Wednesday, June 30, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/30/2010

The last few days of recalling experiences with formal education have gotten me stuck in that track. And along those lines, my attitude toward educators themselves.

I’ve believed for a long while that the old adage is true that says: Those who can –do. And those who can’t –teach. Which further reminded me of a particular situation.

I’ve written over the past couple of days about my high regard for NYU and particularly, its faculty in what is now Stern School of Business, especially those whom succeeded in business by day and then taught at night. But, as in every walk of life, not all of them were winners.

I recall a basic class covering marketing fundamentals. Early on in the course, the instructor, professor or whoever, assigned a simple homework task. We were asked to create a newspaper ad for TV sets. I spent considerable time pondering the situation, finally coming up with a graphic that highlighted a console model surrounded by eye-catching background directing one’s focus to the set and its features.

When I handed my masterpiece in it was met with a sorrowfully shaking head, muttering “tsk, tsk, tsk.”

Obviously realizing a problem, I asked what was wrong. “The ad’s wrong” the instructor replied. “Haven’t you ever seen an ad for TV’s? They’re in the paper every day.” Then he opened the Daily whatever on his desk, flipped a few pages, then pointed his finger at an ad and said, “You see. That’s what I wanted. Everyone’s seen ads like this for TV’s. They all look exactly alike, so yours should too!”

I then asked, since these ads are by definition all exactly the same, would it have been alright if I’d just ripped the page out of the paper myself, and simply handed that in, saving myself from the migraine caused by attempted creativity and hours of drawing board work. “Oh no. You can’t do that,” he replied, “I wanted you to design the ad yourself.” Looking back, there’s humor in this classroom catch-22, but not at the time there wasn’t.

So, while this clump of protoplasm wanted me to be creative by replicating redundant ads that may or may not have served their purpose, I thought of something else. At the time I handed in my ad, I’d sold three AC electric lift trucks that very morning to a household name account in Jersey City. The total cost of that equipment was upwards of thirty thousand dollars. My commission was $1500.00+ which was an okay amount in 1966.

Over the course of that same year I sold more than 60 new fork lift trucks all told in a highly competitive market, at an average of about seven (7) grand a pop, among other types of equipment. You can do the arithmetic yourself, but vocationally, I think I was doing okay for myself as a kid in marketing/sales. In fact, I even won an all-expense paid trip for two to Nassau that year, courtesy of Allis-Chalmers for exceeding their sales goals.

The thing of it is, however, that my scholarship really was a life-saver…but not mine. It actually helped keep the sales educator alive. Because, if I hadn’t needed a high grade to maintain my academic standing, I’d have done some major harm to him on the spot for wasting my valuable time, with nary a second thought.

That’s it for today folks.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/29/2010

Following on from yesterday, I’ll use myself as an example again. Going back to my educational roots, no one in the system ever really sought to question why I was a poor student by their standards, and had a bad attitude to boot. Their goals were to insure they could not be blamed for my lack of caring, or assuring they could duck any finger pointed at them, writing me off as incorrigible at best. Yet, they couldn’t explain, no matter, why I did so well on their written tests.

Now, my first time around at the college level, I had a good job besides. And in fact, thought I had a good employment future to boot. So, I cared quite little about who won the Peloponnesian War or that tuna didn’t come from Tunisia. In fact, I thought tuna came from a deli –on rye. So, I soon dropped out of school.

But, then, I ran into problems. After I got married my father-in-law couldn’t cope with having a successful, but non-formally educated clod wed to his daughter. So he pressured me every chance he got, which was often, to finish my schooling. At the time I was in sales, selling fork lift trucks, and who did I encounter one day? None other than my former pool-playing and basketball partner Mike F. from CCNY.

Among other things Mike brought me up to date on was that he was attending college, downtown at NYU. So, I did some research on the school, thought going there might make some sense, and applied. When they turned me down in a heartbeat, I liked them even better, because they’d demonstrated good sense. I wouldn’t have let me in either. But, being in sales and persistent, I tried to negotiate a deal.

In time, the arrangement they finally agreed to was that I would take a series of courses, and if I achieved particular pre-established grades, they’d let me matriculate, they’d also let me keep the grade-points toward a degree. The courses were a mix of business and liberal arts, with no sleep-through “gut” classes in the list.

Now that I had a challenge on the line, and a huge goal at the end (quieting my father-in law) I actually hit the books. The result was all aces, an “A” in every single course. Soon after that, I met another guy, Eddie B, whose situation was similar to mine. Married, carrying a full course load on top of a job and still earning top grades, he’d applied for a scholastic scholarship and won it, suggesting I try the same.

So, I wound up pleasing everyone in the loop, including myself, and had a series of scholarship grantors paying my freight to boot.

But, what really allowed much of this to happen? And this is where education comes in. Most importantly, I think was that I really wanted to go to school this time around, regardless of the reason. But, that wasn’t enough. To be taught properly, you need real educators and that’s what I got at NYU downtown at Washington Square.

Sure, there were a few “Professors” who thought they were teaching liberal arts under a tree or on the lawn at Harvard, Princeton or Yale. But you could suck it up, grit your teeth and get through their elitist babble with good grades; after all, although those guys were pompous, they were only glorified teachers, so how clever could they be? Not very. What’s more, they had no street-smarts, they were PhD’s. So I survived them too, especially because a full-scholarship hung in the balance.

The real education, though, was on the business side, where the folks, from instructors on up, usually worked the trade they taught and succeeded in the toughest market in the world, Manhattan. And that made them actual, productive, experts in the most competitive arena there is, as well as scholars. Most of them even spoke the same business language I did. So, on top of all else, I respected and liked them.

In some advanced classes there weren’t even texts. For example, the guy who taught top-level classes in advertising was a full professor indeed; but he became one simply because he liked to teach. His real everyday job though was running a couple of key accounts for a major ad firm, where he handled clients like Coke and Buick.

Now, would you rather learn from some ivory tower intellect turning pages from the age old text he wrote or had ghosted by some MBA candidate, or have your professor say “Okay guys, here’s what we did at the office this afternoon. It’s a new campaign that’ll sell a billion dollars worth of stuff for Revlon, and here’s how I won the account. So, get out your notebooks.”

Throughout my studies at NYU, one thing became crystal clear. The school was so good and the education so valuable because the goal on both sides of the coin was learning itself. There was a caring, meaningful effort to get something worthy accomplished, not a conveyor belt designed to push as many bodies through as possible. And, if anyone, staff, student or whoever else in the loop couldn’t hack it they were toast in a New York minute. Beyond that, if you did blow out for whatever reason, whether faculty or student, nobody cared. There were plenty of others waiting who’d kill for the chance to take your place.

So, in that way, I think my original point gets validated. When people want to accomplish there’s a good chance they can do it. Even me. If they care and strive, perhaps get help where it’s needed, they can win. But, when an educational system’s in place that has no objective other than an annual increase in budget, and the hang-dog go through the motions attitudes are obvious from miles away, how can any student be motivated to accomplish anything, except for those few who stimulate themselves? Unless it’s a foreign √©migr√© who’d crawl through burning coals for a chance to succeed in the USA, much less do their homework.

In the end though, I truly believe that no matter the quality of business education, it’s an enhancement at best, and certainly not an answer to success. Because, as I wrote above, when I attended college the second time to get my degree, I was also selling fork lift trucks. I owned a home, had two cars and a swimming pool and still in my twenties was earning substantially more than any of the academics who were “teaching” me. By American standards, that’s a big bite of the dream.

Beyond that, up to and including a senior vice presidency at AT&T Capital Corporation, managing and responsible for a staff of 125 salespeople across the nation, I recall many potential and eventual employers diligently combing my business track record and credentials. Yet, I don’t remember a single one asking me if or where I ever went to college.

That’s it for today folks.


Monday, June 28, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/28/2010

Day before yesterday I wrote about a pool game played while attending CCNY. In reading it back I realized that I displayed a rather distasteful attitude toward “formal” education. And, if I did that, I want to be certain that I make myself clear. I really don’t have a distasteful attitude toward formal education, I simply have no use for it at all.

Now, my attitude isn’t just some random comment that rolls off my tongue, or in this case, fingers. It comes from long-time, day in-day out, experience. Because you see, I was a troublesome student, but for very good reason. While I can document my IQ and it’s sufficient as educable, I have a low tolerance for tedium and bore extremely quickly.

So, while school curricula are geared to the lowest denominator to be sure to be understood and remembered by all, especially the teachers, I generally need only one quick read and want to either move out or move on. Consequently, while classes droned on repeating the same drivel again and again, my mind had a tendency to wander or sleep. Bad combination when dealing with “teachers.”

Throughout my so-called formal education, a continual problem cropped up, confounding educators as well as administrators. I turned in almost no homework, never participated in class, and the only interface I had with teachers was when they had some kind of disciplinary fault with me. So, they all wondered, how can someone who seems to be on some other planet when in class do so well on exams?

The answer was, the pap they were spouting was so simple it took little or no time or effort to memorize or grasp it –provided I listened at all.

The oddest part of my educational travails was that I didn’t attend lesser schools. In fact, to some they're not only outstanding, but arguably the best around. First, PS 6 in Manhattan, on 85th and Madison perhaps the finest public school in not only the city, but everywhere else as well. Then on to Stuyvesant -one of the three top-rated public high schools in New York City. To this day, people pay specialist tutors to try to give their offspring an edge in getting in. Of course, if that fails, there’s always the option of bribes.

Then it was Baruch School at CCNY where I was accepted without question, but then did myself in the lounge on a very bad day for my pool game. And that reminded me of my pool-playing friend Mike F, whom I met attending college the first time around, and then again later on. Resulting in my attending college again, but that's a future story.

But, why bring this up now? Because day after day, week after week, month after month and so on, we keep throwing good money after bad in an attempt to “fix" the educational system in the U.S. but our aim’s a bit off. The “system” so to speak is probably fine, and the curricula, though quite watered down, can probably be improved rather soon. What needs to be totally replaced, however, are all the current administrators and so-called “teachers” top to bottom.

And a good first step toward replacement, without which we’re wasting our time, is the removal of tenure. Because, just like civil servants and government employees, when jobs are protected no matter –no one gives a damn about how they’re performed.

So, using the forgoing as a foundation, I'll continue these thoughts later on. Because, as I wrote beforehand, I think I can use myself to prove my point. And, if not, I guess I'll have to go back to school, where if somone reads this to them, they can tell me where I went wrong.

That's it for today folks.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/27/2010

There's still thousands of gallons of oil pouring into the Gulf and another new plan in the works to fix it. And, every day, more people show up with their hand out to get some kind of payout from the disaster -whether their claims are valid or not. But, the part that I wonder about is the other side of the coin.

The more these groups, such as environmentalists jump up and down to point out how much oil has leaked into the water, from only one well, one has to wonder how much oil is really there under the sea all told? It's got to be billions and billions of barrels beyond what drillers have access to already.

That means these same environmentalist's trying to protect the duck-billed, purple, three-toed-mugwump have us paying as much as $3.50 a gallon for gas that ought to cost about thirty-five cents at the pump. And if we sat back and looked at the problem of environmentalism effectively, we'd realize that by adding about a nickel to every gallon sold, we'd be able to build each mugwump a new state-of-the-art home in a secluded, lovely neighborhood somewhere else with guards at the gate for protection after transporting them there free-of-charge.

But no, not us. We'd rather say no drilling at all around U.S. waters and make Arab sultans richer than Croesus and let guys like Soros do backroom deals that'll add another few billion to his stash, less whatever he kicks back to our politicians.

For a population that used to be rated at the very top in intellectual pursuits, when you look at the giant rip-off we're faced with here you have to wonder just how really far our educational system has forced us to fall. We not only don't see the forest for the trees, we don't even see the trees themselves. It's no wonder this country's broke.

That's it for today folks.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/26/2010

Same old news, over and over. Makes for boring blogs. So, it's back to stories.

I started working at a very young age. From about fourteen on, I worked summers and after school. Then, in my spare time, mostly weekends and holidays I got in sports and golf. Evenings were left for my other major pastimes, mostly poker and shooting pool, and if my golf game was hurting, the driving range.

So, by the time I got to college I worked out my schedule to attend early morning classes and leave as many free afternoons as I could. That enabled me to hold down an afternoon job and keep my evenings free as well. Now, poker and pool were important to me not so much because of my love of playing, but frankly, I needed the money.

True, I had friends that played for fun, but the only laughing I did was later when by myself at home, counting my winnings where nobody saw me. And, I really didn't do much laughing there either, because, although I'm not really superstitious, why take a chance on irritating the fates -there's absolutely no upside percentage in that.

My first time around at college I attended CCNY's Baruch School of Business on 23rd Street and Lex in Manhattan. And that's where I met Mike and Richie F., identical twins from the Bronx. Both were tall, rangy, quick, and smooth as silk on the basketball courts but their real forte was shooting pool. Any kind of money ball. Chicago, eight or nine ball and games like that.

If I played hooky from work, there was a pool table in the student lounge and the twins and I used it. And if it was taken by others we'd head over to Julien's a famous old-time billiard parlor on East 14th street.

Well, one afternoon the twins and I were in the lounge playing a game called Chicago where the 1, 5, 8, 10, 13 and 15 are money balls or "ways" and each worth a pre-set amount, say a dime, quarter, dollar or whatever is decided upon.

When you have three players, whoever sinks the one ball plays alone and the other two become partners, alternating their turns. At the end, each player or duo, aside from the worth of the money-balls they've sunk also adds up the total number of balls they've pocketed and gets another two ways for score. If any individual sinks all the money balls, that's a "personal" and the others each pay him double value of everything.

Sometime during that afternoon a student came into the lounge, saw our game and asked if he could join us. We replied. Sure. Why not? Now we had a four-man game which meant that whomever sank the one-ball was joined by whomever made the next money-ball, the five. If the same guy sank the one and the five, he'd partner with whomever sank the eight, and so-on.

The game went on for a while, and because there's a lot of luck involved in a game like Chicago, much more-so than in straight pool or nine-ball, the wins and losses tended to even out fairly often, so not a lot of cash permanently changed hands. Now, naturally, good shooters still have an advantage, sometimes huge, but since the balls have to be sunk in order, skill is frequently offset by fortune.

Somewhat later that afternoon, the twins told us they had to leave and headed off for home. That left me and the newcomer at the table. He asked if I wanted to hang around and play some more pool. I had no reason not to agree. We kept playing the same game, Chicago, and in time raised the stakes.

I really don't remember a lot about him as far as specific physical characteristics go, but I have a vague recollection that his hair was blond. What I do recall clearly though was his size. He was built like Lyle Alzedo, infamous defensive end for the Oakland Raiders of the NFL. Except, this guy was taller and also wider above the waist. So, with most of his 250 or 260 pounds or so in his chest, arms and shoulders he had long spindly legs which I assumed also meant he was fast.

Anyway, our game went on and this was one of those days where I witnessed either the longest run of good luck at Chicago I'd ever seen, or had been taken in spades by a consummate hustler who was deftly good at his trade. But, either way, I was bisected, dissected, cooked and worst of all -tapped out. And to top it off I was not only out of money, but for a few of the last games I'd played "light." In other words, I'd borrowed against expected winnings that never came and now was in his debt big-time.

Finally I told him that this just wasn't my day and I'd had enough so I was going home. But, I promised that I'd surely see him in school real soon and pay him what I owed. That's when he said we'd both been attending the same school for a year or so and never seen each other before, so he didn't want to take the chance of our not meeting again, even at a pre-arranged place. What if I didn't show up? I told him not to worry, I'd be there. I swore. "But, for now I don't have a cent so it doesn't matter, I can't pay you today in any case."

That's when he told me I had some hidden assets that were worth what I owed him, perhaps even a few dollars more. "Like what?" I asked him. He replied, "Your books." Then he marched me to Barnes & Noble on 23rd Street, negotiated the sale, and took off with his winnings, leaving me a couple of bucks over. That's what I used to get home.

The funny thing about it all looking back, is that although school and formal education became a problem for me that year, the hustler I ran into gave me a real life lesson I've never forgotten worth considerably more than whatever those books held. Because, if you're dumb enough to walk into situations that are that far over your head, there aren't enough books on the planet to teach you what the real world's all about.

That's it for today folks.


Friday, June 25, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/25/2010

I write two kinds of stuff. My recent books are fiction while my blog either reports or repeats fact. One of the most difficult aspects for authors of fiction is creating stories, characters and situations that, while made up from thin air, seem to have a basis or relationship to fact. Of course there are those who write about space aliens, science fiction, fairy tales and such other fantasies, but I'm not one of them.

The reason I'm starting today's entry this way is, that lately, while I'm sitting here wracking my brain to create fiction that resembles fact for my novels, the news is full of stories that are fact, but beyond anyone's imagination. I mean, no matter how hard one tried, I don't think you could make this stuff up. Especially what comes out of D.C. If I put stories like these in my books, they'd probably lock me up for lunacy.

Yesterday General McChrystal stepped down from his job of heading our action in Afghanistan because he told the truth about how we're mis-handling the war to Rolling Stone magazine. He then went on to list what was needed to win. Since the truth was unbecoming to the so-called Commander-in-Chief, he asked for, and got, McChrystal's resignation. Now today, I was flipping channels and see a blurb that says General Petraeus is announcing a new strategy in Afghanistan. And what is it? Why it's McChrystal's very plan that he told to the press.

But, not to worry. I think McChrystal will wind up on Fox TV like Detective Mark Fuhrman from the O.J. trial and also write a couple of best-selling books.

Then there's Harold Hurtt, a former police chief in Houston and Phoenix, who's been hired as the director for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of State and Local Coordination, starting July 6. When he was chief of police he favored leaving illegal immigrants alone unless they seriously broke the law. He said it took too much manpower and time for a busy police department to deal with illegals. So in effect he was saying it was somebody else's job to send illegals home. Now, he's at the top of the whole issue and says not to worry. He'll do a good job protecting our borders.

In the same vein, the current Chief of Police of Phoenix said it doesn't look good for the war on drugs coming out of Mexico because (now get this one) the cartel heads have issued a warning. They said they're using state-of-the-art AK47's and have the police out-gunned. So, if the cops know what's good for them, they better not put up a fight. Now, according to the police chief, the cartel guys are right because his department doesn't have enough budget to out-gun the thugs. I guess it's like Yakov Smirnoff, the Russian comedian said "What a country."

Then there's Illinois's "Rod" Blagojevich. He's asked that a host of Dem's testify at his trial for selling government favors, including White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. Since this involves the Chicago machine that's notorious for corruption there's a glimmer that this might go further up. The president's already testified on tape, but not under oath in court. (Gee, why did I just get a mind-flash of Bill Clinton?) I guess I'll have to stay tuned on that one.

So, like I said at the start, it's a shame I can't use any of this stuff for my books, because nobody would believe it. But, then again if I did use it after all, maybe they'd lock us all up together. Then, when my sentence was over, I'd have enough to write a whole library of books about what these guys do in the real world and call it fiction. Who knows. I might become the next Stephen King.

That's it for today folks.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/24/2010

The biggest thing in the news is watching this General McChrystal thing play out and seeing the facts slowly come to the top. It seems there are two wars being fought simultaneously in Afghanistan, one political and one shooting. Although McChrystal apparently did himself in to a great extent via his comments to Rolling Stone, he was originally programmed to fail by Karl W. Eikenberry, a predecessor in Afghanistan and now ambassador to that nation.

When Eikenberry left Afghanistan it seems he leaked two memos to the press. One said he thought a troop buildup would hurt the U.S. by making the Afghans too dependent on us. The other was in a similar vein designed to cover his tail when the whole eventual U.S. plan fell apart. In that regard, one of his strongest allies was Joe Biden. However, when the troop buildup seemed to be helping, he pulled in his horns, preferring to work in the background.

Looking at all of this, I realized that sometimes it takes a while for things to sink in, but sooner or later, even I can figure them out. Because, while this whole to-do about General McChrystal has had me and everyone else focused on Afghanistan, the real war’s going to be in the United States on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 when America goes to the polls to elect a new President.

The way things look right now, Obama’s going to go down in flames that will probably be seen as far away as Pluto. And Biden’s an unelectable dunce beyond hope. So, who else can the Dem’s put up? Hillary? Forget it. That beat up, old retread hasn’t a prayer. So that leaves a wide open door for the Republicans to run a slam-dunk winner – General David H. Petraeus. Because, right now, what the U.S. needs above all is an expert in national defense, international affairs and anti-terrorism. The rest of the Republican party will correct the immigration fiasco and our economics.

Just look at his credentials. Born November 7, 1952, he’s only 58 years old. But here’s what he’s done so far:

*United States Army general and current Commander of the United States Central Command.
*Previously served as Commanding General of Multi-National Force in Iraq. January, 2007 to September, 2008, overseeing all coalition forces in Iraq.
*BS from the United States Military Academy, graduating in 1974 as a distinguished cadet in the top 5% of his class.
*General George C. Marshall Award winner as the top graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College class of 1983.
*Earned M.P.A. in 1985 and a Ph.D. in International Relations in 1987 from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton.
*Served as Assistant Professor of International Relations at the United States Military Academy and also completed a fellowship at Georgetown University.

So, academically, militarily and intellectually this guy’s exactly the kind of guy the U.S. needs right now. And, politically he’s a genius. He’s just become the commander of all armed forces in Afghanistan, replacing McChrystal to boot, and done so without a whimper of dissension so far. And as far as Congressional confirmation goes, that should be a slam dunk because he testifies every couple of months and the Armed Services Committee loves him.

The only potential weakness is his gruffness towards Israel, but that may have been simply “following orders” from the White House like a good soldier’s supposed to. If not, the Israeli’s are still better off with him than they are with Obama or Hillary.

Now I realize that my prediction is early, and two years is still a while away. But. I just wanted to go on record, because I think the scenario makes absolute political sense. And just to add some icing to that cake by showing how little Obama and his friends know about the military and weapons, I think with Petraeus’ promotion, the president just shot himself in the foot.

If you want to see his career try Wikipedia, I think you'll find it remarkably impressive: (Sorry-you have to copy and paste)

That's it for today folks.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/23/2010

Big day today. Celebrating 2 wonderful years of marriage. Out of the actual total we've been wed, 2 really good years isn't bad at all. At a happy day here and a pleasant day there, that's 730 days of bliss out of the 17,520 all told we've been hitched (17,532 counting leap years.) I don't think most married folks get that many, so we must be doing something right.

While we're sitting here quite pleased about staying betrothed for so long, General McChrystal and Obama are contemplating divorce. Another relationship turning to dust. And, to me, that doesn't make any sense.

As I understand the problem, the general's in trouble because he was quoted as saying that the folks in the administration don't have a clue about what's really going on in Afghanistan from a military perspective. I'd think, considering who populates the party in power right now, the general's probably right and simply related what he was thinking at the time.

Now, let's look at the situation objectively. If the government actually ran like a well-managed business, efficiently and without a political axe to grind, how would important decisions be made? First and foremost, I think, the people to talk to continually and learn from would be the employees on the "front line." The ones dealing with the actual customers and gathering information directly from them, and also those actually operating the equipment and working within the systems.

Because, the stuffed shirts and managerial types haven't got a clue as to what the real world's about, their major goal is keeping their jobs, pointing fingers and staying unscathed by actual work. That's generally the case for all so-called executives, regardless of employment type, military, civilian or otherwise.

So, now in the general's case you have a guy who's on the front line every day working hand in hand with his people and interfacing one on one with Afghanistan's leadership. If he doesn't know first-hand what's really going on nobody does. And now, because the facts he relates don't mesh with the political falsehood's that have been painted, he's getting the boot. Well, if we really want to win this war, why isn't it the other way around? I think it's true that some folks ought to be fired, but McChrystal isn't one of them.

But I believe the real goal for the White House right now is keeping this "issue" as the top story in the news. Because their miserable mismanagement of the oil spill in their attempt to bolster Soros is something they'd like off the front pages. Then there's the courts overturning their further Soros boost by trying to cut off all drilling exploration in the Gulf.

Top that with the fact that the stimulus package ain't stimulatin' nothin' and new homeowner tax credits have run out, which will soon sink the markets and you've got a triple-header of grief for the thugs from Chicago.

The last time Chicago helped a candidate it was JFK. But that was the Giancana crew and they knew what they were doing for the candidate and his rum-running dad. These clowns from Project Acorn and are amateurs, and arrogant to boot. A bad combination for ones trying to steal a nation for a Hungarian immigrant with a couple of bucks and a 2 billion dollar loan guaranty from us U.S. taxpayers.

The good news is that the beat still goes on and this stuff comes out more often each day in the press, no matter how they try to cover it up. But, I think the topper of all grief for the Dem's is McChrystal's thought that Hillary would have been a better leader for the military. That's like saying instead of whoever it was that coached the New York Knicks, you'd rather have had Stevie Wonder.

That's it for today folks.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/22/2010

The beat goes on. It seems, President Obama recalled the top U.S. general in the Afghanistan War, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, after McChrystal criticized several top U.S. officials, saying he felt "betrayed" by the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan.

The general was called to Washington for his "disparaging comments." In a profile published in Rolling Stone, titled "The Runaway General," McChrystal is characterized as an outsider who didn't relate well with the administration, and as a military leader was "disappointed" with his first meeting with the president.

The subhead of the story reads: "Stanley McChrystal , Obama's top commander in Afghanistan, has seized control of the war by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House." But after news of the comments sent shock waves through political and military circles from D.C. to Afghanistan, McChrystal quickly issued an apology for his "bad judgment."

What the preceding indicates to me is a never changing shell game played in D. C. I think the general originally stated what he believes and found that all the weapons in Afghanistan got turned around and aimed at him. And now, the administration has to find a way to blow him out for trying to tell the truth. Shortly, there'll likely be his resignation. And if he says it's for health reasons, he's probably right, because when the White House drops a safe on you, that can smart.

And why is that the press never mentions the presidents major campaign issue which was to bring all U.S. troops home from everywhere, first thing after his election? He said the Middle Eastern wars were a sham and a ploy for Bush and his friends who drill for oil, and that the military was mis-used because the nuclear threats didn't exist. So, how come we're still in Iraq and he's escalating Afghanistan.

In the meantime we've never gotten a drop of oil from Iraq and likely never will, and certainly never went there for oil in the first place. We went there because the U.N. told Sadam to give up his weapons of mass destruction twelve times in resolutions, but he refused to listen.

Then when the U.N. wimped out like they usually do, we went in to fix it with some of our friends. But, after all that time Sadam was able to ship his weapons to Syria which is likely where they are now, if not in Iran or buried in the desert. Yet, the press couldn't care less because Bush is bad, Obama's good and that's the end of that for them.

In the meantime, enough oil's pouring into the Gulf of Mexico to fuel up most of the cars in the U.S. for ages to come, but we're going to wind up buying instead from Soros in Brazil. Because that's where our money was bet by the Dem's in a 2 billion dollar loan guaranty for Soros by the U.S. But, nobody mentions that either. To find the story anywhere you need a 500X-lens microscope and tweezers or watch Fox news, heaven forbid.

All said and done though, what I think the real crime is that the politicians in power do what they do without compunction. They treat the population as if it didn't exist and assume they've been granted unadulterated, unbridled, unequivocal power to do whatever they wish in their self-serving interest. That's a pretty depressing and distasteful assumption regarding those who vote and yet, every election we go out and prove they're exactly right.

That's it for today folks.


Monday, June 21, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/21/2010

Been a long day today, lot's of personal stuff to do. But, I didn't want to skip the entry, because something's occured to me.

We've been watching oil pour out of the sea for a couple of months now. And this is only 1 (one) well. There are thousands and thousands of others. Because it seems there's about 5 million barrels per day produced in the U.S. from about 510,000 oil wells, averaging 10.5 barrels per well per day for a total of about 5,355,000 all told. That's more than half of all the producing oil wells in the world.

The country with the most wells, after the U.S., is Russia at about 110,000; then China with around 80,000, and Canada with 68,000. The world's total of producing oil wells is about 880,000. Saudi capacity, at about 8-9 million barrels per day, is from 1500 wells, that average more than 5,000 barrels per well per day.

I wouldn't even have looked this data up if it wasn't for the oil spill. But, now that I have, where does all our oil go to? And, why have the Arabs held us up at the pumps for so many years? We've been paying through the nose in what seems is a totally manipulated market and maybe this spill will shake people up. Because there's more oil under the U.S. than anyone could ever dream up what to with.

So, the good news is that now maybe folks will start to wake up and smell the coffee (which is only about a hundred dollars a pound if you do the arithmetic, but that's another story.) So, let's all hold our breaths and pray that as bad as this fiasco in the Gulf is, maybe there's light at the end of the tunnel. And, if that light isn't powered by oil, maybe it won't go out.

That's it for today folks.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/20/2010

Father's Day. The day that typical fathers can't get the one thing they really want most...peace and quiet. Because everyone wants to be sure that father's get the tribute, appreciation and gratitude they deserve.

So, they surround them with family, drag them away from the couch or lounge chair and TV and foist a sumptuous lunch or dinner upon them when a six-pack and chips would have been perfect. But if father's were really smart, they wouldn't do anything for anybody ever, especially their kids. That way they'd get all the solitude and relaxation they want, every day of the year.

Some time ago I wrote here that Albert Brooks said that authors are always working 24/7/365, but not necessarily putting the words on paper. He believes that material continually accumulates in author's heads, percolates there, shapes and reshapes itself and then, at some time or other, comes out on writer's fingers into typed or written words. And, if I didn't write it then, I'll write it now. I think he's absolutely correct.

Because I'm really getting into the plot development of my new book It's Cole Outside, and characters and situations are piling up in my brain. Some have already hit the paper and the story's moving along. But, the strangest thing is how some of the people who show up in my scenes are hard to figure out. Some start out good and stay that way, others do the reverse, and some change as time and circumstances move them along. But the hard part for me is, I don't always know how they'll turn out myself, until I type them.

If nothing else though, between this blog and my book one thing's become crystal clear. I've always been a one-finger typist and have no technical skills whatsoever. But, if I don't learn how to type faster I'm going to go completely nuts. Because I'm getting impatient to find out what happens next in all of my writings and having to wait so long to see the stories in print is awful.

That's it for today folks.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/19/2010

Just finished a book lent to me by a bartender in one of my favorite places. She said she was sure I'd love it, and she was right. The book, The Tender Bar was written by J.R. Moehringer, published in 2005.

Though a true story, the memoir reads like a novel broken into a series of short stories that cover the author's life for a span of forty or so years, and revolve around a local bar. The writer himself isn't an employee of the place, is a nephew of one and almost everything he does in life in some way or another relates back to the bar somehow.

Known as Dickens when the story begins, the place evolves into Publicans in Manhasset, NY on Long Island. Publicans is on Manhasset's main drag and not too far from the railroad station. Because of it's location, all kinds of folks stop in for a drink and/or something to eat, and they're from all walks of life. Because of its owner, atmosphere, laid-back style and reputation as "the" place to go, it's generally jammed with people.

The author's parents divorced when he was two years old and aside from a loving, devoted mother, one uncle and one cousin, his family from Grandpa on down was dysfunctional. Beginning with his bartending uncle the "men" of Publican's, as he calls them, took over his upbringing. They, along with his mother, taught him everything he knew, protected and guided him, turning him into what he becomes.

I knew nothing of the book or story before I read it and found the author's life progression to be a worthwhile and very entertaining story. And I think that's the best way to do it, because the book is full of surprises, good and bad, and a better read if you don't know what's coming. So, give it a try and let me know what you think.

That's it for today folks.


Friday, June 18, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/18/2010

I've been around too long to believe in the good fairy. But, in the recent news I've seen the word "investigation" creep into stories about the Gulf. So, perhaps the situation's too big to keep covered up. And, if that's the case, maybe some modern day Woodward, Bernstein or both will show up and dig out the truth. Then, if we're lucky, we'll find out all about "Oilgate," sabotage, and Soros.

We spent yesterday's early afternoon with our son, admiring the job he'd done sprucing up his deck and grounds for summer. One grandchild was already home from school but her brother not expected until after we'd gone. Our daughter, whom we'd come to pick up, was visiting from Florida.

It had been a while since our daughter's last visit north so we went for a drive to Port Jefferson. We use back roads to travel and it's really a nice ride through the country. Except for the part where construction crews on a two lane stretch kept us parked dead still for more than half an hour. Nonetheless, on reaching our destination, the interruption was soon forgotten.

Danford's Inn, on the water, is somewhere we go quite often. There's a recently redesigned bar and restaurant inside, and also a large outside deck for food and drink. Choosing to stay inside, we passed a pleasant time, then left for another of our favorite spots, the nearby Pasta, Pasta.

Having been to this place quite a few times before and always enjoying our meal, for the first time this morning I looked it up on the web. Because, while we really enjoy the food and service and think the place rates with the best, it's still way out on Long Island, and Port Jeff isn't Manhattan or San Francisco.

But, I can't say I was surprised to find that the owner/chef was a graduate of the CIA (that's the Culinary Institute of America, for the uninformed, and has nothing at all to do with clandestine government operations or mysterious happenings at oil rigs.) If you want to see what the place is like, Google them like I did. They even have pictures on their site.

As always, we had a wonderful dinner, my daughter agreed we'd made a good choice, then we headed back for home. Not wanting to get stuck in the construction zone again, I headed south instead of west figuring that, sooner or later, we'd cross some kind of road or parkway we recognized. Our not knowing the way was compounded by the facts that I have absolutely no sense of direction and think it a sin to pull over and ask for help. It's some kind of macho/explorer affliction.

I also like to travel fast and when lost, always make right turns at big intersections. That's because you can usually turn right at red lights, so you don't have to wait for green. The only problem with my method is a tendency toward driving in circles.

As an aside about my driving habits, I'm reminded of when I spent most of my life on the road in sales. There are many horror stories about auto trips to unfamiliar places I've taken, here and in other locations around the United States. Usually mapless, and perhaps even having directions I'd gotten from whomever I was on my way to see, I still wound up in some of the most Godforsaken places one could imagine. That led to my wife to remark fairly often that I might have earned millions had I not spent most of my time totally lost and confused.

Anyway, last evening we eventually found our way home, proudly unscathed by any information from any outside source. What was more, there was very little complaining during our circuitous ride. Perhaps that's because, as I forgot to mention, both places we visited also made very, very good drinks.

That's it for today folks.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/17/2010

More of the same pouring out of the Gulf. Oil and political hogwash. The only good news is that folks are beginning to see how Soros and the administration set this rip-off up from the start. Maybe now it'll get into the "real" news. It's too long a story to reiterate here, so if you're curious, Google: Soros, Brazil and oil. The situation's pretty obvious as I've written often before, but you can decide for yourself.

Not a lot of blog-time today, lot's of other stuff to do. But, since this had turned out to be golf-week for my jottings, I'll continue the theme. And that brings me back to Pebble Beach.

Way back when Hollywood was becoming a Mecca, many stars moved to the West Coast and some took up the game of golf. Bob Hope and Gene Autry, for example, bought up oodles of acreage in southern California and began developing housing and resorts. "Der Bingle" Crosby went the other way, discovered the Monterey Peninsula and struck a claim at Pebble Beach.

What Bing started out with was "The Clambake," in 1947, a few days of fun and relaxation attended by more and more each year, from show business and other endeavors, but first and foremost, a very strong attachment to golf. In time the field became a mix of professional players and non, leading to a "Pro-Am" tourney each year that eventually became a recognized event. Past celebrities included many Hollywood legends, some of whom were actually fairly good golfers. Jim Backus, who starred in many movies and television shows, actually made the 36-hole cut in 1964.

The things I recall most about the tournament when I began watching many years ago on TV was how serious the well-known show people were. Though household names in their own professions, for the Crosby weekend they came to play golf. You could see the tension and concern on their faces when they set up for their shots, and the unrehearsed reactions, good or bad, when they saw the results.

In fact, they looked no different then whoever I played the game with myself. So, if nothing else, the event made them seem very real. And, if you saw Clint Eastwood, an avid player, hit an errant shot, I'd rather stare at Dirty Harry's magnum than be within a hundred yards of his wrath.

Now, as much as I enjoyed that tournament every year, I haven't tuned in for quite a while. Because although Bing started the event for golfers who happened to be in show business or whatever else, he's been gone for a while now and his treasured week of golf has been kidnapped by a horde of self-serving, uncoordinated clods who don't have a clue as to what the game is about.

And that I guess is why I'm typing this entry. I can find the words to describe how I feel about leeches who creep in on someone else's dime to promote themselves, but I can't print them here. Well, I guess I could, but I won't. There's a clown named Bill Murray, for example, who was one of the first to get me to change the station.

Watching this guy, if he really is one, swing a club is like viewing a spastic paraplegic with AIDS. The only thing I really can't figure out is, no matter how much money he thinks he'll save from the free self-promotion, how can he embarrass himself by swinging like Tiny Tim on drugs on national TV? I guess he just doesn't give a damn about how bad he looks, or how much he's denigrating the game, but neither do I. My mother could beat this guy if she gave him ten strokes a side, and she's been dead for twenty years.

Then there's Ray Romano, I think that's his name. He actually went out and somehow convinced a golf channel to produce a show about how bad he plays. I've never watched it, but I simply don't understand why anyone would want to appear on TV just to show people how bad you can be at something. But, even so, the next question is: Why would anyone watch it?

Last for today is Charles Barkley the ex-basketball thug. I don't know how to describe whatever it is he thinks is a golf swing, but I'd bet big bucks that he doesn't own a mirror. Because if he viewed his own slashing swipe at the ball he'd not only give up the game, he'd hang himself.

So, little by little like everything else the hangers-on, wannabee's and self-servers will continue to slime their way in and kill another great sport. But, in the end I'll benefit from it in spades. Because, once these parasites have ruined the game for most, I'll be able to get a tee-time anywhere, any time I want.

That's it for today folks.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/16/2010

Today's unusual because for the first and likely only time I'm posting two entry's. The other one is a continuing story from yesterday, and I thought should be separate from this one. Because, yesterday was a milestone event for my wife -a very important birthday.

There were several logistical issues associated with celebrating this occasion. First, what to do to mark it? That I decided myself. Corny or not I elected for a surprise party. And then the question of who to invite. And, that's the hard part. Because, as we age, we've seen our circles of family, friends, acquaintances and so on change and reshape...geographically, health-wise, status of relationships and whatever else time alters.

In our case, we're still in the East and many of our closest kin aren't. So, that means their availability on a particular date can be problematic. Then, there's the question of travelling significant distances, whether by air, train or ground for only one evening of celebration on a weeknight, and then an immediate return home right after. Many must consider whether that can or should that be done.

Anyway, what it came down to was a small but very, very important group of friends and relations who were critical to the event. After that there was the fact that, although we have the best grandchildren on the planet, they're still young enough where secrets are tough to keep, but somehow they did it.

The place we went for the celebration was one local to us, where we know just about everyone, and they, staff and customers both, knew about it, but they too kept the secret.

So the whole group, everyone involved or on the outskirts did their part, helping to make the evening exactly what was wanted -a happy, happy birthday surprise for my wife.

That's it for twice today folks.

Adios dos.

BloggeRhythms 6/16/201

Same old, same old in the news. So here's the rest of yesterday's story,"Paradise Walk."

When I returned to golf in later life, I still played public courses. Widowing my wife for Saturday mornings, sometimes Sundays too, I’d go off on my quest for par. And this time around, one of the things retirement and some business success allowed was travel.

For a Manhattan native, visiting golf courses in places where the game ought be played –such as the South, Caribbean, Western desert and coast, are awesome happenings. It seems resorts and recreation-focused communities reserve the choicest spots for golfers. Clubhouses, restaurants -and naturally the courses themselves- are showpieces, one outdoing the next, surrounding players and non alike with vistas seemingly associated somehow with heaven.

To this day I remember the first time I visited the Monterey Peninsula, down the coast from San Francisco. Though more than thirty years ago, specifics somewhat hazy, the overall specter of that occasion remains quite clear, in some part remarkably vivid.

The late morning was beautiful as my wife and I traveled 17 Mile Drive to sightsee. It was she who suggested we stop at The Lodge for lunch. I happily agreed, not for a moment considering golfing myself, yet fully aware of where we were headed -Pebble Beach, revered worldwide as a golfer’s Mecca. Site of some of the most famous rounds ever played by a “Who’s Who” of professional golf’s elite. Years ago, Arnie, then Jack, Johnny Miller, and so on.

Entering The Lodge, we found that if we were willing to wait a short while, a table would be available outside on the patio. Sounded good to us. The weather was perfect.

Inside the restaurant proper, I remember spying a huge buffet arrangement resplendent with just about every morsel one would wish to partake, thinking “This is going to be a memorable lunch.”

Soon taken to a table outside, my wife and I sat down side by side. A waiter came by, we ordered drinks, telling him we’d wait a few minutes before attacking the sumptuous feast.

It was then I realized the world famous 18th green was right there. One could almost reach out and touch it. I said to my wife, “We’ve got a few minutes dear, I just want to take a quick walk down to the green. After all, we’ve seen it so many times on television, it would be a shame to be so near and not see it live and close up for a moment.” Naturally, she agreed, ultra-amenable to children of all ages.

Loping down toward the green I noticed quite a few people with cameras, mostly Asian women, snapping shots, smiling happily, thoroughly enjoying the occasion. Picturesque landscape waited to be captured on film wherever they aimed their lenses.

Assuming the ladies to be waiting for their husbands to finish their rounds, I edged closer to the green itself, sure someone would soon shout, “Hey fella, only players allowed. Move on.” Oddly, no one did.

Standing in reverence a few moments longer, I glanced toward the tee of the long par five hole. Surf pounded on my right, the famous rocky cliff shearing off to the beach below. Though I’d viewed this vista on the small screen countless times, live it was beyond belief. And, back toward the tee, the lone tree that gave the best of the best in the game all sorts of fits loomed over the fairway. An awesome sight, indeed.

It was then I noticed a cart path off to the left. Why not walk a few yards down, nearer the famous tree, perhaps even glimpse the tee live and in natural color? No one had attempted to oust or arrest me yet.

Cautiously stepping down the path a ways, stopping to look around, since none showed up to evict me, I walked a bit further on. Though homes beyond description stood off to my left, I’d gladly have lived there in a tent, rinsing my golf clothes in a bucket of ice cold Pacific water.

I walked warily on, soon approaching the tee itself. I envisioned standing there on a final round Sunday, wind whipping across, waves pounding the beach, seals sunning on the rocks below, gallery holding its breath, my shot soaring into the air. Will it reach the fairway? That’s something I’ll never know. But, for that day, all alone without golf clubs, it was good enough for me.

Not having thought about it, I noticed the 17th green was quite close to the 18th tee. Why not trot over there quickly, glimpse another world-renowned hole? I’ll never be here again, I reasoned. At that green, I realized that, naturally, the perspective from the tee is quite different. Perhaps I should just take one fast peek.

As even many non-golfers know, courses are often called “links,” the various holes, like beads on a chain, following one another in succession. Thus, hole by hole, green to tee, I walked back along the Pebble Beach cart path, lost in a myriad of thoughts. In all, I really don’t remember how far I traveled. Back to fifteen, fourteen, thirteen, twelve, further that that? Perhaps.

Yet, along all that way, no one stopped me. More than that, I don’t recall seeing any players on the course that day at all. Maybe the golf Gods knew I was coming and wanted to be alone.

Sometime later, I made my way back, this time walking the few holes in proper order, again imagining the shots required from various spots, recollecting efforts of professionals I’d seen on my television screen.

Back at the Lodge, I found my wife not at our table, but standing off to the side. I said, “I’m sorry, why aren’t you sitting down? Did they bring our drinks yet?” She smilingly replied, “Oh yes. And the buffet was marvelous too.”
“The buffet? You’ve eaten already? By yourself?”
“Yes dear. But I had to get up, because they need to set the table for dinner. And we don’t have a reservation.”

To this day I don’t know how long I was gone when I wandered off to see the 18th green at Pebble Beach. And my patient, understanding mate never uttered a word about her abandonment by a self-serving, fully-grown brat. I suppose she realized that when one is given the chance to walk through the Pearly Gates to look around for a while, just to see what it’s like, one ought to go.

I’ve returned to The Lodge several times since, and yes, the food was truly outstanding. But offered the choice between those sumptuous meals and another walk beside those fairways, I’d gladly settle for stale bread and water…whenever it was I got back.

That's it for today folks.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/15/2010

Big day today. My wife's birthday. As birthday's go, this is one of the milestones -I'll just leave it at that. So, happy birthday to her with hopes for many, many more.

Since this is U.S. Open week, yesterday I wrote about Arnie and what he's done for the game of golf. Then I recalled something I wrote several years ago about Pebble Beach Golf Course, and my first visit there. It's longer than most of my blogs, so here's part one of the story, I called "Paradise Walk."

Something about the game of golf sets it apart from all others, at least for me. And I suspect that’s so for many, if not most, players.

Perhaps it’s where golf’s played that intrigues us. Rolling green expanses, leafy trees, lakes, ponds, streams, seashores, hills and valleys. White sand bunkers pocking landscapes reflecting sunlight. Chirping birds, chattering squirrels, scampering deer sometimes crossing the fairways. While most certainly don’t play because of scenery, there’s little doubt they’re aware of the surrounding beauty, even if only in the subconscious.

Then there’s the game itself, for most a physical test of the nth degree. Regardless of skills and expertise displayed in other athletic endeavors, golf somehow crumbles expectations, frustrating even the most gifted among us.

Odd when you think about it. No one's throwing a fastball at ninety miles an hour, challenging you to hit it. No one blocks your way or tackles you as you attempt to cross the goal line. No one leaps up, hands waving wildly to distract you as you try to put the ball in the basket.

Golf balls sit motionless on a small wooden tee, on the grass, or in the rough or sand, waiting for you, and you alone, to send them on their way. And, what do you have to do to accomplish that task? Remarkably -almost nothing.

First, simply select the appropriate club for the shot, certainly not a terribly hard athletic undertaking. In fact, most golfers know reasonably well how far golf balls will travel when hit with the various clubs in their bags. Some even have a caddy along to assist in club selection -well within the rules.

Once the proper club's been chosen, one merely swings it back, then forward again, sending the small white ball into the air. As it flies off player’s stand in place, usually posed in follow-through position, watching as the missile streaks away toward its intended target. What could be simpler than that?

Alas, for most, that’s the point where athletic skills, prowess, timing, and coordination somehow evaporate. Or, perhaps, golf clubs and balls have minds of their own. Because, when the time comes to actually address the ball, balance and finesse are somehow suddenly gone. The slow, rhythmical swing in one’s mind turns into a lunging swipe for no apparent reason. The envisioned high arcing shot to the rolling, well manicured green becomes a slicing, bouncing ground ball heading towards a pond, sand trap or forest. Sudden bursts of sound pierce the ordinarily hushed serenity as splashes, clunks or snapping branches echo.

At times, the pastoral quietude may be further disrupted by obscenities from the mildest and most well-mannered among us, as they watch their well planned shots ricochet through tree limbs like pinball's or submerge in ponds before their very eyes.

Of course, that isn’t the end of the world. Once your ball’s been found, you get the chance to do it all again. For most, the opportunity to hit the proper shot recurs quite often. In some cases …countlessly each round.

So -is that what brings golfers back? The will and determination to keep trying to attain that illusive goal…par.

In most athletic games the object is to accumulate the most points. Golfers, on the other hand, seek to amass the fewest. Whether competing against others or playing alone, par is the measure. The closer one comes to that magic number, the better they are rated as players…by others or themselves.

For some -certainly those at the professional level- how many strokes under par one shoots in a round is the test for them. They spend hour upon hour, day after day, playing the game, practicing without stop, refining the swing, fine-tuning the timing, transforming themselves into human machines endlessly repeating with perfection.

Yet, even at the professional stage, there doesn’t seem to be satisfaction. Players don’t walk away sated by better than perfect scores; accomplishing all there is, never to return. Like Chinese food enthusiasts, a few hours later -give or take- they want to go at it again. And they do…every chance they get.

For me as well, the game has always had some magical attraction, beyond my comprehension as to exactly what it is. Nonetheless, it surely exists. Just ask my wife.

When younger, participating in many sports, baseball, softball, football, swimming, diving, countless hours on basketball courts, most, if not all those endeavors came easily to me. Someone threw a ball …I hit it. Someone passed a ball …I caught it. Basketballs often flew into the hoop.

Then one fine day a friend suggested golf. “Golf?” I sneered. “Old men play golf. I play real sports. Go bother somebody else.” “No, No”, he insisted, I’m younger than you are and play all the time. C’mon, you’ll love it.”

For some inexplicable reason a few weeks later I went along one Sunday morning, with a bag of borrowed clubs, sneakers on my feet. Who knew you needed special shoes with spikes? Living in Manhattan at the time we hauled our golf bags on the subway uptown to Moshulu Park in the Bronx, taking our place with a horde of others waiting for a precious tee time.

A seeming eternity later our number was called and we plodded to the first tee. When my turn came, my friend said, “Take the club back slowly, eye on the ball, keep your head down, swing through, hit the ball.” Sounded simple enough.

Without reliving the horror of that afternoon, let’s just say I’m glad we were among strangers. To this day I’d still run the other way should I encounter anyone seeing the humiliating, pitiful excuse for a golf game I showed them. After that exasperating, demoralizing, endless afternoon, you’d think one would say, “Sorry. That game’s just not for me.”

So, how come the very next week I was back at Moshulu? And every one after that -all season long. When winters were snowless, I’d be out watching my best shots bounce twenty feet high off the frozen turf, as I shivered, teeth chattering, stuttering “N, n, next time I’ve g, g, got to r,r,remember to a,a,allow for that i, i, igloo effect.”

I played the game every chance I got until family and business responsibilities finally got in the way. Rather than playing the occasional round when time allowed, frustrating myself trying to shoot reasonable scores with inches of rust on my swing, I hung up the clubs for quite a while. But, fortunately I've now lived long enough to have some time on my hands again -and some golf clubs in them.

That's it for today folks.


Monday, June 14, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/14/2010

This is the week of the U.S. Golf Open Championship. It's being played at Pebble Beach Golf Course in Monterey California and starts Thursday. To me, it's the second most important event of the PGA's year, the first being the Master's at Augusta.

The first U.S. Open round I attended personally was in 1959. The course was Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, NY. Although I saw practically every player at some time or other during a very long day, including Billy Casper, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Bob Rosburg, Cary Middlecoff, Gene Littler, Dow Finsterwald, Jack Fleck, Don January and Art Wall, I really went to see only one -Arnold Palmer.

I became an Arnie fan while he was still an amateur at Wake Forest University on a golf scholarship, and was very familiar with his story. Born in Latrobe,PA he learned the game from his father, Deacon, head professional and greens-keeper at Latrobe Country Club. He left Wake Forest after the death of his closest friend Bud Worsham, and enlisted in the Coast Guard. He won the U.S. Amateur Championship in 1954, turned pro and won the Canadian Open in 1955.

Arnie's game coupled with his charisma is credited as the spark that ignited the PGA Tour which grew to become one of the most popular and lucrative aspects of professional sports, particularly through television. He's also thought to have secured the status of the British Open, now a prestigious member of professional golf's four "majors," along with the Master's, U.S. Open and the PGA Tournament.

I won't mention the name of another golfer known today, because it doesn't belong on the same page as Arnie's, but that self-serving weasel lowlife has accrued almost a billion dollars from the sport that Palmer put on the map. But to give you an idea of what Arnie began with, the winner of the 1959 Open I attended, Billy Casper, won $12,000. Arnie finished tied for 5th and took home $2,100.

There are many differences in almost all aspects of professional golf tournaments today, the most significant to me being the size of the crowds. I learned early on that even way back then, trying to walk along with a particular player is quite difficult to do. Crowds generally form at the tees and greens, so even if you manage to keep pace with the strides of PGA players, you have to worm or bull your way through all those others at each spot and consequently, the more popular your player, the less chance of glimpsing their shots.

And, speaking of walking. I don't think you can get any idea from watching TV exactly how fast these pros "walk." But even at eighteen and in very good shape from all the sports I played myself, trying to keep up with a guy like Arnie, who smoked tee to green to boot, I often had to lope or trot.

Yet, above it all and with a particular exception or two, I believe pro golf is still closer to its fans than any other sport. Aside from anything else, it's not played in a stadium, arena or closed space so the player's and fans walk the same ground around the tees and greens. Fairways of course, and tees and greens themselves are roped off and kept pristine.

Then, there are the practice tees and greens. Here, before their tee times, players practice their shots and at almost all golf courses fans can stay a reasonable distance away, but watch whomever they want. And it's there that most pro's though concentrating on their games will often talk to the fans. And, even today, they'll autograph fans items with a smile. That's one of the reasons, for example, that there isn't a real golf fan in the world right now who doesn't love Freddy Couples.

But now, back to Arnie. So in 1959 there I was at Winged Foot hanging around the practice tee and green, waiting for Arnie to arrive and watching many others. Then he got there and I watched him practice but never got really close. After that I saw his first tee shot, then moved on as best I could around the course, seeing shots and putts here and there. Frankly, I'd have seen all of his game had I stayed in the clubhouse and watched one of the screens, but it's not the same.

The amazing part, though, was when his round was over. After he'd finished for the day, handed in his scorecard and stepped outside the scorer's tent, there was a sizable crowd of waiting fans. Arnie started smiling, shaking hands and taking whatever he was given to sign and signed each and every one. There was no hurry, no pushing or shoving, just a polite, personable guy whom everybody immediately understood would get around to everyone before he left, however long it took.

As for me, I gave him a large score-sheet to sign. That sheet held the name of every player, many of whom I'd stood close to that day. But, I only wanted one signature and that's what I got. It still hangs today in a frame over my desk as I type here, a score-sheet from Winged Foot golf course, Saturday, June 13, 1959, and one broad signature on it's top left-hand corner -Arnold Palmer.

That's it for today folks.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/13/2010

Two diverse topics today, from discussions last night. First, the oil spill. I wrote quite some time ago, that I thought it was clear that Soros used and money to buy the presidential election, but I couldn't figure out the payback. Then, when he got a U.S. backed two billion dollar loan guarantee to develop oil resources in Brazil for use there only, I thought I saw some light. Selling oil anywhere today is a pretty good business.

But now, with this sabotaged well in the Gulf, the last piece fell into the puzzle. Because, somehow or other Soros' oil is going to wind up coming here after all. While there's not much anyone can do about this well-planned and executed situation, certainly not me, I just want credit for recognizing it from the beginning, and my early on understanding of what the last presidential election was really about.

On to issue two. My wife knows quite a lot about sports, both today and a long time past. So, at times when she awakens during the night, she listens to sports radio shows, among others. That's fine with me because she wears earphones, so it doesn't keep me up too.

Well, it seems last night that a replacement sat in for one of her favorite show hosts, and according to her, this guy knew very little about the sports he discussed. In fact, many knowledgeable fans called in to dispute or refute his comments and statements. When I awoke, she mentioned her disappointment with this broadcaster and we began a discussion of own. About what broadcasters and fans alike do and don't know about various sports.

That conversation led to another issue I've touched on here before, as to what really constitutes a sport to begin with and then which are the most popular and the reason. So, for the first time, I looked it up. According to ESPN's Page 2 that rated 60 common sports by difficulty, here are the ranks:
1-Boxing 2-Hockey 3-Football 4-Basketball 7-Tennis 9-Baseball
10-Soccer 32-Nascar 60-Fishing.

So now let's look at the popularity aspect and think about it. How much athletic ability or skill does it take to fish? None or less. Thus, just about everyone in the U.S. has gone fishing, even me and my wife. Nascar I've discussed to death (no pun intended). This pastime, or whatever it is, takes no athletic ability at all, except maybe endurance, and just about everyone over driving age gets behind the wheel.

And, as for soccer, maybe it's me, but I can't see the difficulty of running up and down a field in your shorts kicking a ball. For fans the hardest part must be avoiding a coma. But, nonetheless, anyone can do it because it requires almost no skill. So, when you look at the three least difficult activities, you get three huge fan bases. To me that makes absolute sense because folks can not only identify with the activity, they can easily do it themselves.

As for the first and second most difficult, boxing and hockey, their rankings prove the point. Both are extremely hard to master, take stamina, coordination, speed, talent, reflexes and endurance thus very few fans have an iota of commonality with either, so why watch?

The rest, football, basketball, tennis and baseball fall in the middle and so do their rankings. And there you have the range from easy to tough -boxing on top fishing at the bottom. And, I suppose, this is one more reflection of how life works. If it's easy to do, everyone loves it, and if takes some hard work and talent most folks choose to avoid it, whatever it is.

That's all for today folks.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/12/2010

Reformatted the blog layout yesterday and think the appearance is better, but I'm biased since I did it myself. So, comments are appreciated, positive or otherwise, because you're the readers and your opinions are more important than mine.

Beyond that, I can't really find anything worthwhile in the news not already discussed to death. And, not being an avid news type, I don't pay much attention to TV broadcasts. I also don't listen to the radio at all, and haven't much use for newspapers since I'm not housebreaking a dog anymore. Now, I actually don't think I'm off the deep end in this regard, because I believe I have valid reason.

As far as all the broadcast media is concerned, and I've mentioned this before, there's a definitive bias in their reporting. So, if I tune in, I'm not getting actual news, I'm getting their slant or opinion. Aside from that, it seems there's more time devoted to commercials than there is to reporting, and I won't sit still for that.

I pay a lot of money for cable service and refuse to spend those dollars just to hear some bozo scream about how to disintegrate a tomato with a twenty pound sledge in a glass tube. My personal method of veto of that guy and all the other hucksters too is to keep the TV sound off, and change the channel.

But then I get to see something else that's worse. Because I also really don't have an interest in joining some class-action suit brought about by some ambulance chasing, lower than dirt lawyers who're trolling for folks who've come down with beri-beri or scurvy, so what do I do next?

The funny thing is, I started turning the TV sound off altogether quite a long time ago and have come to find out that I don't miss it at all. I also think I'm not alone. I truly believe there are many, many others like me who are ticked off at paying for media that raises all kinds of money from subscribers, then turns around and tries to jam unwanted, worthless products and services down their throats.

So, now that I've convinced myself that I'm not alone, the next step is how to organize a revolt. I've got to do some planning and come up with an answer. And, once I've figured out how to get these worthless commercials off the air, I'll write up the solution. Then, I'll need to get that information out to all those others like me who'd love to hear it. And I think I know how to do that. I'll produce a commercial and show it on TV.

That's it for today folks.


Friday, June 11, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/11/2010

Nothing new for a change, aside from the day-to-day about the oil spill. Except, now the heads of big oil are on their way to DC for a grilling next week. I expect that the grilling will be important to these moguls of oildom, because they don't come to the Capitol too often. So, this will give them a chance to question congress-people personally, about how their oil money's being spent.

Because usually the oil barons themselves wouldn't stoop to address elected officials, they just let their lobbyists tell Congress folks what to do. It should be interesting to see the congress-people squirm under personal fire from pro's and the threat of losing all that income if they don't back off and shut up.

And today I've got a similar case personally, because I've been told to shut up too. By my wife. She feels I was wrong yesterday in writing up the brouhaha in the bar. In her opinion, the matter was personal, between a patron and an employee and thus, none of anyone else's business.

I felt, on the other hand, since we weren't even there when it happened I wasn't telling tales out of school, I was merely reiterating news as it was told to me. What's more, I didn't name the people involved, the place where it happened or even what town we were in. I was only interested in the story as an event and thought it proved a point about what bartenders have to go through in the normal course of business, and why I think the good ones are among the most talented people you can find in any occupation.

And, what I left out was that the fact that, apparently, the dispute I mentioned took place in the early evening. But, had it been later, where there likely would have been more of an alcoholic effect, there probably would have been much more of a scene and maybe the drawing of weapons.

So, for the record, my only point was to illustrate the difficulty of tending bar and putting up with every day situations and how good one must be to do that well. And the hero of my books, Bobby Cole, wasn't chosen without thought or consideration.

I needed somebody tough, smart, considerate, insightful and a good, fast judge of character to boot to handle the things that arise. And, in my opinion, the best occupation to draw from when you need those traits and characteristics are bartenders by far. Case closed.

That's it for today folks.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/10/2010

Was at my favorite local place last evening, listening to one of the bartenders. Part of the conversation was about the oil spill of course, then a few words about baseball. After that, came the news that one of the "regulars," someone who's there just about every night, stormed out the previous evening vowing he'd "NEVER come back."

The person in question is a retired businessman, he'd been a successful banker, and is also a confirmed bachelor. So, like many guy's who live alone, having a local place to hang out is very important. More than that, this particular place is perfect for him. The food's very good, the service is too, and beyond that, it's a sports bar. There's a whole line of TV's behind the bar, three of which are arrayed well within the scope of vision from his regular stool.

Having been a good college basketball player himself, and an avid golfer now, as well as a well-informed baseball fan, he feels quite at home in the bar because he practically lives there. When he arrives he generally asks whoever's behind the bar to tune in particular channels on those three nearest screens. And, that's what usually happens -ESPN goes on one, Mets or Yankees on another and the Golf Channel on the third. Except for last night.

There was another customer, certainly not one with any esteem, a complete stranger in fact, who was watching something or other on another station. It might not even have been sports. And that person objected to the channel change, saying he wanted to see the rest of his program. Then lo and behold, the bartender changed the station back to the stranger's station telling the true-blue resident regular that the outsider was right. He'd been there first. And that's what blew the lid off the resident's composure. He loudly stomped out, muttering and swearing under his breath because, in his opinion, he'd been not only been disobeyed, he'd been completely disrespected.

And that got me to thinking about why I get so much enjoyment from bars. Because what goes on are microcosms of the how the world works. All kinds of people come in and conduct themselves in all kinds of ways which is interesting in and of itself. But, the best people-persons in the world are the bartenders themselves. That's why my books are about them. Because they have to put up with everybody no matter, and they really can't ever win because when push comes to shove, the customer's always right.

Yet, in their own way the good ones always come out on top, because they control the flow of booze, the level of service and are in absolute control of the TV remotes. So, if you ever think you're a big shot, and start pushing bar-people around you're in for a comeuppance. Because, sooner or later you'll pay the price, it's just a matter of when. And you can take it from me, because I really know from experience, beyond all of their other talents and skills -they never forget.

That's it for today folks.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/9/2010

Congress has called the heads of big oil to testify next week. The result will be no progress on the oil leak at all, huge fines and warnings all around insuring that the price of gas will rise to ten dollars a gallon. Naturally, penalty tax hikes will be added for the consumer too, bringing the total fill-up price to twelve bucks a gallon. The Gulf of Mexico will be shut down all together and the sheiks in the Arab Emerites will have to move to Europe to be closer to the additional billions they'll hide in Swiss banks after they gouge us again this time.

Meanwhile George Soros will offer to sell his Brazilian oil here at premium prices, but lower shipping costs which is why he told Obama to sabotage the BP rig in the first place. Free enterprise -don't you just love it?

Since I need a break from writing about how government works, I'll add another short entry about Dick Lynch.

We used to play golf all year round, regardless of the cold months. If there was no snow on the ground and the temperature was above thirty, we'd go out. The only other factor was wind-chill. We learned that low temperatures themselves weren't so bad, it was the chilling breeze that really froze you. So at thirty degrees or more and no wind, there were days we'd play only in sweaters after we'd warmed up for a few holes.

So, one day Dick and I were playing Douglaston and it was pretty cold. Frigid enough to keep most folks away except for some other all-year loonies like us. For some reason, Dick who was more than a beginner by then, but not a consistent player, suggested we add something to the fun by making some kind of wager on our game. I told him I had enough to worry about just trying to beat my own scores and betting wasn't my thing. He kept suggesting lower and lower amounts per hole, until he got down to five cents. And then finally, just to end his pestering, I said "Okay Dick, a nickel a hole."

I won the first hole and told Dick, "You owe me five cents." He replied, "Let's go for double or nothing on the next one," to which I agreed. Then for the next sixteen, I won all the holes except a couple which we tied, but Dick kept doubling the ante. So, by the end of our round he owed me a bit.

As we headed back to the clubhouse in our golf cart, I told Dick the round had been fun and that he could forget about the bet, maybe we'd try it again some other time. He said, "Oh, no. A bet's a bet and I don't want to do that," and then he drove all the way back to the first tee. He got out of the cart, told me to come on, and proceeded to hit a tee shot. When I asked him what he was doing, he told me were going to play "Just one more hole. Double or nothing."

For I don't know how many holes more, we kept on going. Since it was now later in the day, and considerably colder, there were fewer others on the course. So if we caught up to another group, he'd drive around them and keep going until he found a vacant tee. A couple of times he crossed fairways if he saw no one playing on holes here and there. And this kept on for quite a while.

Now I don't how many holes we actually played that day in all, but I'd say certainly forty or more, and finally on a short par three I took double bogey five and Lynch made four. When he won that hole, still at double or nothing and by now a considerable sum, he said "We're even" and finally headed back to the clubhouse.

I remember that golf round because of the circumstances, the cold, the wind that came up and of course, the wager. But, most of all I recall how Dick Lynch reacted that day when he was losing. I think no matter what happened, even if it had begun to blizzard, he wouldn't have quit when he was down, even for only nickels. He probably didn't even know how to give in, it wasn't in his make-up. And, I'm sure, that's what the Oklahoma players saw when he beat them as did all those quarterbacks in the NFL that he intercepted. And that's one of the reasons why he was always so much fun to spend time with.

Now, I'm certainly not in Dick's league sports-wise, in football I couldn't even shine his shoes competitively speaking. But golf's another pastime, and I'd been playing the game lots longer than Dick, thus it really wouldn't have mattered had I thrown a hole just to get off the course and get close to a heater sooner. But, I wouldn't quit either. And maybe that's why we spent so much time together, because there's a lot to be said about mutual respect in competition.

That's it for today folks.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/8/2010

Leasing News a web-published site has graciously mentioned Cole Calling. Maybe I'll hear from some long-lost friends who check the industry news now and then. I hope so. To see the write-up yourself:

Writing about Dick Lynch yesterday brought back some memories about some of our golf rounds. And, as I noted, after my brief tale to him about my dislike for his life-long team the NY Football Giants, we never mentioned another word about football in the entire seven or more years we played golf together.

I've also said for many, many years that I never watched, listened to or read anything about the Giants, after they gave away a roster-full of great talent out of what I thought was unwillingness to pay the players what they deserved. But, then, what if I was wrong. Suppose it wasn't money, but actually football decisions based on what they thought was best for the team. Well, if that was true, then they were too stupid to run a team and I still made the right decision by abandoning them as a fan.

Now, although I've kept saying I ignored the Giants altogether, and when it came to the season that was absolutely and unequivocally true, but during the time I hung around with Lynch there were a couple of lapses on my behalf. Because, he also broadcast the pre-season games.

And, as he was also well-known for, during those warm-up games that really didn't count, he talked about all kinds of stuff, sometimes it seemed, forgetting all about football. So, fairly often during those non-event practice sessions he'd talk about golf, and especially Douglaston Golf Course. And that's what I'd listen for, because not only did he mention lot's of my friends from there, once or twice he even mentioned me on the air.

I also recall telling another friend about how Dick and I never conversed about football, college or professional, and he gave me a response that I thought made a lot of sense. He thought it was likely that everyone Lynch ran into, family, friends and otherwise buried him in questions, information and trivia about the sport and he was deluged. But, as far as Lynch and I were concerned the subject never came up.

So golf gave him a place to get away from it all for a while, and as all golfers know, to play that game well, you can't think of anything else. But, better than that for Lynch, so long as he was spending time with me he was guaranteed football would never be mentioned.

The last time we really played a round of golf together, Dick told me that three friends of his from the Giants had opened a new golf course. The place was out on Long Island, I don't remember the name but it was Mill Pond, or Mill Road, or Mill something or other, I think. Anyway, it was located somewhere around Exit 70 on the Long Island Expressway and a good haul by car. He asked me if I wanted to come along, he was playing very early on a Sunday morning.

I declined saying that on the drive out at that hour we'd probably make very good time, perhaps under an hour or less because the cops hadn't really woken up yet. But on the way back, forget it. With regular Sunday expressway traffic around noon, we'd be on the road for hours getting home.

I guess Dick really liked the place, though, because except for showing up at Douglaston sometimes during the week when I wasn't there, he never really came back. As for me, I kept playing there and as usual, had a continual stream of strangers in my foursomes. But, I kept reading the names on their bag-tags anyway, because, as I'd found out, who knows who'll you'll run into playing a public golf course?

That's it for today folks.


Monday, June 7, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/7/2010

Still no real news to speak of, so back to telling tales from the past. And, in that regard, I'm upset with myself. Because while re-reading yesterday's entry about a jock who became an actor, I realized I've never mentioned my closest relationship with a truly "professional" athlete. Dick Lynch.

But first, a little background. From my formative years in sports, beginning as a spectator my favorite professional football team was the New York Giants. I lived and died with that team, season after season. And then, in the late fifties and early sixties they put a powerhouse together, though never winning championship games. The players on those rosters were legends.

YA Tittle at quarterback, Kyle Rote and Frank Gifford (everyone knows Frank,) Rosey Greer who went on to television shows, and Rosey Brown. Pat Summerall, Del Shofner, Alex Webster, Joe Morrison, Joe Walton and Andy Robustelli to name a few.

And then, in 1963 as I recall, their all-world middle linebacker, Sam Huff, whom I believe was the guy who created the position as it's played today, had the nerve to ask the owning Mara's for a raise. In no time Sam was traded to the Washington Redskins for a punt returner named something like Dicky James.

Now, I don't remember ever seeing Dicky return a punt because most often the ball hit him in helmet before he had a chance to receive it, but it didn't matter to me. Because within a flash just about the whole team was traded away for nothing, and I was so upset I vowed never to mention that team's name again. To this day I've lived up to my promise and have not seen or heard a Giant's football game since.

To my good fortune in the same year as my divorce from the Mara's a man named Sonny Werblin started the Titans of New York, who soon became the NY Jets. Then along came Broadway Joe Namath from Beaver Falls, Pa and the University of Alabama who took us to the win in Super Bowl III in 1969. I was a fan from day one, still am, and plan to keep it that way in the future.

But now, back to Dick Lynch.

For many, many years I played a golf course in Douglaston, NY. I spent a lot of time there and knew everyone who worked in the clubhouse. Since it's a "public" course anyone can play there and, thus, in time you can meet an awful lot of people. Most often, I went there by myself and therefore generally wound up joining three other people.

I always rented a golf cart and sometimes another player would split the fee and join me, but most often I rode around by myself. Now, that suited me fine because I didn't go to the course to "socialize" I went to play golf. In fact, I rarely spoke to anyone else I was grouped with, even if they shared my cart.

Then one day, some guy shared my cart with me and as usual before the round began I stayed on the practice putting green until our foursome was called to the first tee. At the tee, I hit my shot climbed into the cart and drove off down the fairway. To this point I'd not even really looked at my cart partner, and surely hadn't said a word to him.

When we reached my cart-partner's ball, he got out of the cart, selected a club from his bag and lined himself to hit his second shot. And that's when I noticed he was facing the wrong way. If he were to swing at the ball he'd have sent it flying back toward the first tee. I immediately jumped out of the cart and approached him saying, "Excuse me sir, maybe you haven't played here before, but the green is the other way. You're lined up to hit the ball back toward the clubhouse."

His answer to that was, "Excuse me sir, but I am lined up properly. You see, I'm left-handed."

Realizing my gaffe, I said "Sorry, sir. Hit away." then slumped away apologetically. But as I approached the cart, some kind of memory light triggered and I looked at the tags on his golf bag. There were many of them and they all read "Dick Lynch." When I glanced back at him I also noticed that everything he wore, shirt, shorts, sweater, all had NFL or NY Giant logos. Except for his old, beat up baseball-type cap. That said ND in blue and gold letters. Notre Dame.

And now I knew just whom I was playing golf with that morning. Lynch played his college football at Notre Dame and is in their Hall of Fame. Though a defensive standout professionally, in 1957 he scored the only touchdown in Notre Dame's 7-0 win over the University of Oklahoma that ended the Sooners' 47-game winning streak.

After retiring from playing he was the color commentator for the New York Giants' radio broadcasts from 1967 to 2008. Over time he paired with several notable play-by-play announcers, including Marty Glickman, Marv Albert, Jim Gordon and Bob Papa.

Within a while that morning, I began speaking to Dick, telling him immediately about my distaste for the Giants and that I despised them because they'd traded my "team" away. Surprisingly, he not only didn't argue, I got the sense that although he'd never say it, after all his blood ran Giant blue and red, but he might have secretly agreed with me. But, that really didn't matter. Because all he wanted to do was play golf and get better at it, so we never discussed football again.

And that, I think, is why we soon became close friends. Because from that day on, we played plenty of times together and I did the play-by-play, talking to him about the most important thing in his life, his golf game.

That's it for today folks.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

BloggeRhythms 6/6/2010

Same old story lately, not a lot in the news. BP’s pipe in the Gulf is still pumping out zillions of barrels of oil a day, and now the stuff’s coming ashore. So, if you’re having fish from the Gulf for dinner, at least you won’t have to grease the pan.

I was watching a movie yesterday and one of the stars was Dave Roberts. You probably know him as Tony. He’s played in several Woody Allen movies: Annie Hall, Radio Days, Stardust Memories, Hannah and Her Sisters, among others. The reason he’s of special interest to me is we grew up in the same general neighborhood, and when we were teens spent lot’s of time in Manhattan’s Central Park.

Now, that was quite a while ago and I’m not sure Dave would remember me, but I certainly remember him. He was a good sized guy as I recall, somewhere around six feet, and not heavy set, but had a decent physique and, if I remember correctly, wanted to be a major league pitcher.

Now, if you want to pitch seriously, you have to practice a lot, and you also need a catcher. As for me, I played lots of ball, but at first or third base or the outfield. Sitting on your haunches in a crouch wasn’t my idea of a good time at all. But, Dave seemed like a really nice guy the first time I ran into him in the park, and he asked if I wanted to throw the ball around for a while.

Well, I didn’t know he was an aspiring big-time pitcher and that his idea of tossing the ball around was that I squat down and let him throw countless fast balls to me. When I found out that’s what he wanted, I politely said “Gee, I don’t have a catcher’s mitt. Sorry.” His answer to that was not to worry, he’d brought one along himself. Then he handed it to me.

After he tossed a few burners in, still warming up, I told him I wasn’t sure I could keep doing this because my hand was starting to sting. I told him that next time I’d bring a sponge pad along, but for now I thought it best to quit. To that, he said that I shouldn’t worry; he’d brought a pad along too, which he happily leant me.

Then for the next I don’t know how many hours I crouched, squatted, and spent some time on my knees, catching fastballs, hard curves and sliders till Dave himself ran out of steam. When we parted that day we chatted for a while about really nothing much and he said he’d enjoyed it, and that maybe we’d run into each other again sometime.

In fact, we did run into each other at least a few more times, I don’t remember exactly how many, and did the same thing again. He pitched, I caught. But now, looking back on those days, and seeing what he’s become, I now realize that an award winning Hollywood and Broadway actor chose to spend a considerable amount of his time with me, from only sixty-feet and six inches away.

That’s it for today folks.