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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.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Rookie in the White House

Reading D Trumps rants about Lonzo Ball's dad and other rants about NFL football players, and pathetic needs to be acknowledged for every little things he does or says. Jeez! Fellows, does he remind you of an insecure free agent rookie at his first training camp. Just saying.

Speaking of Lonzo. I love the kids passing instincts. Gets the ball into teammates hands at exactly the right time for them to shoot in rhythm.

Sac Bee sports page got it right with this headline: Warriors Turn Every Game into a Big Deal. Opponents have been coming out in the first quarter with fire in their eyes. Warriors startled by the intensity. Better get used to it, Dubs. You've got a targets on the backs of your jerseys. Got to deal with it. It might take some ass-kicking ie: last night's romp by OKC, etc. for the light bulb to click on.

Still, how often will Warriors face three guys accruing 90% of total points. Steady Paul George, but not Carmelo, and not Westbrook.

Glad to see CJ Beathard will start for 49ers. My gut tells me he's a winner. Galapagos could be, but no telling about foreign islands. Bad pun, my wife says.

Looking back over a lifetime on this Thanksgiving Day, 2017, I am and always will be, as an immigrant and naturalized citizen of this great country, eternally grateful for sports, and for particularly for basketball that provided me with a pathway to identity. Let's hoop, not war; let's hoop, not casts slurs; let's hoop and cooperate; let's hoop and be generous of spirit; let's win a championship for the human race.

 Okay, so I'm a little sentimental this morning. I can't help but post this old quatrain, a lesson that I, perhaps, never learned well enough, hating losing the way I did.

Who Misses or Who Wins    by William Makepeace Thackeray

Who misses or who wins the prize
Go lose or conquer as you can;
But if you fall, or if you rise,
Be each, pray God, a gentleman.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Let's Get One Thing Straight

Whoever thought up the oft-said and dishonest, "It's not who I am," must be the winner of repetitive, sorry-ass, apologies for abusers, racists, and gropers in America, Donald Trump being the leading example in the later category.

This morning Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, used this statement to explain he is not a racist for a racist comment he made in 2013. Please note, not 1965, or 1980, but as recently as the first four years of Barrak Obama's presidency. By now, shouldn't you know better, or maybe not.

Let's get one thing straight, if you abuse anybody, you're an abuser; if you make racist comments or jokes, you are a racist; if you grab a women's genitals you are a sexual predator. It is who you are, not who you're not.

Here's Jone's statement made on video for a man who asked Jones if he'd tape a message for his fiancee. "Hey, Jennifer, congratulations on the wedding. Now, you know he's with a black girl tonight, don't you?" Joking, yes. But the color slipped out of your core prejudice, Jerry. In your mind, whether you knew it or not, the girl's skin color made your stupid notion of infidelity a greater sin, which was the point and beside the point of your message. Ha, ha. No one is laughing, except other racists.

So as not to end on a foul subject, here's a lovely poem about love and competition in the guise of a game we've all played.

Playing the Game      by Barbara Goldowsky 

You stick out your fist: stone
breaks my two fingers playing scissors.

You offer your hand, open.
I shred the palm: it's paper.
I am sill scissors.

Have you no heart? you ask.
But I am stone.

Your hand is still paper,
you wrap me up:
closer than blades,
harder than hearts.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Stats and etc

Don't you just love sports statistics? Take for example: Boston is working on a 13 game win streak for any team that started 0 -2. Geez. Has anybody figured out what the record is for consecutive wins following an 0-3 start, or an 0-4 start? I don't have access to the league office to find out or the patience to sift through online crap, but is it at all possible that the Sacramento Kings hold one of those records. I'm reasonably sure they lost a bunch of games in a row at the start of the season(s). I'm just saying. I don't mean to be snarky, but stats and analytics drive me nuts. It's all about technology. Recently, I heard some smart person created a room in which people with tech issues could pay a fee, go into, and using a bat provided to them, beat the hell out of technology. Sign me up.

Is there a won and done high school somewhere? There must be, funded by the Coach Calapari Foundation. Last night's game agains Kansas Calapari started five freshmen. Gonzaga beat up on Howard last night, but Howard is an intellectual school, and the Zags, well not so much.

Garapolo, or as my wife, the foodie calls him, Gorgonzola, wins the award for most handsome QB in the NFL, but I'm thinking the 49ers need to give CJ Beathard a serious look. QB is alll about the O-Line. When the Hawkeye standout got protection he stayed up and stood out.

I hate Tom Brady's Trump politics, but he is the best quarterback in the NFL and could wind up ranking in the top five, ever. I keep in mind, Picasso was a great painter, but a real jerk.

I see where the Raiders broke ground for their new stadium in Las Vegas. I've finally reconciled the move, and figure, if it had to be, Vegas is the only place the Silver and Black could have gone. Vegas Raiders has a certain ring to it, and Vegas being what it is, there'll be plenty of Oakland folks willing to fly down and keep the legacy alive. How about the team providing day-of-game charter planes? Charge a small fee, serve booze. My wife says to sign her up. She'd go just to see the costumes and the people, forget the booze. But don't forget the blackjack tables.

Here we go again, as Ronald Reagan used to say: Donald Trump admiring the Philippines' Dictator President Rodrigo Duterte, who's got one of the worst human rights records on our planet, and recently implied that it's ok to snuff reporters. Vladimir KGB Putin, now this madman? The only silver lining I see in this ominously dark trump cloud is that once he and all his cronies are behind bars, perhaps the Middle Class in America will finally get it that the Republican Party has never been, is not, and never will be, on their side.

Sherman Alexie, a Native American, is one of his homeland's great writers. I particularly love his short stories and poems. Here's one about basketball.. I hope the Ball family kids read this poem.

Penance   by Sherman Alexie

I remember sun-days when the man I
call my father made

me shoot free throws, one
for every day of my life
so far. I remember
the sin of imperfect

spin, the ball falling in-
to that moment between
a father and forgive-

ness. between the hands reach-
ing up and everything
they can possibly hold.



Sunday, November 12, 2017

Shoplifting in China

I read in this morning's sports page that the three UCLA basketball players arrested for shoplifting will remain behind in Hangzhou while the rest of the team returns to America to start their season.
"That serves them right, the idiots," my wife says. I say, "Isn't shoplifting some kind of rite of passage for boys?" "Yeah, but most do it when they're twelve, not eighteen and in college," my wife says, adding, "they stole Louis Vuitton sunglasses, not Playboy Magazines."

One of the young men is DiAngelo Ball, the brother of Lonzo Ball, the NBA Lakers' first round draft choice heralded to be the next Magic Johnson (never happen) and son of the kookiest sports dad since the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. What motivates fathers (and mothers) to  insert themselves so strongly and negatively into the lives of their children? The easy answer is ego and a desire for fame that they, otherwise, believed they deserved in their own lives. The hard answer runs something like this: mental illness.

In the summer before my son Matthew, who was on his eighth grade basketball team, entered high school, he came to me and said,"Dad, in high school, the band and the basketball team practises at the same time, would you be terribly disappointed?" Matt went on to play music and for a while after college had a Hip Hop band named OPM that toured Europe and for six weeks was Top of the Pops in England. Although he no longer has the band, Matt still writes and publishes songs. I wonder if the Ball kids ever had a chance to make their own choices. And what does that do to their personalities, that their lives were determined for them?

Meschery's Trump Watch: Since Donald Trump's inauguration on January 20, 2017 at 9 AM, it is 295 days, 23 hrs, 49 min,and 33 sec and counting. On today's Internet, there was a quote by the North Korean dictator calling Trump an old man. Trump replied by Twitter (of course)."I wouldn't call him short and fat." For 25 years I was a high school teacher, and I recognize two adolescents bad mouthing each other in the hall as their classmates egg them on. Aren't we lucky to have a president who at 71 acts like a sixteen year old?

As our adolescent president threatens nuclear war, here is one of the greatest anti-war poems I've ever read.

Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio    by James Wright

In the Shreve High football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,
Dreaming of heroes.

All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.
Their women cluck like stared pullets,
Dying for love.

Therefore,
Their sons grow suicidally beautiful
At the beginning of October,
And gallop terribly against each other's bodies.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Jimmy

With the acquisition of Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots, the 49ers are clearly the winner of the Melanie Meschery Handsome Quarterback Award. The 49ers want him to be a star, Melanie wants him to pose for a portrait. I suggested Patris' morning life drawing sessions. That would work too, she replied. Melanie wanted Harrison Barnes of earlier Warrior success to pose as well. Let's hope Garoppolo is at least as good a quarterback as Harrison was a Warrior.

I need to draw attention to one of the better lines of sports writing. Here's a a paragraph from an article written by Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post about the Houston Astros, winners of this year's World Series: "Now, we have the "Houston Strongest" Series featuring two games that stand among the 10 best World Series games ever played, plus a jubilant, exuberant young champion that will bring power, energy, advanced critical thinking and athleticism to the sport for years."

ADVANCED CRITICAL THINKING? Was there any doubt this retired English teacher didn't raise his arms above his head  and whoop for joy? Now, if only the President and his clique would subscribe to the same kind of thinking.

My Warriors are off to an uneven start. Last night, at first it looked to be one of  those games that was going to fall diplomatically into the "uneven" category. Uneven, as more reasonably defined as total crap. But after the first dismal quarter, the Dubs rallied and defeated the Spurs soundly. How did they do it? The Warriors are deep off the bench. They are stronger at every position then they were last year when they won the championship, thus they can substitute with greater effectiveness than other teams. Eventually a team with seven strong players will succumb to a team with 12 strong players. It's a law of physics. Or Meschery's law, whichever you prefer.

Speaking of law. I wonder how long it will be before the law catches up to our lawless president. His collaboration with Vladimir Putin, an ex KGB hit-man is by any other name against the law. On the front page of our morning Sacramento Bee, there's a photograph of the Rump kissing the proposed new tax plan that will make wealthy people in our country more wealthy and the middle class poorer.
It is the same kissing pose were the tax plan Putin's buttocks.

Here's a baseball poem in honor of the the great World Series we witnessed.

To Satch   by Sam Allen

Sometimes I feel like I will never stop
Just go on forever
Till one fine monrnin
I'm gonna reach up and grab me a handfulla stars
Swing out my long lean leg
And zip three hot stikes bunrin down the heavens
And look over at God and say
How about that!