Thursday, October 02, 2014

I Still Feel the Pain

Sixty years ago this week the Cleveland  Indians--my team-- finished off the greatest season in baseball history.  One hundred eleven wins and forty-three losses.  Finished nine games ahead of the hated Yankees.
Lost the World Series in four.
I still feel the pain.

Interesting sidelight: the entire World Series took place in a span of less than four days, barely three days, exactly seventy six hours?  Two games at the Polo Grounds; from first pitch of game one to last out of game two--28 hours.
No day-off for travel.
Maybe the two teams flew; more likely they took the 20th Century Limited overnight (the better to drink, smoke and play poker all night).
Game three, in Cleveland Lakefront Stadium, began exactly 48 hours after the ump had said "Play ball" at game one in NYC. Twenty-eight hours later the Series was history.
I still feel the pain.
One bright spot.  That Series featured Willie Mays making "the Catch" of Vic Wertz's long (really, really long) ball in deep (really, really deep) centerfield.
The darkest moment had come when Al Lopez named the starting pitcher for game four.  He had gone with Lemon, Wynn and Garcia for the first three, then went back to Lemon.
Left Rapid Robert--and every kid on my block-hanging out to dry.  And it' s been nothing but drought since.
I still feel the pain.

Posted 6:05pm, October 2, 2014--exactly sixty years to the day, the hour and the minute since....

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fifty years ago...

Two of the most jolting experiences in my life came at the opening of the 60s. The first was fifty years ago this week. I was nineteen, 1,500 miles from home, a college freshman. We didn't have TV in my residence, thought radio news was available all day, full of foreboding, frightening stuff: a confrontation between hard-nosed Premier Nikita Khrushchev and and a callow young president of the U.S.    Kennedy was being pushed to "drop the big one" by self-confessed genocidal war criminal, head of the Strategic Air Command, General Curtis LeMay. Kennedy chose to talk, negotiate, agree on mutual stepping back from the precipice.

This album cover was propped up on the hi-fi console in the reading/music room. Black humor, gallows humor, nervous laughter.

Choices made that week led to the resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis and--briefly--a conscious stepping back from nuclear Armageddon. Fifty years later, the world has at least seven more nations with nuclear weapons, aggressive talk growing more intense, bigger threats, much more vulnerability to annihilation. Russia and the United States have 19,500 between them; the junior members have barely a thousand among the seven--France, China, United Kingdom, Israel, Pakistan, India and North Korea.

Another jolt came 13 months later--November 22, 1963. I told that story here a few years ago--nuclear war was still at the heart of the matter on that day.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A close relative is a State Dept. Vice Consul in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, finishing up a yearlong posting there this week.

(here's some spot-on analysis from
In Foreign Affairs, Alexander Cooley writes about how ... the American Empire is costing a lot more.
Most dramatically, in 2009, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev of Kyrgyzstan, host to the Manas Transit Center, initiated a bidding war between the United States and Russia by threatening to close the base. He extracted hundreds of millions of dollars from both sides, in the form of a Russian assistance package and a renewed lease at a higher rent with the United States....
Comparisons to the Roman Empire and the overextended expansionism that helped lead to its downfall can sometimes get stale, but all of these examples make it clear that maintaining an empire of military bases and client states is getting increasingly unaffordable for a US government $16 trillion in debt.
Incidentally, the late, great Chalmers Johnson predicted the very scenario .... In Baseless Expenditures he wrote:
 “I have a suggestion for other countries that are getting a bit weary of the American military presence on their soil: cash in now, before it’s too late. Either up the ante or tell the Americans to go home. I encourage this behavior because I’m convinced that the US Empire of Bases will soon enough bankrupt our country.”

Monday, August 06, 2012

One big new reason to despise the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"New Berlin school custodial workers swept out in budget move."

The stinking rag that wants us to buy what they are selling chose to put this nifty headline on a suburban edition news story about a group of workers being fired and replaced by low-paid contract workers.

Ok. New Berlin school board members certainly had the go-ahead from Act 10 to do it.  I'm sure many of them are damn proud of it. And it's is done.

But, did the MJS absolutely have to put a smart-ass headline on it. "Sweep 'em out" like so much trash.  Nominate that copy editor for another Pulitzer.

I'm actually surprised that they rejected using a more hard-hitting image of  flushing them out.

The sooner the stinking daily rag goes out of business, the better this community will be.

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Of the biblical allotment of three score and ten I have lived only three of them more than a bicycle ride from one of the Great Lakes. I grew up ten blocks from Lake Erie in the (once Irish/Italian ghetto, now newly-hip) "Near West Side" of Cleveland. I can still cycle to the Milwaukee lakefront in an hour and a half; but, a round-trip has always been more than I would (noror ever did) attempt. -0- I'm a "...somewhat combative pacifist and fairly cooperative anarchist," after the example of Grace Paley (1922-2007). -0- I'm always cheerful when I pay my taxes (having refused--when necessary--to pay that portion of them dedicated to war). -0- And I always, always vote.