Even the most uninitiated about the so called “game”
of baseball, must know by now, that the Red Sox have finally
overcome “The Curse”, by virtue of winning their
first World Series since 1918. What exactly is the curse?
And who gives a base on balls?
Well, see, the Boston Red Sox won four World Series in the
eight years Babe Ruth played on the team (1912-1919). Then
they sold him to the New York Yankees for $125,000 and a $300,000
loan because as legend has it, Boston's owner Harry Frazee
needed the cash to invest in a new play on Broadway (“No,
No Nanette.”). Since that transaction, Boston's inability
to win a single World Series Title has been attributed to
"The Curse of the Bambino."
And since that time, conversely, the New York Yankees—
who had been a bad team up to that point having never won
any title of any kind— proceeded over the course of
the next 86 years, to win 26 World Series Titles.
Finally in 2004, to make an 86 year story short, Boston vaulted
over their much despised rivals last month— in an almost
miracle turn of events— and went on to sweep the St.
Louis Cardinals, to win the grand prize, and end this so called
How did we, being the die-hardest of Yankee fans take this?
Think in terms of the death scene from Pagliacci and you may
come close. Oh, do we care. But even in our greatest moment
of despair, we did manage to scribble out this poem:
The Graveyard Shift
I thought I’d be gone before this curse—
this curse, this curse
this Ruthian Curse
would ever run its course.
The rattling bones in Red Sox caps
now dance on the grave of the pre-ordained.
Soon women will become Catholic priests.
The exorcisms when they come are worse
than pea soup projectile—
we need to regroup.
Go back to the Old Testament in search of clues;
there must be a way this ties back to the Jews.
Our closer, no Christ, couldn’t save our souls
our theology ruined by the Designated Hitter
and the tendency to swing for the fences.
Then flailing and failing at that—
no plan, no plan
our defenses down as if in Iraq.
These rattling bones in Red Sox caps
do their dance in a ghoulish glee
in a graveyard under a sky of slate
bespotted by leafless lifeless trees.
The day is gone—
the night has come;
they celebrate right in our faces
the death of immortality.
Biggest Breakthrough Since “The Talkies”?
If you have had young children, or have had the opportunity
to spend any time around them in the past 20 years (you lucky
devil), you are probably familiar with The Polar
Express. It has become a classic in the genre
of “Christmas-tales-to-warm-the-heart.” But it
is the spectacular, fully-dimensioned illustrations of its
author Chris Van Allsburg, which truly transport
this rather simple story. (Was there ever a Christmas story
that was complex?).
There has been The Polar Express book…tape… interactive
CD…and now on November 10th (“coming to a theater
near you”)— the movie!
Kids or no kids, and sight unseen, (we write this piece on
Halloween), we believe that this is a “must-see”
event of cinematography. Here’s why.
To quote a few fascinating lines from a recent piece in The
New York Times:
film that brings a true human presence into a virtual
world by digitizing flesh-and-blood actors as well as
the environments they inhabit. In the process it does
away with many of the most basic elements of filmmaking:
there are no expensive sets to be built, no elaborate
lighting to be rigged, no bulky camera to be painstakingly
hauled into place. In fact there is no film.”
“Tom Hanks plays five roles
ranging from a 7-year old boy to Santa Claus. Not all
these characters look like Mr. Hanks, but they all contain
the spark of his individuality.”
“…several dozen infrared sensors, which
could pick up and digitally record the light bounced
back by dozens of small reflectors on Mr. Hanks’s
black bodysuit, as well as by the 150 smaller reflectors
attached to his facial muscles.”
With no set and no costumes and no camera really, this will
call for future actors to be exceptionally skilled. To quote
have to remember to touch the brim of a hat that isn’t
It is taking a world of “make believable” to
another place even more unbelievable.
On November 20th, the Museum of Modern Art
(MoMA) in New York, reopens after undergoing a renovation
of three years duration. During this time, it has taken up
temporary residency in Queens, one of the four stepchild boroughs
to the favorite son, Manhattan.
Founded in 1929, it moved into its current quarters on 11
West 53rd St. in 1939. We were there on January 25, 1967 for
the first time on a first date, and had the awe-inspiring
experience to witness Picasso’s Guernica (“I behaved
like a schoolboy in church.”). It has long since moved
back to its home in Spain. And only God knows where that date
MoMA underwent a major renovation at this site in 1984, and
reopened on May 17th of that year. And once again we were
there. We had at the time, a few observations including:
the proper face to wear to a museum is ‘pensive’.
Today the multitudes were all smiles. It was literally
fun to rediscover old friends, hanging perhaps in different
spots, but nevertheless there. Not unlike arriving home
to find the furniture moved, with surprisingly tasteful
results, transcending the comfort of the old configuration.”
“…a Pollack fascinates,
despite the fact that in theory, anyone can drip paint
across a canvas. But not anyone can be so ‘lucky’
so that all these drippings land in the right place.”
In its new iteration of 630,000 square feet, the museum has
nearly twice the capacity of the former facility. We will
be personally checking it out this coming December.
The Games People Play
In the year end current issue of Games
magazine (yes, there is such a thing), they re-list the Games
Hall of Fame which was created in 1984 “to honor games
that have met or exceeded the highest standards of quality
and play value and have been continuously in production for
at least 10 years; i.e., classics.”
Here they are in alphabetical order…23 in all:
Axis and Allies
Dungeons & Dragons
|Magic: The Gathering
It raised three questions for us, which we pass on to you:
1) How many of these have you played?
2) When was the last time?
3) Why have you since stopped playing?
“Here she was…Miss America”
With the announcement of ABC Network TV dropping Miss America
from its schedule, this piece of Americana has been left without
a network for the first time since its first televised pageant
50 years ago. The reason given was that all too familiar death
sentence: bad ratings.
And we couldn’t help recall that we had in fact, just
recently, witnessed Miss America of 1959, Mary Ann Mobley
leaving a restaurant here in LA with her husband, actor Gary
Collins. That we would remember her name, the year she was
crowned and still more or less have a sense of what she looked
like, speaks to what a seminal event this was once upon a
time in America; the impact it had on its culture.
Miss America was pronounced as being “your ideal”—
a euphemism if ever there was one— for white, young,
pretty and above all, virginal.
But perhaps more interestingly about this event from a broadcasting
standpoint, is that in retrospect, it was the first “reality
TV” program— a good 50 years ahead of it’s
time! (Ok maybe “Queen For A Day” was first, by
If you think about it, all the elements are there for what
is making this genre so white hot today:
- amateurs vying for their 15 minutes of fame and fortune,
despite questionable or no talent.
- a moment of glory offset by all the pain and humiliation
of those passing judgment on you on such important matters
as say, how you look in a swimsuit.
- and having many losers (in this case 49! Wow! Count ‘em!)
going back to their home states with their biggest dream
in life left unfulfilled.
In fact looked at in that context, and with the right host—
say The Donald or Simon Cowell— this show might still
have some “legs”. (Pun…definitely intended).
In might again become the mega hit it once was. Hmmmm.