Reviews of The Official Extreme Golf Manual; Project of Public spaces Web site (pps.org/upo); The Great American Baseball Box
From The Fringe
You don't need a golf course to play golf. At least that's the premise of The Official Extreme Golf Manual (Barron's, softcover, $12.99) - a colorful and wacky 80-page book about golf that takes place anywhere but on a golf course. London-based author Andrew Gellatly, operating under the notion that traditional golf has become a lifeless sport and that "all a golfer needs is a target somewhere on the horizon, a club and a ball," offers ideas to set up impromptu games in urban environments, dirt fields, ice and snow, and on the run (literally). He even reports on architects who are designing indoor vertical courses for residential and office towers. Not surprisingly, there's also a short chapter dedicated to the hazards of extreme golf, as well as etiquette and attire tips. We're not sure how seriously to take some of Gellatly's advice ("In war zones and former war zones, golfers face the ever-present danger of unexploded mines... and should take guidance from local peacekeepers or mine-removal specialists"), but there's plenty of creative programming material here - if you dare.
This Land Is Our Land
Think your park space could be better utilized? Not sure if you're meeting constituents' needs? Visit the Project for Public Spaces web site (pps.org/upo) to find out if your community or organization is making the most of its valuable recreation land. PPS is a nonprofit group dedicated to creating and sustaining public places and providing technical assistance, education and research through programs in parks, plazas and central squares. Users are invited to join a database of almost 1,000 nonprofit organizations, friends-of-parks groups and city parks departments; access guidelines for seating, signage, waste receptacles, lighting and other amenities; explore financing strategies; read case studies, including info about recent projects; view hundreds of images; and create new roles for parks as important community places - not just recreation spaces. Most of the content is free, but a $100 professional membership yields even more benefits.
Sounds of the Ballpark
Major League Baseball's spring training opens late next month, which should give fans just enough time to plow through The Great American Baseball Box (Shout! Factory, $59.98), a hefty four-CD collection featuring more than four hours of original broadcasts, farewell speeches, comedy skits, commercials, press conferences and songs about the game by artists as diverse as John Fogerty ("Centerfield"), Bob Dylan ("Catfish") and Count Basie ("Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?"). The three spoken-word discs pay far too much homage to the New York Yankees but nevertheless touch all the bases with archival material dating back to the early 1900s, including a well-rehearsed Babe Ruth answering questions from young fans. There's even a snippet from a 1978 radio talk show with announcers debating what effects an upstart all-sports television network called ESPN might have on team revenues. A 60-page full-color booklet features vintage photos and offers a concise 80-year history of America's pastime, right up to last spring's congressional hearings about steroid use.