses and appalled the Salon, All the Light We Cannot See (“ALWCS”) has met nearly universal approbation. It won Entertainment Weekly’s 2014 Book of the Year, beating out Kardashian Konfidential & Snooki’s Confessions of a Guidette. ALWCS probably won a few other awards as well.

The book’s format, i.e., the compact chapters, was a plus as it allows readers to tear through a 500-page plus book with ease. Such ease that one of the first questions out of the gate was is this a piece of literature or a beach read? The opinions were strongly in favor of the former, as the brothers gushed over richness of the prose and the character development. Many felt they smelled what Marie-Laure smelled and heard what Werner heard via invocation from the writing…or their drinking. It was an easy read and that should get the average blockhead buying more books, which is a good thing.

While not quite an epic, there was a lot packed in there. The most righteous message in this book is that of “What are you going to do about it?”

-Jutta to Werner: When that school tries to transform you into a brutish Hitler Youth, what are you going to do about it?
-The drill sergeant to the Hitler Youth: We all will prey on weakness here. What are you going to do about it?
-Dr. Hauptmann to Werner: You want an extra slice of cake to remain my pissant? I‘ll send you straight to the front line like all the others. What are you going to do about it?
-Mademe Marnec to Uncle Etienne: These bastards have taken France. What are you going to about it?
-Fredrick to Werner: Nothing said. Fredrick remains a model of decency in an indecent place and pays the price because no one is brave enough to do something about it.

Do you want to live your life or have others dictate how you can live it? It’s a great question and we’ll leave it at that. No need to drone on. Chances are you have already read the book and/or will be there for opening night when the movie comes out.