I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Good Talk, Dad: The Birds and the Bees..and Other Conversations We Forgot to Have by Bill and Willie Geist

First off, you don't have to be a guy to read this book.  As a woman, I related to it in the way one relates to a father, regardless of the sex.  Bill Geist, a former columnist for the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times and a contributor to CBS Sunday Morning (a really good show on at 9am) and Willie Geist, a co-host on MSNBC's Morning Joe and co-host of the Today Show, have written a rather funny and touching story of their lives as fathers and sons.

From summer camp, where Willie's sister was sent to a horse camp and got saddled with a horse one step away from the glue factory and his camp which was run by gang members on probation to stories of going fishing and never catching anything.  There are also the hilarious stories of the red jeep they bought in 1984, when Bill got an advance of $10,000 on his first book.  They went hog wild and decided to get the add-ons of doors and a radio.  Eventually this jeep would go to Willie, who used it to deliver pizzas, recklessly in a vehicle with no shocks or first gear. By the time his sister inherited it, it would only go forty-mile-per-hour and broke down frequently on the way to school.

There's also the story of everyone's crazy Uncle, this one called Herb, who sold his vitamins and supplements company to a larger company and spent his money collecting all sorts of animals, including rare fish, the envy of aquariums, and alligators.  He would also supply the "herbs" at any family get together and the Rolling Stones concert he and Willie went to in Atlantic City.

Yes, there is talk of sports.  They both root for the Yankees (they lived in New York and New Jersey for most of Willie's life and live there now).  Willie was a champion football and basketball player in high school.

But its not all fun and games.  There's a chapter where Bill finally opens up both to his family and the reader, for the first time, about his experiences in Vietnam as a photographer and the horrors he saw and his pictures that were seen on the front page of newspapers across America.  He received a Bronze Star for his service, which sometimes involved the use of a gun and not a camera.  Also, Bill describes his twenty-year battle against Parkinson's and the many years he hid it and tried to deny that anything was wrong.

Finally, the book delves into the life of Willie and his rise to where he is now and his family of a three and six-year-old.  One weekend, when his wife is out of town, he finds himself helpless trying to figure out what to feed them and where the missing leotard is for his daughter's ballet class.  And taking them next door to the police station for friendly visits, or serious chats with the boys in blue, when they have done something seriously wrong.

In the end, this delightful book delves into the lives of two funny and great guys, a father and son, that we can all relate to, even if we are females, as we may have similar experiences with our parents, or be married to one of them.

 The pamphlet set forth the rules of sexual conduct.  Sex was definitely restricted to a man and a woman.  Only one each.  Married.  In a church.  Intercourse was to be conducted in the missionary position, with the lights off.  And not for fun!  For family.  If you could manage to avoid the act altogether, so much the better. (Hey, Mary and Joseph pulled it off.)  Oh, and nothing with the suffix  -job or –style.  Those rules were from GOD!
----Bill Geitst and Willie Geist (Good Talk, Dad: The Birds and the Bees.. and Other Conversations We Forgot To Have p 7)
I’ve never understood why fishing has to be at dawn.  Basketball, football, baseball—no other sports start at such a painful hour.  It may be the fault of the fish.  Perhaps genetic engineers will solve this problem in our, or your lifetime.  A large, colorful, easily mountable sport fish, stupid enough to go after fluorescent lures, skips breakfast and eats a big lunch.
--Bill Geitst and Willie Geist (Good Talk, Dad: The Birds and the Bees.. and Other Conversations We Forgot To Have p 46-7)
I told Lucie we were rooting for Columbia because they’re the New York team (she’s too young for me to explain that no one roots for Harvard in anything—in sports or in life).
--Willie Geist (How To Take Your Four-Year-Old Daughter To a Football Game)

When I see TV commercials using patriotism to sell military service to impressionable young men and women, it seems there really ought to be the voice of that announcer in pill commercials warning, “May cause neuroses, psychoses, severe burns, paralysis, loss of limbs, premature death, and lifetime sorrow.”
---Bill Geist (Good Talk, Dad: The Birds and the Bees.. and Other Conversations We Forgot To Have p 166) (He is a Vietnam Vet and recipient of the Bronze Star)
During its long run at the Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the Nets organization did whatever it could to distract the fans from remembering they were watching a bad team in an empty arena in the middle of a New Jersey swamp.  Larry Bird called it the arena he hated most during his long career, saying of the fans, “It’s as if they’re not even there.” That wasn’t just your impression, Larry.  They weren’t there.  It was the kind of place where you could see a friend across the arena during a game and, I kid you not, yell across the court to make postgame plans.
--Bill Geitst and Willie Geist (Good Talk, Dad: The Birds and the Bees.. and Other Conversations We Forgot To Have p 217)

Link to Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Good-Talk-Dad-Conversations-Forgot/dp/1455547212/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466168402&sr=1-1&keywords=good+talk+dad+by+bill+geist+and+willie+geist

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