Thursday, May 29, 2014

Baseball...

For some reason, this is the only sport I could watch all morning, afternoon, and night, and never really find it boring. My love of the game certainly doesn't spring from my meager Little League experiences. In my one year of that, I had two singles in eight or nine at-bats and struck out three times. I did manage to draw one walk, and from there I stole second base -- one for one in lifetime stolen base attempts is the only more-than-dim spot on my kiddie career -- and I had to be replaced after almost getting picked off of second despite my entire team yelling me to go back for at least five seconds.

I never could play the game worth a damn. I never could blog about political issues from the left side of the aisle, either. Yet I still follow baseball, largely through the Red Sox as I did during the 80s, much like I still follow politics in a significant way through that ever-plodding-forward donkey-by-default blogger BadTux. I want to see them both win, in spite of everything.

The difference is, the Sox have done it more than once in tbe last ten years. Where's BadTux's ring? He doesn't homer much, but I have seen a couple seasons where he's hit close to the level of Wade Boggs in his prime -- me, the best I've done is steal bases the way Sammy Sosa did before he got addicted to that homer juice called steroids.

Anyway, I tend to follow baseball the way I used to follow politics. But for me, it's mostly a return to roots, whereas politics is merely a necessary evil. I don't know why baseball draws me in.

Then again, I don't know why northern mockingbirds insist on incorporating other birds' songs into their own personal repertoires. They just do it -- and they do it wonderfully well...

Friday, May 23, 2014

Palestine, Texas...

Have some T Bone Burnett...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Red Sox One-and-done Prediction...

You read it here first: the Detroit Tigers are going to the 2014 World Series. I just don't know who they'll be playing -- I don't follow the NL games anywhere near as closely as the AL games.

If the Red Sox even make it to the playoffs this year, I'll be happy. Winning back-to-back championships is a real tall order by itself. But this year's Sox model isn't quite the same as last year's. For one thing, they lost Jacoby Ellsbury to the Yankees in the off-season -- his lead-off batting and his base-stealing are probably the two things the Sox are missing the most right now.

But something else that's been intriguing me is the battery of pitcher Jake Peavy and catcher A. J. Prezinski. These two know each other from their White Sox champion days. You wouldn't know it from April onward, though -- Peavy is 1-2 in eight starts, and A. J. is... well, still a bit of a mystery to me. He can definitely throw out potential base-stealers, which I love, but he's very streaky as a hitter, and worse, he seems like he's still adjusting to a mostly-new starting pitcher rotation -- that, since the clear bulk of virtually every ballgame that's ever been played has taken place between the guy on the mound and the guy with the largest mitt, pretty much seals the no-repeat deal in my mind, even if you leave the loss of Ellsbury out.

(For the record, Jake Peavy is currently my favorite of the Red Sox starting five, even after his last two ass-kicked starts. His record's as bad as it is because he usually gets meager run support at best -- and last night was hardly an exception. I saw that this guy always pitched to win last year, and he still does in spite of his mistakes and just plain rotten luck. Others may think Peavy's lame enough to warrant a ticket to the bullpen, but I think it's hard to maintain anything resembling a good fight when your team's offense keeps stepping on its own goddamned dick.)

If the hitters are to be expected to carry this team, then David Ortiz is going to need a few teammates to get on the stick right quick. Last time I checked, four of Detroit's starting nine -- Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, Torii Hunter, and Ian Kinsler -- were all batting over .300. Ortiz's current average? .299 -- and he's Boston's team leader. He couldn't do it all even if he were to resort to PEDs.

As for Detroit's pitching, well, look at these: Rick Porcello, 7-1 with a 2.91 ERA; Max Scherzer, 6-1 with a 1.83 ERA (if he keeps that up, he'll win another Cy Young); and Justin Verlander, who once won a Cy Young and an MVP in the same year, currently 5-2 with a 3.15 ERA, beating the musk out of everyone on the Red Sox staff (and, frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if this son of a bitch turns out to be the next Nolan Ryan in the long run, he's been that impressive thus far in his career).

Oh, and the Sox beat the Tigers to get to the World Series last year, too. Ballplayers tend to have real long memories, the perfect breeding grounds for payback. I don't like Boston's odds. At all.

John Farrell's one hell of a manager, but I think the Sox may need a magician this year...

Friday, May 16, 2014

Poker...

I drove a couple guys from Nashua to the River Room in Milford earlier in the week. One of them said they were gonna play some New Hampshire Hold 'Em there.

Now, I asked him to describe that poker variation to me, and he did, in detail. You play against the dealer instead of other players in this case, but then he said something about ten spots and three cards, and I was busy driving, so what with my Swiss cheese memory paired with my innate adversion to multitasking while driving a taxi, I don't remember what the hell he explained. Why I even asked him in the first place beats the musk out of me.

But it's poker, and I kinda like poker. Perhaps I'll visit the River Room at some point, if only to figure out how New Hampshire Hold 'Em works...

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Done With Richmond...

I'm not going back there again. Richmond's a nice city, and that's the way I want to remember it. Chances are I'll be living in New England from here on out, if not necessarily Nashua -- although, having driven a taxi in this city for nineteen months, I've seen some real lovely parts of it I wouldn't mind spending the rest of my life in. It's the winters that make Nashua suck more than anything else. That can't be helped -- maybe I just need to find and hook up with another silly-ass brownie bear wannabe, so he and I can keep each other warm, is all.

Once you finally get into the comfortable weather, Nashua ain't so bad. In fact, it can be downright beautiful. Hell, you go through the winter we just had, 45° starts to feel like Key West under an azure sky. Somehow, I feel like I can actually work toward living a happy rest of my life up here. It can't be the onset of dementia -- I'm only 43. But what is it?

David Ortiz...

For the record, I grew up watching the Boston Red Sox as a kid, and later listening to Joe Castiglione calling the games. That last part was in the early and mid 90s. Later on, I wound up in Virginia, and kind of drifted away from Major League Baseball -- the Braves had a minor league team in Richmond, and that became my team for a while.

In 2012, I wound up back in New England. What with baseball being the only Big Four sport I truly enjoy (the Other Three, this being America, being basketball, football, and hockey), I couldn't help going back to the Red Sox -- and it was a real joy to find that Castiglione was still calling the games on the radio, too. I can't imagine him not doing this anymore; therefore, I'm gonna hate it when he finally retires.

Anyway, the Sox are currently one game over .500 -- they're not quite the team that won the Series last year, at least not yet. But the way David Ortiz has been hitting these last two games... four homers in two games, something like 7 for 9 overall, similar to the way he hit in the Series... and he's about to turn 39...

Look, I'm lovin' this. Maybe he's just getting back at the Twins for cutting him years ago (ballplayers tend to have really long memories), and maybe Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is an imbecile for not ordering his pitchers to intentionally walk him (ask Cardinals manager Mike Metheney how pitching to Ortiz worked out last year). But, given the not-so-distant past of MLB and the congressional hearings and all, I have one thing to say...

If David Ortiz tests positive for PEDs, I will so have a friggin' cow. It's happened to him before, and though it's not impossible for him to hit the way he's been hitting at his age naturally, it is quite rare throughout the game's history. I absolutely hope I'm wrong about this -- everyone 'round these parts who gives a damn about baseball loves Big Papi, believe me.

But I wonder at times. I don't blog much about politics anymore, but I have memories as long as those of many a ballplayer, and their collective mentality isn't much different from that of political junkies. After a while, in both cases, you develop this Popeye-like sense that people are who they are, and that's all that they are. There's just this small but substantial part of you that hopes you're wrong.

That might partly explain why I'm still registered as a Democrat. By temperament, I ought to be conservative -- I usually expect the worst, and frankly, I'm not often disappointed. But I still go against my expectations anyway, hoping for the best.

Typical Red Sox fan...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Oh Wow, It Was Ten Years Ago Today...

I started up a silly-ass blog over at some AOL adjunct. I called it A Mockingbird's Medley. Later on, I dropped the "A". Back then, I thought I could make a little difference blogging in favor of left-wing politics when I wasn't talking about science. Frankly, I don't know what I was thinking.

I should have taken Carl Sagan's advice: there's nothing wrong with having an open mind, so long as you don't open it up so much that your brains fall out...

Monday, May 12, 2014

"Before I Got Wise"...

That's the one phrase from a certain fellow cab driver that sticks in my mind more than a year after he said it to me. It sticks because once upon a time, he was married, he drove a Lexus, he owned a house, and he had his own business. These days, he's single, he drives nothing besides a cab, he lives in a one-bedroom, and he works for the same woman I do -- and I don't know what I'm doing because I don't do my job the way he does his.

Okay. Now he's wise. I should pay heed.

I would. Thing is, none of what befell him is his fault -- just ask him. The dog ate all his homework before he got wise. Trust him...

Funny Thing About The Past -- And Music...

You can break off all contacts with its people and its places, yet hold fast to the music you picked up from those same people and places at the time and feel little sense of disorientation or disconnect from all that. As if the music you shared outweighs the friendship you shared.

Which, in my case, I guess it does. There was this stretch within my mid- to late-twenties -- my most active songwriting time -- when I strongly thought of my songs as my own children. As much as I wanted to make a career out of music, I always found myself equating selling my songs with pimping my own kids.

Which is absolutely friggin' ridiculous -- no song ever written gives a damn who wrote it, who arranged it, who sang it, who rearranged it, who treasured it, who exploited it, or whatever. But that is one thing I could never quite translate from ideal to reality. For some reason, when it came to music, the absurd took precedence.

As a result, well... what sort of father, in his own mind, pimps his own kids? You just don't do that...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Cab Stories...

I have more than a few. But this is the only one I feel like telling.

About a year ago, I was driving one of our regulars home along Tinker Road. There was a car four or five lengths ahead of us, but suddenly we went tha-dum-tha-dum. I hadn't seen anything else in front of us, and when I asked her, my customer said she saw nothing else too. So I eventually dropped her off at her house and backtracked down Tinker just to find out what happened.

Turned out I'd crushed the skull of an opossum with the cab. The poor bastard was very close to the tall grass he'd scurried from as I drove up and by.

It took two days for me to stop feeling like a worthless piece of shit after that -- and I don't even like opossums.