Maurice Sendak's Wednesday News & Views

Mrs. Tyler Thompsonover 9 years


When I think back on my favorite books growing up, three shove their way to the front: Shel Silverstein's "A Light in the Attic," Kay Thompson's "Eloise," and of course, Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are." "Where the Wild Things Are" strikes a chord with almost everyone born in the latter half of the 20th century, and recently enjoyed a resurgence thanks to 2009's Spike Jonez adaptation that I still haven't seen (despite nearly buying a Max costume just to wear around the house). The book that made monsters not so scary was published in 1963 and won the coveted Caldecott Medal in 1964. Like many great books of its day, "Where the Wild Things Are" received a lot of criticism upon its release for what many perceived to be "ugly," "far-fetched" and "frightening" content, and was banned from libraries until critics realized that children were entirely capable of handling a book that wasn't a fairy tale. Now, it's one of the most popular children's books in history. The King of all the Wild Things, Maurice Sendak, died on Tuesday at the age of 83. If you're wondering where he found the inspiration for those big, fearsome creatures, look no further than Sendak's own childhood and family. Born in Brooklyn to Polish immigrants in 1928, Sendak suffered the loss of much of his extended family to the Holocaust, a terrible experience which haunted him his whole life. When asked about how it influenced his work, Sendak said "children surviving childhood is my obsessive theme and my life's concern," which makes Max's return to his mother at the end of "Where the Wild Things Are" even more touching. The thing I may love most about Sendak's stories is that they're not all fairies and flowers; life, even as a kid, isn't that pretty. Within the safe covers of a book, kids can explore the dark corners of a fantastic world, and sometimes, even conquer their own fears, like Max does in "Where the Wild Things Are." So put on your paper crown and let's get on with this wild rumpus... -- The biggest brouhaha of the day was the Herald-Leader's Joel Pett's editorial cartoon depicting "Coach Cal's Trophy Shelf." Pett drew the shelf with two empty spots for vacated Final Fours, Kentucky's 2012 trophy (complete with dollar signs), and a deflated basketball with a plaque reading "Lose at IU, take my ball and go home Award (One and Done). The cartoon made quite the splash, with Yahoo! covering the controversy and quoting our very own comments section, which swelled to over 250 comments by the end of the day. The cartoon is another example of the Herald-Leader's bias against Calipari and the program, which has sharpened since Cal arrived on campus. Now, Joel Pett is a brilliant cartoonist--he's won a Pultizer Prize for goodness' sake--and he's paid to express his opinions, but I am shocked the Herald-Leader chose to publish this piece of work. Many in the newspaper business will say that the Herald-Leader deserves credit for not censoring one of their employee's work just because it may be unpopular, but at what point does "unpopular" become "alienating"? (If you think readers are upset, imagine some of the advertisers.) It bears repeating that Pett is a Bloomington, Indiana native that graduated from IU, and expect Matt to grill him on that when he appears on the show Wednesday morning. I'm starting to feel a little bit like Rick Pitino here, but what gives, Herald-Leader? We've mocked the the paper for years about their anti-Cal and anti-UK stance, but if this keeps up, we may need a NotJoelPett as well. -- In recruiting news, Kentucky is putting the full press on Wright State transfer Julius Mays, to the point that Cal offered him a scholarship on Tuesday. Mays, a 6'2" sharp shooting guard, told Cats Illustrated that he was "honored" by the offer, and is still considering Purdue, Michigan State, Illinois and Pittsburgh. But, you've got to feel good about the Cats' chances, especially after this quote from Mays:
"You've got to be honored when Coach Cal or somebody on that coaching staff calls you, and I honestly didn't think me transferring would blow up this big and it would be this many schools contacting me. But it felt good."
-- With the UNC and IU games off the table, the Cats have a few holes to fill in the 2012-2013 schedule, and it's looking like a road game against Cincinnati during the Big East/SEC Challenge may be in the works. Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin said he hopes the game will take place, but ultimately it's up to ESPN to decide the matchups; however, it seems a logical choice, with a strong Kentucky fanbase in the area (or a close drive) to boost ticket sales. -- Good news from Sandy Bell: all five of Kentucky’s early Draft entrants will leave school in good academic standing. Bell announced that Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, Marquis Teague, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Anthony Davis all finished their coursework for the semester and completed all final exams. Thanks, guys. -- How about a little common sense for a change? NBA veteran and Grantland contributor Steve Kerr wrote a piece for the site about why the NBA should extend its age limit to twenty years. His six reasons were player maturity, financial costs, player development, marketing, a sense of team, and mentoring. Kerr's arguments are strong, and I'm not just saying that because I want to see players stick around for a few more years. Over the past few years, we've seen our young players flourish and fade in the NBA, and in almost all of those cases, you could argue that a few more years in college would be a win-win for both sides. Unfortunately, the best chance to get the age limit changed has passed with the NBA lockout negotiations, but articles like Kerr's, and like it or not, our Championship win and subsequent exodus of talent, continue to keep the topic in the spotlight. Hopefully the NBA player's association is listening. -- It's not news to us, but in an interview with Dick Weiss, John Calipari confirmed that he won't be leaving for the Knicks. Cal said that he's happy at Kentucky, where he will strive to deliver "significance" to fans by winning more titles. He expressed full confidence in his friend Mike Woodson, who took over the Knicks as interim coach after Mike D'Antoni left, and is currently in negotiations for a new contract. Cal also told Weiss that he's looking to add one more player to the roster in order to take the rotation up to seven: "A year ago, we played six and we went to the Final Four. This year, I played seven guys, really six and we went to the final game and won the title. This year coming up, I hope to have seven. But if it doesn't happen, I can live with that. I like my team." -- In random Boyle County racing news, the Turtleman will be the Grand Marshal at the Ponderosa Speedway outside Junction City on Friday, so change your plans. That'll do. We'll be back bright and early with more offseason fun, including Matt's interview with Herald-Leader editorial cartoonist Joel Pett. You don't want to miss it.

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