Friday, June 05, 2020

A Cat Picture (Or Two)

Hang in there, Chico!
Once again, I've been reminded that we can't have conversations. We're incapable.

Be it mascot name changes, monuments in my beloved Richmond, VA or obviously even far more-pressing concerns (and less-pressing as well), we're incapable of talking.

Debates aren't possible without name-calling and ad hominem attacks.

Drew Brees says something ill-timed? He's a racist.

Grant Napear (play-by-play voice of the Sacramento Kings)? The same.

You get mocked and criticized for humor, even if laughter is the best medicine for the soul, in my opinion.

Oh, right. My opinion doesn't matter.

Tony Savino asked me this morning in our Friday chat on WGCH about conducting a talk show through this time. I told him that every word has made me nervous.

Posting about the likelihood of changing the name of the mascot at Western Connecticut State University (my alma mater) made me nervous, and rightfully so. They were the Colonials and they won't be much longer. It's, essentially, been determined to be a barbaric term.

I haven't posted anything about Richmond preparing to take down their Civil War monuments. Not because I support the monuments or what they stand for (come on, folks, I hope you know me by now).

I hate being nervous to speak on my show or here on this stupid blog or anywhere else.

To be quite clear: NOBODY SHOULD BE AFRAID TO TALK.

Instead, I just retreat and say nothing.

Virtue signaling wins.

And thus I'll post a cat picture and call it a day.

And won't dare to laugh about it.


Thursday, June 04, 2020

No Enchantment Under the Sea

Maybe Sean can get a DeLorean and go back in time
Tonight would have been Sean's senior prom.

I wasn't big on attending dances in school and I'm pretty sure he wasn't either.

It was a different story when it came to the prom. I went to both of mine and two others as well.

You needed a prom date? Sure, I'd go!

I wasn't sure if Sean would go to his but suggested he and his friends go stag and have a blast. I gather others told him the same.

He was convinced.

Now, thanks to COVID-19, he gets nothing.

It's a first world problem and I understand that.

Still, I feel bad for him, even if he's low-key about it.

He won't get that chance to gather with his class and dance to whatever they play.

He won't have the opportunity to mock those classmates who think they're so special. My God but that can be priceless.

There's the one who thinks they're too cool or too popular or too ... whatever.

It's rare to be able to dress in such a way and enjoy it.

It's a rite of passage.

The rubber chicken. The limos (if you get one -- I never had one). The pictures!

And it's not happening.

As it is, it looks like he'll have a two-part graduation that includes a drive-through parade and an appointed time to receive his diploma. Those details are still coming together.

So, while he's sitting upstairs, talking online to friends and dutifully doing his e-learning during the day, it's his dad that feels what he is losing.

Because I know what it was like for me and I wanted him to appreciate that.

He'll be a better man for these experiences.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Mighty Casey

The Disney version Casey (D23.com)

Casey at the Bat was born today.

We don't know who Casey really was. We never learned his last name or what his WAR was.

No clue about his OPS.

Casey -- Mighty Casey -- or, should we say Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888 was first published on this day The Daily Examiner of San Francisco.

Written by Earnest L. Thayer, it tells the story of the Mudville Nine, trailing an unnamed team 4-2 as they entered the bottom of the ninth inning.

Mudville is a scrappy team with a superstar -- the Mighty Casey himself. But he's do up fifth in the ninth (though it's said to be the "last inning" we'll figure it's the ninth).

Indeed, Cooney and Barrows produce outs while weaker hitters Flynn and Blake, each expected to make the last out of the game, come up with hits. Flynn singles and Blake doubles.

Now it's up to Casey, in front of a crowd numbering 5,000.

Talented and cocky, Casey lets the first two go by (somewhat reminiscent of Babe Ruth and his "called shot" in 1932). But, where Ruth succeeded, Casey did not.

He struck out. Game over.

No word on if the broadcaster called it "gargantuan" or if his swing produced a greater wind than the bearded girl down at the nickelodeon waiting to join Mr. Barnum's circus or whatever. Oh, wait. Baseball broadcasting was still roughly 35 years away. I'm digressing wildly.

The poem isn't exactly the work of Dickinson or Cummings (or cummings) or Frost or Whitman.

It's not even Homer (given there is no...homer). Yeah, that's a bad joke.

But it's so important to the culture of baseball and is as celebrated as any written word.

The poem hit the zeitgeist of early sound recordings once an actor named DeWolf Hopper got hold of it. Hopper first did a dramatic reading of it on August 14, 1888 and would do it thousands of times (said to be possibly 40,000) by the time he died in 1935.

Hopper also recorded it several times, including a famous version in 1906. Russell Hunting, described by some as "the most popular pre-1900 recording artist" did the first of the Casey recordings, in 1893.

By the way, Hopper's version is said to be the third most popular recording of 1906!

It has since been interpreted numerous times in print, animated shorts, and audio. Arguably the most famous episode of The Simpsons was called "Homer at the Bat."

My son has a copy of a latter printing, and it obviously brought me great joy to read it to him as a bedtime story.

Culturally, many have uttered the terms "no joy in Mudville" and "Mighty Casey has struck out" without ever knowing where it came from.

Such is the power of the poem that originated on this day in 1888.

It's never quite been determined who it was about. The poem predates Babe Ruth professionally by nearly 30 years. Some have suggested that it was based on early superstar "King" Kelly though there's never been any basis to that.

The great Vincent Price recorded Casey during his legendary career. Admittedly, if you've never heard the Hopper versions, I'll warn you that they're a bit over-the-top. So we'll post Mr. Price's version for your listening pleasure.

And wish Casey well in his next game.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

What Are YOU Prepared to Do?

Be more than a photo op. (Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson walks with marchers --
photo by Jake May/The Flint Journal, MLive.com/TNS)
You're mad, aren't you?

But, what are you mad at?

Are you mad at the violence in the streets? Are you mad at the looting? Are you mad at those who don't remotely care about George Floyd but are just there to be seen and cause trouble?

Are you mad the president? Are you mad at local leaders? Cops?

All of the above?

So am I. I'm mad at all of that, and more.

But, start with Derek Chuavin. Add in fellow Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas K. Lane.

Be mad at them.

Recognize that they are the reason we're here today. They're what popped the cork on the bottom of racism that has been bubbling. Go read about Rodney King and 1992 Los Angeles.

Remember George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and the myriad other names. Don't let others tell you what to think.

Don't listen to rumors -- like the one that had Antifa working through Putnam County last night.

Don't listen to Don Lemon preach.

Read. Think.

Start there.

Don't go for virtue signaling. My oh my how it's everywhere. More often than not, they're empty gestures.

Posting a black square is nice.

But, to quote James Malone, as played by Sean Connery in The Untouchables: "What are you prepared to do?"

I'm going to listen and understand. Seems simple and, yet, it's not.

Blacks, browns -- minorities of all shapes and sizes -- should be heard. They're trying to be heard.

I'll listen.

Empathy. Understanding. Compassion. Respect. They're beautiful things.

The message gets muted for myriad reasons. Don't allow it.

I'm listening. I'm hearing why Black Lives Matters is a good thing and how it needs to be on the table. I realize I was wrong. It wasn't about being the only voice, but it was about being an equal voice.

We continue to fail to have conversations and, trust me, each word I type comes with that impending doom of "But...but...but...Trump..."

Spare me the constant tweets and the memes (oh, golly, you're just so funny except, you're not).

Your Trump obsession is dangerous (good or bad). You know why he could lose in November? This. Right now. This.

It's how your voice can be heard if you want it to be.

Right now, nobody impresses me. The likelihood of me voting for a presidential candidate is low.

We're begging for leadership. Dying for it.

I'm saddened at our government; that no one had the brains to corral this nonsense. I believed in the checks and balances and, instead, I saw people get sprayed so he can hold a Bible aloft for a picture.

It's not exactly Washington crossing the Delaware.

Why hasn't he been heard from? Help settle this country down.

For that matter, where the hell are each of the sports franchises I've dedicated so much time to? Derek Jeter and Michael Jordan -- both known for being apolitical -- have spoken. Where are the Yankees and the Steelers and the Knicks and the Rangers? (Yes, I know the Knicks and Rangers had a memo leaked saying they're remaining quiet. My point stands.)

*Note: The Yankees posted something just after I finished this post. Some still don't find it acceptable. I find it better than nothing, though no team is required to do a thing. (Additional note, 6/3/20: The Steelers have also released a statement)

My words mean nothing, and I know that. You all might have the answers. I don't.

I'm no hero.

Most of your tweets and Facebook posts and Instagram stories and posts and Tick Tok or whatever else go into a void.

I know better.

I'm one voice who talks into a microphone.

And that voice WILL do a show today to continue to try to have a conversation.

And I'll LISTEN if YOU want to talk.

And if you want an opinion or advice, then I'll offer it.

I can't do much but I'm willing to work together.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Monday, Monday

Raise your hand! Who has a case of the Mondays? (Office Space)

It's just another manic Monday (The Bangles).

Wait. the music challenge is over and has been handed off seamlessly to John Nash without my even offering or challenging.

I'm probably punchy (aka, dumber than usual) due to another night of no...what is it we're supposed to do?...ah, right, sleep.

Chico, the large gray cat, was at my side for most, if not all, of the proceedings. The only difference was I didn't turn on the TV to see more awful images of American cities in peril.

And, to be honest, those images aren't telling us everything. Yes, we see things -- the actual videos -- with our own eyes but everything before and after the camera is turned on is up for discussion.

Also, we are shown one part of a story. We (the blasted, much-maligned, awful media) can't be everywhere.

And there are plenty of J. Jonah Jameson's who want clicks and more dirty laundry!

And so, here we are. Should we go back to thinking about the pandemic? Remember that thing?

COVID-19 is so May 24.

It's almost fetch! (If "fetch" was happening, which it isn't)

Yet, right now, looking out of my lonely room ("Day After Day," Badfinger -- sorry, the music is still churning) all I see is a sunny morning. All I hear is my own typing and the birds chirping.

I'll do "Doubleheader" later (4 p.m., WGCH and Robcasting*) but I can't say I'm driven to talk sports, despite Major League Baseball players handing a new proposal (which will get shot down) to the owners.

*I'm very much pondering a Robcasting furlough. Sadly, it's not a free operation.

I keep believing. I keep trying to hang in there and be optimistic.

But, after the past couple of months, it's hard to be optimistic.

On everything. Literally everything.

Once again, words mean nothing.

Spoken to help nobody but you (Sorry, that's from "Words" by The Monkees. I really have a problem).

So, once again, we'll all drag ourselves to our appointed places.

Dialysis. The grocery store. The office (for those who are allowed). In front of the TV. Out to the rail trail. The construction job. The garbage truck. In front of a microphone.

The hot takes will all continue. I hate it. All of it.

I've never let this stuff ruin friendships and I really don't drop people because of it.

Shockingly, I respect all takes. I gather that's hard to believe.

But I'm close to a breakdown. Which means more steamy content for you. All praise clicks!

Somewhere, off in the distance, a dog is barking.

Nearby, the large gray cat is purring.

I don't like Mondays. (Boomtown Rats. I'll stop)


Sunday, May 31, 2020

Farewell, May

Chico wants everyone to be cool like him

Greetings from my back yard.

I haven't written from anywhere except my desk in months. Literally.

Despite a mid-60s chill on my legs, I'm away from CNN and MSNBC and FOX News, each of whom I gave a chance last night.

One thought: Don Lemon is not an anchor. An anchor reports. An anchor doesn't doesn't preach.

I've been chewing on that since I literally texted the words "CNN is the most center of the three." Then Lemon stopped anchoring and began editorializing. Honestly, it was the last thing we needed in that spot.

We need journalists. People we trust.

It comes back to George Floyd. He's what matters.

Enough. We need positivity. Not phony positivity. God, I'm sick of that also.

But I feel like my voice is a waste. But I'll listen. That is needed.

Otherwise I guess I'll "stick to sports" or music or something else. "Stay in my lane," as the saying goes, I guess.

I hope to give you a diversion here.

And, with that, we're up to the final day of the 30 Day Song Challenge, and this might be toughest one yet.

Day 30: A song that reminds you of yourself

But first, here's a recap of the previous 29:

- Day 1: A song you like with a color in the title -- Yellow Submarine, The Beatles
- Day 2: A song you like with a number in the title -- Be My Number Two, Joe Jackson
- Day 3: A song that reminds you of summer -- The Boys of Summer, Don Henley
- Day 4: A song that reminds you of someone you'd rather forget -- Take on Me, A-Ha
- Day 5: A song that needs to be played loud -- Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway -- Live), Billy Joel
- Day 6: A song that makes you want to dance -- Head Over Hells, The Go Go's
- Day 7: A song to drive to -- The Heart of Rock and Roll, Huey Lewis and the News
- Day 8: A song about drugs or alcohol -- White Rabbit, Jefferson Airplane
- Day 9: A song that makes you happy -- American Girl, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
- Day 10: A song that makes you sad -- Alone Again (Naturally), Gilbert O'Sullivan
- Day 11: A song you never get tired of -- Conquistador, Procol Harum
- Day 12: A song from your preteen years -- Honky Cat, Elton John
- Day 13: A song from the 70s -- Baker Street, Gerry Rafferty
- Day 14: A song you'd love to be played at your wedding -- Maybe I'm Amazed (Live), Paul McCartney (and Wings)
- Day 15: A song you like that's a cover by another artist -- The Boys Are Back in town, Huey Lewis and the News
- Day 16: A song that's a classic favorite -- I Saw Her Standing There, The Beatles
- Day 17: A song you'd sing a duet with someone on karaoke -- The Weight, The Band
- Day 18: A song from the year you were born -- Midnight Confessions, The Grass Roots
- Day 19: A song that makes you think about life -- Taxi, Harry Chapin
- Day 20: A song that has many meanings to you -- Got to Get You Into My Life, The Beatles
- Day 21: A song you like with a person's name in the title -- Angie, The Rolling Stones
- Day 22: A song that moves your forward -- Vienna, Billy Joel
- Day 23: A song you think everybody should listen to -- So Little Kindness, Huey Lewis and the News
- Day 24: A song by a band you wish were still together -- Radio Free Europe, REM
- Day 25: A song you like by an artist no longer living -- I've Got You Under My Skin, Frank Sinatra (Live at the Sands)
- Day 26: A song that makes you want to fall in love -- Here, There and Everywhere, The Beatles
- Day 27: A song that breaks your heart -- It's Too Late, Carole King
- Day 28: A song by an artist whose voice you love -- Warm Ways, Fleetwood Mac
- Day 29: A song you remember from your childhood -- Rocket Man, Elton John

That made me feel like Casey Kasem! Ponderous, man. Ponderous! (How fitting is that term right now?)

Well there you have it. Admittedly my list used a few artists several times. Guilty as charged. I apologize.

So what makes me think...of me?

Generally speaking, I think most people think of two things musically when they think of me: Huey Lewis and The Beatles. And they're quite right.

I've been thinking about this for hours. I keep thinking of either "The Power of Love" or "Hip to Be Square." With the way my life (and world) is, I was even reaching towards a somewhat-unknown HLN song called "Trouble in Paradise."

The thing is there is no right answer and if I could do this all again, I might come up with 30 different answers.

In the end, whatever song I use doesn't matter and is completely irrelevant and, perhaps, even inappropriate to concern myself with, given the circumstances.

So, enough.

Queen. Radio Gaga.

Thanks for putting up with this nonsense for the last month and the last 500+ consecutive days and the last (nearly) 14 years.

Let's all do better.

"Radio someone still loves you."

 

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Feelings

(NBC News)
It's a terrible time.

I didn't have the words yesterday or the day before and I still don't really have them now.

Amazingly, COVID-19 is not the top story. Coronavirus and social distancing didn't matter in a lot of places as I watched TV last night.

George Floyd mattered. He still does and he'll be an icon for years to come.

I wish I could say I'm surprised at any of this but I'm old enough to remember Crown Heights and Rodney King and, sadly, more until Ferguson and Baltimore and Charlottesville in recent years and, now, Minneapolis.

At this point I can only sympathize and empathize and hope we all do better but can only focus on me.

I watched coverage last night and read so many awful hot takes until I could no longer stand it.

I want to scream. It falls on deaf ears.

I want to go back to focusing on utter stupidity like the complete and total obnoxious arrogance I read before. It defined entitlement and the very thing that should be avoided, especially right now, and especially in the media.

Know the room, young man. Know the room.

People will talk. They already do.

But there's no point. You just need to let it play out and hope karma gets the last laugh.

I needed a respite.

I watched man go back into space a few hours ago. Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley lifted off from Cape Canaveral and was just fantastic. For a few minutes, people in my age group could stop and remember the days of Apollo and the space shuttle years, while those older than I am could recall back to the early days of NASA.

The launch was glorious, even if it was a giant commercial for Elon Musk. It was enough that Sean came out of hiding to watch it with me.

For just a few minutes, I was whisked to the old clips of Walter Cronkite anchoring the CBS coverage.

A glance at social media brought that all crashing back down. There's a reason I didn't do a lot of social today.

And, with that, we come to the penultimate day of the 30 Day Song Challenge. It might be too easy, but I think I'm OK with that tonight.

Let's keep laughing. Let's keep loving.

Let's move forward.

Day 29: A song you remember from your childhood

There are so many so, in the interest of my brain and as a tribute to Bob and Doug (no relation to the McKenzie's, hoser), let's dig back to Rocket Man. Music by Elton John. Words by Bernie Taupin.

Interpreted by William Shatner and Stewie Griffin.

If it was good enough for Howard Wolowitz then it's good enough for us.

"She packed my bags last night pre-flight..."