Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Life Is So Existential
In the last twenty-four hours:
--Mervyn kicked the bucket. He no longer has a lovely bunch of coconuts. I never cared much for Merv but he was a piano player, a band singer, and a nightclub sensation at one time. I never thought Merv very talented; I mean, he made his fortune off game shows. But anyway, Mervyn is gone--his only child, his son, Tony, inherited the whole sheebang. Tony looked very happy today talking about his soon-to-be-forgotten father. So so long to Mervyn Griffin.

--And just today, the Scooter kicked the bucket, too. He was just a shade off 90, the same as my mother's sister, my hot aunt; she lived right up until the day before her ninetieth birthday she dropped dead--I mean her only son left--she had two--was preparing a big birthday bash for her--I'd just talked to her on the phone a few weeks earlier and though she was, yes, a little loopy, a little repetitive (aren't all elders), she was still spry of speech and still quick of mind. My cousin had the party anyway--they sat my aunt up in her favorite chair and had a toast and some cake and then the mortician took her off to file her death certificate in the coroner's office.

When I first came to New York City, the Scooter was the Yankee announcer--he and Bill White (former Saint Louis Cardinal first baseman--a .300 hitter--ending up with the Phillies I think) and a guy named Frank Messer were the Yankee announcers.

Back in '56, the Yankees were hot as pistols and on a run to win the American League. Phil Rizzuto, the Scooter because of the way he moved around at shortstop--he scooted every which'a way--and had first signed with the Yankees back in the late 30s. During WWII, Phil was a decorated hero who saw actual action. But in '56 when Phil was 39 and on his last legs as a player, the Yankee boss came to him one day and said, "Scooter, come here, I want you to go over this list of players with me. I want you to tell me which player you'd put on waivers if you were me" and on this list were names like Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Whitey Ford, all having great years, you know, and two or three others, all of them stars, and then Phil came across his name. He knew right then what the F-ing Yankees's management was doing--you see, they had bought Country Slaughter, from the Cards I think it was, so they needed a slot for him on the team--they were heading for the World Series, so they put Phil on waivers and he was hurt, too, really hurt, but, Phil was cool, he remained open-minded about it, to the point he turned down an offer to go to Baltimore saying nope he was a Yankee and couldn't be anything else so he retired and started running his and Yogi Berra's bowling alley "over the bridge" in Jersey (his final home--Phil was born in Brooklyn and was raised in Queens (Holy Cow!)). The Yankees went on to win the World Series--the one Don Larsen pitched the perfect game in. And then like a couple'a years later, the Yankees, making up to the Scooter, offered him the announcing job on teevee with Bill White and doing every other three innings with a guy named Frank Messer on the radio.

And when I came to New York City, every night on Channel 9, then a local independent channel now owned by the conglomerate that owns Universal Studios, there were Bill White and Phil doing the games from Yankee Stadium and then on the road, too. "Holy Cow!" became Phil's patented phrase.

I noticed where Meatloaf is making his third comeback try--Meatloaf loves failure--Howard Stern dug him out of mothballs right before his last comeback tour--now somebody else has bailed him out and he's doing another one of his horrid Bat Out of Hell tours where he screams his nonsense lyrics and disembowels his guitars at the same time--but anyway--Meatloaf's biggest hit was a hit because he used Phil Rizzuto's voice announcing on the record and then Phil saying "Holy Cow." It made Meatloaf rich enough to have his first Bat Out of Hell comeback tour--oh, he hadn't been anywhere yet--except maybe drunk and stoned at CBGB's behind a chicken wire fence.

Red Barber, a racist from the South who later repented of his racism because of Jackie Robinson, had been the Brooklyn Dodger announcer at first before going over to the Yankees where he worked with the famous Mel Allen, resented Phil getting that announcing job. Red thought baseball announcers should be men of letters, men of literature--Red liked to use big words and southern phrases like "He's sittin' high up in the catbird seat tonight"--that was Red's "Holy Cow"; much more sophisticated, don't you think?

It took Phil forever to get in the Hall of Fame--they finally put him in out of guilt for keeping him out for so many years. Peewee Reece got in before Phil and that hurt him because his record was as good as Peewee's, plus Phil was a better hitter, but they put Peewee in way ahead of Phil--hell, they even put Ozzie Smith in before the Scooter. But finally they put the Scooter in and all his dreams suddenly came true and then George Steinbrenner dumped him--well, they say Phil quit on his own, but I remember it--the fans didn't want him to quit but Steinbrenner did. Bill White went on to become president of the National League. Steinbrenner replaced the Scooter with Bobby Murcer (after White quit, Murcer joined Scooter and Frank Messer--then after the Scooter was dumped, I'm pretty sure Jim Kaat worked with Murcer).

Anyway, a lifted growler of ale in honor of the Scooter. So long to one of old baseball's old greats.

--And Karl Rove quit--bailed out of the ship of state like the wharf rat that he is--he's a weasel, too--look at his weasel face--going back to Texas to spend time with his family. Yeah, sure, Karl. We read that to mean you're gettin' off the hot seat--but don't worry, Karl, you're safe; you're immune from punishment for being a traitor. So so long, Karl--"Honey, I'm home." "That you, Georgie Porgie?" "Damn, bitch, it's me, Karl." "Who?"

--Pepsi and Coke admitted their bottled waters were just tap waters from various cities around the US of A. Coke also owns some of the Ganges River (don't the Indians piss, shit, bathe, and burn their dead in the Ganges?--isn't it filthy at Benares or whereever that sacred city is where millions of them come and bathe and piss and shit and die in the Holy Ganges--except Coke owns the Ganges further down the river, right before it empties into the Indian Ocean. I once worked for an ad agency that represented Pepsi Cola and I knew from the get-go that Aquafina was tap water--they run it through a filtering process--they used to shoot electric currents through tapwater and call it "electrified water."

Back in the good old days when our government regulated industries to keep them from screwing We the People, there was a Department of Agriculture regulation on bottled waters. You could call some of it "mineral water," those sulphur and artesian waters--with high mineral contents; then there were "spring waters," too, and those waters had to come from a legitmate producing spring--I saw the great Blue Spring in Arkansas as a kid and it amazed me--by Eureka Springs, up in that solid hillbilly and hayseed country--as it gushed forth thousands of gallons of cold, cold spring water every minute of every day; it was bottled as Eureka Water. Then there was Mountain Springs water from Hot Springs, Arkansas, a US city that is actually a National Park--when I was a kid, Hot Springs had gambling and horse racing--it was one of my parents's very favorite places to go on vacation and one summer in Hot Springs we met a couple from Chicago; my parents discovered later this guy was a pure-dee mob boss--they were jolly Italians and they sent my mom and dad a big jar of pistachio nuts every year at Xmas until one Xmas the nuts didn't come and my parents never heard from them again.

There was also "electrified water"--and that's where they shot a bolt of electricity into tapwater--the Culligan Man started as a bottled water company peddling electrified water--electrified water, which was softer water than the hard water coming from most city taps.

Mineral Wells, Texas, just northwest of Dallas-Fort Worth, was once a great Texas spa, with lots of hotels, especially the huge magnificent Baker Hotel (it had an Olympic-size swimming pool that was filled with spring water), since Mineral Wells was famous for its "healing" spring waters--human beings have always had legends of healing waters in their cultures--and one of the hotels was called the Crazy Water Hotel and it was the home of Crazy Water and Crazy Water Crystals--yep, crystallized Crazy Water spring water, like salts, which you tossed in a glass of regular water and shaaazam! you had Crazy Water and were healed. Crazy Water got so successful they had their own railroad rolling stock back in the heyday of the place--WWI on into the WWII era. Now the Baker Hotel is abandoned and some say haunted--unless it's been demolished by now. There's not even a trace of the Crazy Water Hotel left--except on old postcards--and in model railroading where a model of a Crazy Water wooden boxcar can make you some nice bucks.

--After bragging whole-hog or nothing about the Yankees in yesterday's post--they had just won one of the most exciting ballgames in the bottom of the ninth so far this year--and then, tonight! Holy Cow. Their starting pitcher, a Double A threat--he's a bum--started walking batters right and left, then he loads the bases--he walked three in a row--and Audrey Huff, ex-Tampa Bayite and formerly a star at the Angels or Oakland or somewhere--now with Baltimore--and Huff hadn't hit for shit this year but when he came up with the bases loaded the Yankees radio announcer said, "Carstens better be careful here, though Huff is having a bad year, he's still capable of hitting one out of here." In the next instant you hear the bat hitting the ball hard over the radio and sure enough, the son of a bitch hit a grand slam homerun and from there on it was Katie bar the door--and when I turned the game off, it was 8-zip Orioles--it ended up 12-zip--and this bum Who? Cabrera--Orioles pitcher--with a 5.40 ERA, totally put the whammy on the leading offence in MLB baseball, holding the Yanks hitless until Matsui got a single off of him around the bottom of the sixth.

So the Yanks have dropped 5 behind the BoSox (they beat the Devil Rays with a walk-off run in the ninth after the Tampa Bay starting pitcher held the BoSox to no runs) now--though they're still tied with Seattle for the wild card.

for The Daily Growler

Note: We here at The Daily Growler salute the one or two of you who seem to check us out every day--we appreciate your coming back--we've doubled our hits since April, which we thought was phenomenal but it turned out to be a "probably" not situation. Anyway, we appreciate you checking out our toil and trouble to put this out. Sometimes there ARE only ONE of US--sometimes myriads of us--sometimes it's all done with mirrors...so a growler of ale to all youse!

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