Monday, April 19, 2010

Joe wants to "Keep Your Team Out of My Book"

I usually enjoy Joe Queenan's columns and essays wherever I encounter them, as well as his rare appearances on TV shows such as Bill Maher's Real Time on HBO. His essay in last Sunday's (April 18, 2010) New York Times Book Review is exceptionally funny, especially for baseball fans. Yankee-haters will laugh out loud love it. I have to say that even I laughed out loud several times; it is just a wonderful piece about cultural realities. A link to the essay is provided here. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Doctor Who?

So the country has a new health care law in place. Note that I did not write that the "nation" has a new "health care reform" law. First, I submit to you that the USA is NOT a nation, especially if you consider the animosity we direct to each other as recently exhibited by the so-called patriots of the Tea Party ilk. The USA does not support the classic definition of a nation as is taught in political science and political geography courses (except in Texas, but that is another story for another tirade). Nor has health care been "reformed." A single-payer or universal health care law would be health care reform; the new law reforms only certain aspects of health care coverage and insurance company policy. Much more has yet to be done.

I read this morning in that drearily middle-of-the-road rag known as the New York Times that some doctor in Florida placed signage on his door demanding that Obama supporters go elsewhere for their health care. Not so unusual here in Corvallis, OR where a much respected physician has refused to provide health care to me because I am too ill and take too many medications (I'll give you his name if you ask offline). Health care in this country must be really reformed so that people in Florida and Oregon (and the other 48 states, also - assuming that Rick Perry hasn't led Texas to secede this weekend) can be treated by any and all physicians. No physician should be allowed to practice if she/he chooses to refuse care based upon politics and disease!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Mosi Tatupu Story

“What is Mosi Tatupu’s photo doing in the New York Times?” I asked myself this morning over a cup of coffee and some hot steel cut oatmeal. “Oh,” I answered aloud as I read the sad news of his death at only 54. This is my Mosi Tatupu story.

In the early 1980’s I worked as a clerk in a stereo and photo store (Audio Concepts) in the Attleboro Falls section of North Attleboro, Massachusetts. Due to the store’s proximity to Foxborough, the site of the New England Patriots home stadium (then called Sullivan Stadium, if I remember correctly), a number of the Patriots players lived in the area and shopped at the store for their toys. Amongst the players that I remember were Steve Grogan, Roland James, Larry McGrew, Lin Dawson and Mosi Tatupu. McGrew was a very nice man who once greeted me by name in a record shop near Boston. Dawson once approached the store with a pair of Bozak speakers, one under each arm. If you know Bozak (not Bose!) you know how strong Dawson was. Roland James picked up his repaired cassette deck just a couple of days after he had fumbled two punts and/or kickoffs in a game against the Miami Dolphins. One of the other clerks cautioned him not to fumble the deck. But my favorite Patriot was Mosi Tatupu.

Every time that he came into the store (or so it seemed) he was with his wife Linnea. One year they brought an early 60’s GM classic California car to the store to have a stereo installed. Another time, Mosi lusted after a new Sony Walkman (they were very much the hot item that year) and Linnea told him that he could get one if he scored a touchdown that Sunday. He did and he got his Walkman the next week. As was always the case, Linnea paid with a check. They always seemed so friendly, so serene and so approachable.

I do not watch much pro football these days and I cannot say that I know the players as well as I did when Mosi played special teams with aplomb and was a very reliable third-down addition to the backfield. I did get excited a couple of years ago when Mosi’s son Lofa joined the Seattle Seahawks. Whenever they play on TV, I try to watch a defensive series or two to see Lofa play linebacker. Next season, I’ll try to watch a little more.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Letter From a Reds Fan...

Several years ago, when Bubbie and I lived in Texas, I became acquainted with a newspaperman in Rockdale, Texas by the name of Mike Brown. Here’s the scoop.

Some historical cemeteries in Texas were being recognized for their esteemed contents and Bubbie’s father’s cousin in Israel had heard about it. A relative of Pop’s (Bubbie’s dad) was, apparently, buried in a cemetery in Rockdale and the Israeli cousin had contacted Pop and wondered if he (Pop) would attend the dedication ceremonies. No, he would not, but Pop contacted Bubbie who asked me to find out what the real story was.

I contacted the Rockdale newspaper’s office who put me in touch with an editor (Mike Brown) at the paper (The Rockdale Reporter) . Mike had recently written an article about the upcoming dedication and informed me that the cemetery was being dedicated as a repository of the remains of Confederate Civil War veterans. Coincidentally, Pop’s ancestor was also buried there, in the segregated “Jewish” section of the cemetery. Pop’s ancestor, a fellow with the last name of “Crown” had died in a fire at a local hotel, leading to his permanent residency in Rockdale.

Crown is actually the Anglicized version of the name “Crohn.” Another relative if this Mr. Crown is Dr. Burrill Crohn who described the disease named after him in 1932. Dr. Crohn was Pop’s uncle. All of this, however, is anther story for another time. This is about Mike Brown.

I e-mailed Mike after the Yankees clinched number 27 in November 2009. Because I know that Mike is a devout Cincinnati Reds fan, I teased him about being a Yankees hater. Here is his reply.

Gee Michael,

I don't know why anyone would possibly classify me as a Yankee hater.

Doesn't everybody use the term "bloated plutocrats?"

As I've previously told you I was rooting for the Yankees against the Phillies for obscure and cabalistic reasons of my own involving the 1975-76 Reds.

Since this is me, my reactions to the WSJ (Wall Street Journal) article are unique and several degrees off center.

I love the way the WSJ refers to "Mr. Sabathia (they spelled his last name
Incorrectly…), Mr. Rodriguez and Mr. Teixeira. " At this newspaper we only "Mr." somebody in obituaries. Guess you have to die to get any respect.

What a law firm that would make, Sabathia, Rodriguez and Teixeira. How many
people do you know who would have to take a pay cut to become an attorney?
Sorry, I guess that re-tort was out of line.

And, of course, that made me think of Groucho's law firm in "Animal Crackers."
Hungadunga, Hungadunga, Hungadunga and McCormick.

Then I got copied on a reply to you from Mr. Menard who referred to "doyens
of the Red Sox nation." Wow, have they ever fallen. I would have thought
it would have been hundreds instead of just doyens.

Which made me think about either Roger Angell or Roger Kahn who wrote about
trying to get the word "cerebration" into print three times and each time an
editor changed it to "celebration."

Probably a Yankee fan.


The End of Pain?

The attached ad for a “Copper Magnetic Therapy Jesus Bracelet” was in this morning’s Red Plum coupon supplement to the Corvallis Gazette-Times (04/06/10). It just may be in your Sunday newspaper, also! Not only has Dream Products harnessed the power of copper and magnets for their reputed therapeutic powers, they apparently have contracted the services of Jesus Christ himself. Having much chronic pain myself, as well as being a noted pain in the ass at times, I am intrigued. The cynic in me, however, wonders if this item would be better as a dog-style collar. Maybe the fine folks at will create something!