There comes a time in every epoch when pragmatism simply evolves into extreme acquiescence and surrender to the forces of apathy and do-nothingness, a guarantor of the status quo in all of its easy, democratic criminality--its fortress of greed.--TL Simons
My paternal grandmother lived to 105, but she was a saint. I don't think she ever "worked out," because people except for some--but not all-- athletes didn't do much of that years ago. I know she didn't sin in any form or fashion, however, which goes a long way.
It's odd though, judging by her cooking late in her life, she couldn't possibly have eaten well. She could cook a veggie until it was flat dead and devoid of any purpose other than filler.
I doubt if Babe Ruth ever worked out like Derek Jeter, for example.
My own Ma was pretty sedentary and she lived to 90, so there's the genetic/reasoned thing in a nutshell. She too was a teetotaler and god-fearing angel, however.
Reading up on my boss Jeff Bezos today, I came across this:
"A difference between A&P’s position then and Amazon’s now involves politics. At the cusp of the Great Depression, corner grocers and independent food wholesalers still had considerable political power in both of the major parties. In President Franklin Roosevelt, they also had a powerful defender. Roosevelt understood how A&P’s efficiencies and low prices made food accessible to impoverished Americans. Yet he was also concerned that A&P’s ravenous growth might cause hundreds or thousands of small merchants to fail, exacerbating the nation’s jobs crisis. Roosevelt therefore oversaw a divided approach that used regulation to assure small grocers of some price stability while also enabling A&P to sell low-cost food, although not as freely as it would have without regulation."
"From the Reagan presidency onward, the right succeeded remarkably. Large corporations perfected their lobbying power in Washington while small businesses like bookstores and corner grocers watched their political influence and their hold on the American imagination fade. The United States today presents a more bifurcated economic landscape of empowered, atomized, fickle, screen-tapping consumers and the globalized, often highly profitable corporations that aspire to serve them."
I was spooked by the zoo's rules at the Merle Haggard show tonight. Didn't take my Bloggie, a bad mistake.
The 77 year-old still has it.
The funniest thing the band did was play "Okie from Muskogee" as an instrumental as Haggard walked out to the stage.
That was the end of that, thence Merle started crooning. What I mean by crooning is phrasing things just right. Sending out the message and the truth.
No better crooner on his side of country, fer sure, unless it's Willie.
You could feel George Jones' presence, I swear.
One of the great ones, no doubt. His band was crackerjack, including his wife singing backup vocals and his son handling some guitar duties. Local tenor sax player Renato Caranto played fills and soloed like a jazz man crossing over with absolute clarity.
When I did my days at Jimmy Mak's 15 years ago, Caranto was always there playing with everybody. A fantastic sideman and arching soloist.
Haggard's arranger, nearly 50 years in Merle's camp, sat at the steel guitar and burned it.
A full house showed a lot of love for Merle under a beautiful blue sky. He appreciated it and responded.
A flawed as it is, be thankful for America's political system. Though crackpots can be found throughout, and our nights and days can be made worrisome by the threat of these yahoos' mere being, the worst of the worst usually have their comeuppance in our great, jingoistic land.
In the American grain,* it happened to the tyrant Joe McCarthy and the exquisite criminal, Nixon, to name two obvious bootblacks. Falling on one's own sword is a national team sport in good old America.
Even if they survive and thrive in powerful places, death takes them eventually anyway, the stench of their legacies evaporating over time. Goodbye Jim Crow. Hello Ted Cruz.
While folly always regenerates like a fluffle of rabbits, to the point where you simply must smile and thank the gods you'll one day be out of here, our duopoly beats neo-Nazism by a mile.
A man obsessed with world domination is never a good thing.
Things would be a whole lot worse right now if this guy had been able to hold on to real power like, say, Stalin before him (which is not to infer that a lot of little Stalins are not semi-revealed in the weeds), rather than be rotated out by the rabble of corporatists fighting among themselves.
The next tyrant may be worse, but for now give thanks that this one is a mere shadow of his former self.
I hope avid soccer fans out there don't take my soccer ramblings too seriously.
I'm just messin' around, makin' occasional silly comments about a silly game.
In fact I think most games are silly, with perhaps a few exceptions.
Chess, if you are as bad at it as I am, can torment a man. There is nothing silly about the feeling of humiliation that strikes after you've been mated in three moves by a guy who has just polished off a fifth of rum at the bar and has never heard of Marcel Duchamp.
This has never happened to me, but only because I refuse to play that guy, a natural nemesis.
Bull and bronco riders in rodeos play a serious game. There's nothing silly about a beast trying to throw you off and then stomp on your head. Rodeo riding is serious business.
Fighters in any ring are pretty serious. Trying to knock out another person isn't silly. I've seen two fighters die in the ring simply by watching fighting on a casual level.
Auto racing is serious, but it is inane. That makes it quite silly in my book, even though many drivers have lost their lives in the game.
Baseball is another very serious game, which may surprise you to hear. Something about a 95 mph fastball coming at your head is darn serious to me. I always figured my reflexes were too slow to get out of the way if I tried to dig in at the plate, so I had a tendency to bail out.
In my entire 10-year amateur baseball career I never once got beaned, but I had a great fear of it happening. I think the fear stunted my growth. I was so frightened of the baseball that I didn't think to read philosophy and poetry until after my playing days were over.
Of course, during my time in the game I languished on the bench next to the coach because of my cowardice. I learned to read coaches pretty well that way. I could tell when a coach was thinking about putting me in the game. That was generally a good time to go get a drink of water or go to the bathroom, disappear.
I was a third baseman, all field no hit. I had no arm either for that matter. I hated the long throw to first. I was good at snagging grounders and charging bunts, but that is all.
I think all the games I've mentioned can make you look bad and feel humiliated, which makes them serious.
Everything else is just silly, even my beloved American football. But soccer is sillier yet.
Of course not even soccer is the silliest game in the world. That honor goes to golf. I'm of the mind that we ought to take every golf course in the land and turn them all into homeless camps.
Still wouldn't be enough land involved to eradicate the homeless problem, but the upside is obvious. We wouldn't have to see people clad in golf apparel any more.
"Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently stated that air strikes and drones should be used once again on Iraq to stem recent gains by extremists in that country. Mr. Blair is oblivious of the responsibility he shares with former U.S. president George W. Bush on account of one of the most serious breaches of international law in recent times. The prosecution of Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush, along the lines of similar trials conducted in Argentina, Chile and Peru, is the only fitting response to such careless remarks."
Brazil had so many opportunities to score without doing so versus Mexico today that I became bored with the match.
Ochoa, the Mexican goalie, was brilliant, if you call having your face smashed repeatedly by the soccer ball from five feet brilliant.
Hey, Neymar, Fred, Oscar, the rest of you jokers--I have an idea for you. Use some cunning from here on out. Quit blasting the little round ball right at the goalie. It was pretty obvious to me that Ochoa's pain threshold was off the charts.
No matter how you battered and abused him, he kept coming back for more. Did you think he was going to flinch--in the World Cup?
Throw up his hands and cry, "No mas, Tio! No mas, por favor!"
Listen guys, I know it happens fast. The game is complex. I'm a futbol aficionado, have been since the first time I kicked the little round ball in P.E. back in 8th grade and scored against Donna Bean (my only score with her in a long career of caring).
Your speed and overall futbol expertise are wonderful. You're the best I've seen.
Use your damn brains next time. Move the ball a couple of feet either direction. Make the goalie work. Make him have to dive or otherwise show his cat-like reflexes.
Here's the awful truth, Brazil. For a bunch of idols you looked like crap out there today. You let a team with clearly inferior talent hang around.
Then, but for the sterling play of your own goalie, you almost let Mexico score late!
From here it looks like you guys are having a hard time. Perhaps fewer caipirinhas nightly and a little bed rest would do you good?
Oh, did I neglect to mention the score--0-0?
This has been the RBP World Cup Occasional Bog reporting, live from a feverish nightmare wherein I'm wearing Ochoa's shoes and definitely feeling the goalie's anxiety at the penalty kick.*
Don't know whether to believe the weather man, but I hope he's right. Got the Merle Haggard show coming to the Zoo on Saturday night.
No rain! No rain!
Done enough of that today, and big hailstones, too. Some of the loudest, longest, rumbling thunder I've heard in a while.
The hail briefly achieved near-whiteout levels.
Spring better get on outta here, I'd say. It's time for summer.
Sad to hear of Tony Gwynn's passing this morning. He was only 54, one of baseball's greatest hitters ever.
Like Ted Williams, another pretty good hitter, he grew up in Southern California. Williams, who played for the San Diego Padres when they were in the Pacific Coast League before moving up to the Red Sox for 19 seasons, was born and raised in San Diego. He also lost four seasons to World War II.
Gwynn, born and raised in the L.A. area, chose San Diego State to play his college baseball and followed up with a 20-year career with the Padres of the National League.
Upon retiring he became coach of his alma mater.
Williams and Gwynn had more than a few things in common then. Their SoCal and San Diego roots, painterly swings, long careers with a single team, and stellar lifetime batting averages for sure. They had a little mutual respect for each other as well, each appreciative of the other's skill at the plate.
Gwynn was one of those baseball types that grew a little rotund as he chowed down with the MLB meal per diem, which is generous. Williams remained tall and lanky his whole career.
Williams had better power to go along with his record hitting streak, earning 500 home-run-club-status.
Gwynn yarded it around 130 times. Not bad, but not to Williams' level.
Williams was special, but Gwynn was up there, too.
Slice of 8" Kangaroo flatbread
1 tbsp pizza sauce
10 slices pepperoni (or favorite meat)
2 sliced mushrooms (favorite variety)
1/4 cup blended cheeses (be sure it includes mozzarella)
Diced onion (to taste)
Sliced black olives (to taste)
While heating the flatbread over medium heat in a lightly oiled pan slather it with the pizza sauce. Evenly distribute the pepperoni, mushroom slices, olives and onion atop the sauce, cover with the cheese blend.
Heat until cheese is melted and the flatbread is crisp and brown on the bottom.
Cost of ingredients=$1.00.
Satisfaction level=infinite. I could have eaten two.
Be careful not to eat all of your ingredients before the pie is ready. I'm out of olives and low on pepperoni because I stole from my pizza-ingredients stash as the pie cooked. Like that extra beer or toke, it's a bad compulsion and can ruin the budget.
Okay, I've seen what I wanted to see today. A massacre.
I wanted to see a perfectly-struck header by Holland's Robbie van Persie planted in the back of the goal at 44' like a bullet to the heart of Pim Fortuyn.
I wanted to see Kiko Alonso's cousin Xabi Alonso score a goal for Espana at 22'.
And now Holland leads 5-1. How did Spain get into this tourney anyway?
This game has the distinction of having some of the most diverse goals I've ever seen. Robbie van Persie's flying long-range header/masterpiece, and a left-footer from six inches by Stefan de Vrij, and then van Persie again, beating the goalie in a ball skirmish in front of the box.
Holland ball hog Arjen Robben refused to pass to an open teammate in front of the goal, greedily took the shot himself and scored.
My, my, such goalie abuse ought to be illegal, though the poor Spaniard just made two great saves at 86'.
What a massacre! Espana quit!
Earlier today, Mexico clobbered Cameroon 1-0. Unfortunately, I missed it as I was picking dust mites off my body all morning and couldn't find a comfortable position at my desk. But here I am, recovered from the ordeal, watching futbol.
We're in stoppage time.
The Orange were relentless today. Was this one of the biggest slaughters in WC history, or what?
I watched the Dutch broadcast. Didn't understand a word.
The RBP World Cup Occasional Blog is out of here for now. See you next time, live from my mite box in Portland, Oregon.
Takeaways from the first half of the opening game of the 2014 World Cup. It's 1-1 in Sao Paulo.
Brazil in their classic yellow jerseys and blue shorts. Croatia a checkerboard of red and white. But as if to mock the Brazilians some of the Croats are wearing blue leggings and yellow shoes!!
It all makes for a shock of color. The new stadium in SP has nice grass, surprisingly, since like all the stadiums for this Cup it is unfinished.
Rumor has it that a couple of the new fields are unplayable. They'll play anyway.
Brazil fell behind early on a breakaway in which the Croat dribbling the length of the pitch looked like Usain Bolt. Another Croat filled nicely and when the perfect ball came his way he struck it in stride and beat the goalie. It looked too easy.
All of Brazil began to mourn, being fatalistic. The government ordered a suicide watch nationwide.
Brazil is flashy, oozing talent. Croatia is more workman-like. I'm already rooting for the Croats.
A pair of Englishmen are announcing on my stream, and they're maintaining a nice neutrality.
A goal by Neymar Jr., Brazil's best player, tied it. Neymar Jr. has the distinction of being the fastest player ever to 30 goals in national team play, beating out Ronaldo and Messi.
The crowd is pensive, waiting for a celebration say the announcers.
Pensive is not a word American announcers would use in describing a crowd at an American football game.
Brazil has a guy who looks like the late Blazer Maurice Lucas. Could be his doppelganger. Croatia has several players who look like the late Blazer Drazen Petrovic.
The first controversy of the WC. A bogus yellow card drawn on the Croats! A massive NBA-like flop sold to the Japanese ref.
Take it to the superintendent.
Neymar Jr. takes the penalty kick...and scores.
If I know futbol this game is over. Brazil 2, Croatia 1. Brazil is good, but the Croats were robbed.
A late Brazil goal to rub it in. Oscar! No hat trick for the amazing Neymar Jr.
This is the Round Bend Press World Cup Occasional Blog, signing off for now.
I ordered a proof of my baseball book this morning.
Gotta have it. Errors always stick out once the baby is in your arms, any deformities become obvious. I'm only slightly worried about the cover.
I know the image of Vaughn Street Park won't be crystal clear and I expect a little distortion. I reserve the right to do it my way as a form of artistic expression, but I can't tell until I see it if I'll like it.
It reads okay, not great. Biggest thing is it isn't comprehensive. How could it be at 128 pages with photos? Moves right along, though. A quick and informative read, perhaps best for those who know nothing about Portland's baseball past.
The old-timers, were they to read it, might take issue in places, but what the hay...
Photo: Player/manager of the East Portland Pioneers, an amateur team sponsored by the J.W. Cook Co. in 1866. In 1883, Buchtel founded the Portland Willamettes, the first semi-professional team in Portland.
This book is partially sourced from a six-part series I wrote for the monthly Northwest Neighbor newspaper in 1980. At the time, I delved into the archives of the now defunct Oregon Journal and The Oregonian, reading everything I could find about the early days of baseball in Portland in the microfiche files at Portland’s Multnomah County Central Library. The reading repeatedly brought me to the work of legendary Portland sportswriter L.H. Gregory (1885-1975), whose long career included stints at both newspapers and many years as sports editor and columnist at The Oregonian. No other writer in Portland had his depth of knowledge, perspective or experience covering baseball in Portland at the time of his death. His reminiscences and game stories provide the bulk of the information in this narrative. The few quotes contained herein, with a couple of exceptions, are gleaned from his articles and are duly noted in the text.
Throughout, readers will discover that I have placed thoughts and possible motives for such thoughts in the minds of several focal characters, as well as in the minds of the fans. I do so unapologetically in the interest of creating something expressly more historical than a mere list of events and the common over-reliance on names and dates that is the bane of historicism. Wherever possible, I attempt to fit such material into the context of both the game of baseball and the timeline involved in the story. The level of success I achieved in this endeavor is yours to decide.
For source material beyond 1980, I have also consulted some of my friend Buddy Dooley’s scribbling about baseball in Portland, most notably his 2010 essay “Henry Aaron” (from People, Polemics & Pooh-Pah: Notes from Under the Bar) regarding David Hersh’s purchase of the Beavers. Though no L.H. Gregory, Dooley once had a keen interest in the game. His account of the Hersh years rings true—if somewhat cynical—so I've used him. I've adapted Dooley’s facile anecdote about once meeting Aaron from his essay as well.
In addition, I've used online material liberally throughout the text. I can say only that I wish the Internet had been around when I wrote my series long ago. Scholarly historians—and I happen to be a history graduate of Portland State University, so I can verify this—rightfully scorn Wikipedia. The most obvious reason is because the online source is often flawed, or plain wrong. In my research, comparing people and dates attached to my 1980 effort with those I found at Wikipedia and other online sources, there were indeed discrepancies. I have smoothed these over to the best of my ability by assuming that my own original primary-source research trumps the Wiki guys,' though I did find instances wherein I was plausibly wrong. I only hope that someone who was around in 1903 doesn't see a mistake I have made and chastise me from the grave.
You as readers are of course free to do that at any time before we all go to baseball heaven.
One final note: The italicized material that I've used to introduce each of the book’s chapters is grazed from an article I published in 1979 prior to beginning my original research. I include it here in a hopeful attempt to give the text extra breadth.
"Those who will say that the US should have left troops in Iraq do not say how that could have happened. The Iraqi parliament voted against it. There was never any prospect in 2011 of the vote going any other way. Because the US occupation of Iraq was horrible for Iraqis and they resented it. Should the Obama administration have re-invaded and treated the Iraqi parliament the way Gen. Bonaparte treated the French one?"
If my eyes and ears are not deceiving me, I don't think many Americans who say the "US should have left troops in Iraq" are real concerned with the feelings of the Iraqi parliament. They're saying the US should own the place because so many Americans died there. In other words, they haven't any more concern for the opinions of the "ragheads" today than they did 11 years ago when Bush started his dearly private and bitterly public war. They are of course wrong, but no matter; their ignorance marches on. By the same token, most of these people would not understand the reference to Gen. Bonaparte in the good professor's essay. Though they might recognize the name, few would appreciate the reference in the context of French historicism. These people don't even understand U.S. history--to expect them to grasp the complexities of the French Revolution and its aftermath is absurd!
Kickin' this around for a cover. The picture resolution is low, but I think it works because the story is kind of fuzzy in my mind anyway. It is merely a suggestion, then, that baseball was once played in Portland, Oregon before soccer took over.
Even at that the resolution is higher than my old batting average.
Hmm...I see that I might give better balance to the titles.
"Last year up to a million people demonstrated across Brazil: protesting the vast expense of the World Cup, calling for better public services and an end to corruption. On June 3rd, the police were accused of heavy handedness as protestors gathered outside the World Cup Stadium in Goiania, during a friendly football match between Brazil and Panama. The demonstrators condemn the 15 billion dollars spent on the tournament which could have gone towards social services and improving living standards for the poor of Brazil. It's the latest in a long line of demonstrations."
(MLB Hall of Fame Catcher Mickey Cochrane was a Beaver)
I finished the first draft of my baseball history (Portland) today. Polishing along the way, I now need to go into full-on edit mode, which is hard for me.
Inevitably, I miss stuff. It helps to write to the 6x9 format from the onset, however, with title page, copyright page, the whole ball of unrelenting literary beauty. Takes a lot of the grunt work out of the ordeal after the initial setup.
That's a little trick I learned from Charlie Deemer. In my case, it helps set my books in stone, otherwise I might not finish them. You see, I wasn't smart enough to think of it myself. When I started Round Bend Press Books I didn't know how to format pages in Word or any other program.
Hell, I'm still winging it.
The book comes in at just under 100 pages without photos. I'll use as many as I can find. Checked out the Oregon Historical Society this morning, which had a lot of good stuff, but alas their prices are out of my league.
My first sustained writing project in a year. I think it has turned out swell.
Maybe ya'll buy a copy when I release it later in the month? Save your pennies! Wait for it...
"As the United States slips from its status as the globe's number one economic power, small numbers of Americans continue to amass staggering amounts of wealth, while simultaneously inequality trends toward historic levels. At what appears to be a critical juncture in our history and the history of inequality in this country, here are nine questions we need to ask about who we are and what will become of us. Let's start with a French economist who has emerged as an important voice on what’s happening in America today."
OSU plays Cal Irvine tonight in a big game, with the winner advancing to the Super Regional to play Okie State.
Not ordinarily a college baseball fan, but this time of the year can be darn exciting. I still recall watching the College World Series when the Beavers won back-to-back NCAA titles, 2006-7. Pretty amazing.
For their part, the Ducks are out of it. They had unfortunate injuries to their 1 & 2 pitchers to start the season. It was an uphill battle. Good college pitchers are hard to find because so many of them sign early into the professional game.
Update: Dang, the Beavs lost. Number one seed going in, shows you how hard it is to get to the CWS. A lot of people think this team was every bit as good as the 2006-07 champions.
Baseball is a hot and cold game, every series is a mini-season wrapped in a longer season. Cal Irvine got hot, OSU cooled. Oh well...
I'm about at the end of my rewrite of the original Portland baseball history I published in 1980. I have a couple of related essays to incorporate, then I'll have to focus on Merritt Paulson, the young heir to his father's Goldman-Sachs legacy.
You know, the Bush family's lapdog. Or was it the other way around?
He's the nephew of Pat Paulsen, the one-time perennial presidential candidate (I kid).
I've added a segment about Multnomah Stadium to my baseball history. I'll probably use this photo in the book.
The Beavers played here from 1956 onward, after the sale and razing of Vaughn Street Park.
This picture was taken in 1926 as the Multnomah Athletic Club expanded its original (1893) sports field on land leased in the Tanner Creek Gulch neighborhood adjacent to Goose Hollow. This was a huge, privately funded project. It brought the seating capacity high enough to make major-college football an annual event in Portland for decades.
The Oregon Ducks (Webfoots) and Washington Huskies clashed here often.
In 1931, the Oregon Legislature legalized parimutuel betting in Oregon and the Multnomah Kennel Club started a regular program of greyhound racing at the stadium, which lasted until the Beavers moved in and the dog racing moved to Portland Meadows.
Multnomah Stadium became Civic Stadium when the city of Portland purchased it in 1966 for 2 million smackaroos. In order, it has subsequently been renamed, in the indiscreet art of corporate advertising, PGE Park, Jeld-Wen Field, and Providence Park.
Here is what has happened. PGE was purchased by Enron and ripped off many Portland retirees. Jeld-Wen is in bankruptcy. Providence is a major HMO that rips off health consumers, which begs the question: How do you like it that your health is a commodity?
Tonight, the Portland Timbers are warming up in the stadium for their futbol match with Vancouver. I can hear the 20K-plus futbol-crazed crowd, already chanting.
Portland remains a minor-league town, despite what is sold.
The Timbers wear the name "Alaska Airlines" on their jerseys, like that'll make them as good as a Euro team--or in some of our eyes, a joke.
For more on the history of, er, Providence Park, read this. Be sure to read up on the time Elvis performed there. It's quite rock 'n'roll.
Terry Simons is the founder of Round Bend Press Books, Round Bend Press Detritus, and an associated writing/editing service to aid and abet renegade authors. He has worked as a day laborer, dishwasher, factory drone, community organizer, journalist, media consultant and freelance writer. He attended the University of Oregon and Portland State University, where he read journalism, politics, literature and history. He is the author most recently of "Along Came the Death Squad: Political and Scattered Notes."
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