In this fourth installment of his acclaimed Rants series, bestselling author, Emmy Award-winning talk-show host, and wisecracking analyst for ABC's Monday Night Football Dennis Miller makes hamburger meat out of society's most sacred cows as only he can, with the kinds of allusions that require high SAT scores -- or at least a smart crib sheet.
This time around, Miller takes on child stars with rap sheets, women with bigger muscles than his own, herbs you don't smoke, God, and football. As always, nothing is out-of-bounds.
Part memoir, part history and part how-to, this entertaining volume takes readers on a tour of the poker subculture by one of the game's devotees. When Bellin was eight, he used minimarshmallows as poker chips; by high school, he "played to be bad"; at Vassar, his mathematical abilities (he majored in physics and astronomy) were put in service of the game. In 1992, while on a break from working on a masters degree in astrophysics, he went to Foxwoods Casino in New London, Conn.: "If I ever was a gambling addict, that year was it. I played poker to escape from school and mostly to forget that my mother had just passed away." At 22, he dropped out of grad school to play semipro poker for 10 years. An expansion of an earlier Esquire article, Bellin's energetic narrative flits from New York's underground clubs to Las Vegas's annual World Series of Poker, and ponders cheating, memory, sexism in poker, tournaments, probability and statistics, as well as the author's own obsession. The chapter "Tells," recently published in the Atlantic, details the unconscious "ticks and twitches" that give poker players away, while other sections detail the game's colorful characters and offer playing tips. Tiny cards within the text illustrate the hands, and the book includes a glossary for terms like "tilt" and "coffeehousing." It's a winning read for poker experts and newcomers alike. (Mar. 10) Forecast: Those with a gambling spirit will take note of this book during a broadcast, Internet and print media campaign, when Bellin will make appearances in D.C., Vegas and N.Y.C. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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"I don't care who you know, you never start out at the top, no matter what business you're in. First you're given oil wells, then you're given a baseball team, and then, and only then, are you given the White House." This Miller "rant," similar to the others that run five or six to a page in this new collection, his fourth, encapsulates all of his comic traits: biting, slashing, witty and ecumenically politically savage, targeting right, left and center. This persona honed on HBO's Dennis Miller Live and ABC's Monday Night Football is not a far throw from his kinder Saturday Night Live days, but his aggressive tone and often vicious ridicule make him this country's most notorious satirist, social agitator and malcontent. Whether he is going after George W. Bush or Gary Condit, Miller is rude and abrasive, taking on everyone and everything, from God (whose "name gets thrown around like the drunken dwarf at a biker rally") to the fat Elvis ("after the 50s, even Elvis couldn't do Elvis") although much of his anger is directed at stupidity in government and popular culture. Though funny, the pieces tend to suffer from sameness, and in the end, after he has demolished most everything in sight, readers have no idea of what Miller's politics or thoughts really are. Despite its political topics, Miller's work is really about great stand-up, not serious exploration of current events. Of course, that's just our opinion. We could be wrong. (On sale Oct. 23) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved