Today’s Match      |      Previous Matches      |      TOB Brackets [PDF]      |      Judges      |      About      |      Buy the Books from      |      Rooster T-Shirts
The Morning News and Powells Present
2006 Tournament of Books
APRIL 12, 2006
WARNER: With Foer going down for the second time, joining zombie Zadie Smith in the smoldering pile of undead corpses, we’ve now demonstrated the absolute futility of the “do over.” If you examine the great “d-o’s” in history, you’ll see that very rarely do they bring about a different outcome.

1. Greenbriar School recess kickball game, fall 1977

This was a year-long game that came down to a final at-bat for yours truly in the 167th inning with the score 345-344 and two men (actually girls, Susie Hawkins and Missy Florio) on base. As I prepared to drive the ball over the heads of the outfielders, I so psyched myself out that I wound up barely clipping the ball, resulting in a weak pop-up to the first baseman. I immediately shouted “d-o, d-o” saying that my shoe was untied, which it was, because I didn’t know how to tie my shoes yet.

Finally granted my “d-o” after much wailing and teeth gnashing, I managed to whiff entirely. And fall down. And break my coccyx.

2. The Chicago Cubs “Bartman” Playoff incident

People forget that after Steve Bartman interfered with Moises Alou as he tried to catch a ball in foul territory, Alou successfully secured a “d-o” by throwing his mitt to the ground and having a fit worthy of a third-grader at a recess kickball game. Of course, the Cubs lost anyway, because they are losers.

Except for this year. This year they’re going to win!

3. Iraq War

Obviously a “d-o” of Vietnam. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Peter Pace recently declared that things are going “very very well.” He is obviously on drugs because things are going beyond horribly. Ironically, according to a recent article by Seymour Hersh, the Bush administration is now targeting Iran in a “d-o” for Iraq.

By golly they’re going to get regime change right or cause a holy war trying!

As a fan of basketball from the era when the shorts were more nut-huggers than pajamas, you’re going to cite the infamous 1972 Olympic gold medal game between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., where a do-over ultimately resulted in a Soviet win. What you’re forgetting is that that situation was actually a “d-o, d-o.” In some cases, the second do-over will end in a different result.

What this means is that maybe with another round, Zadie Smith and JSF might find their way into the finals and that the Bush administration may just be able to nuke Iran into a stable democracy.

GUILFOILE: I worked at an ad agency for 11 years, and every time the business section reported on a longtime agency being fired by a client, the writer would say the firm had been “unceremoniously dumped.” I heard the phrase in that context again on NPR the other day and I’d like to point out to those thinking about employing this cliché in the future that the alternative, which presumably would involve being dumped as part of some public ceremony, would be far, far worse.

Rosecrans, on the other hand, lets you down easy. He’s probably friends with all his ex-girlfriends. When asked, telemarketers gladly put him on their “do not call” list. Wendy’s employees agree not to put cheese on his hamburger without having to be physically restrained.

We have a fascinating match for the final round. First we have Home Land, which seems to be one of those love-it-or-hate-it books, and I don’t think many would have given it odds of making it this far. And now The Accidental, which came in with plenty of hype and acclaim and award nominations, but it was advanced reluctantly in the second round by Maud, as the result of a bizarre, forcibly compelled coin flip by Dale Peck, and today in an enthusiastic nail-biter by Rosecrans.

Honestly I can’t say I have any bead on which way this thing is leaning.