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What my musings are all about...

Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.

The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.

The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Awah, poor DeMarcus Cousins.

Poor DeMarcus, the international referees are not treating him with the respect he deserves. I guess that's why the frown and whine we're so used to seeing on the court here in Sacramento has returned to the face of our big baby, the attitude that the Kings administrators insisted has been replaced with a new, more adult, serene, and determined DeMarcus. Good luck to that!

Let's begin with the article I read about DeMarcus in this morning's Sacramento Bee that suggested that our Big Guy was not alone in his disgust of FIBA officiating. Said article pointed to Tim Duncan also unhappy with international refs. This begs the question, who would you believe, Tim Duncan or DeMarcus? In Tim's case, a player who rarely complains and in all ways, on and off the court, a dignified and adult human being, such anger must be taken seriously. In the case of DeMarcus, a player who always complains, is hardly ever dignified, and rarely acts like an adult, insulting coaches and teammates, such anger can not be taken seriously. It is just another example of a young man who has little or no interest, beliefs or attitudes other than his own. In psychology, this is the definition of an egocentric personality. I hasten to add that the DeMarcus also exhibits a number of sociopathic traits, such as: Unreliability, lack of remorse, egocentricity, loss of insight, and poor judgement and failure to learn from experience.These do not make him a sociopath, but neither do these traits make for a stable personality.

On to the Summer Olympics, a much more interesting and exciting subject. We have been treated to one of the greatest athletic performances in the history of sports: Michael Phelps rising even higher into the pantheon of athletic Gods. In terms of sheer output, he is at the pinnacle. In terms of history he joins the likes of  Jesse Owens, The Dream Team, Bob Beamon, Nadia Comaneci, and Abebe Bikila.

On to the Forty Niners. Lots of interest in today's preseason game. Who is going to be the Niners QB? I'm pulling for Kaepernick.

Speaking of Kaepernick, I've been writing silly poems about sports for kids that I hope will turn into a published collection. Here's one I wrote about Kaepernick.

What's a Kaepernick?   by Tom Meschery

Would you buy one for your cat?
Would you carry one on your back?
Is it pumpernickel bread,
Or something simple like a nickel?

Could you hide it in you cap?
Or in England call it kippers?
If you're rhyming as in rap,
Would a Kaepernick have flippers?

Would a Kaepernick throw footballs?
Not with such a name. It's foolish.
He should find a cure for cancer,
Be an astronaut, that's the answer.

A Kaepernick should be a count
Like Metterlink or someone better.
Perhaps a prince of even king,
Not playing football for a living. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Proud of Brazil, maybe.

As soon as the Brazilian opening ceremony ended, I rushed to my computer to find out if Brazil's enormously effective pleas to save the environment wasn't a gross display of cynicism. I knew that during the last 40 years close to 20% of the Amazon Rain Forest has been eliminated, Brazil being the largest country and thus the most culpable.

As I searched the net, I was happy to read that since 2009 Brazil has been making an effort to stem the destruction. Proof is in the pudding, as they say, and in the case of this Amazonian pudding, the Brazilian Environmental Agency IBAMA has cancelled the Sao Luiz doTapajos mega-dam project in the heart of the Amazon. Hurrah, good for them! Now, lets work on the other 42 hydro dam projects planned in the Tapajos Basin and the hundreds ear marked across the Amazon Forest. I say this with respect. The ceremony that opened the summer Olympics was not, thank goodness, just for show, and in this regard Brazil and its citizens can be proud.

Another note, and less to be proud of, Brazil should do more than praise the culture that originates out of its slums and do more about doing away with its slums. 

All the politics aside, what's not to like about all the best athletes in the world meeting and competing head to head. Sure, the Big Dogs usually take home most of the medals, but occasionally some of the smaller countries get to stand on the podium and watch their flag being raised.

In my humble opinion, more should be done by the networks to promote more of the less sexy sports, (actually, they are sexy) like Tae Kuan Do, badminton, table tennis, Greco Roman wrestling, archery, fencing, equestrian.

One more shot at the ad biz. Was anybody annoyed by the number of commercials that interfered with a splendid opening ceremony last night. Auto sales vs The Girl from Ipanina?? Are you kidding?

Sorry that Pele did not light the Olympic flag. If Pele was physically unable, couldn't they have done what Atlanta did with Ali, have him standing at the top and receiving the torch for the final touch. I don't get it. There's got to be more to this story.

David Allen Evans wrote a fine poem about pole vaulting:

Pole Vaulter

The approach to the bar
is everything

unless I have counted
my steps     hit my markers
feel up to it      I refuse
to follow through
I am committed to beginnings
or to nothing

planting the pole
at runway's end
jolts me
out of sprinting
I take off     kicking in
and up     my whole weight
trying the frailty
of fiberglass

never forcing myself
trusting it is right
to be taken to the end
of tension    poised for 
the powerful thrust to
fly me behyond expectation

near the peak
I roll my thighs inward
arch my back     clearing
as much of the bar as I can
(knowing the best jump
can be cancelled
by a carelss elbow)

an open my hands 


Friday, August 5, 2016

This and That

This mornings' sports page produced a number of interesting articles and subjects. I was fascinated to read about the Olympic starts of different countries, like Ning Zetao the Chinese 100 meter freestyle swimmer, who according to Chinese press is a heartthrob among Chinese women because he's so "handsome." Also glad to read that Steven Adams' (OKC Thunder) sister,  Valerie Adams (2 time Gold medalist) has recovered from injury and is out to win a gold in the shot-put. An Chang-rim, a Japanese citizen of Korean parents is competing in Judo for Korea, which has endeared him to the Korean people. Understanding the tragic history of these two countries, makes this move by him significant and newsworthy. My favorite was reading that Sir Mark Todd, gold medalist in equestrian will be competing at age 60. Go Sir Todd, we seniors are with you all the way.

A very disturbing piece of news for this writer was the announcement that because of the publicity surrounding the Zika virus, polluted water, and political unrest in Brazil "Advertisers are exceptionally bullish on these games." Like F--king hyenas is my thinking. It is the absolute brazenness of the ad industry that they have no qualms about admitting taking advantage of illness to sell space to the  companies they represent. And fie on the companies who go along with it. It is a moral and ethical disgrace. And they should heap ashes on theirs heads. Or, better yet, let me do the heaping.

Okay, I ADMIT to a prejudice against television commercials. It's getting to a point I can hardly watch golf or football any more because of the plethora of commercial time that interrupts the flow and commentary of the games. Although I'm not a huge fan of soccer, the saving grace watching soccer is they play without timeouts except at half, thus limiting commercials.

It's too bad Mark Gasul is not playing for Spain. With him on the Spanish team, our Americans would have been challenged by Spain. As it is now, I don't see any other country beating U.S.A. Hope I'm not jinxing them.

Great interest to see if Usain Bolt can defending his 100 and 200 meter strangle hold on gold. And what will Michael Phelps do?

On to NFL: Ken Stabler, The Snake, made it into the Hall of Fame, posthumously, but well deserved. Snake and I were contemporaries in our separate sports. It was an era when sports among a great many professional athletes was never allowed to interfere with "the post game rock & roll." It was a time before "Big $" drove the pros to take themselves so obnoxiously seriously. Not that the athletes of that time didn't take their sport seriously. They did and their greatness speaks for them. The Snake and players like him, of which there were many, me included, loved the camaraderie of the post game celebration. Okay, so we didn't pay as much attention to our physical condition as we should have, but I wouldn't, and I daresay Snake wouldn't either, have missed out on hoisting a few in exchange for better looking  abs. Congrats, Snake. You're upstairs rubbing elbows with the Saints.

Women's basketball: Elena Delle Donne came out of the closet. Who cares any more? Perhaps a bunch off rigid religionists and bigots. Why am I commenting? Because it seems strange to me that when women athletes come out, there doesn't seem to be any huge uproar in the locker room or about the locker room, but if a male athlete comes out, whoa, all sorts of anxiety surfaces. Enough said.

Back to the Olympics. I suspect the opening ceremony is going to be one big Samba. I'll be watching and dancing. My son, Matthew, spent a semester in college in Brazil and came back a huge fan of Brazilian music and dance - the martial arts dance, the Capoeira in particular. Let's hope all the athletes of all countries compete safely and return illness free with their victories.

Here's a prose poem I wrote about the Olympics.

Olympics 2012    by Tom Meschery

I'm watching women's beach volleyball
and trying to tell myself it's not about the bikinis.
My wife is grousing about wanting to watch
dressage on another channel, a sport in which
all the riders are not only fully clothed
but wear formal riding attire, with top hats
and sit elegantly astide their horses.
How can that compare, I say, to Kerri leaping
for the ball in the sand for the save?
Who're you kidding, my wife asks. 
I don't see you smiling that way when you're watching
the guys play. The truth needs to be acknowledged,
but I remain sullen, unable to accept I have not
changed much since I was a teen lying on the sand,
rubbing myself with oil, watching all the girls 
go by, the sun turning us golden. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Rest In Peace, Nate, the Great.

One of the hymns sung at Nate's funeral today was the lovely, old Protestant hymn entitled How Great Thou Art. The hymn honors the greatness of the Deity, but as the chorus sang on beautifully and enthusiastically I found myself drifting, thinking of the greatness of my friend and teammate, Nate Thurmond. Given the goodness of Nate, I'm certain God was not insulted.

Speaker after speaker stood at the podium in front of an assembly of mourners: family members, friends and teammates, church members, basketball players, past and present, coaches, administrators, fans, media and people who might  have wandered in off the street into Providence Baptist Church to find out what all the fuss was about, praising Nate, not only for his athletic greatness, but for his spiritual greatness.

One last and lasting image of the funeral: All attendees were dressed appropriately in dark clothing, except one older man standing in the back of the church. He was unshaven and a bit shabby in baggy jeans and unlaced athletic shoes, wearing a Nate the Great #42 jersey, untucked over his pants. He was crying.

There were times during the funeral that I found myself in deep non-religious meditation, simply being in a holy moment. Looking for a poem to end today's blog, I came across this lovely meditation by Li Po

In the Mountains on a Summer Day

Gently I stir a white feather fan,
With open shirt sitting in a green wood.
I take off my cap and hang it on a jutting stone;
A wind from the pine-trees trickles on my bare head. 

                                   Translated by Arthur Waley

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Lighten Up, Draymond

A very shot blog today. I read in the sports news some of the details of the Draymond Green altercation. That he got in a fight doesn't bother me. I'd be the worst hypocrite if I criticized him for that. However, Draymond, you got to get off of that "Do you know who I am" crap. You are smarter than that. You are no more or less important than the kindergarten teacher and the guy who works his butt of collecting your garbage. You need to get over yourself, and a be a Warrior.

This poem has a lot to do with honesty, telling it like it is and not condescending to stars just because they think they're big shots.

Why My Wife Could Never Coach in the NBA

            For Melanie

She is far too honest. She will not abide laziness.
After a loss, the locker-room would not be pretty.
She would start with the Stars first, then work
her way around the room with her game face on,
in her teacher-voice telling each one of them
exactly what they did wrong. my wife is a stickler
for details. With her red pencil sharpened to a point,
she would dispense Failures. She's seen many Duke
games on TV coached by Krzyzewski, who looks
like he has sharp teeth. Like him, she'd get in their faces
and gnaw off their noses. She would yell, shitfuckpiss,
which she's often done embarrassingly in the past.
Outside the locker-room, the reporters listening
would write about her behavior that the commissioner
would not appreciate. There would be a blood-bath 
of honesty. In the end, not enough players
would be left standing to suit up for the next game.