Little League Coach: ‘Your Dad’s a Loser’

If I were organizing a men’s softball team today, I’d make a rule: if you were in Little League, you can’t be on this team.

Dig this video of a Little League coach pepping up the kiddies for the game. If your dad, he says, ever told you the goal here is simply to play your best and have fun, then–I quote–“Your dad’s a loser.” Because, he says, the goal is to win: “make the other players cry.”

Dude, my dad on his worst day was worth 50 of you. I am so glad he–and my mother–decided to keep me out of Little League. It’s been my experience that organized sports, rather than bringing out anything good, turns you into an obnoxious little twerp. How many times have I seen that demonstrated in men’s basketball at the Y?

I was told I could play all day if I wanted, as long as it wasn’t in Little League. My mother taught me to hit like Harmon Killebrew. My dad played catch with my brother and me in the evening–after he came home from another strenuous day at the Ford plant. As the years go by, I’m more and more grateful to them for having the wisdom to let children be children.

This other guy–pffft! Begone, varlet.

‘The Geography of Dreams’ (2018)

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How can this place not be real?

I’m sorry to say that since I last posted this a year ago, I’ve stopped having dreams set in those places I’ve described. What happened?

The Geography of Dreams

Ah, well, I don’t know. I miss the woodland path leading down to the old deserted railway cut. And the arm of Raritan Bay that reaches several extra miles inland: how often I’ve fished and boated there.

Where do dreamscapes go? These are two I’d like to have back.

I miss them!

Why Watch ‘Columbo’?

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Now that our new computer is installed, we’re able to watch discs again; and this weekend we’re watching Columbo episodes, vintage 1971 and thereabouts.

This show was a world-wide hit, one of the greatest achievements, all-time, of American TV. And it’s still a blast today: it’ll never grow stale.

Columbo himself looks like the most insignificant man on earth. The murderers he brings to justice are persons of wealth, status, education, political power (sometimes), and charisma. They are all sure they can get away with murder. These are highly privileged people–real John Kerry/Nancy Pelosi types. Laws don’t apply to them: only to us chuckleheads and deplorables.

So it’s hugely satisfying when Columbo finally brings them down!

Columbo is Nemesis (just like Miss Marple!), and Nemesis is always humbly clothed. Nemesis is never flashy. As an agent of divine justice–God’s justice–Nemesis can never be bought off, intimidated, corrupted, or made a fool of. It will pursue the guilty beyond the gates of death.

And it’s good for us to know that.

‘Memory Lane: Moving the Piano’ (2020)

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Not as hard a time as Laurel & Hardy had… but bad enough.

A lot of us, when we’re 17, think we’re hot stuff. It can’t be helped, it’s part of growing up: that is, you have to learn that you’re not such hot stuff, after all.

Which brings us to moving Aunt Florence’s piano…

Memory Lane: Moving the Piano

So three teens couldn’t do the work of two grown men! Mortifying. Who glued the piano to the floor? There’s a trick to it–right?

Oh, those balloon-busting lessons of life!

‘When the Saints Go Marching In’

It doesn’t get more iconic than this! Louis Armstrong, national treasure; that wonderful old TV show by Ed Sullivan; and When the Saints Go Marching In–if you want to ask for anything more, you’re just being greedy.

Taking a Break… at Tommy’s Pond

Patty and I have been feeling rather stressed lately, so we took a break from work and went off to spend some down-time at Tommy’s Pond.

It was a big piece of my childhood–fishing, sledding and ice skating in the winter, Summer Fun Club with the YMCA, just around the block. There were Fun Club kids there today: scheduled for a water balloon fight, but somehow that didn’t come off. We settled down on a park bench and chatted with the kids. I had a lot of pleasant memories to share with them: once upon a time, I was a Fun Club counselor. Then they went back to the Y and we had the place to ourselves.

It was lovely, and we’re much the better for it. There’s a lot to be said for places like Tommy’s Pond, when you’ve known them all your life. Happily, it hasn’t changed. My cousin Jeffrey lived right across the street from the pond: what good times we had together! I wonder where he fetched up; his family moved when we were kids.

I think I’ll save any more nooze reporting for tomorrow.


Memory Lane: Holy Moly, Hot, Hot, Hot!

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“And the heat would make yer bloomin’ eyebrows crawl…”  –Kipling, Gunga Din

There’s a lot of talk about heat these days–in the summer! who would’ve thought it?–but some of us are old enough to remember real heat.

When I was a boy in, say, 1958, no one I knew had home air conditioning. We didn’t even have an upstairs fan till later. So when bedtime came around, up we trudged to the bedroom: you could cut the air with a machete.

Way too hot to fall asleep, I used my flashlight to read comic books. Eventually the batteries would start to fail, but fair enough–by then I was too tired to stay awake.Turn off the light, turn over the pillow to the side that wasn’t saturated with sweat, close your eyes, and–


Our house was fully screened, but somehow mosquitoes always got in. Oh, that hateful humming sound! You couldn’t go under the covers, it’d cook you. Children must have been incredibly tough and resilient, to make it through the night back then. Up and at ’em in the morning, all ready to play horseshoes!

People are carrying on now like summer heat is a new invention, and government can stop it if only we give it more power over our lives and a lot more of our money.

You wait! Someday they’ll declare mosquitoes an endangered species and make it against the law to swat them.


When They Wanted Us All to Be ‘Rebels’

Remember “the Dodge Rebellion”? It was among the more obnoxious ad campaigns of the 1960s. This commercial is from 1966.

“Join the Dodge Rebellion!” It was the Sixties. You were supposed to be a “rebel.”

But now that the former rebels are in charge, “dissent” from their program is censored, canceled, hated, feared, and punished. Remember Democrats “questioning” Trump’s election? George W. Bush’s? But now it’s a thought crime to question Comrade Biden’s election, surely the dirtiest we’ve ever seen.

In 1966 it was chic to be a “rebel.” And so very easy, too! Acquire a Dodge car and presto! you’re a rebel. Didn’t have to attend any consciousness-raising sessions to make sure your mind was right.

Yeah, it was easy to join the great rebellion, the counterculture.

But now they won’t make it easy to get out.

Memory Lane: ‘Playmates’

*Sigh* My mother used to sing us this song, way back when.

How far back? I’d heard of rain barrels, but I never knew anybody  who had one. What was it for–a mosquito hatchery?

Here it is, as sung by The Fontane Sisters in 1955. I like it much better, the way my mother sang it.

‘Ford Plant Memories’ (2019)

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The old water test! You wouldn’t believe how hot it gets in there.

We’ve been in a heat wave all week (“Climbit Change! Give us all your money!”), and it brought back memories of hot times in the old Ford factory.

Ford Plant Memories

I worked there in the summer to pay for college, and this is my memory of the three hottest jobs in the place. I guarantee you’ve never been hotter than I was, tucked into the wheel car.

Unless you were the poor sod doing the water test.