Monday, October 24, 2011
Existing in New York City: the World Series Going On While the World's in Serious Trouble
Foto by tgw, New York City 2011
For a private reason I'm watching the World Series this year. So far, in terms of baseball, I've enjoyed it. Two good managers, Ron Washington and Tony LaRusso. Ron Washington is a New Orleans native who was a shortstop with the Minnesota Twins back in the 80s--Ron admitted to using cocaine last year--so I'm new to him, though he's now taken the Rangers to the World Series two seasons in a row (they lost to the SF Giants last year). I've been aware of Tony LaRusso for many years now. When he was at Oakland, I couldn't stand him; he played Billy Ball out there--and then when he went to the Cardinals, I said good riddance and thought I'd never have to worry about him again--me being a dyed-in-the-wool American League aficianado since my youth. I didn't start as a Yankee fan. First I was a Philadelphia Athletics fan. I loved Connie Mack. But the Athletics during my youth were losers, Connie Mack being notorious for building up a championship team and then selling it off the next season to make money. I grew up with an older friend, his father called him Chinky, his name was Charles, who was an absolute Cardinals adorer. When we played kid baseball in his backyard (with a Spall-Ding and a miniature souvenir bat Chinky had gotten at a Fort Worth Cats game), he was always the Cardinals and I was always the Athletics--though Chinky tried to teach me that if I insisted on being an American League fan, I should drop the worthless Athletics and become a Yankees fan. Because of Chinky, that's exactly what I did: I dropped the Athletics and became a Yankees fan--and was a true Yankees fan up until George "Alzheimer's Poster Boy" Steinbrenner and his lucky general manager (really one of the worst in baseball) and his worthless son, Hank, trick-bagged Joe Torre, insulted him, told him if he stayed on he'd have to take a big cut in salary--Joe one of the greatest, if not the greatest, manager in baseball at the time. But, you see, George couldn't stand losers dammit and for the first time in many years, Joe and the Yankees lost to Cleveland in the seventh game of the AL Playoff game--Manny Rivera blowing the save--and the Yankees didn't make it to the World Series. Poor Joe. That year had been a tough one for him--especially after he was saddled with a bunch of old has-beens--like over-the-hill Johnny Damon and long-in-the-tooth Randy Johnson and finally steroid-loaded Roger Clemens--plus, Joe was also saddled with a bunch of Double-A ball pitchers, like Jabo Chamberlain (what happened to him?) and Phil Hughes--but don't get me started on that--besides, Joe's retired now and is living comfortably over in the New Jersey woods.
But, like I said, for private reasons, involving a woman I truly dig, I have watched every game of this year's World Series--and, believe it or not, though I like Ron Washington as a manager, I'm rooting for the Cardinals.
All us true baseball fans know it's all about pitching--steady pitching. Scoring is up to the hitters and so far, as is usual, these games have had both excellent and not-so-excellent-at-all pitching. Pitchers adjust after terrible outings and one way they adjust is by watching films of their games and seeing exactly where they made mistakes pitching to the opposing batters. Saturday night, the Cardinals totally clobbered the Rangers. Alfred Pujols, who there's no doubt is the best all-round hitter in baseball, hit three home runs in that game that ended 16-7 Cardinals trouncing of the Rangers. In the next two games (including tonight's), the Ranger pitchers figured Pujols out and he's gone 0-8, striking out tonight in the 9th inning with the tying run on base. The Cardinals were badly managed tonight--I mean, they left 13 or 14 dudes on base, their big hitters unable to come through--the Rangers turning awesome on them and taking a 3-2 lead in the Series as they go back to Saint Louis and have the sixth game--do or die for the Cards--Wednesday night (which is actually now, tomorrow night).
And oh how time doth fly.
What I've noticed watching the Series that has struck me as odd is the fact that neither of these teams has a Black star on it--they are both Latino-White teams--of course, I know, a lot of those Latinos, especially the Dominican Republicans, are really Blacks, but in the White man's baseball categorizing, they are considered Latins. The only Blacks on the Texans, for instance, are ancient bullpen ace, Don Oliver, and another ancient bullpenner, Arthur Rhodes. On the Cardinals? I swear, I didn't see one Black--that is, unless you consider all those Latinos Blacks.
I hate the Texas Rangers with a passion because of their total respect for that little asshole, G.W. Bush. I mean that killer creep threw out the first ball in Sunday night's game and he and Pickles have been there right behind home plate in the good seats with Nelson Ryan, who is now the Rangers's CEO.
Another curious thing I'm finding in baseball today is how when the seventh-inning stretch rolls around and they used to sing or play "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," they now play or have a soloist sing "God Bless America," all done up with military geeks standing at attention and American flags proudly waving about--and I'm wondering, what the hell does the military and some geeky man in a military uniform singing "God Bless America" have to do with baseball? Could it be millionaire baseball owners and their millionaire wives and sons and daughters and all the millionaire players (and they all are millionaires, even the second-raters) feel guilty about not having to worry about their fucking asses having to be put on the firing line in all the stupid wars we are currently involved in? And what has yowling up to this White Man's God asking him to bless America done for We the People of the USA? Is this failing and rapidly falling economy this God's way of blessing us? Is the ruthless running over us by our ruling Power Elite this God blessing us? Is our getting our asses clobbered in 5 or 6 warring fronts this God blessing us? Plus, as I always ask whoever these people are who come up with this patriotic shit, what God is this God that is supposed to be blessing America? And does this America include Latin Americans? Mexicans? Dominican Republicans? Venezuelans? The Japanese ballplayers?--is this their God blessing us? How utterly moronic this aspect of baseball is. This was started I think by that god-damn George Steinbrenner who after 9/11 in a grand show of his personal patriotism started playing that god-damn awful Kate Smith singing that God-awful song during the seventh inning stretch.
I pray, "Please, God, whichever one you are, please quit blessing America."
Also, in terms of commercials during the game: first off, I was surprised that one of the big sponsers of this year's series is something called Jenny O--a turkey meat company--though it's hard to figure out just what Jenny is--she seems to be promoting turkey burgers, but what she is and where she comes from is beyond me. Also, I'm insulted by the Bank of America proudly touted as a World Series sponsor--using the money they stole from We the People to blow it advertising during the World Series--they advertise and still they are bankrupt--with President Obama recently guaranteeing these thieving bastards a 75 billion-dollar backing of these bastards still doing this fucking derivatives scheme shit--foreclosing like madmen on poor people's homes and car loans and going after their kids when these kids and these families can't keep up with the ever-increasing interest on those ungodly student loans.
I thought it kind of cute today to find out that Wal-Mart was cutting back on their workers's health-care benefits (I didn't know Wal-Mart (and Wal-Mart of China) gave health-care benefits). I also heard, and I don't know if it's true, that Wal-Mart pays such low wages they give their new employees food stamp applications as part of the coming-on-board package. Come on, folks, STOP BUYING ALL THAT CRAPPY COMMUNIST-CHINESE-PRODUCED CRAP THAT WAL-MART SELLS! Do you know how many American businesses Wal-Mart has put out of business through their Chinese branch? Rubbermaid is one I know of. Remember Rubbermaid products? Wal-Mart went after them and drove them under. Now all those products are made in Commie China.
Another curious thing about the commercials during the World Series--the number of foreign-made products galore--especially the automobile ads. I'm especially pissed at Jennifer Lopez (what a waste of talent) doing these Fiat commercials. We the People of the USA lost 2 billion dollars bailing out Chrysler Motors, which had been driven into the ground by being owned by the Nazi car company Daimler-Benz, only to find out after our President announced Chrysler had paid back its bail-out money--all but 2 billion dollars--he further announced that Chrysler Motors was now owned lock, stock, and barrel by Fiat, the Italian car company. Fiat and, of all things, the Canadian government had been involved in this bail-out. (Shouldn't that puzzle We the People?) That should really piss off We the People. And there's Jennifer Lopez boogie-ing around her old Bronx neighborhood in this little piece of Fiat shit car--the worst cars made--a car you know damn good and well Jennifer Lopez wouldn't be caught dead in in real life!
I love the new Volkswagen (Herr Hitler's own design) commercials--"Das Auto," they now call their little tin-fiberglass cars.
I also find car commercials that are bragging now how they get 35 mpg on the road interesting. Especially since I had a 1962 Renault back in the late sixties that got 35 mpg in town and 40 mpg on the road. They've had a carburator for a hundred years that could get up to 100 mpg--some motorcycles used to get 100 mpg easily.
Another commercial that pisses me off is the Viagra commercial that uses Chester Burnett (the Howling Wolf)'s "Smokestack Lightnin'" as its background music. This handsome actor stud, who obviously can't get it up, is seen commandeering this very fancy sail boat--now you're thinking if you're a man, any dude that handsome and with that big a sail boat surely gets more than his share of seafaring cuckoos's nests, so, poor bastard if he suffers from erectile dysfunction! So, yes, it is worth his chancing blindness by taking Viagra--as long as he doesn't suffer from one of those 4-hour-long erections the Viagra folks warn us men about at the end of that stupid commercial. I don't think the Howlin' Wolf had any trouble getting it up.
Anyway, I have a night off from the World Series tonight--so I'll just let baseball drift off out of my head today and lay back and dig some Pee Wee Russell, a musician long dead now, who I am finding more and more fascinating day by day.
Pee Wee Russell (from Bill Crow's Website--see it in The Daily Growler blog list)
Here's what Gunther Schuller wrote about Russell: "Clarinetist Pee Wee Russell...was one of the most original figures in jazz history; he never did quite fit into any of the established stylistic molds, and he maintained his unique identity throughout a long career, covering at least three major periods in jazz." Later, in reviewing Russell's playing on a certain record, Schuller wrote: "At first hearing one of these Russell solos tended to give the impression of a somewhat inept musician, awkward and shy, stumbling and muttering along in a rather directionless fashion. It turns out, however, upon closer inspection that such peculiarities--the unorthodox tone, the halting continuity, the odd note choices--are manifestations of a unique, wondrously self-contained musical personality, which operated almost entirely on its own artistic laws. ... To which one needs to add, for those uninitiated into the special world of Pee Wee Russel's music, that he was not just some intriguing, freak, oddball eccentric: he was also one of the most touching and human players jazz has ever known."
for The Daily Growler
A Little Taste of American Art:
Oil on Canvas, by Charles Ellsworth "Pee Wee" Russell (1906-1969)