"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) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
In a partially autobiographical account of his unusual life, journalist Bellin, a lapsed astrophysics student who left science for his true calling of professional poker, introduces us to the world of legal and illegal poker games and the cast of strange characters who can be found therein. Along the way, he offers some very good advice on how to play "Texas-Hold 'Em," today's game of choice for big-money players. His breezy, easy-to-read style allows one to enjoy the thrill of the game vicariously (in clubs from New York to Las Vegas) as well as the company of some vivid if not entirely trustworthy companions. However, he does not glamorize this high-stakes game, and his accounts of the psychological toll it takes on addicts would hardly encourage one to want to try the life of a professional poker player. Recommended for public libraries. Harold D. Shane, CUNY, Baruch Coll. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.