Category Archives: Baseball

That’s the allergy meds talking…

I am recovering from acute bronchitis…blech…if you ask me, not very attractive.  I’ve been coughing up from the depths of my soul for about 3 days now.   I feel marginally better today, enough to try to work, as long as I don’t need to hurry around doing anything.  I thought a blog post might be the thing to get the synapses going (trying to move past the 12 hour cough medicine and various allergy meds and general malaise).

This will definitely be filed under the not poetry section of the blog.  Writing a poem seems a bit daunting this morning, but I recall an old one that I might try to find and share…

But first, some general thoughts I pondered during my self-exile.

1.  Baseball season has arrived…and not a moment too soon.  I’ve been making my way through Ken Burns documentary “Baseball” (slowly) since last year’s world series – which I boycotted out of frustration. I’ve watch a couple of episodes over the last week. It is interesting that this sport, which has relied on its public persona as the “pastime” – there is such public love of the game with romance and tradition- has always been surrounded by political gamesmanship and questionable characters. The innocence of back-lot baseball always propels the sport forward; beyond the black sox scandal, beyond bickering ownership groups, beyond the strife of integration, beyond even steroid use. While we will pick apart the personalities and the events, for some reason, at its core, baseball will always hold some fascination with our child-like desire for simplicity. And that will keep it going.

2. In keeping with my improvement plan for this year, I’ve signed up to attend a local writer’s conference later this month. There are several sessions on poetry, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m hoping that some of the blogging poets whose sites I frequent will be there.

3. On a writing note, I’m considering trying to do a chap-book. Does anyone have any suggestions on doing this? Any publishing groups that focus on “not-so-well-known” names? I’m not looking to self-publish, and would appreciate the opportunity to work with someone to edit and group poems together.

4. Things that annoy and confound me: people who don’t provide the necessary assistance when their help is asked for to complete something, but then come around 6 months later and judge/find mistakes in the completed work.

5. It is national poetry month (NaPoWriMo), and while I won’t be participating this year, I do extol the wonderful aspects of poetry. Read it every chance you get and try to write some every now and then. You won’t be disappointed.

And as promised…an old poem from ca. 2005.

The Allergy Express


eating berries
Slopping through the morning, weary.

Roller coaster,
whole wheat toaster,
tastes so friggin’ ordinary.

not colitis,
has me down and out and dreary.

brain demanding
I continue literary

good hydration
for what ails me, I’m not leary.

Need more tissue
not an issue,
sneezes too preliminary.

I am dizzy,
in a tizzy
guess I slowed and became bleary.

In my station,
that the train has stopped.


Travel: Catch as Ketchikan

This summer, my wife and I took the best. vacation. ever.

I’ve always wanted to go to Alaska. It ranked up there with Ireland, Maine, Switzerland…you get the idea. I am smitten with vast wilderness, mountains and fields of green and rock.

We took an Alaskan Cruise, which I highly recommend if you are looking for vacation ideas. Along with my parents (who had done the Alaskan cruise before) and my brother and his wife, we set sail from Seattle to head up the Inside Passage of the Alaskan Panhandle. A beautiful setting that words and even pictures don’t do justice. It is 360 degrees of wilderness. Pristine. (And so much more than I can describe in one post)

Our first stop on the cruise, after one day “at sea” was the town of Ketchikan. Our ship docked and we disembarked to explore.

Did you know that Ketchikan gets an average of 162 inches of rainfall a year? That’s an average of 13.5 feet. Yes…It was raining.

Climate is just one of the things that I think Alaskans just accept and deal with. The people we met seemed to be very satisfied with their pace of life and adapting to the challenges that Alaska offers.

After helping my father find an eyeglass nosepiece repair kit… Note to tourist areas…Let some brand name pharmacy set up shop in your area, so that people don’t have to walk a mile and enter every little tourist shop and ask if they have [fill in the blank]. Now, I know they WANT you to go into every little shop. But if you are looking for something specific then it might be more beneficial to have an obvious drug store and people wouldn’t get frustrated… I set off exploring.

I’m not a shopping kind of person, so I wanted to avoid the tourist trap souvenier places. I walked past the jewelry and tee-shirt shops…all of them bustling with activity… into the town.

Up a hill and stone’s throw from the Episcopal Church, I discovered the Ketchikan Public Library and City Museum.

Did I mention that it was raining?

I decided to visit. The library was closed. I’m not sure why, it was a Monday morning. But the museum was open. I like finding little known haunts like local bookstores, museums, and restaraunts .

And, I like to stay dry…so,

I contributed my donation to the city of Ketchikan, and stepped into the history of the town.

The flow of the room went counter-clockwise, starting with various native artifacts of the Tlingit people, natives of the area. Small totems and various toys and tools carved from wood and whalebone. Native people are such experts at using available resources, and their attention to detail is amazing.

There were also items from the early pioneer settlers of the area and mementos from the heyday of the salmon fishing industry. Like this awesome gas mask to protect workers from the ammonia that was used in cold storage facilities.

I was fascinated by the pictures on the wall. The photo shown here, conveyed a baseball game played in 1912.  Because space was at a premium, they played games in the creek bed tide flats when the tide was out. The game would be called when the outfielders’ shoes got wet.

This, to me, was descriptive of the spirit of the settlers in Ketchikan.

Making things work.   Adapting.


Spring Train

This is a bit of fun I had with a list of names. All real people, all baseball players… and all with interesting sounds in their names.


Chippy Gaw, Frank Frisch

Paul Thormodsgard!

Razor Shines, Homer Smoot,
Choo Choo Coleman

Win Ballou!

Creepy Crespi, Sibby Sisti
Eli Grba, Carson Bigbee

Vida Blue!

Yogi Berra, Epa Rixey
Bomb Rivera, Barbra Chrisley

F. Tennaci, A. Szymanski
Estel Crabtree, Sig Jakucki

Showboat Fisher, Snuffy Stirnweiss
Country Slaughter, Schoendienst,

Willie Stargel, Casey Stengel
Fred Schemanske, Conrad Starkel

Red Schoendienst

Jake Stenzel
John Stedronsky
Jerry Schoon-maker

Oss-ee Schreck-en-gost

Homer Smoot

Vida Blue!

That versatility thing…

Soooo….I’ve been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Sarah over at Earful of Cider, which is both interesting and very nice.

Rules for The Versatile Blogger Award.

1. nominate 5 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award.
2. add the Versatile Blogger Award logo.
3. thank the blogger who nominated you with a link to their blog.
4. share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
5. include this set of rules.
6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.

It is interesting, because I don’t consider my blogging to be that versatile at the moment. On the one hand, I’m new at this and haven’t accumulated a great following of readers. Further, I typically only post poems, though I have also published a few other notes off to the side there, that I don’t think many people have read…at least they’ve never gotten stats or likes or comments. In addition, Sarah fully admitted she was down to the last people on her list…(wink).

However, in the spirit of giving, and because it was nice gesture in early 2012 to be recognized by a fellow blogger…I accept this award. Now comes the difficult part for me. I have to nominate 5 other bloggers who I deem worthy of the award. (Note: See my comment above, I probably only have visited 5 other blogs, several of which already have this award).

Chances are, I’m gonna have to go out and read somebody’s blog just to get the nominations done…kind of the blogosphere’s version of Ding Dong Ditch. This might take me a while…

Secondly, I have to share 7 factoids about myself. This should be reeaaaally interesting*.

1. As a young toddler, I bit the head off a pet turtle. One of those small turtles, that you keep in little terrariums. My mother swears I did this, I don’t recall it. I lived over it…the turtle…well…no.

2. I once sat behind Chick Corea and Pat Metheny on an airplane flight to Wisconsin. My wife and I were going to friend’s wedding. They had just played at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival the night before. In retrospect, I’m surprised they were flying coach. If you’ve never heard of them…never mind.

3. Though I’ve been to Europe a few times, I’ve never been to the US West Coast.

4. I don’t like hospitals. I’ve been in them more times than I care to count.

Wrigley Field

5. One of my personal goals is to visit all the major league baseball parks for a game. So far, I’ve been to Great American (Cincinnati- too easy not to), PNC Park (Pittsburgh), Wrigley Field (Chicago), and Miller Park (Milwaukee). Eventually, I’ll have to see the West Coast (#3). We are managing about one trip per summer and I’m running out of close options…it’s going to get more difficult in a few years.

6. I like movies. Field of Dreams is probably my favorite movie. Blazing Saddles is the funniest movie ever made…and I don’t think it would ever be made in this day and age. I prefer the Lord of the Rings to Star Wars. They shouldn’t have made the newest Indiana Jones movie.

7. I have a soft spot for nostalgia. Anything about old memories, old stories, Old TV shows photos, music, books, furniture, technology, etc., I’m hooked. I used to refinish/refurbish old furniture pieces for our home, but ultimately ran out of room. I collect old poetry books. I look forward to visiting flea markets.


Now, I have to go nominate 5 people—4 of whom will probably have never known of me before now—when I visit their blog for the first time—leaving a note about the Versatile Blogger Award in the dark of night or early morning light…then stealthily sneak away. Once I get that done, I’ll update the post.

Who was that masked man?

*As a side note, I’m a shy person by nature, so sharing information is much easier behind the veil of “secrecy”…pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…I am the GREAT and POWERFUL OZ!

And I would like to nominate the following wonderful people:
1. Kim at Lovely Shades of Nostalgia – she always has an interesting take on the past, whether it be music or family, toys, diners. A fun blog to follow!

2. Sherry at Too Much August, Not Enough Snow– A wonderful poet, writer, photographer and story-teller. You feel like you are with her in the mountains of Montana.

3. Gabrielle at Gabrielle Bryden’s Blog: Another wonderful poet, photographer, and writer from Down-Under.

Double Play

A careful fling
tightly wrapped in comfort-
aired with grace.

Plunging deeply
with reckless abandon
for a touch.

Caught or not? Marked
breathlessly-in exploits-
hurled through space,

to ensnare the sweet cache-
Roars arise.

Subtle motions
afterward, tell the tale-
with passion.