by Laura Hillenbrand
Seabiscuit was lent to me by Maggie Naff at Intertel's 2003 AGA in Chicago, and it proved to be for me a high point of that gathering. Maggie understated it when she said, "It's a good read"
Having worked summers "hot walking" thoroughbreds at Hollywood Park, Del Mar, and Santa Anita in California, I found myself nodding my head at many of the wonderful moments, but also at many of the cruelties that make up horse racing. I cried in several places.
The amazing fact is that one of the greatest horses of all time, his jockey Rd Pollard, and his trainer Tom Smith, all started out as losers.
I skipped a day's activities with my Illian friends to finish this gripping story. The story is that good.
There's No Toilet Paper On The Road Less Traveled
Collected and Edited by Doug Lansky
The Best Of Travel Humor And Misadventure
The introduction to this amusing book recounts Doug Lansky's misadventure in a men's room of a public library in Holland. There were 3 toilet stalls, none of which could he open. Nor was there any space to crawl over or under a door.
There were tiny holes where a door handle should have been. Doug pushed various Dutch and German coins in, hoping that the slots were for some kind of coin-operated door system.
He sought the help of a rotund library security guard who boomed at him, "Of course you can't get into the toilet. There's no handle." He could get a handle at the circulation desk.
Doug inserted a handle, opened the door, and stepped in. The door shut and it was now pitch black. He was afraid to grope for a switch, tried to get out, and realized that he needed the handle - which he'd left in the door outside the stall. He was rescued by a passing man.
Susan Storm's, An Alarming Time tells of her mistake in asking for a 4 AM wake-up call, and a call to take her to the airport in Delhi.
At midnight she was awakened to answer the question, "Susan Storm? Is OK we will be waking you at 4?"
At 1:45 the voice says, "Mr. Surinder? Here is time to wake up!"
At 2:30, "Wake up! Wake up, Mrs. Sting! Wake up!"
At 3:15, "Miss Form? You want breakfast when you are waking at 4?" She reacts so strongly that there's a timid knock on her door a few minutes later: "The turbaned telephonist has brought me a cup of fragrant tea with a wedge of muslin-wrapped lemon. 'Help you be sleeping!' he exclaims, his slash of teeth like a new moon on a dark night."
She wakes at 5:30. "Dr. Stream? This is Mufta from the lobby. You is supposed to be here long time since. Your car is waiting late."
The stories speak for themselves.
Included are quips like Henny Youngman's, "Went to the airport. I had three pieces of luggage. I said that I wanted this piece to go to Cleveland, this piece to Toronto, and this piece to Florida. The airline agent said, 'We can't do that.' I replied, 'Well you did it last week.'"