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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.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Fake President

After what our fake president said about our NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem, I think it would be fitting this Sunday that all the black athletes kneel in protest. Just for one game, that would be enough. And it would show terrific solidarity if all the white guys joined in.

Who does this lily white, privileged, born with a silver spoon in his mouth think he is? He is certainly not an athlete. Athletes have courage and show respect for each other.

As for the NFL owners, they should get on board and stand up with their black players, who work so hard to make their teams financially successful. And people all over the country should stand up and send letters to their Congressmen and women and Senators objecting to such behavior and language coming out of the White House. Such low class by a President of this wonderful country of ours. Shame, shame!

Roger the Dodger's NFL response to Trump was weeny. NFL owners, you got what you paid for. (Anybody interested, check the web to see how much $ the NFL owners contributed to the Trump campaign.) Now you owners must live with this fool. But the players don't have to, and shouldn't. I'd love to see what happens to your investments if the black players pulled out and formed their own league - all owners' worst nightmare. 

Hurrah for the Golden State Warriors for rejecting the White House. Hurrah for LeBron James for standing up for his rivals, the Warriors. LeBron, you showed some real class.

Our country is in a standoff with the Korean madman, (Truly serious stuff going on, like mushroom clouds and Chernobyl type fallout drifting our way) and our madman is wasting time criticizing a few athletes. Give me a f--king break!

Oh, beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain.
America, America!
Why're you suffering such pain? 

America, God shed his grace on thee
And crown they good with brotherhood
And sisterhood of all our rainbow colors
From sea to shining sea.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Thank God for Football

Okay, I know all about concussions and the hypocrisy of big time football (college and NFL), but I can't help it; I love watching the game. And now, my grandson by marriage, Jaxon West is making high school news at linebacker for Rio Americano High, intercepting passes, sacking quarterbacks.
Look out Clay Matthews.

Anyway, football will keep my jock juice flowing until basketball starts. What about baseball, one might ask. Ask ahead. I loved playing the game, but watching it is an entirely different proposition. I'm simply not a stats kind of guy, and I've never been very patient. So, a game of balls and strikes with occasional hits and runs has me switching to the food channels. Going to the baseball park is a little better because of the beer and hotdogs. Minor league parks are hands down the best in the food department. When I played for the Philadelphia Warriors back in the day, I used to occasionally drive up to Scranton and watch a Triple A game. Jewish Nationals in a soft bun with lots of sauerkraut and ice cold Rolling Rock. Under those circumstances, a pitchers duel, however boring, was ok by me. Tickets were cheap and the players at that level were intense. They were either on the way up to the Bigs or heading down and trying to get back.  So, it was all about hustle.

My biggest beef with football is the god darn commercials that ruin the flow of the game. I've already blogged about this, but it's worth repeating. When commercial time is equal to playing time, something is wrong.

I'm a huge Oakland Raiders fan and have been loyal to them ever since my best friend, Bill King, broadcast the games on radio. Looks like the East Bay finally has a team with all the skill set players capable of wining a championship, and for years to come, barring injuries. I'll remain a fan until they move to Lost Wages. Is Davis a greedy prick, or what?

Since I grew up in The City, my loyalty also extends somewhat to the San Jose 49ers. The 49ers owner finally made a good decision hiring youth to run the organization. I don't have much hope for them until they get a legit qb. Hoyer is fine backup and always will be a backup. The coach needs to give CJ Beathard a shot, but I agree with ex 49er qb Garcia that they should bide their time and let the kid grow and learn, but at some point, especially if the season starts to fall apart, as I suspect it will with Hoyer at the helm, they need to let Beathard get his feet wet.

Only about 30 more days before the NBA. WhooWah! Here's a suggestion. I think the NBA should ban their players from using Twitter. It only gets them in trouble. Recent misstep by Durant is a case in point, and then the young man had to apologize and nobody was really happy. Twitter is an apt name for this medium as it requires only the intelligence of a Twit to use it. Donald Trump being the biggest Twit of all.

I've been trying to write poems in a Chinese form called a Cheuh-Chu, which is a very concise poem of four lines. Here's one about ex NFL great qb Joe Kapp when he played for the Vikings.

Joe Kapp

Ran for out the out of bounds, but didn't
Ran for first and extra yard, fans cheering
Only gringos run out of bounds he states
After the touchdown, microphones in his face


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Sports Academies

In this morning's sports page I read about Jordan Brown, Woodcreek High School's (Roseville, CA) 6'11" talented power forward rated #6 overall in the country opting to leave his school and enroll in Christian High School, a national powerhouse sports academy in Napa, CA. Jordan's father is quoted as saying he wants his son to be in a setting where he's challenged atheltically at a higher level. He's probably right from the point of view of the sport. But is he right from the point of view of his son's overall personal growth?

This last question bears on my problem with sports academies. Does it do young  athletes any good to lump them all into an environment where there is very little intellectual, social, and cultural diversity? By their nature, sports academies are elitist. Public high schools, by their nature, are not. They more closely imitate the democratic pluralism of our country's society. It seems to me that it would be pretty easy, perhaps even likely, for teenagers in sports academies to see themselves as special, a idea that will not help them once their sports days are over, and they have to fit into the normal day to day life. And, except for a tiny percentage who go on to become first round draft choices, those days come faster then they or their parents anticipated.

Sports academies, like charter schools, (another form of elitism in education) are not, unfortunately, going to disappear, and will more than likely increase in numbers as sports continue to become more and more big biz. So, I'm just blowing off a little retired teacher steam. I've always believed strongly, warts and all, in our public schools system being the best way to educate youngsters to be inclusive and compassionate thinking adults.

I Bless This Man   Pindar from Nemea 11 translated by Richmond Lattimore

I bless this man for Agesias, his father,
for the splendor and linked serenity of his limbs.
Yet if one, keeping wealth, surpass in beauty likewise
and show his strength by excellence in the games,
let him remember the limbs he appoints are mortal
and that he must put upon him earth, the end of all things.

In the speech of good citizens he should win praise
and be a theme of elaboration in the deep, sweet singing.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A World Without Color

If this country from its beginning was the one the KKK, Neo-Nazi, and White Nationalists envision for America today, what a boring, bland, impoverished land it would be. Think of the music, literature, sculpture, art that we love and cherish today that would never have existed and that we'd be unable to enjoy. Think of never witnessing the great athletes of color that made us cheer and make us cheer today. Think of the cuisine that would not be on our table and in our restaurants today without people of color. Those tiny minds, those hateful people - their world so tastelessly white without the spices of color - such pitiful lives. If these hate groups were not so despicable, one might almost feel sorry for them.

More NFL players are taking a knee. Right on. Kap YOU started it, NOW, the rest of you brave men take the ball he passed to you and head for the end zone.

White NFL players, you got to take a knee with your brothers of color. You can not wuss out!

NFL Commissioner: "I don't "necessarily" agree with them [NFL players taking a knee}. That's one of the most wussy statements I've ever heard in my life. You agree or you don't. There's no fence sitting in Trump's America.

Americans of all colors, faiths, national origins and cultures fought and died defeating the Nazi in World War II. It's time to fight the Nazis again.

Let's start the fight in our own sports backyard. We athletes can get the ball rolling. 

To Satch (or an American Gothic)   by Samuel Allen

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Abraham Lincoln

The Republican Party is the party of Abraham Lincoln. What do you think President Lincoln would think of President Trump?

In this morning's Sacramento Bee sports page, Ailene Vosin asked who'd you'd take in a Golden State Warrior's Coach Steve Kerr and a Donald Trump standoff? Kerr, hands down. Kerr would take Trump and Bannon one on two, and beat them into the ground, hands down. Bigots are crap athletes. The KKK and Neo Nazis couldn't field a team in any sports that could compete at any level, kindergarten included.

Hooray for Eric Reid, "won't kneel but won't stop talking." He's right, there is a huge amount of support for Colin Kaepernick in American across every spectrum of our society, except for a small segment of white males over fifty, mostly those who are under-educated, (and some younger white bigots they've brainwashed, Add to this group aging wealthy whites who are  frightened of people of different colors.

Speaking of colors.  Did you happen to see all the different and wonderfully diverse colors competing against each other at the World Track and Field Championship in London. Shades of skin color is the future, Trump and Bannon, take note. Pure white is on it's way out. Pure any color is on it's way out. We will be a bi-racial world not too long in the future. If you have any doubts, you might want to check out television advertising: biracial couples all over the tube selling products. When it comes to the bottom line, the ad biz is always ahead of the curve.

Joe Kapp     by Tom Meschery

For years I've enjoyed telling the story
about Joe Kapp refusing to run out of bounds
in a crucial game after gaining enough yards,
as all quarterbacks are taught to do to save
themselves from injury. Kapp, a Mexican-American,
said to reporters after the win: Only gringos
run out of bounds. I'm thinking of this moment
in sports while driving home having just
hired a Mexican worker to help me finish
my patio. He is a strong looking man
from Vera Cruz with a wife and four children.
He doesn't look at all like Kapp and the years
between Kapp's game and my unfinished patio
are many, so I'm trying to decide why Kapp
came to mind. Something to do with toughness
I decide.Since growing old I've hired
Mexican workers and always been amazed
at how hard they work the most back breaking jobs,
and I think of the Conservatives complaining
about our borders not being strong enough,
and I'm willing to bet those same Republicans
in a crucial game, with angry linebackers
bearing down on them, would run
out of bounds to save their asses, which
I'd love to explain to the worker who tells me
his name is Jimmy, but Jaime in Spanish,
but I don't speak his language well enough.