July 31, 2011

Indians trade for a stud pitcher

So maybe only a guy in Florida and myself really care, but here is a fanmag article about the Indians from Cleveland. Bear with me, we don't get many of these from ESPN no less.


Quirk Classics Releases The Meowmorphosis Book Trailer

July 29, 2011

The Debt Dilemma

What happens if the government does not increase the debt limit? Take a look.

July 26, 2011

Two Poems

Titanic, by David R. Slavitt


Who does not love the Titanic?
If they sold passage tomorrow for that same crossing,
who would not buy?

To go down...We all go down, mostly
alone. But with crowds of people, friends, servants,
well fed, with music, with lights!Ah!

And the world, shocked, mourns, as it ought to do
and almost never does. There will be the books and movies
to remind our grandchildren who we were
and how we died, and give them a good cry.

Not so bad, after all. The cold
water is anesthetic and very quick.
The cries on all sides must be a comfort.

We all go: only a few, first class.

I Go Back to May 1937 by Sharon Olds : The Poetry Foundation

July 25, 2011

Despoiling the Chesapeake Bay.

I happen to be re-reading James Michener's novel CHESAPEAKE, and then seeing this on the news site NEWSER is I must say disheartening. To read Michener's description of the bay in it's unspoiled beauty when his novel begins in the 1600's and see what man has done to it in 400 years is sad indeed. The despoilers would not have started in earnest until the twentieth century so they have done their dirty practices in under 200 years.

This July 31, 2010 photo provided by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation shows Algae blooms (dark colors) flourishing along the shore of the York river in Yorktown, Va.
(AP Photo/Morgan Heim, Chesapeake Bay Foundation)

Chesapeake 'Dead Zone' Could Be Largest Ever

By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2011 8:08 AM CDT

(NEWSER) – High nutrient pollution levels have caused the Chesapeake Bay's underwater "dead zone" to expand unusually quickly this year: It covers a third of the bay and will likely become the bay's largest-ever area of oxygen-starved water. The dead zone, which sucks oxygen from deep waters and kills any marine life that can't escape it, stretched from the Baltimore Harbor to the bay's mid-channel region in June, a distance of about 83 miles. It has only grown since then, the Washington Post reports.

Nutrient pollution comes from chemicals, like fertilizer, and causes an increase of bay algae. In turn, the algae decomposes into a black, oxygen-sucking glop that kills oysters, shellfish, and any fish or crabs that can't get to surface waters. Dead zones occur annually, but this year saw an especially heavy flow of polluted water due to heavy rains and melted snow mixed with chemicals and sediment. The EPA has finalized an aggressive "pollution diet" to reduce the levels of chemicals and sediment allowed into the bay, but the plan will cost billions and is being challenged by lobbies and other groups.

Child in a Straw Hat by Mary Cassatt

Child in a Straw Hat by Mary Cassatt

July 24, 2011

We are in trouble

Now they're thinking of starting a star chamber.

Lord help us now because it seems that Obama can't.

July 23, 2011

Weasel Coffee: You’re Going to Drink What?

Weasel Coffee: You’re Going to Drink What?

I am almost hung up on iced coffee. To illustrate my exotic tastes, I prefer McDonald's iced coffee, although I'm not above reading about other iced coffees. This one from the Smithsonian magazine is a path I would not walk down but it is interesting reading.

July 21, 2011

House plans for Ayn Rand house

The LA Times reports on an interesting footnote in architectural and literary history:

In 1937 a little-known author named Ayn Rand wrote to revered modernist Frank Lloyd Wright.

“Dear Mr. Wright,” her letter of Dec. 12 began, “I am writing a novel about the career of an architect. . . . I should like to have the privilege of meeting you and discussing it with you.”

The book, “The Fountainhead,” was published six years later. Although Wright did not make himself available in 1937 or for years to come, Rand’s pitch was the start of a two-decade correspondence that evolved into a robust exchange of ideas as well as this: a preliminary rendering of a “cottage studio,” in colored pencil on paper, that the legendary architect crafted for Rand. It is featured in “Drawings and Objects by Architects,” on exhibit through Oct. 10 at the Edward Cella Art + Architecture gallery in the mid-Wilshire area of L.A.

July 19, 2011

From the HardBall Times

Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Stop laughing, they’re both in first place
Posted by Mat Kovach
Today is, by my calender, July 19. Baseball is 90-plus` games into the season. There were certain phrases that, if said aloud at the start of the season, would have required the speaker to have his mental capacity to be questioned. Only after, of course, the listeners had a chance to compose themselves from a fit of laughter after hearing the phrases.

Phrases such as:

Not only have both the Indians and Pirates won at least 50 games, they are both in first place.

Wait. What?

Not only have both the Indians and Pirates won at least 50 games, they are both in first place.

Now, being somebody that offered up the Indians winning the World Series after making the playoffs by winning the AL Central, I am completely surprised.

Who knew the Pirates had this in them?

Yet at the same time, it makes complete sense.

Both Central divisions offer up teams with certain flaws. The main flaw in teams that are spending money to win "now’’ is a lack of talent depth. This weakness manifests itself the most when high-dollar players do not match their expectations.

Teams like the Tigers, Twins, White Sox, Brewers, and Cardinals are now on the higher end of the payroll spectrum. In acquiring their talent and expensive rosters they have left the farm systems' cupboards a bit bare or too far away from contributing now, which is completely silly, since they want to win now. If you want to win now, you should have as much talent as possible available now.

They have rolled the dice to win now and can only do it if they perform well. They all have a few too many bits that are performing well with limited ability to improve.

The Pirates and Indians have spent a few years filling up their cupboards with a large collection of various types of talent. Perhaps both systems do not have a large accumulation of superstars, but they do have a good number of above-average players. They have enough talent to keep throwing things together and seeing what sticks.

Just look, and only with a quick glance since it is quite terrifying, at the Indians outfield. Both Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo are presently out and only sporadically contributed when they did play. Yet somehow, they keep finding somebody to contribute. Surprisingly, the Pirates seem to be on a very similar run.

Now comes the big questions. Does the front office of each team work to barter a few of the bits they have in the cupboard for the exact type of players that have let their divisional opponents down this year? Do they stand pat with an approach* that turned the phrase, “Indians and Pirates in first place” from a punch line to a July 19 reality?

*Irony alert: Neal Huntington, the Pirates GM, came to the Pirates from the Indians. So, it makes sense the teams might act in the same way. But really, I'm flabbergasted that things are working out so swimmingly right now.

Indians fan, member of the Duane Kuiper Fan Club, Spitball Researcher, Contact me on twitter, @siddfinch, via email or avian carrier

July 17, 2011

Sinatra. I miss the music from those days.

Frank Sinatra's lesson in loyalty

(CNN) -- Some people are so big during their lives, even death doesn't seem to entirely take them away.

So it is with Frank Sinatra. He left this earth in May of 1998, yet there is seldom a day when you don't hear his voice drifting out of a radio, seldom a week when you don't catch a flash of his face on a television screen, or read a reference to him in a newspaper or a magazine. Sinatra: The word itself signals something. Those three quick syllables: sharp, snappy, staccato. The images the name brings to mind: the Rat Pack, ring-a-ding-ding, very good years, strangers in the night. Many adored him, some despised him; few were indifferent.

In New York, especially, his voice remains omnipresent. His "New York, New York" might as well be the city's official anthem. Many times when I've visited Manhattan I have walked past what was said to be Sinatra's favorite restaurant: an unprepossessing-enough-looking Italian place on West 56th Street called Patsy's. This, Sinatra legend has it, is the spot where he could relax, where he felt most at home.

I'd never gone inside. I had imagined it as a peak-of-the-mountain place, a restaurant where only the most savvy would congregate, men and women who were at the pinnacle of their games, who had long ago learned and mastered all the angles. After all, this was where Sinatra had his regular table, wasn't it? How could mere mortals have a shot at fitting in?

This trip, I came in for dinner. And learned a lesson.

Sinatra, in his chairman-of-the-board years, in his sell-out-every-seat-in-the-concert-hall decades, did, in fact, gravitate to this place. But it wasn't because he was the biggest name in entertainment. It was because at one point in his life, he feared that he might be finished.

"My grandfather was the first member of our family to know him," said Salvatore J. Scognamillo, the current chef and co-owner of Patsy's.

The grandfather -- Pasquale "Patsy" Scognamillo -- had co-owned a restaurant nearby called the Sorrento during the first years of the 1940s. The young Sinatra was brought in one day by his boss, bandleader Tommy Dorsey. "I've got this skinny kid from Hoboken," Dorsey reportedly told Patsy Scognamillo. "Fatten him up."

Sinatra swiftly became an international singing idol whose voice and face made women and girls scream and faint; riots broke out at his concerts. Patsy, meanwhile, left the Sorrento and opened Patsy's. Both men -- the crooner and the cook -- were doing well for themselves.

But in the early 1950s, Sinatra's career crashed. He was no longer a kid. His records stopped selling. His romance with Ava Gardner was on the rocks. His record company dropped him. The winner suddenly was being widely seen as a loser, washed up.

People who follow the Sinatra story know about the eventual comeback: how he landed a role in the movie "From Here to Eternity" and won an Academy Award, how his career zoomed again, how he became the living symbol of success and swagger.

Yet in those down years, no one could have anticipated the rebirth. Sinatra was a has-been, yesterday's news.

"He would come in to the restaurant alone for lunch," Sal Scognamillo said to me. I could tell that this was a thrice-told family tale -- or a thrice-times-thrice-told tale. That didn't make it any less compelling.

"My grandfather would sit with him," Sal said. "There would be people eating lunch who would avoid making eye contact with Sinatra -- people who used to know him when he was on top. Sinatra would nod toward them and say to my grandfather: 'My fair-weather friends.'"

One November, on the day before Thanksgiving, Sinatra asked Patsy if he would make him a solo reservation for the next day. "He said he would be coming in for Thanksgiving dinner by himself," Sal said. "He said, 'Give me anything but turkey.' He didn't want to think about the holiday, but he didn't want to be alone."

The restaurant was scheduled to be closed on Thanksgiving. But Patsy didn't tell Sinatra that; he told him that he'd make the reservation for 3 p.m. He didn't want Sinatra to know that he was opening especially for him, so he invited the families of the restaurant's staff to come in for dinner, too. He cooked for Sinatra, on that solitary holiday, and it wasn't until years later that Sinatra found out.

That's where the loyalty came from. That's why Sinatra never stopped coming to the restaurant. In later years, when Patsy's would be jammed with diners hoping to get a glimpse of him, few understood why the most famous singer in the world would single out one place as his constant favorite.

It was no big secret to the Scognamillo family. They all knew. A person recalls how he is treated not when he is on top of the world, undefeated, but when he is at his lowest, thinking he will never again see the sun.

"Up those stairs, that's where Sinatra used to have his table," I heard a man say to his date as they entered the restaurant. He's still packing them in, 13 years after his death.

Who remembers a kindness that comes when kindnesses are in short supply? Who most treasures being made to feel welcome when every door seems to be slamming shut?

In the wee small hours of the morning, only the lonely.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Bob Greene.

Find this article at:

Check the box to include the list of links referenced in the article.

© 2008 Cable News Network

July 10, 2011

Metropolis shift change

There are some movie scenes I will never forget. This is one of them. From Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS, this scene of the shift change. They don't seem much happier returning as going.

July 9, 2011

In the shade by Walter Cox 1866-1936

Kasich's Wild West Show Begins


On 30 June, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed legislation allowing gun owners to carry concealed weapons into, among other public places, bars.

“The law also prohibits gun owners from consuming alcohol or being under the influence of alcohol or drugs when they carry their weapons into bars.”
Let's see if I've got this right: The sole purpose of a bar is to sell alcoholic beverages. The gun anyone carries into a bar is concealed. So the gun owner is on his or her honor not to drink in an establishment that has no other purpose.

Oh yeah. That will work out just fine.


That's my guv. He worked for the banks between political gigs, he knows how to get the money to those he thinks should have it.

July 6, 2011

Albert Lynch The Jolly Boat

Albert Lynch THE JOLLY BOAT. The title of the painting is not exactly what you may think it is. A Jolly Boat is a utility boat used to ferry things to and from the ship. In this particular case it may just be what you think it is.

July 4, 2011

American Impressionist's Blog

Read AmericanImpressionist's Blog on this fourth of July about mowing our lawns. Walt Mills is the wordsmith of the blog. I liked the subject and added a comment at the end.

With Mr. Mills consent I would like to include his weekly comments on the American scene here on the Reader. I'm sure if you haven't read his column yet, you will agree with me he is good.

July 1, 2011

Mowing and Moaning

Look at this woman, circa 1910 or 20. I remember pushing one of these when I was a kid, except my dad's mower had rubber wheels. My God how old am I? I now have a self-propelled mower and on some days I feel like I'm hitched to a plow. Oh to be young again.

The Boxing Game

Whatever happened to the sport of boxing? I remember growing up listening to Joe Louis on the radio regularly disposing of opponents. The only enemy he couldn't whip was age. The names of the great boxers in the heavyweight division were many and glorious. Rocky Marchiano, Muhammad Ali, all champs and the near champs, Ezzard Charles, Joe Frazier, and many others. Sugar Ray Robinson in the middle weights, Willy Pep in the featherweights, but maybe the greatest of all Joe Palooka of the comic strip weight.

Joe Palooka. Created by Ham Fisher, Joe Palooka debuted on 19 April 1930 and ran through 1984, one of the most successful comic strips of all time. Palooka, a genuinely nice man, was a poor man whose skill was boxing, and who used that skill to become the "undefeated heavyweight champion of the world." Actually, that's not quite correct. Palooka's greatest skill was in being human. Very much a working class hero (it's something to be), he was humble without being craven, shy without being withdrawn, laid-back without being a slacker, easily embarrassed without being a stiff, and genuinely likable. To quote one critic, "Joe personified the ideals of the American majority of old--the simple life, the virtues of the Boy Scout code, and goodness for its own sake. He also exemplified toughness and power and could be moved to intense anger when his or someone else's toes were stepped on." He really was a good guy. Palooka fought his way to the top of the fight game, and then, when war was declared, entered the Army as a private and fought through the war at that rank. Joe was assisted by Knobby, the small, nervous, twitchy and argumentative fight manager, and by Smoky, whose vocabulary and appearance was that of a racist stereotype but who was always treated by Joe as an equal and friend. (Joe, like I said, was a good human being)