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What my musings are all about...

Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.

The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.

The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Warriors' Third Championship and etc

That Steve Kerr continues to emphasize JOY proves to me once again how completely he understands the condition of today's NBA. The 84 game season is too long and too grueling to be won simply by loading up great players. Or by having a stalwart defense; or by possessing a fearsome offense; or by X's and O's, or creative match-ups, or game day strategies, or successful practices, or luck, although all these obviously figure into a winning equation. But to win it all, the ring and the glory, in today's game, a team must possess an intangible. For Coach Kerr, this is JOY. What other coaches decide is the intangible that best fits their team, they must make that determination for themselves. But there can not fail to be one. Because, finally, basketball is the quintessential "touchy, feely" team sport. It's a form of modern dance; it's Isadora Duncan at her instinctive best. So, JOY make so much sense to me. It's what ever kid who loves basketball takes with him to the playground and returns home with him from the playground, the ball tucked under his arm, joy in his heart.

As the first game of the 2017/18 NBA season approaches, I'm with Coach Kerr all the way with his JOY for the game, for his players, and the JOY his players will give back to him with another RING.

At the top of page 7 of the Sacramento Bee sports section: a color photograph of Hertha Berlin soccer players taking a knee before their German Bundesliga (that's the top pro league in Germany) match in solidarity with their NFL brothers in sports. "We're no longer living in the 18th century but in the 21st century," Herta defender Sebastian Langkamp told Sky TV at half-time. "There are some people, (think Trump and Pence) however, who are not that far ideologically yet. if we [his team] can give some lessons there with that then that's good."

In the photograph there are seven players kneeling. Except for one black player, the rest are white. Are you paying attention WHITE NFL players? Are you at all embarrassed to be schooled by German soccer players?

In honor of baseball playoffs, though I rarely watch.

Pastime   by Emilio De Grazia

A girl nine years of wonder
Still on her face,
Stands directly on the bag at third
Running amazed fingers along the wrinkles
Of my old leather mitt.
It is the bottom of the ninth,
And everywhere in the world
The bases are loaded.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Enough Already with the ScruffyAss Beards.

I've nothing against a nicely trimmed beard, but what's with the bug filled nests some professional athletes are allowing to envelop their jaws. Will their wives even kiss them? Would any sane person let those beards near their faces? Yuk! Double Yuk! my wife, Melanie, adds.

That said, I'm proposing a contest for the ugliest, most scruffy, beard in pro sports. The winner will receive the President Rutherford B Hayes Award. I would have picked James Garfield whose beard was longer, but he got assassinated, and I don't want to imply any desire on my part for the futured departure of the candidates. My picks for the RBH Award are the following:

NBA James Harden - Houston Rockets

MBL Dalles Keachel - Houston Astros

NFL Eric Weddle - LA (really, another LA team) Chargers

NHL Joe Thorton - San Jose Sharks

STARTERS (nba talk show commentator) Trey Kerby.

Comment on your choice or add your picks. 

On another subject. Our so called president (he doesn't deserve a capital p) is trying to force NFL owners into firing players who kneel during the playing of the National Anthem as a way of protesting their belief that police forces discriminate against African American males. The protest is not about dishonoring the flag, donald, can't you get that through your weeny brain.. Americans have been protesting successfully since we protested mightily against the King of England and won our Independence. I'm reasonably certain King George thought we were dishonoring the British Flag. Hell, we didn't just kneel, we burned that flag and threw their damn tea into the drink. And, finally, we shot their soldiers and wrote our Constitution that allows for peaceful protest.

Anyway, I've long given up on the idea the Trump has ever read our Constitution, let alone a synopsis of it, to worry about such stupidity. Didn't his own Secretary of State call him a moron?

Anyway, twice said, it seems clear that in the future there will be a great deal of pressure applied to the black members of the NFL teams by owners and NFL officials. It is time, high time, more  than high time, for the white players on each of the NFL teams, no matter what their stance is toward the flag, to support their black brothers and take a knee. They don't have to kneel for the entire time of the playing, a half would be symbolic enough to tell Donald Trump to stuff his intimidation where the sun doesn't shine. And they don't have to do it for all the games. But they must do it once, all at once, as a show of solidarity, for team unity, for team friendship, for team loyalty, for team humanity.

I commented recently that Melania Trump rarely smiles and never looks happy. My wife's response was something she heard from an aunt long ago, "No women works harder for a living than one who marries for money." I get it.

Beard Poem  by Tom Meschery

What are you hiding
in that mess? A kernel
of something in the future
you can eat, like squirrels
or rodents that escape
the nightly owls's winged 
prowl do for when winter
comes, kept cozy
in your furry jaw-line purse
for after those bountiful
seasons end, and you
in all your glory, will join
your bearded brothers 
signing on street corners.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

It's the Mind Set

Or an earlier generation would say, a Raised Conciseness. What am I referring to? Until sports pages decision makers begin to understand that winning the WNBA Championship is far more significant than reading about why Frank Gore is not bitter towards the 49ers, these men (or woman?) will be stuck forever in a Male First Mind Set.

Congrats to the Minnesota  Lynx on winning the WNBA Championship. That's four titles in seven years. WhooWa! Are there any male sports team recently who have been this accomplished?

Did any basketball player in our country (or any civilian for that matter) get upset watching tone deaf Donald Trump shooting rolls of paper-towels to his audience of Puerto Ricans who are suffering for lack of clean drinking water and the necessities to make a decent meal?  Is Trump now the captain of the Knucklehead team? The Insensitive Team? The Rex Tillerson Moron Team?

Why the heck are the LA Lakers being featured so often during preseason in prime time and the Warriors, NBA Champs for two out of three years, relegated to 11 pm PST?? Or not at all? Can Alonzo Ball turn on the NBA that frigging much? He still can't shoot the jumper with anybody in his face. Okay, he's got tremendous assist instincts. But we'll see who he can guard once the season starts.

Holy Makeover, the Cavs, without Kyrie, are an improved team with one caveat. As long as Wade and Rose stay healthy - Rose because he's prone to injury and Wade because he's old and been through the wars.

Got to love it when pitchers get big hits. Right on Archie Bradley of the Diamondbacks for the huge triple in the 7th inning. It woke me out of a deep sleep. Sorry baseball fans.

Do I hate the new NBA All-Star selection rules. Yes and No. Yes, because I hated the last ones, allowing the selection to become a fan contest. No, because it reminds me so much of the playgrounds - two guys, always the best two on the court, picking players. Remember the last two youngsters waiting patiently to be picked, trying not to look embarrassed. Which two NBA player are going to be the LAST TWO in this incarnation?  Embarrassing????

The following is one of the funniest and saddest poems about sport/life I've read in a long time. That Louisville the basketball NCAA Cheater is referenced is pure luck.

Louisville Feared in Mideast    By Steven Bryan Bieler

     after a newspaper headline

You can't buy baseball bats in Israel.
You can't bring them in, either
(The batting gloves tucked in your belt give you away.)
God forbid you could poke somebody's eye out
Louisville feared in Mideast

You can't make crime pay in Egypt
Egyptian justice will track you down
You cell has no windows, no telephone, no Reader's Digest
They turn on the TV
NCAA basketball playoffs
Louisville feared in Mideast

You can't predict the price of oil
With the tools of supply and demand
The Arab oil ministers use their own tools
"And in today's results
Chiropractor ran last in the fourth
While Stormin' Norman failed to show."
Louisville feared in Mideast

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Hoyer is Right. Listen Up, Dividers.

Brian Hoyer, 49er's starting QB is spot on when he says the President should be influenced by what a sports team offers by way of justice, unity, and equality. Having never participated on a team, other than, perhaps, some lily white rich kids preppy school junior varsity, what does he know about about sports, let alone diversity. Has Trump ever followed the advice of Atticus Finch to his daughter, Scout in Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mocking Bird, and walked in someone else' shoes but his own? Never. Otherwise, he would not be speaking about NFL players the way he is.

Being an immigrant to the United States, arriving on these welcoming shores after the Second World War, and having taken an oath of loyalty when I was 16 years old and becoming a naturalized citizen, I honor the symbol of our flag. But I can not honor it when it acts as a symbol for false patriotism and promotes animosity between our races. Like Brian Hoyer, I have experienced the broad ethnic, cultural, and religious differences that co-exist in harmony in sports locker rooms. Even though my instinct would be to stand for our National Anthem, given my absolute distaste for and horror of our President, these days I'd surely be on my knees in solidarity with my black brothers.

I found it surprising and touching watching Jerry Jones, owner of the Cowboys, his sons, and team officials, kneeling first, then standing with locked arms during the playing of the National Anthem. Jones supported Trump's election, but would not let that interfere with him being one with all the members of his team. His Team, Not Donald Trump's team. His solution may be the best one that satisfies both patriotism and the rights of all people to protest injustice:

Front page of this morning's Chronicle: the Warriors, the Most Hated Team. What in the hell is going on. Have we sunk that low in our country that because a team wins championships and rejects the White House, now they are HATED? Hate is a hell of a loaded word. I can think of a lot of groups to hate: Klu Klux Klan, Aryan Brotherhood, Nazi, White Supremists, and White Nationalists, for example. Hate a sport's team?? I hate David Duke. Anybody got a problem with that can see me any time any place. At 79 years old, I can kick any racists' ass without breaking a sweat. Okay, a slight exaggeration, but I'd definitely give it a try. Maybe with Draymond Green's help??

Last night I was on the phone with an old friend, retired Supreme Court Justice for the state of Washington, Don Horowitz. We've always been big talkers, able to spend hours on the phone yakking about all sorts of interesting, diverse topics. Last night, it seemed most of our conversation was about the Evil in the White House. This is what's happening all over America, the Beautiful.The donald, has usurped our peace of mind. He has made narcissistic self the focus of our troubled thoughts. I resent this Fake President terribly for so intruding on my life that I can't have a peaceful chat with an old friend, that every day since he's been in office, his name and image dictates the national conversation. An not for the good. History is going to treat this man very badly. His legacy will be a stain on our Republic.

In honor of Ken Burn's marvelous, revealing series about the Vietnam War, here's a Haiku I wrote about Mohammed Ali


Heavyweight title lost
   His stand against the Vietnam War
A butterfly's death

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Fake President

After what our fake president said about our NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem, I think it would be fitting this Sunday that all the black athletes kneel in protest. Just for one game, that would be enough. And it would show terrific solidarity if all the white guys joined in.

Who does this lily white, privileged, born with a silver spoon in his mouth think he is? He is certainly not an athlete. Athletes have courage and show respect for each other.

As for the NFL owners, they should get on board and stand up with their black players, who work so hard to make their teams financially successful. And people all over the country should stand up and send letters to their Congressmen and women and Senators objecting to such behavior and language coming out of the White House. Such low class by a President of this wonderful country of ours. Shame, shame!

Roger the Dodger's NFL response to Trump was weeny. NFL owners, you got what you paid for. (Anybody interested, check the web to see how much $ the NFL owners contributed to the Trump campaign.) Now you owners must live with this fool. But the players don't have to, and shouldn't. I'd love to see what happens to your investments if the black players pulled out and formed their own league - all owners' worst nightmare. 

Hurrah for the Golden State Warriors for rejecting the White House. Hurrah for LeBron James for standing up for his rivals, the Warriors. LeBron, you showed some real class.

Our country is in a standoff with the Korean madman, (Truly serious stuff going on, like mushroom clouds and Chernobyl type fallout drifting our way) and our madman is wasting time criticizing a few athletes. Give me a f--king break!

Oh, beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain.
America, America!
Why're you suffering such pain? 

America, God shed his grace on thee
And crown they good with brotherhood
And sisterhood of all our rainbow colors
From sea to shining sea.