Royals in seven. Sorry, Jerry.
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Royals in seven. Sorry, Jerry.
Sunday, October 25, 2015
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Monday, October 19, 2015
This is the deep South, Brown's world. Taylor's official website makes a charmingly casual, understood reference to William Faulkner:
For a town of about 320 people, Taylor has more than its share of interesting history, culture and atmosphere. Taylor has survived good times and devastating times, and it faces the future, always changing, but always keeping an appreciation for hard work, good food and music, sociability, and a slower pace of life.A Miracle Of Catfish, Brown's posthumous novel published in 2007, is set a year or so after the 9/11 attacks; in it, one of the characters talks "about maybe taking a part-time job, maybe calling down to Taylor Grocery to see if they needed anybody else to wait tables on the weekend." Taylor Grocery, at 4 First Street, is pictured below, in a photo taken in July of 2014. I have no idea if these attached establishments are open or closed; for now I prefer to imagine Brown's version of the stories that occur inside and out. (Note: Taylor Grocery is OPEN.) And I love those two little dogs out front of the cafe.
From modest beginnings as a pioneer settlement to its rise and fall with the railroad and King Cotton, Taylor endures and is now, as Faulkner put it, a “postage stamp of native soil” that attracts visitors and new residents from all over the world who come for its famous food, music and arts scene and bucolic lifestyle.
And just north, CR 303, and you're on one of the endless county roads that so many of Brown's characters find themselves on, purposefully or aimlessly, heading home, driving around, or walking, lost.
Sunday, October 18, 2015
|From The New Yorker, November 20, 1978|
Here's Angell, from the November 20, 1978 issue of The New Yorker. (The essay was later collected in Late Innings.)
The wonderful confrontation was executed in broad strokes. With the tying run on second base in the person of Bucky Dent, and with Paul Blair leading off from first, Jackson needed only a single to do his primary task, but his full, staggering foul cut at Welch’s third fastball, on the one-and-one count, told us that Reggie was not interested in shortening up. This was all or nothing: the famous millionaire slugger was going to take the kid downtown. Two more burning fastballs were fouled off, with Reggie’s lurching swing each time causing him to resemble a dangerously defective drilling machine, and we were all on our feet, yelling and pointing and laughing. Jackson took a ball, fouled off a high pitch, and took another ball, to run the count full. I had been secretly hoping that Welch would attempt a change-up, because it seemed possible that the Jackson machinery would break into several pieces when he swung at it, but Bob Welch, too, wanted this entertainment pure. He stared in, stretched, and reared, the two runners took off, ﬁfty-six thousand fans yelled together, and Reggie cut mightily at a high fastball, swinging through it cleanly, and the game and the marvelous moment were over. Jackson, enraged at his failure, smashed his bat in the dugout, but he calmed down quickly. “The kid beat me,” he said in the clubhouse.~~
Three frames from memory's permanent bank:
|Joy and rage.|
Saturday, October 17, 2015
The book includes some great faux film-strip "action shots" by David Sutton, many in color, of Mays instructing via batting stance, outfield and defense positioning, etc. These photos were taken at an empty Candlestick Park probably in early 1967, and show Mays, entering his sixteenth season in the majors, as spry and athletically dynamic as ever.
For some context on Mays at this point in his career, here's a terrific hour-long ABC documentary that ran in 1967:
And this, from an August 1967 article in Sport World:
Mays refuses to try to guess when he will have to step down. It makes no difference to him that fellows like Ty Cobb and Stan Musial played ball well into their 40’s.For six more seasons of diminishing returns, anyway. (Many felt that Mays was embarrassing himself well before his clunky curtain call with the New York Mets in the early 1970s.) In 1967 Mays played his fewest games up to that point in his career—141—and all of his counting stats were down, at-bats (486), average (.263), hits (128), home runs (22), and RBI (70); by advanced metrics, his WAR (Wins Above Replacement) was drastically lower in 1967, at 4.3.
“I’ll be the one who will make the decision,” said Mays. “It could be two, three or five years. When I feel that I am embarrassing myself I’ll quit. When I know that I can not maintain certain standards that I set for myself, you will not see me playing ball anymore.”
It will be a sad day for the Giants, the National League and all baseball when that day arrives because Willie is the last of the real legitimate superstars who can play every day. Stan Musial and Williams have retired. Mickey Mantle is a part time player due to his many injuries. Only Mays goes on and on.
Willie May is the player I most wished I'd seen in his prime, and in these photos taken in the last third of his storied career he still looks terrific—trim and ready to play.
Saturday, October 10, 2015
One-room schoolhouse. 1871. Roditt Township, Illinois.
My friend, epic cyclist Dan Libman, hipped me to this a one-room schoolhouse at the intersection of Rock City and Kelly Roads, west of Rockford. Built in 1871, the building is remarkably well-preserved considering the brutal winters that have howled around and through it for the last hundred and forty-four years.
The Civil War was over for only six years when the town erected this schoolhouse. The empty bell tower, the acres of quiet surrounding farmlands, the gravel road that leads away going west, the few cars that fly past on Rock City—this structure evokes a time long, long gone.
The south side of the building:
As the doors aren't boarded up, I poked my head in and saw that someone had dragged inside a red plastic deck chair and a busted-up sofa. The result is a virtual stage set, telling what story I'm not sure:
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
My fearless predictions:
WC: Astros > Yankees
ALDS: Royals > Astros
ALDS: Blue Jays > Rangers
ALCS: Blue Jays > Royals
WC: Cubs > Pirates
NLDS: Cubs > Cardinals
NLDS: Mets > Dodgers
NLCS: Mets > Cubs
Blue Jays > Mets in seven
Photo via The History Place.
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Who is Russ Mann? You got me. I can't find a picture of the guy, but I know that he released a handful of singles in the late 1960s and early 1970s on the Detroit-based Dearborn label, an imprint of Martin & Synder Distributing that produced many 45s exclusively for jukeboxes. In a long tradition, so-called jukebox labels worked with manufacturers and bar owners to stock jukeboxes with singles, many of them novelty, seasonal or, as in Mann's case, environmentally-topical songs. Mann sang songs about drinking in bars, and you headed to your favorite tavern to hear them. From what I can gather, Mann enjoyed little to no success on the airwaves; diverted to honky-tonks, his songs were limited to those who heard or didn't hear them as they were sent across the heads of drunks, regulars and newcomers alike. Although jukebox labels benefited from the loose change of tipsy tavern-dwellers, the owners of the labels eyed the far more lucrative radio market, but it was tough to crack for even top-selling jukebox-only singles. In the January 30, 1971 issue of Billboard, L&R One-Stop manager Rick Eliot lamented this, saying, "We have singles that sell in quantities of 12,000 to l5,000 copies that never get aired." Elliot added that, though records sell in heavy quantity to jukebox programmers, they receive little radio airplay.
"This creates a problem," he said, “because jukebox programmers will come back to us complaining that play doesn't continue without airplay support."
He said perhaps stations lean away from records on small labels. "I just don't understand it," he said.
And a 1970 single, also written by Knight, employs a poetic title to tell another story as old as dirt, the pedal steel guitar as stinging as a hangover in the morning:
For the perfect reading accompaniment to Mann's tune I recommend the essential Honky Tonk: Portraits of Country Music by Henry Horenstein. Here are two of the many terrific photos in the book:
Note: Mann's story calls to my mind Dave Edmunds's "A. 1. On The Jukebox," a great tune that Edmunds co-wrote with Will Birch, of The Records, for his Trax On Wax 4 album, released in 1978. I'm not sure that the vexed fate of the "big Wurlitzer star" has ever been told so well. Nowhere on the charts, indeed: