Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Rooters showed up at the grounds one day

The Rooters showed up at the grounds one day
They found their seats had all been sold
McGreevey led the charge into the park
Stormed the gates and put the game on hold
The Rooters gave the other team a dreadful fright
Boston's tenth man could not be wrong
Up from "Third Base" to Huntington
They'd sing another victory song

My father and his brother were separated by a decade in age, and the difference between being born in 1903 and in 1913 was pretty sharp. They'd meet at family gatherings, but not much else. Toward the end of my uncle’s life someone decided the two of them should get together. My brother and I took them to a Red Sox game. Up in years as they were, they couldn’t last but three innings in the hot August sun of a Saturday afternoon game on what is now known as Yawkey Way – was then Jersey St. But it was a kick.

At one point my uncle said he used to watch the team play on Huntington Avenue. My brother and I were not baseball historians. We thought the sun was getting to him. Fenway, built in 1912 was just about the beginning of time. But, obviously, my uncle who was 9 years old when Fenway opened, could easily have made it to the old ball park. [At some earlier point I belive the Sox were at Roxbury Crossing, very near my present abode.]

The Huntington Ave experience is alluded to in the Dropkick Murphy's song ‘Tessie’ which is an song originating with The Royal Rooters, a Red Sox fan club of yore. ["Nuf Ced' McGreevey noted below was a bartender at the ThirdBase bar who broke up fights between Braves and Red Sox fans by sayin: Nuf Ced! ]

Tessie is the soundtrack today as the Red Sox motor in amphibious vehicles through town and Cajun son Jonathan Papplebomme dances in kilts to the Murphys’ song.

Tessie, "Nuf Ced" McGreevey shouted
We're not here to mess around
Boston, you know we love you madly
Hear the crowd roar to your sound
Don't blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn't live without you
Tessie, you are the only only only
Don't blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn't live without you …

Thank you Jim Haas for alerting me to the Dropkicks in my own back yard.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Year's Best: I'm Just Passing Through, Porter Wagoner

Big hair big heart - Up unto a point, Portner Wagoner for me was big hair and wild Nudie suits. Like out of Altman's Nashville. Porter and Dolly. Kind of a period piece.

Only recently I actually got hip to this incredibly soulful muiscian. Wagonmaster is a 2007 release - produced ably and caringly by Marty Stuart - that showcases Wagoner's depth of talent for the ages.

The single on this one for me is "I'm Just Passing Through." Writ from the heart, and sung from even deeper. It's the story of a street person who has something of a satisfied mind.

He is philosophical about our ulitmate temporal evaporation and ascent to heaven. He takes a gift from a passer by and explains:

"Im just passing through
wearing holely clothes and shoes .. "

He is an walking buddha and it is all history to him. And Jesus is at his side.

His body, he says, is:

"Just a place to hang my hat
til I gets home."

Echos of Ginsberg's "Ballad of the Skeletons"? Heck, no, that would be too high-falutin. There is more the echo of Hank Williams' "Lonesome Whistle."

It is real. And it is really one of the very best songs I heard this year. Also I'd note from Wagonmaster "Hurried Southern Trips" which looks at the haunted rurual routes of the south from the eyes of a bus driver. Some may not care for too much talk, but for my part I really like the CD's included converstation and song snippets provided here, DVD Feature style, betweeen Wagoner and Stuart. His voice is full of hurt and care, singing or talking.

He was gone and he was here. "Wagonmaster" is a transcendent coda to a full body of Country [The Cold Hard Facts of Life, I Thought I Heard Her Calling My Name, Satsified Mind, and, with Dolly Just Someone I Used to Know]. Porter died in Nashville Sunday, same day Red Sox won 2007 World Series. God bless you, Wagonmaster! And thanks, Jake, for the Father's Day gift.

Porter Wagoner, Singer, at 80 - NYTimes
Porter Wagoner: A Satisfied Mind - BMI
Wagonmaster page on Rhino - Rhino
Wagonmaster on Amazon - Amazon [with chilling related video that goes with "Parkview," a nighmare haunt about a Music Row Rehab clinic that Porter has been to

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Boston beats Cleveland to stay alive; Canadian Soldiers at bay

Cleveland, Oct 19, 2007 – When the Boston players began Thursday night’s game with the Clevelands, their backs were to the wall. Trailing three games to one in the American League Championship series, the Hubsters needed a win just to stay alive as the teams met at Jacobs Field. When it was over, the Crimson Hose succeeded in holding off the Clevelands, benefiting from a five-hit effort by ace Josh ‘Waiting for Godot’ Beckett, outscoring the Erie Lake fellows 7-1.

In the game, the latter half of the Boston order continued to struggle, but a first-inning solo home run and a sixth-inning run-scoring double by First Baseman Kevin Youkilis greatly helped the Townies’ cause.

After the sixth-inning double, and after Indian’s manager Drake Heartfelt replaced starter Mongo Sabathia with relif pitcher Raphael Betancourt, Youkilis scored on a sacrifice fly driven by clutch-hitter David Ortiz.

It was the third inning when Ortiz, who had walked, scored on a long-single by Manny ‘Manny being Manny’ Ramirez. On that occasion, Ramirez, who had been criticized nationally for show boating on several recent home runs, sauntered jauntily toward first base after hitting a humongous clout. As he shook hands with the BoSox’s First Base Coach, Bum Phillips, he somewhat sheepishly realized that the umpiring crew were enforcing the Clevland’s ground rules this evening, deigning a ball that hit the ledge of the right field stands to still be in play.

At first he did stay. What could have been at least a double, turned into a single, but Ortiz had scored, and the margin proved enough. Credit is due to the Cleveland fans. They delicately avoided interfering with Ramirez’s wallop, probably unlike their parallels in Philadelphia, Manhattan, Queens or Boston.

The Boston team continued to add to its lead, with 12 total hits, and two of the latter order’s representatives [J. D Drew and J.D Lugo] even got hits. J.D. Salinger did not play. In the case of Lugo it was a welcome bunt, often a very handy tactic for those with bat impaired. Canadian Soldiers, the strange alien insects that Cleveland employed to cloud the minds of the New York PinStripers during the earlier playoff round failed to appear, despite balmy 64-degree weather as the National Anthem played.

Some Cleveland fans began to exit before the game was over. At the end, the members of the Boston crew congratulated each other and their fans drew new inspiration. Saturday night, when they meet again, their backs will once again be to the wall.

Gordon Thomas - Godizilla' Gift to the Film World

The great Gordon Thomas continues to write about film for BrighlightsFilm.com. Among last month's reviews is one on a new Allen Ginsberg DVD, The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg. Apparently there are alot of cool extras, including an MTV music video of Ballad of the Skeletons. We were going to get together with Gordon this weekend, but he is on deadline! Next up for the writer driven by a formative Godzilla experience: H.P. Lovecraft on film [or disk, rather]. Hey, Gordon, can I borrow that Ginsberg thing?

Last month's Gordon on BrightlightsFilm.com
The Gordon Thomas Brightlights archives
Gordon Thomas on MoonTraveller

Saturday, October 06, 2007

On the Road Scroll in Lowell

Jake and I got up there to Lowel on my brief summer vacation end of August. Not quite stuff of epiphany, but Lowell always has a vibe, as a Lowelite would know. Jake liked the general tenor of the presentation which showed the city, road pics, the music, and the publishing artifacts of his life. The manuscript itself under Plexiglas as if at a jewelers - a bit weird, but what a throwback. Anyone who worked with cheap news print or teletype rolls would find memory. Hey look a typewriter, I say to Jake, and punch on the Underwood on display. Just a different meter to composition on a mechanical thing like that. A more physical experience. A more physical age.

Just the basics: The manuscript has no paragraph breaks. It is single-spaced. It has no page breaks. Kerouac was a helleva typist. One sees few mistakes. It is explained that it is not on teletype roll but is tracing paper somehow pasted on one long teletype roll. I guess tracing paper was something you could erase. The names are the real names of the people. Neal Cassidy is Neal Cassidy, not Dean Moriarity. Jack was puffin on Proust:That is my main takeaway. Not that it isn’t something one knew. But to see it is different.

We got out to the grave the same day and, of course got lost, then found the quiet place for some lonesome travelers from Scandanavia, Gobi, and Scarsdale had preceded us, and left there guff [I left a half-shell found by Cecelia, an image of Dagwood in Lotus position found in old Boston Herald, beads and a few drops of Saki]. That place always brings sadness and inspiration it seems. Wanted to eat at a diner, but the one I had in mind was closed. Would have like a beer at the Worthen, but back to Boston was still a long haul. Got out to Kerouac Park. True Kerouack words in stone. Remembered: It first place for formal getting out for young Jake -3 months old and the park was being opened in 1988.Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, and Father Spike among others were there. Jacob shook hands with late Senator Paul Tsongas, whose wife is running for congress now.

The 20th Annual Lowell Remembers Kerouac event is this week. Got up there a few good times over the years.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Innocous Star of Boston lead me on

A girl named Star hit the front pages of the Boston papers not long ago. Star Simpson, an MIT student, was at the airport, going through Security, when all hell broke lose. She was wearing a PC circuit board populated by blinking LEDs connected to a 9V battery. Not too imposing, but to the TSA folks, a suspect device. Push all the alarms. Get on the walkie talkies. Close the perimeter. This is the Post 9/11 world! Shut down the airport. Chaos necessarily ensued. What would the old time Boston comedian Jack Burns say? Probably something like: ‘Katy bah the doah?’

In this age where everything has changed, you may not be aware that MIT students have also changed. Few have sheathed calculators on their belts. Some like Star, have the look of the slacker, if an achieving one, in this case with vividly dyed hair. And SocketToMe embroidered on her sweatshirt back. Artsy. But techno artsy. As in Performance Art meets Radio Shack. Thus the Hello World breadboard and Nine-Volter.

We smell headlines. The Boston Herald tabloid went through this kind of fire drill earlier when it sold some extra papers ragging on the Social Disruption Duo that placed LED-screen devices near Boston hot spots [including the Mass Ave bridge that connects MIT with the Christian Science Center. To promote the Cartoon Network’s AquaTeen Hunger Force.

Nobody wants to be in the Security line in the first place, much less wait for a little old lady that cant get her shoes off or a blinking college kid that should know better. The story has legs.

I can give you an idea of the full-page headline the Herald ran along side a full-page picture of Star. The words have initial capitalization. big capitalization. M.I.T. standing not for ‘Moron in Transit,’ but instead, ‘More Idiotic Tricks.’ They trashed our little Star.

I have some kind of idea about electrical engineering. I think I would have seen the LED board for what it was: non-threatening. Pretty obvious.

On the other side of the river from the Herald we have an MIT student publication, The Tech That headline is a little different. “MIT Sophomore Arrested for Innocuous LED Device.”

What strikes me is this dichotomy in thinking and knowledge. Our culture really doesn’t expect our airport personnel to be able to use any level of common sense to analyze what they are looking at. As long as it is electrical, it is magical and dangerous. Of course, most people would agree with city councilor who said, ‘In this day and age, you can’t play around.’

A state trooper who must have paid attention somewhere in school used the same term that The Tech used: ‘innocuous.’ Meanwhile the Government Accountability Office told it sent investigators to test security along the Canadian border and was able to easily simulate the cross-border movement of radioactive materials and other contraband with no border patrol agents anywhere in sight. Don't blink. You will miss something.

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