Foley's New Tale a Charming One
By Patrick Hickey Jr.
Professional wrestling may have lost its charm over the past couple of years, but characters like Mick Foley
have endured the test of time. Admired by fans and media for over a decade for his in-ring style and his witty and spirited
ways of storytelling, Foley has produced several best sellers, including the entertaining "Have a Nice Day," his first foray
into writing, which debuted in 1999.
Since then, Foley has even written a few children’s books and works of fiction that have sold admirably
for a man known more for shoving socks down people’s throats and double-arm DDTing them rather than writing prose. Nevertheless,
while his other attempts at writing have proved the hardcore legend is more than just that, his fans hungered for another
autobiographical work, one that showed his recent transformation from wrestling icon to part-time wrestler, part-time writer
and family man.
"Hardcore Diaries," Foley’s third autobiographical work, originally released in March of 2007 on hardcover
and now available on paperback, is that work. Combining the life of a professional wrestler trying to win back his fans in
a part-time role in the WWE, while working on a novel and being a good father and husband to his maturing children and wife,
Foley is captivating and candid throughout.
Much like his career in wrestling, which Foley himself would admit was successful because he hid his weaknesses
in the ring (a lack of athleticism and the absence of a great body) and encompassed viewers with his strengths (Charisma,
in-ring durability and poise), "Hardcore Diaries," does the very same. Not a phenomenal wordsmith by any stretch of the imagination,
Foley uses a conversationalist tone and language that appeals to the fans he’s writing to, rather than intimidating
them with language they can’t comprehend. It’s not that Foley isn’t capable of using complex language (anyone
who has read his two novels, "Scooter" and "Tietam Brown" can attest to that), it’s the fact that his hardcore fans
want the very best in him and Foley isn’t the type of man that disappoints.
Throughout the 384 pages that make up "Hardcore Diaries," the reader will feel like this is Mick Foley conversing
with them rather than them reading his words. Hearing Mick Foley tell raunchy stories about his time on the road during the
early parts of his career to how the writing room in his home is permanently decorated in a Christmas theme paint a picture
of a man who is living his dream and has come full circle to realize it. If you leave this book and get only one thing from
it, knowing that Mick Foley understands his purpose in life and is dedicated to making his family and himself as happy as
possible would be it.
While older readers will appreciate the candid nature of Foley’s words and the fun-loving, yet hard-working
nature his life has, hardcore wrestling fans will get something else out of the book. To them, "Hardcore Diaries" will feel
like a great story being told via bar stool, filled with bumps, bruises and smiles along the way that are what you make of
it. There is no real ending to "Hardcore Diaries," just a stating of circumstances and feelings of the industry, the people
who make it tick and the families who have their lives invested in it. That in itself is enough of content for a great book
and Foley is at his very best throughout, keeping you glued to the book through every funny conversation with Vince McMahon
and every stop on the map he visits.
To the beatniks of the ‘60s, the words of Jack Kerouac hold a special place in their hearts. To wrestling
fans, Mick Foley is their scribe. He tells the stories of the industry that they long to hear and makes them feel connected
to it like no other writer can. Say what you want about his grammatical stylings (Foley himself even critiques them from time
to time in a self-deprecating, yet whimsical way), but Foley keeps his reader’s attention throughout and is earnest,
entertaining and reflective throughout, creating one of the enjoyable works on the industry to date.
Despite Being an Entertaining
Doesn’t Tread Much New Ground
By Patrick Hickey Jr.
Regardless of your affinity for the wrestling
industry, it was pretty hard not to notice the explosion the industry was going through almost a decade ago that created legions
of hardcore fans that still watch to this day. One of the main reasons for that explosion was Eric Bischoff, who turned WCW
into a successful wrestling promotion and forced the WWE to shake things up.
His new book, “Controversy Creates Cash,”
co-written with Jeremy Roberts, while being an immensely enjoyable read for any wrestling fan, fails to really bring out many
of the juicy details of the Monday Night Wars that haven’t already mentioned in numerous WWE documentaries over the
years and is riddled with numerous typos that take away some of the books brightness and charm. Despite that, it’s still
a worthwhile read for any wrestling fan.
Chronicling the life and career of Bischoff, “Controversy
Creates Cash” tells the story of a kid from a low income family in Detroit who eventually became the only man to ever
beat Vince McMahon at his own game, battling everyone and everything in his way in an attempt to stay on top, only to lose
and be hired by his competition a few years later. Considering the fact that all the books that have written about the wrestling
industry during this time period have been written by outsiders, “Controversy Creates Cash” gives the reader Bischoff’s
unique interpretation that was unavailable previously.
Due to its conversationalist’s tone, the
entire book feels like you’re having a one on one conversation with Bischoff. Hearing stories about his early days as
an amateur wrestler in high school to his early days in the AWA are a pleasure to read and shed some light on a person that
has been blasted so many times on the internet during his professional career, that it was impossible to separate him from
his persona he played on TV, before the writing of this book. As a matter of fact, throughout the course of the book, Bischoff
manages to put an end to many of the rumors started about him on the internet over the years, resulting in a few instances
of wit and sarcasm that really help the book shine. Despite that, once Bischoff finishes talking about his pre-WCW days, the
book becomes something much different.
While reading Bischoff’s explanations as
to why he fired wrestlers like Steve Austin, the Honky Tonk Man and Sean Waltman are extremely entertaining; you get the feeling
that Bischoff is pulling his punches a little bit. Instances of this can be seen when he discusses the personal problems of
Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. For some reason, Bischoff fails to go into enough detail about them to really entice the reader,
making it all a big tease. The same thing goes for the infamous Sid Vicious - Arn Anderson scissor fight, which is mentioned,
but is never mentioned in the detail that could have made the book a cult classic.
As well, Bischoff never really tells the reader
how controversy creates cash. Instead, he spends dozens of pages talking about how inner-office politics killed WCW and how
they wouldn’t let him be controversial, making the reader confused as to why the book was named what it was.
In addition, various typos in the last section
of the book, take away much of the shine and polish off an otherwise decently-written book. Things like referring to the Steiner
Brothers as the Stemer Brothers and the Sterner Brothers within the space of three paragraphs and various obvious sentence
fragments take credibility away from the story.
However, despite its problems, the book is still
an interesting read because Bischoff is an interesting and intriguing person. Doing everything from competing in karate tournaments
all over the world to being a male model, Bischoff’s life mirrors Tom Hanks’s in Forrest Gump. Considering that,
hearing how he became the king of the professional wrestling industry after being a salesman in the AWA and a third-string
announcer in WCW is an intriguing tale of perseverance, hard work and luck that every fan of the squared circle should give
Alphabet of Manliness:
A Cult Classic
(A Politically Incorrect
Review of a Politically Incorrect Book)
Patrick Hickey Jr.
For years, George Ouzounian, AKA Maddox, webmaster and author of “The Best Page in the Universe,”
has had the entire internet world in stitches with his rants about pop culture and society.
Giving the politically correct “the deuce,” [or the middle finger as most Americans call it] more times
than one can count, Maddox has gained a cult-like following for expressing his views and not caring who he offends.
Maddox continues develop his raw blend of unrestrained politically incorrect
comedy in his new book, “The Alphabet of Manliness,” where he systematically breaks down all things that make
real men, MEN. Knowledge about every crucial part of a man’s day to day life is covered in this book such as how to
pick out the perfect pair of breasts and explains why men love things like Pirates and Chuck Norris so much.
Other subjects addressed in the book include many other “Manly”
topics such as Beef Jerky, Zombies, Urinal Etiquette, Lumber Jacks and of course, Metal. In every chapter of the book [26
of them, all organized to correspond to a letter of the alphabet], Maddox goes out of his way to offend as many different
people as possible. In doing so, he creates one of the funniest books of our generation, which can be appreciated by anyone
except the hardcore liberal or those who expel dust from their rectums.
Simply put, Maddox has designed “The Alphabet of Manliness,” in
a way that it’s impossible to stop laughing while reading it. Everything from the drawings that show the various stages
of breast development to his random comments on why women have problems listening to their husbands, Maddox is hilarious,
grotesque and disgusting all at the same time, creating a book that pulls no punches and sacrifices nothing in its attempt
to make its readers laugh harder than ever before.
By the end of the book, one thing becomes apparent: “The Alphabet of
Manliness,” is the conscious of every man in America and the diary of every woman that can take a step
back from their gender and enjoy a good-humored laugh at their own expense. Most importantly, however, it says the stereotypical
things about men and women that need to be said on a regular basis, that are never spoken.
When all is said and done, “The Alphabet of Manliness,” is a magnificently
crafted comedy classic that can be appreciated by anyone open-minded enough to laugh about the things the make men so much
different from women.
Game of Shadows Uncovers
the Ghastly Truth in Pro Sports
By Patrick Hickey Jr
Almost three years ago, the world of professional
sports was rocked by numerous scandals involving performance enhancing substances and pro athletes in connection to Victor
Conte and his BALCO Company in Los
Angeles; including one Barry Bonds.
“Game of Shadows,” written
by San Francisco Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, successfully breaks down everything worth knowing
in the BALCO case and does so in placing extreme emphasis on all of the big time players involved like Bonds, Jason Giambi,
Gary Sheffield, Marion Jones and Victor Conte, creating a journalistic work of sheer masterpiece that every sports fan owes
to themselves to read.
It’s rare in a work of non-fiction
that such detail and emphasis is placed on the development of the characters in a story, but “Game of Shadows”
gives readers a front-row seat to the entire BALCO scandal and trial, showing the transformation of Victor Conte from marijuana-smoking
rocker to self-taught chemist who turned professional sports upside down in an attempt to create the perfect athlete.
Readers will also get an inside view of
Barry Bonds from numerous different perspectives, showing how arrogance, insecurity and self-righteousness were always a part
of the sluggers life and how it turned an already eventual Hall-of Fame career into one that will forever be tarnished amongst
historians and fans alike for years to come.
The views and perceptions of the people
depicted are so deep and well developed in “Game of Shadows” that one cannot help but become attached to all of
the characters involved, feeling pity for someone like Sheffield, who according to the book, was a victim of both stupidity
and loyalty, trusting Bonds and taking whatever pills and substances he gave him, before eventually finding out he was taking
Going even deeper into the case, Fainaru-Wada
and Williams also tell the stories of the authorities that played such a huge role in breaking the case open like Jeff Novitzky
and Dr. Don Catlin, eventually making a non-fiction work feel more like a mystery novel or an episode of CSI, compelling the
reader with every single turn of the page.
While the story pays heavy attention to
Bonds, it does shift attention periodically to the world of Track and Field, the NFL and Body Building, where Conte became
known as the “Little man with the black bag.” In doing so, “Game of Shadows” breaks tremendous barriers
in linking the same man to corruption in various different sports, making it a suitable read for the non-baseball fan as well.
The hard work and persistence Fainaru-Wada
and Williams have shown, in bringing as many diverse sources as possible to add their voices to the book not only allows the
reader to take different voices into consideration so they may come up with their own conclusions about the case, it also
adds uncanny realism and legitimacy, making it a must-read.
put, “Game of Shadows” is a work of genius that every aspiring investigative journalist should read. Fainaru-Wada
and Williams are arguably this generations Woodward and Bernstein, unraveling a case that almost ruined professional sports
throughout the entire world.