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Baseball Players’ Superstitions

baseball heartBaseball just might be the sport with the most superstitious lot of players. Bleacher Report lists the top 50 strangest. Here’s a sampling:

jason-giambi-1-sized

Jason Giambi puts on a gold thong whenever he’s in a slump.

Moises Alou pees on his batting gloves, supposedly to make  them tougher, when he is in a slump.

Mark Teixeira  developed a recent superstition when a sock of CC Sabathia’s  accidentally ended up in his locker, Mark had unknowingly put on one sock with the correct  #25, and one with the #52, and didn’t notice until the game had started; after he had one of the better games of his career—two home runs and six RBI’s—he decided to don two different sox in all future games.mark-teixeira-540x370

Hitters often like to get close to their bats. Occasionally this will occur with pitchers as well. Pitcher R.A. Dickey takes his choice of bats very seriously, naming  each one of them with creative monikkers.

Turk Wendell, who signed a contract with the Mets in 2000 for $ 9,999,999.99,took 99 as his player number.

Tim Lincecum wore the same cap his first five  seasons in MLB.210px-Tim_Lincecum_2008

Wade Boggs would take batting practice at precisely 5:17 when plating at night. He would also take  150 grounders, no more and no less, during warm-ups.

 BaseballFanBy the way, we fans are just as superstitious: I’m not the only one who worries my team lost because I failed to watch them, or is sure when I’m on the case they’re apt to win!

Everything I know I Learned From Art

 

Having just watched No God No Master, a 2012 film about the Palmer Raids of the 1920s and, peripherally, the railroading and execution of Sacco and Vanzetti, it occurs to me that everything I know about history I have gleaned from movies, novels, and song lyrics. Before seeing

Sacco & Vanzetti (Photo: Wikipedia)

Sacco & Vanzetti
(Photo: Wikipedia)

this movie, I did not know that Emma Goldman was deported from the US, never to return. I had no idea what the Palmer Raids were, and though I knew about Sacco and Vanzetti, I was fuzzy on the details (though I knew a bit from Holly Near‘s song Two Good Arms.)

This is not the history they teach in American schools—at least, it’s not anything I was taught.

Thanks to Doris Lessing I know something about colonialism in Africa. I learned about the French Revolution from Marge City of DarknessPiercy‘s City of Darkness, City of Light. I know the history of India from dozens of novels by Indian writers, most notably A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth and A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, and, to a lesser extent, the film Gandhi. Recently I’ve gotten a dose of Nigerian history from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Lest anyone think I’m swallowing works of fiction or Hollywood productions whole, I almost always look up the facts online afterwards; even before the Internet, I did my homework, especially when writing book reviews: I compared Piercy’s details in the abovementioned book to those of historians Will and Ariel Durant—Piercy, who does exhaustive research for her novels, was remarkably faithful to the facts.

When I was in my teens, my twenties, and beyond, I read so many books and saw so many movies about the holocaust and slavery that they no longer fascinated but enraged and depressed me, until I finally swore them off; besides, I could probably write up a syllabus for each. Recently I added domestic violence to the list; having worked in a battered women’s shelter some years ago, I don’t need anymore painful education in that department either.

I don’t listen to music, read literature, or watch movies in order to learn, but because it’s what I love to do. Still, it makes me furious that I wasn’t taught important historical events in school, where they just threw dates of wars and generals at us, not to mention lies about our country. It just goes to show that in the end, as Virginia Woolf noted, it’s the artists who’ll save us.

 

Standin’ ‘ With Sly

Promotional photo of Sly & the Family Stone fo...

Promotional photo of Sly & the Family Stone for Rolling Stone, 1970 (Wikipedia)

Stand! by Sly and the Family Stone (1969) is one of the best songs on one of the best albums ever recorded. Tomorrow night a bunch of Bay Area bands will pay tribute to Stand at the Fox Theater in Oakland, following a day-long symposium at which Sly himself will speak; the latter is billed as the first annual convention of The Family Stone. If that sounds grandiose, consider this: The Family’s members were black and white, male and female–a first in rock ‘n’ roll.

Undercover, the extravaganza’s organizer, has produced similar events for outstanding albums since 2010, covering such classics as Paul Simon’s Graceland, Dylan‘s Highway 61 Revisited, and Joni Mitchell‘s Blue. According to their website:

UnderCover Presents is a small grassroots collective that gathers musicians from every corner of the San Francisco Bay Area’s music scene to celebrate the broad influence of classic albums. The concept is simple: bands are invited based on their enthusiasm for the album from a range of musical genres that reflect the diverse styles and cultures that make Bay Area music unique. Each band picks a different song from the album and infuses it with their distinctive sound and personality.

Stand! (the song) epitomizes the times in which it was created more so than any single song of its era. The lyrics, with multiple meanings on the personal, political and spiritual levels, speak for themselves:

Stand! In the end you’ll still be you
one that’s done all the things you set out to do.
Stand! Theres a cross for you to bear
things to go though if you’re going anywhere.

Stand! For the things you know are right
It’s the truth that the truth makes ‘em so uptight
Stand! All the things you want are real
You have you to complete and there is no deal.

Stand! Stand! Stand! (Everybody)
Stand! Stand! Stand!

Ooo-ooh Stand
You’ve been sitting much too long
There’s a permanent crease in your right and wrong
Stand! There’s a midget standing tall
and a giant beside him about to fall.

Stand! Stand! Stand! (Everybody)
Stand! Stand! Stand!

Stand! They will try to make you crawl
and they know wht you’re sayin makes sense and all
Stand! Don’t you know that you are free—
Well at least in your mind if you want to be.

Stand! Stand! Stand! Na na na na na na na na nana
Stand! Stand! Stand! Na na na na na na na na nana
Stand! Stand! Stand! Na na na na na na na na nana
Stand! Stand! Stand! Na na na na na na na na nana

 

As you can no doubt tell, this is no preachy piece of jargon, but a highly danceable, singalong rocker. The opening drum roll is immediately recognizable, and worth a listen in itself. But hey, don’t take my word for it: if you’re too young to have dug Sly back in the day, check ‘em out now; and if you’re as old as I am, you can come back baby, rock ‘n’ roll never forgets.

And everybody, don’t forget to Stand!

 

Mensch of the Year

Stacy and Lowell

Stacy and Lowell

A bit of clean laundry for the New Year. No, more than that: a bit of nachas, the Yiddish term for happiness, particularly that generated by one’s child.

My daughter was named a Mensch of the Year by LA’s Jewish Journal, a distinction she richly deserves for having turned a difficult and heartbreaking life experience into something useful, starting her own organization to raise money for research into Crohns disease.

Not, I hasten to note, that I deserve any credit: I’ve always said that Stacy was born almost fully formed as exactly who she is—it’s the only way to explain how utterly different from me she was and is. Once, when she was five and I was carting her all over New York State in search of some elusive nirvana, she sat on the back of our U-Haul truck once again with our packed possessions and exclaimed, “I can’t wait till I grow up so I don’t have to live with nobody!”

More recently, when I tried to do something new and different with an advocacy group I worked with and they weren’t interested, I simply left and ceased doing anything. In a similar situation, Stacy started her own group.

Lowell

Lowell

When my grandson Lowell was diagnosed early on with IBD, specifically Crohns, I thought, as most people probably do, that it just meant stomach aches and dietary restrictions. It turns out to be much more problematic, in some cases, including his, causing chronic pain and fatigue, nutritional deficiencies, delayed growth, and constant crises necessitating invasive medical tests, visits to the ER and hospitalizations, even surgery.

Besides dealing with all that and more, Stacy started running marathons. So did Jonah, Lowell’s older brother.

Marathon runners Stacy and Jonah

Marathon runners Stacy and Jonah

I’m thrilled that my daughter has been recognized for her hard work and advocacy of people with IBD, and not just because she’s on the cover of a magazine, though I admit I got a huge kick out of that. The deeper meaning is that a lot of other people will learn about what she’s done, she’ll get energy and kudos, and it will raise awareness of Crohns disease.

As for me, I’m starting 2015 brimming with nachas.

Happy New Year all.

 

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 23,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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