I’M STILL WATCHIN’ BASEBALL

September 2, 2015

cubspitcherIt’s been a while since I’ve updated you on my baseball project. The past week has been tough on this one-summer-only baseball fan. Yes, this is breaking news: I have decided my baseball experiment will live for only one season. It’s been fun, but I can’t see it going on again next year at the same level to which I’ve devoted so much time this season.  For those who may have arrived to this blog just recently, I have become a Chicago Cubs fan for the summer. I have never been an ardent baseball fan so I thought I’d adopt a team this year and give it a shot. A fanatical Phillies fan, who is also a good friend, assigned me the Cubs when I asked his advice regarding what team I should follow. There, now all you newbies are caught up with the concept.

As I said, it’s been a bad week for the Cubs. They have lost the last five out of seven games. In the midst of this unusual low point in their wins vs. losses, I have to admit my heart actually pounded a good bit and my eyes were glued to the screen the other night when Cubs lead pitcher, Jake Arrieta, pitched a no-hitter against the Dodgers. The final three outs where enough excitement to breathe life into what I find to be a sport where the action is sporadic at best.  There is a lot of sit-back-and-wait in baseball.  This is actually a good thing since it allows you to multi-task while  you watch a game.   Yes, I know there is a tremendous amount of strategy and a gazillion little details being played out all over the field, but unless you are a scholar of the game, most of it goes unnoticed by someone like me.  I am late in the game and like most anything else, there is a learning curve to baseball.  I am sure establishing a relationship with the game at a young age, say at little league level, helps one to understand the many nuances a lot better.  I just get the basics: hit the ball and run like hell, tagging as many bases as possible before you’re either safe or out.  Then the fans sing Take me Out to the Ballgame during the 7th inning stretch.

What I did notice is that, suddenly, there are a whole bunch of new players on the team. Tonight alone there are four new players I am seeing for the first time. Where the hell did they come from? Are they hanging on the hooks in the dugout all summer long and when the time comes to freshen up the team the manager just pulls them down, pats them on the butt and sends them out onto the field?  There is something, I think I heard, called the “September call-up.” Just when I have finally learned all the players on the team, half the team has changed.  This is so alien to me. Will the real Cubs please stand up…or come to the plate at least.  All this not knowing what’s going on makes me feel like a real baseball bonehead.  I think the saying goes something like “I’m way out in left field.”

Maybe it’s the manager background in me but there is one thing I can appreciate about the game. It’s a verrrry long season with lots of games and lots of stress to perform. Days off are few and far between. These guys do work lots of hours. If you get to the playoffs and beyond, I agree, it has to be recognized as a great accomplishment. I get that. And it’s no wonder the team that goes all the way and wins the World Series pours cases of champagne all over itself then gets a big parade and a visit to the White House. It’s the great American way, but I am happy there’s only one more month of it to go. Next year maybe I’ll watch Curling, another sport I know nothing about.

*****

 


DYLAN REVISTED

August 28, 2015

essential

I heard a piece on NPR today regarding the 50th anniversary of Bob Dylan’s album, Highway 61 Revisited.  One of this album’s most famous claims to fame was the inclusion of a song about how it feels to be like a Rolling Stone, a song that practically on its own birthed an entirely new culture in America by the later 80s…not to mention a very successful magazine.

As I noted to my friend Ron today (same Ron who is my baseball consultant) he is the person who actually introduced me to Bob Dylan back in our college days in the  mid-60s.  While most of the record collections in our dorm featured Motown back then, Ron was the weirdo with albums by some guy name Dylan who had a voice that would strip wallpaper.  Yes, and it does seem like only yesterday.

I had heard a few Dylan songs by then, but usually covered by someone else.  The most popular was Peter Paul and Mary’s Blowin’ in the Wind.  No one back then could believe anyone with a voice and style like Dylan had the audacity to actually attempt to become a popular artist….me included.  Ron knew better.

What appeals most to me about Bob Dylan, especially his early work, is his writing.  Later on, as his singing became more garbled and mumbled and his lyrics more scattered, I abandoned him.  I am sure he did not miss me and could well survive without my following.  I don’t think he had to worry about feeling all alone…with no direction home…like a rolling stone.

As one who appreciates a well spun sentence or two, there is one particular smidgen of Bob Dylan I have always liked.  Again, it’s from a song that was covered and became a huge, iconic hit by the group who covered it and yet, it does not contain the verse that I so treasure.  The song is Hey Mr. Tambourine Man and the cover that is still played incessantly on oldies stations is the version sung by The Byrds.  You can hear Dylan’s version, the one with the last verse that you won’t hear anywhere else, on his album, The Essential Bob Dylan. 

As for being someone always in pursuit of the elusive peace of mind, this verse could well serve as my anthem.

Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow

Yes to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow

Hey Mr. Tambourine Man play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey Mr. Tambourine Man play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

© BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO
For non-commercial use only.

*****

And while I am waving one hand free, it’s to those for whom I say “thanks” for stopping by my blog recently and leaving a “like” …among the group are:  Amanda N. Butler, Ron Carmean, Mike Fuller, Barnaby Taylor, Damyanti, Tracey L. Clark, Ronna Gershberg, Kent Wayne of Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha.com,  Suzanne Langman, Jordan Rogers of The Politics of Writing, Peter Bolger, Ed Nowak, KathleenNeiman, Zoe Kuhn, Camie Dunbar,  Antoinette Prato Shreffler, Jay Howard Gershberg, Alex Markovich of Glitchy Artist, Zoe Travels, John Coyote, Margie of Curating Serendipity


WRITING EVERY DAY…OR NOT

August 23, 2015

YELTODO

Today’s blog is pretty much targeted to writers.  It deals with process of which there are many and they’re all debated constantly.  What triggered my posting today was one that I read by writer Amanda N. Butler.  I follow her blog and her latest posting has to do with the oft-given advice that one should write every day.  You might give it a read and have your own response.  Here’s the link:  https://arsamandica.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/on-writing-every-day/

I find it difficult to write every day unless I have a project underway.  My blog keeps me writing several times a week, if that counts.  I am more of a “purposeful” writer.  I’ve always been pragmatic by nature.   I need the basic idea reasonably complete in my head before I begin to write about it.  I don’t outline, but I do a lot of research on anything that requires authenticity or accurate description.  Then, I simply sit down and begin.  At this point I may well write every day…or not.

I must have “stuff” ready to be written.  I just can’t say, “okay, I will sit down now and do my daily writing and then spit out a few hundred words.  I need stuff.

Amanda’s posting is very timely because I just yesterday finished the first draft of my sixth book.  If you have written anything complex and of length, then you know the euphoria one feels when that last sentence is finally in place.

This latest book was more like the first than sixth.  I have never struggled so much with a manuscript and the battle went on longer than any one previous.  Something else unusual occurred too:  I skipped around.  Usually I begin with chapter one and plow on through chronologically to the final chapter.  This latest project started normally at chapter one but got stuck at twelve…so stuck I stopped.  I even wrote about the dilemma on my blog (see Vaults on the right of this page, look up 6/10/15: All of a Sudden Writing is… work).

I knew how things were to play out in the final section, so instead of continuing to do nothing, I went ahead and wrote the final third of the book even though it had no middle.  Then I went back and filled in the void.  And you know what?  I was glad I did it this way because after doing the final section, things naturally came to light that had to be planted in the middle.  So the vacancies filled up without much difficulty.

That said, I now have to read the entire draft start to finish and see if it is, indeed, a book.  I suspect it will turn out either one way or the other:  it’ll flow surprisingly well and make a lot of sense…or it will be a jigsaw puzzle with pieces jammed together that really aren’t meant to fit.

So to respond to Amanda’s query, I suppose I will continue writing every day—at this stage proofing and rewriting—until my book is ready for the printer.  After that, I will go dormant once again until the next idea unburies itself and I figure out what to do with it.  How long will I hibernate?  Depends on how dark it is inside the cave.

*****

Here’s one writing session that’s easy…thank you’s to those who have recently stopped by marc’s blog and left a “like” …and they include:  Celia Fitzgerald, Rita Petrushansky-Mastroni, Tracy Clark, Mike Fuller, Ron Carmean and Ellen of wwellend who is backpacking Europe while I’m stuck here,


SECOND CHILDLREN’S BOOK UP FOR AWARD!

August 20, 2015

THE 11TH YEAR OF CHRISTOPHER ARTHUR MCDANIELS has cleared the preliminary hurdle, earned a “Seal of Approval” and is now in the final running for a major award in this year’s Literary Classics International Book Awards. This is my second book that has impressed the judges of this annual competition. Two years ago ABOUT A FARM won Best New Chapter Book 2013. My good luck charm is my U.K. connection, Lynda Mangoro, who illustrated both books. Below is the judge’s review of Christopher.  Now it’s on to the main event, but it will be several months before the final winners are announced.

Untitled

*****

 


TIME TO CATCH UP!

August 13, 2015

UpdateGraphic

Hi! I’m back. I know, most of you don’t even know I left. I took a time-out to do a lot of things. For those who regularly check in on marc’s blog I offer up one of my periodic Updates. You will say, “I really don’t care” and others who are not among the in-crown will say, “I totally really don’t care.” And I say, “whatever!”

THE TRIP…

So, we went to Philadelphia but only fast enough to hook up with good old friends and drive to a place they have on the Jersey shore.  We spent most of the time there. We bought some salt water taffy and if you want a piece you will have to stop by now that we are back in South Florida. BTW, up in New Jersey one goes to the “shore” while down here one goes to the “beach.” It’s the same ocean but one place has a shore and the other a beach.

This trip was part work and part play. We took Rosemarie’s jewelry show on the road. At the shore (beach) we were vendors at a major summer crafts fair at which we displayed and sold a bunch of Rosemarie’s handiwork. I’ll be back in a moment, but first this important message:

If you could not attend the crafts fair, you can still be the proud owner of an exquisite handmade piece of fine jewelry by Rosemarie.  Simply go to www.etsy.com and in the search box enter “jewelrybyrosemarie” …now back to our blog.

Welcome back, where was I? Oh, the trip to the shore. We went out to eat a lot and we stopped off at this special market and got us some Jersey tomatoes. These are unlike any tomatoes you’ve ever had. Some are the size of grapefruits and they all have an incredible taste. Must be the water or the Jersey dirt…not sure which. I also had a few soft-pretzels that I bought at the Philly airport…another item you will find almost exclusive to Philadelphia.

THE LIBRARY…

On Monday one of the good old friends and I went to the main branch of the Philadelphia Library where we gathered some research materials for the book I am working on. Now that I have everything I need, I will be able to complete this monster in the next few weeks.  It is not a monster in size, merely in attitude. Then I will put it away for a couple of weeks and let it “marinate” by itself before I take it out for a review/rewrite. I have the end finally figured out. It won’t quite be a “holy crap” ending, maybe just a “holy cow” ending, but it will be unique and maybe earn a few “that’s cool’s!”

THE RELATIVES…

Meanwhile, I wanted to share the “mock” version of a second book I’m working on with some young people and my niece’s kids qualified. We saw them over the weekend.  The book is targeted to daters mostly. It passed their inspection, but the amazing thing is that one of my niece’s daughters is an artist and she wants to illustrate the book. I did not know she drew. This is going to be great if it works out because I did not expect to illustrate the book and it will be so much better now. Breaking news: this book is titled What I Should’ve Said! It’s a collection of whimsical and mostly insulting retorts you wished you had been quick enough to think of when someone last verbally attacked you…especially a significant other you’re ready to make insignificant.

BASEBALL…

Okay, on to baseball. I am still watching the Cubs games…I can’t believe it.   They are on a terror winning streak right now. However, every game is within one or two runs of losing and each has gotten tense in the final innings. They are a winning entity but certainly not a team of annihilators. It has been an interesting experiment testing whether or not I, of little patience, would have the fortitude to stick it out as a season-long fan of a single sports team…in this case the Chicago Cubs. I have done pretty well, missing only about ¼ of the broadcasts. For me this is amazing…but I have not become a fanatic and I am not sure I will do this again. But for the rest of this baseball season, I’ll be there for my Cubbies.

Enough! This has gone beyond reasonable and if you are still reading that is both amazing and really appreciated. I won’t bother to extend this further and tell you about the bottle of crushed cherry peppers that exploded inside our suitcase while being tossed about by the airport luggage mis-handlers. A total mess discovered when we arrived back home and began unpacking.

Welcome back everyone…nice to see you!

*****


OKAY, IT’S BREAK/BRAKE TIME

August 7, 2015

Looks like rain off there on the horizon….

I’m  putting on the brakes and taking a little break.  I’m going to help Rosemarie sell some of her hand-made fine jewelry at a craft fair on the Jersey Shore.  Then I’m going to find a farm stand and buy a Jersey tomato–maybe even a few more.  It’s peak season y’know and you ain’t had a tomato if you’ve never had one from Jersey.  Then maybe we’ll boot those two out of their beach chairs and take up residency for a few more days.  Although they are not on a Jersey beach.  They don’t have water like that up there…down here in Florida, yes.  Regardless, no postings while we’re on break–everything is parked.  When I return I’ll be finishing up not one–but two new attempts at making books.   It’s gonna be an exciting fall.  Have some ice cream; it’s summer for cry’n out loud!  C-yuh.

*****

 


I HEREBY DECLARE THE PHONE PRIVATE!

August 4, 2015

phoners

I consider my telephone my private property and I highly resent anyone using it to solicit money from me. Why is that such a hard concept for people, businesses and our legal system to understand?  I pay for my physical phone.  I also pay for the transmission service it utilizes, along with a bunch of other surcharges and taxes that nobody sane has any understanding of.

It goes without saying that if some stranger comes along, opens the door to our house—or to our car for that matter—steps in and makes himself at home we are outraged and can have that person arrested. Everybody seems to get that. Why don’t they get the same concept when it comes to the telephone? It is ridiculous how many times a week I am interrupted by a phone solicitation, usually in the middle of doing something from which I do not want to be distracted or interrupted.

The “Do Not Call” plan the government implemented a few years back was a joke. I have the same group of people calling me WEEKLY wanting to check my computer’s performance.  I am positive that no matter how flawlessly my computer may be operating, they will find a serious problem with it and, of course, they have just the software that will fix it for only $249.  They are in India somewhere and I never quite understand what it is they are saying because their accents are heavy. The minute I begin questioning who they are and exactly what they want, and why they keep calling me every week after I’ve told them I am not interested, they hang up.  Of course, you cannot trace their number as you can others if you have such a mechanism on your phone. They craftily have learned how to keep themselves anonymous.

Last night the local police department called. They call regularly too. The guy already knew my first name and was very chummy. He talked to me like we were old buddies.   Of course, he was after a donation that always has some sympathetic youth angle to it. I politely declined and immediately he changed his whole demeaner faster than a speeding ticket. He asked if I watched the news and was aware of the dangerous situation going on in my neighborhood. I explained that I don’t watch the news that often and that I’ve lived in my house for a good number of years and I believe, based on my observations, that crime is not the kind of issue in my immediate neighborhood that he portrays.  He began criticizing me about not watching the news and implied I was some kind of idiot because I was not interested in protecting myself and then he hung up. This was a local officer of the law, a man hired to protect my wellbeing, not falsely scare the crap out of me as a lure for a donaton and then attack me personally because of what I choose not to watch on television. Once he learned I was not going to write a check he automatically turned off the buddy-buddy attitude and instantly switched into the same kind of arrogant, higher-than-mighty police officer who waits hidden behind a tree aiming a radar gun at me as I drive through our neighborhood streets.  In fairness to the reputable police in our local communities, take note of Mike Fuller’s comment following this posting.  True, this guy who called me could have been one of those he speaks of.  Why is our world so screwed up?

When I am President, I will put a to stop to all this.  You and I will be able to remain in the privacy of our home without some ill-intentioned jerk or someone among hundreds in a call center ringing our phone off the hook.  We should be able to impose a heavy fine against telephone solicitors who use our phones to invade our privacy. In fact, we should also be able to have them arrested when they persist. I’d lock them in a cell, give them a fisher-price phone and call them every ten minutes.

And oh yeah, if it’s a wayward cop we arrest, he or she will have to give up their radar gun and complete a course on being a human being at a local charm school.

*****

…and here is a call out to some people who recently stopped by marc’s blog and left a “like” or a comment…thank you so much for stopping by:  Damyanti, Almost Iowa, Patti Clark, Elan Mudrow, Nina Karadzic, breybrey44, Ron Carmean, Mike Fuller, Margie of Curating Serendipity, TheSeeds4Life, Tim Williams, Anne Marie Carter and Rita Petrushansky-Mastroni,


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