Half the lies they tell about me aren’t true Yogi Berra

Starcraft 2
Click images for desktop size: “Starcraft 2” by Blizzard Entertainment
Why are they still playing baseball?
I’ve been avoiding baseball this year. I still have this fantasy that my arm will miraculously heal all on its own and then I’ll be able to find a senior league and play. Play forever.
UFO Watching games is just a sort of negative, bitter sweet reminder that I’m no longer what I was. That’s a hard thing for the heart and mind to swallow whole.
But baseball and Halloween? That just doesn’t seem right. They might drag this on until November. Which is a real drag since this is, sadly, about the dullest World Series ever.
I figured it would be better. The Tampa Bay team is loaded with guys I watched at the Triple A level. What little I’ve seen is that they looked great in Triple A but merely adequate in the bigs. The World Series isn’t supposed to be merely adequate.
Its supposed to be legendary and not on TV while I’m watching snow flakes fall on my puppy.
Its snowing here. And in my memory of baseball.

A lot of people were upset about my seeming defense of the Hells Angels. I don’t think the Angels need any defense.
In Southern Cal you end up knowing a lot of people from the future and the past. Hair boys, car boys, bikers and surfers.
I never became a biker. I loved the surf too much and that gave me a freedom that I could hold in the hands and in my mind all day, every day. And when I finally got old enough to own and ride a bike I looked at Harley Sportsters. Thought they were cool but had more of a leaning towards Japanese crotch rockets.
I still do have a fondness for the memory of the bikers. Especially for their origins. They are as Forsaken Angel
Click images for desktop size: “Forsaken Angel” by Unknown
Californian as surfers and a Tommy’s burger eaten in a convertible muscle car.
When the Angels started, I guess it was after World War II. They had Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome back then too, only then vets who displayed the symptoms were branded as weak and cowardly. Patton would walk around slapping all their faces if he could.
These lost souls found their homes to small, the world too oppressive. Like all Americans they looked to the west and drifted to California. Solitary figures without a home they found a release in the cheap motorcycles floating around and found it exhilarating. The drifters ended up drifting together. I’d guess the old military feeling of belonging to a group caused them to come up with a uniform: colors. A uniform that set them apart as well as setting them together.
I imagine that guy wearing the old style baggy jeans, parked with his stripped down Harley Electro Guide on one of the hills, looking out aUnder Aget the pounding surf of Malibu and the long silver ribbon of PCH, hunching his shoulders inside his army fatigue jacket, the sleeves discolored from the removed rank insignia and service badges. And what he saw in the California dawn was a place to be what he was with no war, no killing and less fear then he’d known in half a decade.
Then there was the Korean War, or “The Police Action.” And there were more vets, more people ostracized from society. WWII vets were at least acknowledged as heroes. Vets from Korea were lucky that they weren’t branded as traitors.
(A big part of my problem with McCain is his embracing being called a war hero for his actions in Viet Nam. McCain should be grateful for guys like William Ayres – who has NOT been found guilty of any terrorists acts – and all the underground and war protestors who humanized the soldiers. A soldier in Korea who behaved like McCain did in Viet Nam would have been court martialed. An officer, such as he was, would have been court martialed with the possibility of facing a firing squad. Korean vets who did far less than he faced far worse.)
And there was rock & roll. And there were the movies. Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin set the new Edmund Dulac
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Edmund Dulac
standard for bikers with “The Wild One”. Based on an incident in northern California where a couple of biker gangs stopped for beer and a party “The Wild One” did for bikers what the Godfather movies did for the Mafia. It glorified and made it beautiful. Brando and Marvin were like the schizo image of bikers everywhere – the good and the bad so big and intense it took two stars to embody one individual biker.
The bikers grew and held steady and strong within themselves. Until the 60’s when Roger Corman, Peter Fonda and Nancy Sinatra (!) made it seem wonderful again. A movie that was mainly guys riding their bikes to the glorious sound of Davie Allen and the Arrows. Heavenly Blues as played by Fonda became an instant icon and Vampire Circus aviator sunglasses the direguer fashion accessory for people who never saw a bike. Why not. Heavenly Blues who didn’t even let death separate him from his buddy Bruce Dern. (The seminal scene where they steal Dern’s body and prop him up and pass him the joint and the bottle still reverberates and affects today.)
And lord they made money. And a bunch of bikers had to be chagrined. Some of them got extra pay (like $50 a day) to be in the movie looking like themselves which meant they looked like nothing the world had ever seen before, and they watched as everyone else made money and more money.
Most seem to credit Sonny Barger for reacting to this and starting to register the Angels trademarks to try and pick up on the cash cow that was blossoming in front of them. Money.
I’ve met Angels, usually at Hollywood “too hip” parties or most often at Country Line. We’d play dominos and drink Mickey Big Mouth Malt Liquor. I never had any issues with them nor they with me. They were just guys.
Maybe the money and the toughness has led them to lives of “organized crime”. I wouldn’t know. I do know I don’t trust lazy cops take on them. These are the same cops who are using Bush’s whack anti-terrorist laws to brand black street gangs as terrorists so they can violate their civil rights and get away with it.
So whatever the Angels may have become or may not have become I’ll keep my memory intact. Some of them probably are criminals, they probably were before they joined up with the Angels. The Angels might have been the only place where they could find a home. Everyone is entitled to a home.
“No one remembers the good we do. Everyone Remembers the bad.”
Due to the state trashing my bank account I’ve had The Unholy Wife to pay my bills with Money Orders this month. Its been a mess. I sent them out 15 days ago and not one of them has been credited to my account . . .
This is frustrating and vaguely frightening. Todays task is to sort through this mess.
And to do some laundry and mop the floors while puppies with snow packed paws track all over everything.
The giant dog has suddenly gone lame. He’s fine and in good spirits. He still runs and bounds like a maniac but then he’ll suddenly stop and limp. For a while he’ll barely be able to crawl up to his favorite perch on the sofa.
I’ll be keeping an eye on him and hoping that this is as bad as it gets and its just a mild sprain from playing too hard.

Furthermore, to hell with hate Joe South

Darkness To Light by Shifted Reality
Click images for desktop size: “From Darkness To Light” by Shifted Reality
With the Dodgers and the Cubs both in the playoff’s I can’t lose! At least not in the first round. I was surprised that the Dodgers showed so much power. Not so surprised that the Cubs were held in check.
Scandal I hope it goes seven games and that the winner eviscerates the Phillies and gets to the world series. The series really should be the Cubs vs the Angels, but I’ll take whatever happens!

Finished off the sick day by watching two more movies, watched them curled up and too hot underneath down like comforters.
Watched “The Rocker”. Pretty bad comedy about a drummer who got kicked out of his band on the eve of their legendary success. The Bride Of Frankenstein
Click for desktop size: “Bride Of Frankenstein” by Universal
drummer stages a comeback twenty bitter years later with his nephews alternative rock band. It had a surprising number of good laughs in it. The acting was on a pretty decent level. The real surprise was they cast Pete Best (the drummer the Beatles kicked out of the band on the eve of their success) playing the replacement drummer.
The plot was wonky and the music was dreadful but I laughed aloud quite a few times. Much more enjoyable than it had any right to be.
We ended the night watching “10 Things I Promised My Dog”. Now, I’m a sucker for Japanese dog movies. They are virtually their own genre.
They are remarkably gentle films. Extremely life like in their tragedy and conflict but always there are redeeming people about, always there is love and always there is a beautiful dog who behaves exactly like a dog and not like a movie star.Superman-DC Comics
Click images for desktop size: “Superman” by DC Comics

There’s never a bad guy in these movies. There’s never any dramatic conflict of that sort. The intrusions into the little world are always the product of fate, of life and its vagaries.
It works well for me. I always get misty when the dog passes away from old age.
The genre is so popular in Japan that they made a film that was a massive hit: “Always”. It was a generic dog movie WITHOUT THE DOG!
I liked “Always” fine. I preferred “10 Things I Promised My Dog” because it has the cathartic release of getting me misty when the dog passed away at the end. “10 Things” had some great acting. The guy playing the father was superb. The dog was excellent, the girl was cute and bland. There was a classical guitarist. Sunset Boulevard He was actually playing live in the film. He was impressive as a player. Its always stunning when musicians play live in movies. It got Gary Busey his oscar nomination (“The Buddy Holly Story”). Its so effective in building its own little tension that its surprising its not done more often.
I can’t recommend this one to anyone but fans of the genre. The director stuck too closely to the formula and didn’t seek to expand or contract his vision within the genre like Anthony Mann did with the Western, or Don Seigal did with the prison movie. I enjoyed it immensely. It did what it was supposed to do well, exactly as was expected. That was its only flaw.
It got worried and agitated at all the right sports, laughed when I needed to relief the tension, excited at learning something that was obvious but seemed like a private insight. It did all you could expect and did it extremely well it just didn’t Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Luis Royo
add anything new. In other words I wanted to love the movie, but instead I only liked it a lot. That’s the weakness of the Japanese dog movies.
Like the rest of America I’m stoked about the Vice Presidential debate tonight. Sarah Palin has become the funniest TV character in decades. This is like the ultimate reality show comedy.
Every day she seems to top herself. I really don’t know how she does it, how she keeps coming up with these great lines!
Yesterday was so totally cool when she accused Kate Couric of being unethical!! And she made it even funnier by claiming she knows that “pop quizzes” and reporting what a candidate says is unethical based on her community college degree in journalism!
She’s a riot!
Terminator-The Sarah Connors Chronicles She nearly blew it with her commiserating about how “Joe Six Pack” she was by then pointing out how she had lost 20k in the market melt down . . . she seemed to think that everybody in America lost at least that much . . . sort of ignoring that all the people on minimum wage don’t earn 20k in a year. I got the point of the joke but I thought it fell flat. I was sort of hoping she’d try and recover by giving us a flute solo but no such luck.
I do have to question the sanity of anyone who thinks this awesome comedienne could actually be in charge of anything more than a TV production house. I mean I think its clever that she screwed over the people in Alaska by charging them for transportation from her house to her house, and brilliant to charge them a per diem for sleeping in her own house. That’s the kind of creative accounting that TV producers live by. But to be in actual charge of a whole lot of people? I keep thinking about RoseAnne. Maybe Palin could show us her private tattoos tonight.
I hope Sarah doesn’t ket me down tonight.
I was seriously disappointed in Obama. He gave a good speech from the Senate floor. Pointing out the greed and government ineptitude that led to the stock market going off (it still has not crashed). He decried everything that needed decrying but he voted for it anyway. We’re still giving rich lying stealing bastards our money.
That’s not right.

Only a fool wants to live forever Fai Shi Kun

Gas By Edward Hopper
Click images for desktop size: “Gas” by Edward Hopper
I got stung by a hornet last night. They made a nest in the mailbox.
It hurt but no real after effects. I’m still pretty non-allergenic, I guess.
One of my kids got released from his NFL team yesterday. I feel badly for him.
He’s one of my kids who I always had the hedging feeling that I failed. Not athletically. He did a great job there. A Study In Terror This is his first failure.
Failing doesn’t mean much when you expend no effort. Its another thing to fail when you’ve given it everything, when you’ve created the dream and then done everything physically possible to attain the dream. Its when you don’t add in the mental toughness that I get worried.
He’s a man now. This would have been his fourth NFL season.
People always ask about what I mean when I say that turning a young person into a stud athlete isn’t my job.
When I was eleven years old my friend Tom and I were great Little League ball players and we dominated Pop Warner.
Baseball was the love of my life. Our coach was the father of our pitcher. I found out years later that the coach had been in the major leagues. He never had an at bat but he tore up Triple A ball and kept getting called up but never seemed to have gotten a real shot.
He and his wife were divorced. The time he spent with his son was as our coach.
He seldom came to our practices. That was fine, we just played pick up games. He gave me one coaching tip in 3 years. It was a good one about how to shade a batter with runners on; how to read the batter to see if he’s trying to hit behind the runner or hit away. It took him about 14 seconds. He was drunk. He usually was. That tip stayed with me forever. It was invaluable.
I wondered if Bill Lancaster played ball in our league. He once had a mad crush on a friend of mine. She was gay so it was pretty unrequited. I never got to ask him. Bill wrote “The Bad News Bears”. Walter Matthau played a drunk little league manager.
The Alligator People During games our coach would sit in the dugout next to his cooler. He drank about a beer an inning. He was pretty ripped by the 7th. We turned in the line up cards at all the games.
During games he muttered a lot but never really talked to any of us. I don’t know if he even knew what the score was.
Thing is we won our league 4 times. We advanced into the World Series sectionals twice.
As kids we didn’t care much about things other than playing and winning but as an adult I always figured that people always congratulated our coach and told him he was doing a great job. Maybe he was. Maybe a bunch of poorer kids playing in a rich guys league needed that kind of coach. I can’t reflect that properly.
By the time I was getting recruited by colleges I was a superb athlete. A true stud. I was also a pretty poor substitute for a human being. I was arrogant, close enough to sociopathic to at least Anime by Fleya
Click images for desktop size: “Anime” by Fleya
consider that as a job description. My only contact with any shred of humanity was via my unbridled affection for dogs.
It was my running backs coach at SC who took the time to be more concerned about me as a human being than as a stats machine. I mean he took time.
We were pretty successful then too.
But that is the kind of coach I wanted to be. It was hard, much harder for me than just learning the drills and to watch a young person and see if there was an athlete in there. Its harder to see the person inside the body.
Anybody can teach you to run faster. But it takes someone special to give you a reason to want to run faster.
Its about building self respect, self esteem and teaching the young people entrusted to you that they have a value to society and to the world and that that value carries with it responsibilities.
Somehow in my tiny brain greater talent and value carried with it even greater responsibility. Responsibility to your teammates, to your family, Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla to the neighborhood, to the kids watching you play and foremost a responsibility to yourself.
A responsibility to uphold those things that make you what you are; that make you proud of yourself on and off the field. And when things look bad because you hold to those believes you can rely on your teammates, your family and your neighborhood to trust in the kind of man you are and support you and stand with with. And, of course you can always rely on your coach.
If I had learned that simple minded stuff when I was eleven I know I would have been a better player and a happier human being.
I would have been less sociopathic. I’d probably still be as arrogant as I am today.
Comes with the territory I guess.

I’ve seen the best minds of my generation Allen Ginsberg

Daft End Direkt by J3 Designs
Click images for desktop size: “Daft End Direkt” by J3 Designs
Once one of my players asked me what made me special enough to play big time college football. I said, “Speed and rage.” Which sounded as glib then as it does now.
It was early in my coaching career. I got better.
Even though its a glib answer its accurate. Speed is natural. The Female Bunch But any speed result can be improved until you max it. I ran a 4.5 40. It was my consistent max. That’s quick still, but in an age when DB’s and WR’s are clocking in 4.3’s and it takes a 4.2 to make the scouts notice 4.5 doesn’t seem like much.
Speed is natural but the rage . . .
My buddy Tom was a victim of rage. He got banned from the Pac 10 for being “incorrigible” at 20 years old, all because of rage.
Rage is consuming and letting it take over your life is a hardship. It hurts and clouds; destroys whatever good might be able to soak through it.
I was lucky. I was running the stadium steps. It was my normal punishment, usually for getting aggressive with a team mate during practice. My coach took the time to talk to me. He took the time to change me and remove the rage. It took about a year but I saw the game differently after that. It was no longer kill or be a target. It became fun. I became what the British call a “useful player”. Good enough to belong on the field, occasionally I’d make a big play and I was enough of a concern for defenses that the stars could make the really big plays.
As a frothing hate filled maniac I was a better football player. My coach was kind enough to sacrifice that to see me become a better man. At least that’s what I took from it.
I was suffering then. Fearful and dangerous in the way a perfectly fit and strong kid can be dangerous when fueled by a fear that step fathers and previous coaches had fueled.
It took my coach to see it and act on it. I was suffering. For whatever reason Americans pride themselves on suffering in silence.
Jim Bouton mentioned it inadequately that Wonder Woman - Donna Troy
Click images for desktop size: “Donna Troy – Wonder Woman” by DC Comics
the greatest compliment a guy can get is, “He wouldn’t say shit if he had a mouthful.”
I suffer now, physically though and not mentally. Physical suffering is easier in a lot of ways.
In all the ways I’ve grown since being the enraged destructive force I’ve never gotten past the bad habit of ignoring pain and suffering quietly. I have a huge pain threshold, I know that, but even when the pain gets pretty consuming I still find myself telling the doctors, “Its not too bad.”
Even when I see the effect that it has on others. See, when I suffer I go through that complicated process starting with self pity. Is there any more despicable trait then self pity? But I touch it and wonder, “Why me? Why do I have to hurt like this? Why can’t I ever feel a moment’s peace?”
When I feel that I get self recriminating, another bad habit. I remind myself that “men” don’t feel self pity. Boxcar Bertha “Men” just destroy the obstacles. I guess that works when your a salty kid but it seems sort of immature for an adult.
Dealing with the pain and all the rest of the baggage I’ve attached to the pain gets me short tempered and unforgiving. I haven’t felt the black clouds of rage for a few years but I suspect that people outside of myself would have a hard time telling the difference.
As I get weaker and sicker its harder for me to accept the weakness. To say “I hurt,” and to expect understanding. I’ve a life time of knowing that people like it when you share your feelings, so long as its the good feelings, the bad ones they’d rather you kept to yourself.
I have to stop with my double standards; holding myself to a higher standard that I would hold others.

I started throwing a softball yesterday. Yeah, I’ve gotten to that age where I’m thinking of playing slow pitch softball. I still have enough ego to only want to play if I can contribute.
I’ve got a softball. I threw it against a tree 60 feet away fifty times. I hit the tree within 2 inches of where I was aiming 96% of the time. That was with no zip on it, more than a lob but not whipping it in there. I noticed my arm was dropping down to 3/4 sidearm. Normally I’d put that down to tiredness. In this case it seemed to increase my accuracy and reduce the pain.
I’m going to continue throwing it against that tree for a while. I’ll add 5 feet to it until I get to 120 feet. Dream State
Click images for desktop size: “Dream State” by Unknown
I’ve got enough yard for that. Then I’ll got to a nearby ball field and throw against the back stop. If I can get the ball with some reasonable speed at 200 feet about 100 times I’ll be able to play short or even some fill in outfield.
I’m looking for some batting cages in the area. I’ve always had a left eye dominance (and I’m a goofy foot). With the issues with my eyes I don’t know if that will be enough. I used to be able to pick up 90 mph fastballs leaving the pitcher’s hand now I’m not certain I’ll be able to pick up a softball until its too late. I know I’ve got enough bat speed to drive the ball if it gets in my wheelhouse but I’m not sure I can pick the ball up soon enough to move it to the house.
The best part of throwing a ball against the tree is watching the dogs chase it down. Every throw then becomes a quick sprint. They like to catch the ball but then they demand to be chased for their efforts! My puppy even crawled under the car to get the ball! Then the giant dog crawled under the car, I guess just to see if he’d fit.
When my puppy got tired of me yelling at her to bring the ball back she’d jut go run after the ball and stand over it, marking its location for me like a good golf caddy.
I played a game of lob/catch with my friend. Only about 15 minutes. We stood about 15 feet apart . . . It wore me out to the point of collapsing Shaun Of The Dead the moment I sat down. I’ll have to work on endurance. I can’t remember if softball lasts 7 or 9 innings. So I’ll train for 18 innings to be safe.

I managed not to delete all the comments! This was cool because some fellow named John Muir (I wonder if he’s related to the Muir who discovered Yosemite? Yosemite is still in the top 3 of most beautiful places on the planet). His comment had a link to a comparison of Obama and McCain. He directed me to the stuff about net neutrality. Obama said all the right words. McCain’s comment was inane. “They own the pipe. They’re entitled to make a profit.”
In his mind it would be cool for him to pay your ISP a few thousand bucks and have them block all of Obama’s sites and speed up access to his site. That’s free enterprise according to the sick twisted and lame.

I guess if you don’t like your ISP doing that to you you can always switch services, oh wait, Everyone Dreams
Click images for desktop size: “Everyone Dreams” by Unknown
since most ISP’s have monopolies you can’t . . .
(Can we accept that the internet has become a necessity as much as a telephone?)
Nowhere did I ever notice McCain making a statement about the rights of people.
I was also stunned to see that McCain claims a net worth of 40 million dollars. What kind of slime has 40 million bucks but still is weasley enough to take a disability pension that clearly doesn’t prevent him from working. I was equally shocked when it came out that Tipper O’Neal was taking a 700 buck Social Security payment when he was the Democratic Speaker of the House! It looks like I’ll be voting for Obama. He keeps saying mostly the right things even though I strongly disagree with his take on immigration and US seclusion.

Sha la la la lee Steve Marriott

Dog Jesus
Click images for desktop size: “Dog Jesus” by Unknown
The most interesting new music I’ve been listening to lately are Guitar Wolf’s “Dead Rock” (A Japanese rock band that everyone but me seems to hate, not everyone, they’re onto their 6th album). I love their versions of Springsteen’s “Fire” and the crazed cover of “Route 66”.
The Bellboy And The Playgirls The Moviees, “Action Man” from “Become One Of Them” is a light, bitter sound with buttery rhythm guitars and sharp drum attacks.
The Rooks “Encore Echoes” which somehow remind me of childhood dreams. They have a nice garage sound with modern sensibilities. They sometimes sound too ancient, as in the past, but not passe. “Better Start Right Now” is a cool introduction to their sound.
At least all these groups are from the 21st Century . . . I still have a fondness for the past.
But first a digression . . . I found out about these bands from my gal pal. Back in the 80’s this guy Michael Weldon started a flysheet called “The Psychotronic TV Guide”.
He’d note all the cool , the strange, and the hip movies on TV that week and write up little reviews and schedules. He xeroxed the sheet at work and then would pass them out to commuters and passersby. Much cooler than religious tracts.
Even in this internet age there’s something to be said for shoving a piece of paper into somebody’s hand. Wheldon got fired from his job. I gather for running about 3000 copies of his little sheet a week. But someone else got the idea of publishing his little reviews in a book. It sold well, still in print, “The Psychotronic Guide To Movies.” Its thick enough to be imposing and scholarly looking. It was fun and easy to read cover to cover – lots of pictures.
Someone else has taken up the task. I understand, the internet is cool but its not immediate. It can just hang around and it takes time and money to use. A sheet of paper to somebody bored riding the subway has a factor.
Lost Kids - Envy
Click images for desktop size: “Lost Kids” by Envy
Anyway this guy is doing a list of the top 500 Power Pop albums of all time. Which sounds weird to me but then, why not! My only issue with it is that one of my bands is on it!
I was never Power Pop. I like pop. As in Pop Art and Popular Music. Power Pop to me always meant guys in black shirts, white shirts and skinny ties. (John Woo stole the look for “A Better Tomorrow” and then Tarentino stole it from him for “Reservoir Dogs.”)
It meant The Knack and “My Sharona”, or Rick Springfield, rolled up sleeves on sports coats (?) and hundred buck haircuts. It didn’t seem to have a lot to do with playing all sweaty in a stuffy club while 400 people throbbed to your drive and beat, kids having fun and looking to you for hope and fun. Chuck Berry had it right, The little girls understand.
Power Pop seemed like an A&R man’s way of trying to create the next big thing.
Blonde BaitSometimes the kids need to make their own big thing. Which is why power pop is something you don’t hear about and rap and hip hop became the new dominant genre.
Anyway, like I was saying before I interrupted . . . I still listen to too much old music while I wait for a new Alkaline Trio CD. And one old guy I love is Chris Bailey.
He was one of the original Brit pinks with The Damned and then the Remarkable Saints. I like Bailey’s dead nasal voice that uses the music and notes to give his tunes their emotions instead of poor acting, over singing and genuflections.
I like that he used horns and dozens of grinding thrashing guitars. He knows how to dance.
So I was shocked to discover Bailey did a solo album in 1983, “What We Did On Our Holydays.” It stunning cause its all covers. Floats between two types, hard full R&B classics (mucho Sam Cooke whom he treats too reverentially). The rest is solo acoustic BLUES tunes! Like “Country Boy” his playing surprises and his voice reveals as much intensity and depth of feeling as when he was groaning over the Saints thrashing guitar lines.
I like music. I need more of it every single day.

Spring training has started. Its a good time. It hasn’t yet detracted from the Barry Bonds hoopla, or from the sad plight of Roger Clemens, (not sad for “The Rocket” but sad for me. Even the cynical and crabby ones like me need heroes, guys who can make the impossible conceivable. I don’t know or much care if Clemens did a half dozen shots of steroids. I think this Macnee guy is revolting slime who fits in well with Washington DC. But I do know that the Jeff Beck's Blow By Blow Gibson
Click images for desktop size: Jeff Beck’s Gibson Les Paul
way Clemens handled the whole affair has caused him the disgrace and humiliation he was trying to avoid. Maybe he was arrogant, or misled. I expect my heroes to stand proud on their own. To tell the truth and laconically let me know there is some place in the world for men like we always wanted to be.)
Even with the new modern world. I like baseball. I love it. Every time you take the field you could dream, even those short few years ago when I could still play you’d go to the plate and dream of that fat guy with a cigar in his mouth and loud clothes and flashy jewelry saying. “Kid, how’d you like to play for the Dodgers.”
In Spring Training you’ve got all those hundreds of kids under 21, dreaming and trying to see if they’re good enough to be Mickey Mantle or Sandy Koufax or Don Kessinger or Roger Clemens . . .
The college baseball season has started. USC is playing. Not doing too badly.
Baseball is supposed to be better than life and a microcosm of it. I want it back.
Just me being old.

Just a minute please

weeki_wachee.jpg
Click images for desktop size: “Weeki Wachee” by Unknown
There’s a few things bugging me.
The RAIA, the Congress and baseball. Not necessarily in that order.
The RAIA has always bugged me. They are a bunch of jerks who view people only as walking wallets, sort of like the worst kind of pimps you find in the seedier parts of town.
twilight_people_(1973).jpg This is the group set up to make sure that the records were made to the same specs so that all records could play them. They were sort of like a 50’s version of THX Sound.
Then when the record companies decided they didn’t want to pay the record artists any more money the protected that.
Its one of the interesting things they touched on early in “The Soprano’s”. It was common practice to sign acts to record records. They never got paid, even though the record companies were dumping thousands to DJ’s to bribe them to play the records. That led to the payola scandal. The RAIA was a part of that.
They justified it all somehow: The acts, they claimed, benefited because they got free advertisement. They didn’t get paid but they got to keep all the money from playing clubs and concerts . . . which promoted the records but they never bothered to justify that part so there’s no official line there.
As to the payola a a lot of DJ’s lost there jobs and ruined their careers and lives. No record company went out of business. No record company exec went to jail or got fired.
I guess, you could say the RAIA did a good job for them.
Now the RAIA says that when you buy a record or a CD or a digital download you don’t own anything. You’ve bought air. You’re allowed to listen to it at their grace. And the rapidly escalating prices are so that the musicians will get paid their fair share, except now they want to cut the musicians share from 9% to 4%.
AngryShark.jpg
Click images for desktop size: “Angry Shark” by Anonymous
Don’t confuse the RAIA with ASCAP or BMI. ASCAP and BMI collect money to pay to the writers of the songs. The RAIA has no connection to the musicians or writers. They only represents the suits who hate music but like money.

And now the Senate has completed the rape of the Constitution. They increased unilaterally the right of our Government to spy on us . . . by a 67 to 31 vote. Rah!
Amazing that the constitution which has done pretty well for 220 years has suddenly found itself obsolete after 8 years of George Bush. Some of the Supreme Court Justices are even saying nonsense about how the Constitution is outmoded and no longer valid . . . they’re Bush appointees of course.
For some reason every thing that comes out of a conservative mouth lately sounds more and more like the old commie rhetoric, rhetoric we were taught to fear and take with skepticism.
Underworld I guess you really do become what you hate most.
Clinton didn’t attend to vote on the measure. Obama has remained silent. The Republicans are all for it.
Its the old, “the guilty don’t deserve any rights” and the innocent don’t need any rights.
I think I’m going to vote for whatever sacrificial lamb the Green Party is running this year. Nothing can be worse than supporting the wholesale merchandising and destruction of America.

Then we have the new witch hunt, the new McCarthyism – Steroids.
I remember when Lyle Alzado died. He was a killer line backer for the Raiders back when the Raiders were good.
He died because of steroids and Human Growth Hormone. He died directly because he wanted to be bigger and stronger.
I remember Canadian Ben Johnson blowing Carl Lewis off at the starting line and setting a world record because of steroids.
And I remember the NCAA barring Oklahoma’s Brian Bosworth from a bowl game because of steroids. (Bosworth was a bust for the Seahawks – but he did make an amusing movie, “Stone Cold”).
Nobody reacted then, when it could have done some good.
When I was coaching in Texas its impossible to believe how many of my kids came to me and asked if I thought they would benefit from juicing up.
At first I thought they were trying one on to see if I’d bite. They were serious.
Of course I told them no and explained all the pitfalls and told them about Lyle Alzado etc. I worry most now about the kids who didn’t ask me.
I never had a kid come back from summer break 25 pounds heavier and 20% stronger. I don’t know how I would have handled it. Probably the wrong way.
Astro Boy
Click images for desktop size: “Astro Boy” by Makaski Inc
Instead of protecting the kids and not just punishing them we have a stupid congressional investigation.
One the one hand our country is falling apart but we take massive amounts of time and man hours and money to protect our entertainments so that they can be sold more readily to us.
As much as I think that this investigation is wrong headed and not geared to accomplish anything meaningful (There’ll be no penalties for the owners who demanded bigger faster athletes, or to the coaches who turned their eyes away and only viewed the results. There’ll be no lessons for the vulnerable children, there’ll only be Joe McCarthy style headlines for the witch hunters who bring down the biggest stars.) I’ve been following the testimony of Roger Clemens. I would like him to be innocent. I would like to think he did all he has done out of toughness and stubbornness and a lively arm.
The Descent After the inept display by congress today I really don’t know. Clearly most of the committee have already made up their minds as to how they’re going to decide and proceed. Most of the questions weren’t fair and slanted in an ugly way.
Henry Waxman is the head of the committee. He was also my congressman for an incredible amount of years. I always thought of him as a Hollywood lobbyist. I voted for him because my unions recommended him. He was the kind of Congressman who sent you a survey at election time so you could tell him what he needed to be doing. It was multiple choice and there was no space to write anything down. You had to put your own stamp on it to mail it in, proof he wasn’t corrupt I guess.
Waxman did not behave very properly I thought. He didn’t keep things smooth and fair in a pursuit of the truth. He accepted things at face value and without a sense of fairness. He let cruel things be said to Clemens, cruel things that were not in pursuit of truth but sounded more like a punter who dropped a hundred bucks on a game Clemens pitched in.
I want Clemens to be drug free. I will be disappointed if he took drugs.
But I don’t think America will be a better or a worse place to live in no matter what he has done.

Opening Day . . . Nearly

Candy Pop by THFM
Click images for desktop size: “Candy Pop” by TFHM
The dogs woke me up too early this morning. A notorious cat had invaded the yard . . .
Couldn’t fall back to sleep until late hence over slept . . .
No particular dog has stepped forward to apologize.
Out Of The Past
Some fellow in France has done a little review of this site. The link is over on the link page. I only think its fair to link and counter link. Networks . . .
Anyway, the site is in French so I’m semi-baffled as to what he’s saying. I do note the names Ring Lardner and CLR James are in the paragraph. Even if he’s only saying that I’m no Ring Lardner or CLR James I’m very cool with that.
Maybe it has nothing to do with me at all. My French is pretty poor.
Anyway, the mention of CLR James and Lardner reminded me that Opening Day is less than a week away.
Yeah.
I love baseball. Not so much as a MLB fan but of the game itself.
It has become a world wide sport. I saw the Boston Red Sox play at the Surrey Oval in London. I was able to play in a well organized league in London.
Baseball is the one American sport that truly has become international. They’ve always signed Hispanic players and now they’re bringing in Asian players as well. I watched a Korean pitcher play in Triple A ball.
I resent my body for not letting em play anymore. It might be a matter of “The older I get the faster I was” but I think I was a pretty good player. Not Major League good, but good enough to love playing and good enough to enjoy having people watch me play.
I don’t make predictions on baseball games. The greatest teams lose 1 out of 3. The greatest batters lose more than half the time. Its what makes baseball more than a spectacle and a game that nourishes and allows heroes today to be the goats of tomorrow.
I once missed baseball so much that I got into cricket. Ball And Glove
Click images for desktop size: “Ball And Glove”
I followed the County teams in London. I enjoyed it and marveled at some of the players skills. Cricket taught me a lot about British society. Our worlds are mirrored in the games we play.
One thing I realized about baseball is that it has never produced any great books about the game. I mean there’ve ben great movies about players (“The Lou Gehrig Story”), great books written about teams and seasons, great articles written about some of the games, (my favorite baseball quote – “Watching him pitch was as easy as trying to buy a friendly drink for a whore” I’m not quite sure what it means which only likes me make it more), great works of fiction (“Bang The Drum Slowly”, “Ironweed”). But there’s never been a great book about the beauty of the game. Nothing that can compare to CLR James devastating treatises on cricket certainly. (“He who knows only cricket knows nothing of cricket”).
I can’t imagine why. Maybe its because the time spent in the stands or on the field Where Danger Lives allow for enough rumination that the thoughts we have become too personal, something that we can’t bear to share. Unlike cricket (where a match lasts 4 to 5 days) there isn’t enough time to think it through and let those personal thoughts graft onto our own imagined coda’s where we can distance ourselves to the point of being willing to share.
All I know is I love baseball, all the dreams its giving me, all the times it let me succeed and all the times it let me fail.
That kids in Singapore, in Greece, in Utah and in Chile all know what I’m talking about; that a pickup game in a sandlot is as important as a game in the play offs and that its been this way and always will be this way despite the scandals, despit the players, the game is bigger than them all.

And lest we forget this is the start of spring practice in football. USC has the Mark Sanchez (Gatorade Player of the year and my friends personal choice for Trojan of the year) vs Mitch Mustaine (8-0 for Arkansas as a freshman!!) battle to look forward to, the usual log jam of superb players at running back; the worries about the D-Line and the LB’s now that some all world players have moved on; the questions at WR and CB.
This really is a beautiful time of year . . . if the snow would finally melt.