“Sweet is the memory of past troubles.” –Cicero
My high school career was less than stellar, quite different from Kevin Arnold’s 1970’s middle-class neurosis in The Wonder Years; and it was often a confusing and awkward time for me as it is for any young person who doesn’t follow the rules of engagement. My school was located in one of the poorer neighborhoods so the styles and sophistication of the students echoed that. This was the life equivalent of tasteless, waxy American cheese.
There were minimal cliques in this school–the wannabe gang bangers, (and the real ones) the jocks, the hair-metal kids, the cholas and the cheerleaders. I managed to scrounge up 2 friends, one was a metal head who I had known since elementary school, and the other a punk rock reject that would wear a Dead Kennedys shirt everyday, carry a skateboard everywhere and never let anyone inside his house. In retrospect, there was nothing special about my teenage apathy. Everyone was dealing with the same emotions and questions, but with different parents, cultures, agendas and economic status. There was also a beautiful naivete concerning school shootings: we simply could never conceive of it happening–there was a better chance of aliens populating the earth or Elvis rising from the dead. I was also suffering from a strangulating boredom which I thought was to be my position in life…I was 16 and waiting for it to begin.
Baseball player Steve Sax was sort of a local legend in our little burg as he had attended the only and very same high school that I was attending. During P.E. (my favorite subject, besides lunch) I would stare at Sax’s school records on an amateurish hand-painted board above dented, graffitied, rusted lockers while fights broke out, coaches screamed and evacuations from the putrid sulfur smell of stink bombs were coalescing around me. He owned every single record. I couldn’t fathom that a titan on a baseball card had actually walked these same sweat sock-scented hallways from hell and dominated the very same pock-marked, weed infested ball field that I had played on as a Freshman just one year earlier. He probably thought he was hot shit and had all kinds of bell-bottom clad, Farrah Fawcett- haircut-fashioned girls throwing themselves at him; no doubt changing one letter in his last name as to give him a more studly and epically legendary nickname as his other conquests snickered knowingly with a hint of underlying jealousy.
Sax had a pretty solid career and even won a World Series with the Dodgers until he caught a case of the “yips,” which is a psychological malfunction of the routine play. In this case it was the across the body lob to the first baseman from the second base position. A fairly easy play unless pondered to the point of oblivion. This local hero and World Series winner was fallible and I could relate. I had acquired a case of the life yips at the age of 15 and couldn’t even have a routine conversation without stumbling through it. Girls were impossible as I took navel-gazing to the point of nonexistence. I would contemplate every single nonsensical conversation or see sideways glances as a character assassination. This sort of thought was an unhealthy E-4, something that was scratched on Sax’s scorecard more times than he would’ve liked.
We were worlds apart in every conceivable valuable attribute–with him having all the admirable ones, an enviable cross to bear; but we shared the same thoughts, fears and insecurities that all humans struggle with at one time or another, and with that, the inability to be shielded from the cruel elements that possesses us all.
“My, my, my, my Corona.” –sang in the vocal stylings of the Knack’s “My Sharona.”
These are fantastical times. This Corona virus has run the full gamut and has completely taken over my life. I’ve been washing my hands upwards of 30 times a day, and like everything else that becomes an obsession in my life, it is imperative that I know every single detail about the origins and life of this villain. Listening to NPR and reading the NY Times has been vital in comprehensive avoidance and genuine insight to this fiend. This is a time of high anxiety.
All of the major sports have been cancelled and college and high school students have been sent home. I went to the library today and it was all but deserted, the only homeless person within eye-shot was wearing a mask. I went to the grocery store to stock up on food as to not leave the house for at least a few days. We are all pariahs, avoiding each other at all costs and giving anyone a side glance if they so much as come within 3 feet of you.
Whatever you do…don’t. touch. your. face. Donald Trump, notoriously obsessed with germs refuses to shake anyone’s hand, as does anyone in this time of trial. I listened to Trump’s presidential briefing (for the first time in his term) and his bravado and positivity seemed like more posturing even though he called for a national emergency in what can be seen as a hushed tone. After a carousel of “geniuses” were paraded on the mic (each one talking an average of 45 seconds, and included a representative from CVS) VP Mike Pence didn’t hesitate to put Trump on a pedestal in an embarrassing display of window dressing obviously written by someone who understands the President’s psyche. There were many hollow slogans of strength, patriotism and resilience in a fairly standardized ending.
I feel better already. (eyeroll) Let us not forget that Trump once downsized this virus comparing it to the flu and even went so far as to call it a “democratic hoax.” It seems to me that we as the people are going to have to fight this together by learning as much as we can about this virus with our elected officials having very little credibility or competence. Good luck to the readers of this blog and to us all, and as Tom Hanks famously said, “There is no crying in baseball.”
I haven’t posted on this site for about a year due to my laptop being stolen and I simply couldn’t remember the password. I must have had a moment of clarity this morning after a few cups of coffee because I was futzing around with random e-mails and passwords when lo and behold….here I am. For you new readers, (and as long time readers know) this is a baseball site that is ripe for psychiatric scrutiny, and I am every inch the eighth dimension.
I watched the A’s last night and it was an exciting affair with Frankie Montas pitching a gem and Matt Chapman hitting a 3 run walk-off for a 5-4 win over the Rays. Chapman is the best defensive 3rd baseman in baseball and should be an All-Star. Montas is having a solid season and is looking like the ace of the team; the absolute glamour queen on a stage full of ugly cretins who wouldn’t have a chance in hell of answering the cliche pageant question of, “How could we accomplish world peace?” The bullpen is a ticking time bomb and has caused much heartbreak and frustration so far this young season; an absolute atrocity that leaves me scratching my head in so many fits that one would think I had a case of head lice.
We’re all excited
But we don’t know why
Maybe it’s ’cause
We’re all gonna die
And when we do
What’s it all for
You better live now
Before the grim reaper come knocking on your door
–Prince “Let’s get crazy”
It was truly a sad day when Prince died last week. In an era of cookie cutter, soul-less music he stood out as a mega-talented musician with magical song writing ability. Like every other human being I saw his death as a chance to reminisce about a moment, long forgotten, in my own life. The memories came rushing through, synapses released, and suddenly I remembered the first time I had seen a Prince video–it was in 1984 and I was nine years old and playing with a few cousins at my grandparents house. All of the sudden “When Doves Cry” came on the television and it was as if the world had stopped and my tiny brain was shattered. I had never seen anyone so ethereal and androgynous. He was calling the world “cold” and criticizing his parents as fallible human beings. I was instantly infatuated and intrigued by this new possibility of undermining expectations. Prince was something different, something refreshing in an era of faux reggae, (The Police) misogynist “cock rock,” and Phil Collins-esque waiting room music. A friend once told me that the movie “Purple Rain” scared the shit out of him when he was a small child. That is pure genius as far as I’m concerned. R.I.P. Purple One.
The A’s sweep of the Yankees last week was beautiful but the moment was a bit sweeter because of the fact that the Bronx Bomber’s telecasters had the pretension to call the Athletics a AAA team. I thought it particularly funny because of the fact that the Yankees lineup isn’t all that impressive and quite a few couldn’t even start over the regular players in Oakland. New Yorkers have been delusional about the Yankees for quite some time and seeing them as contenders this season is a bit laughable in its tedium. They drank the proverbial Kool-Aid. Most people root for laundry but Yankees fans root for dissipated ghosts. Chris Coghlan hit a two run jack in the 8th inning in game 3 giving the A’s a 6-3 lead and all but insuring an A’s sweep. The cameras then panned to a kid about 8 years old crying in the stands. I am not one to enjoy seeing kids cry but this bratty Millennial (or whatever the hell kids are called these days) was crying because his delusions were being destroyed. Seemed fitting for a Yankees fan…here’s to hoping they have many terrible seasons ahead and the fans keep crying because of their own self-imposed importance.
I’m smoking a cigarette; a Camel non filter– the tiny object representing American ingenuity by the label being printed on the lit end. The Viet-Cong couldn’t identify the U.S. onslaught by a simple identification…blown away in the stressed out breeze.
Spring training is boring.
Cut and dry. I’d rather give a shout out to fellow bloggers that I enjoy:
Shyra: we met when I was 16 and we were the “firsts” for everything. She was compassionate, and loved my artwork, writing, and irrational love for baseball. I would drag her to all sorts of games ( from minor league to sub minor league) and she was patient, even asking a lot of “girlfriend questions” in order to boost my ego, yet she never officially had a team. She did, however, buy tickets to games and I felt like she enjoyed them. favorite team: none
Summer: dumb fucking name aside, this girl was absolutely brutal with attitude. I did ecstacy for the first time with her and some semi-famous D.J. asshole that I refuse to name here. She lived in Oakland and thought she was cool with her retro clothes and “diagonal haircuts”, but was a music nerd who had absolutely ZERO interest in the game. I remember watching Tim Hudson when he was a young buck in her room while her gay room-mate (who was going to Cal-Berkeley and absolutely HATED me) would make strange noises in the room next door. favorite team: none
Alisa: A sweet ginger. We went to a lot of AAA games together (Rivercats). She learned how to score a game, (which she enjoyed) yet never took a big league team under her wing. She had favorite players and we even named our cat after the announcer of the ‘Cats at the time. (Bip Roberts) favorite team: Sacramento Rivercats
Lindsay: She has to take the cake as the WEIRDEST girl I have ever dated. She was petite, artsy, a clothing designer, and a stripper. She also had a crazy Russian coke-dealer stalker who would confront me on occasion before I eventually got fed up and kicked his ass in front of a club and then kicked her ass to the curb. We went to a minor league game once and didn’t show up until the 3rd because she was too spacey too get her shit together. All in all we watched 6 innings in about 2 hours and she said it was “perfect.” favorite team: none….with a bang!
Oki: sweet, asian girl who had absolutely no interest in the game. She was a D.J.who had interests in painting and music and had a lot of knowledge in that area, yet I would sneak in games when I had the chance. favorite team: none
Tanya: The absolute love of my life and future wife! She grew up in Los Angeles and learned to love the Dodgers at a young age. I knew she was the COOLEST girl I had ever met on our 2nd date…and I was right! She woke me up the other night cheering because of the fact that Scott Van Slyke had just hit a game winner to left for the Dodgers in late night extra innings, and it reminded me why I was in love. I have been to some of the greatest concerts I have ever seen with this woman and she even took me to Anaheim to see the A’s and Angels. “This park sucks,” she said. OH…MY…GOD! favorite team: Los Angeles Dodgers
I recently made a trip to Anaheim Stadium to catch the A’s play the Angels in a “must win” game for both teams; a place I hadn’t been to since I was a young boy living in Buena Park with my grandparents….a span of 20 plus years. My grandfather and I were A’s fans, yet we enjoyed quite a few games at the “Big A” in the days of Wally Joyner, Lance Parrish and Mark Langston. The old cowboy and Hollywood legend Gene Autry still owned the team, and 80 something year old Jimmie Reese, who was the conditioning coach, was still roaming the field. The old man was called up to the Yankees in 1930 and was Babe Ruth’s roommate on the road, or as Reese explained, “I roomed with the Babe’s suitcase.” Reese coached the ball- club for 22 years until he died in 1994.
Times had changed. All three of the old men in the paragraphs above were long dead, and I was back in the ol’ ballpark not ready to re-live memories, but to watch the Elephants kick some ass and take no prisoners. (there’s a playoff spot at stake for fuck’s sake) The stadium was vastly “improved” since I had been there; from the large idiotic Disney-esque rock formation in center field to the gigantic Jack in the Box sign beyond that. My girlfriend, (a Dodgers fan may I add) thought that the crass commercialism on the Jumbotron between innings was off-putting. “Even the hotdogs are better at Dodger Stadium,” she said. I agreed that this display of capitalism and homogenized commerce in the county known for its conservative Republican values was indeed off-putting. “Yes, but we hit more in this league,” I answered.
Yoenis Cespedes, the young Cuban who has one of the quickest bats I’ve ever seen hit a miraculous, long soaring jack to left center. The brilliance was confounded by super-rookie Mike Trout, and his attempt to rob him. Angels fans rose en masse, ready to see their new hero pull odd another amazing feat. He came up short. The wind went out of the stadium. The score was 1-0 and the desperation rose quickly. “How could a bunch of NOBODIES be doing this to us with our 126 million dollar payroll?” Angels fans seemed to be saying. By the time Brandon “The Boss” Moss hit a two run jack to left center in the 5th, we knew it was over. The fans were pleading for the man who had caught it to throw it back, but to no avail. Coco Crisp even added an inside the park job as creeky kneed, 35 year old, over- payed Torii Hunter couldn’t fish a ball out of the corner and it skipped passed him while Mr. Crisp jack-rabbited around the base paths to make it 6-2. Triple and E-9. Grant “The cardiac kid ” Balfour did his best to blow the game even yelling a few obscenities at the umpire on his way out with a 6-5 lead and a man on first and 3rd with no outs. I was yelling a few at Balfour myself and quickly felt vindicated as I had told a buddy of mine before the inning had started that Balfour was like a hooker at a truckstop… always getting rocked. The crowd stood the rest of the game as Jerry “Clutch” Blevins (as he will now be called) nailed down the game by striking out Kendrys Morales and getting Howie Kendrick to ground out 5-4-3 for the victory. There was no joy in Mudville that night….. nobodies indeed.
If there’s only supposed to be one God, why are there so many religions? Why are there so many beliefs? Why do certain beliefs clash with others? I’m just confused about the whole thing. And if God made man in his image, then what image is God? Is God black, white, or Chinese? Is God a woman? A midget? I mean: What isGod? To me religion is a scam, a way to control society. It doesn’t make any sense. It does not make any sense.
I question the fact that there are a million reasons why there supposedly is a God, but people are hesitant to explore the reasons why there might not be a God. For example, why do most girls have their first period before they’re 13? Why do girls have periods so early in life? If there was a God, this might be different. Our society tries to put religious stipulations on sex, but biology has different plans. What does it mean for a girl to have her period? That means she’s ready to have sex and give birth, right? But, depending on which state you live in, our laws say you can’t have sex till you are 16 or whatever. A lot of times our laws contradict what our God—if there is a God—says. The whole system is backward, messed up, and corrupt.
There are no buts about it. The government has been mixed with religion. The most confusing part is that many different religions believe in one God, but some don’t. It’s like, which god should I believe in? Which one is the best? With some religions you have to pick a god and the others you ignore. What’s that about?
I will admit that it’s weird to believe that there is no God and nothing after death. Is that why religion was invented? Is it because people think life is so bad, there has to be something after death—something different? What if there is no life after death? What if it’s just blackness? I for one believe there is no afterlife. We’re just like cockroaches. It’s real simple: Dying is like never being born. Do you understand now? It’s the same thing.
I’ve always been a really common-sense type of man. Long ago I figured out that religion doesn’t make sense. If there was a God, why is there so much pain and suffering and so many wars? Science says man was created of, by, and for evil. If God exists, then God rules the heavens, and Satan rules the earth. Terror. We’re born of evil. As little kids what’s the word we always hear? No. We always hear no. “No, don’t do that. Don’t do this. No. No. No. Don’t.” This is because most of the human species is evil. We’re born of Satan, of Earth. Some get it a lot quicker. Some don’t get it at all: namely, those who commit crimes, murderers, and rapists. They do not get anything, and yet these are the people who will never convert. Darkness reigns.
I’m an atheist-Scientologist. It’s really simple. The reason why I look toward Scientology as an acceptable alternative is because it’s a religion mostly based on science and fact. I think Scientology is closer to atheism than anything else. I don’t believe in cosmos or agnosticism. I believe there’s just life on Earth and then you die. It’s the same as never being born. I think religions are cults. They’re cliques; they’re gangs. They know how to control the masses.
I haven’t examined each religion in detail to know if one is worse. I think every religion is hypocritical. If you don’t agree with one, then you’re fighting against another. Religions confuse people. People’s religions aren’t based on fact. They’re more like theories about what may have happened in the past. Religion is a form of brainwashing.