"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Monthly Archives: November 2010

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Boid is the Woid

An’ all the fixin’s that go along with it.

Have a great day, y’all.

Taster’s Cherce

Thanksgiving is tomorrow…

If you’re stuck on what to fix, the fine ladies at Food 52 have got it on lock:

Starters, Sides and Sweets.

Beat of the Day

100 Years of Solitude, Now This

Guess who has a book on the best seller list?

Yup, that venerated American Master, Mark Twain. Book is flying off the shelves. According to the New York Times:

When editors at the University of California Press pondered the possible demand for “Autobiography of Mark Twain,” a $35, four-pound, 500,000-word doorstopper of a memoir, they kept their expectations modest with a planned print run of 7,500 copies.

Now it is a smash hit across the country, landing on best-seller lists and going back to press six times, for a total print run — so far — of 275,000. The publisher cannot print copies quickly enough, leaving some bookstores and online retailers stranded without copies just as the holiday shopping season begins.

“It sold right out,” said Kris Kleindienst, an owner of Left Bank Books in St. Louis, which first ordered 50 copies and has a dozen people on a waiting list. “You would think only completists and scholars would want a book like this. But there’s an enduring love affair with Mark Twain, especially around here. Anybody within a stone’s throw of the Mississippi River has a Twain attachment.”

Man, pretty damn cool.

Serve You Up like Stove Top Stuffin’

We’ve seen big Turkey Day signings before. Probably not this year but one never knows. Cliff Lee, Mariano…

The Derek Jeter negotiations continue in the papers and on-line. Tough talk, posturing, you know the routine. I spoke with a friend yesterday who was annoyed by the whole thing. I understand his frustration but can’t say I feel the same. Something will get done, it is just a matter of time. Sure, I click on the new links, the new “breaking stories” and “scoops.” I’m a ho for this stuff like most of us, but I don’t think it means much. Newspaper writers need to make a living, after all. Agents and general managers need to do their thing.

What I find compelling is how Jeter handles himself here. He’s always done “the right thing,” he always seems composed and in control. Well, now he’s faced with the ultimate test–growing old, and not always getting what he wants because he’s Derek Jeter. It is rare that things end elegantly for even the great players. Why should Jeter be any different?

If he left the Yanks, now that would be a story. Otherwise, is Jeter going to turn into an old Cal Ripken, putting himself before the good of the team? Or will he continue his streak as a baseball untouchable? I say he comes around, gets a four-year deal in the end, and the hard feelings will be smoothed over. He’s just too slick for anything else to go down.

Execute or be Executed

You know you’ve just taken a tough job when, in your introductory press conference, you feel compelled to clarify that you’re not “an evil devil.” Here is new Mets manager Terry Collins, earlier today:

“I’m full of energy, full of enthusiasm but I’m not the evil devil that a lot of people have made me out to be,” said Collins, the 20th manager in team history.


“I’ve learned to mellow a little bit…but my love for the game itself leads me to want the game to be played correctly.”

“This is a very proud day for me. I love this job, I love this game, and I will do whatever it takes to bring success to the New York Mets. The personality is there, the energy is there. All we have to do is execute.”

Yeesh… managing. I certainly wouldn’t go so far as to call it a “thankless”job – the pay is good enough – but it’s sure a tough one. Everything you do and say is scrutinized and criticized; you’re ostensibly the boss of people making many more millions a year than you but have limited power to hire or fire anyone; even if you do every single thing perfectly you’re unlikely to add more than a handful or wins to your team’s total, but every move that doesn’t work out is considered the main reason and a game is lost. And it’s an even tougher job with the Mets right now, a team whose fanbase has utterly exhausted all its patience in the last four years. It’s hard to see how the Mets would be able to dramatically turn things around in 2011, and it’s hard to see that going over well with the crowd at Shea.

Better him than me.

(Which always gets me wondering… think there’ll ever be a female manager? Maybe one day, but I have to say, it’s hard to imagine how it would happen – not because a woman couldn’t do the job, but because the managerial pipeline is almost entirely former players. You don’t have to have been a good player, but the vast, vast majority of managers throughout major league history played professionally, even if just in the minors. I can see the path a female GM might take, and I’d think that will happen one of these years – or decades – but manager is tought. And of course, there’s a reason most managers are former players — presumably that gives them insight into the game and their personnel that others wouldn’t have. But I have to believe that if women can be neurosurgeons, rocket scientists, and Secretary of State, then probably there are women who can figure out when to hit-and-run).

Anyway, the situation Terry Collins finds himself in makes me think Joe Girardi has it pretty good, even though Yankee manager has to be one of the country’s ultimate ulcer-inducing positions. And I wouldn’t want to be the guy who eventually, one day, has to sit down with Derek Jeter and tell him he’s batting seventh. Those guys get paid well, but the more I think about it? Probably not enough.

Second Placeman?

You think Robbie Cano will finish second in the AL MVP voting over Miguel Cabrera? That’s as close as he’ll get to winning it, according to Rob Neyer:

The question isn’t, “Who will win the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award?”

That isn’t remotely the question, because we already know that Josh Hamilton is going to win. If he’s not the the unanimous choice, like Joey Votto, he’ll come very close.

And like Votto, Hamilton will be a fine choice.

The question is, “If not Hamilton, though, then who?”

Would you believe….?

Taster’s Cherce

Dig this long, engaging profile of April Bloomfield in the New Yorker.

[Photo Credit: The Lunch Break Chronicles]

Hip Hop is Dead, Take 4,080

It’s been dead for fifteen years, right? I was chatting with a friend a mine a few weeks back, a record head and beat maker, and he assured me that hip hop is alive and well.

This drooling review of Jay Z’s new book by Michiko Kakutani in the Times did nothing to restore my faith, however.

Wonder if Jay writes about this:

Okay, here’s early Jay that was actually slammin.’

F*** You, Pay Me

George King reports in the New York Post:

Yesterday, general manager Brian Cashman strongly denied the organization has acted that way with its shortstop, captain and all-time hits leader.

“There is nothing baffling about our position,” Cashman said. “We have been very honest and direct with them, not through the press. We feel our offer is appropriate and fair. We appreciate the contributions Derek has made to our organization and we have made it clear to them. Our primary focus is his on-the-field performance the last couple of years in conjunction with his age, and we have some concerns in that area that need to be addressed in a multi-year deal going forward.

“I re-state Derek Jeter is the best shortstop for this franchise as we move forward. The difficulty is finding out what is fair between both sides.”

Also in the Post, Joel Sherman lowers the hammer on DJ:

Derek Jeter’s position when it comes to his contract negotiations appears to be this: I am Derek Jeter, pay me.

It doesn’t matter he has almost no leverage or he is coming off his worst season or the production of shortstops 37 and older in major league history is dismal.

Logic and facts are not supposed to matter. All that is supposed to matter is this: I am Derek Jeter, pay me.

The Yankees have offered Jeter $45 million over three years, which is being portrayed by the shortstop’s increasingly desperate camp as an insult. Except, of course, it is hard to find another organization ready to insult Jeter in similar fashion.

Mo Rivera wants his too.

Baseball Player Name of the Week

Roxey Roach, come on down!

Roach was born in Pennsylvania in 1882, and played shortstop for the New York Highlanders — the proto-Yankees — in 1910 and 1911. He subsequently tapered off with decreasing numbers of at-bats for the Washington Senators and the Buffalo Blues (where he played with fellow ex-Highlander Hal Chase, and also some guy named “Gene Krapp“). After his playing days he moved to Michigan where, according to a site called Michigan Dry Flies, he owned a Ford dealership, fathered 14 children, and made a name for himself as “an extremely proficient and talented angler” and “an accomplished and prolific fly tyer” whose “streamer patterns,” whatever that means, are still used today.

Stunningly, no one has ever created a cartoon about a singing, dancing, baseball-playing cockroach named Roxey, but I aim to rectify that ASAP.

NotW Runner-Up: Buddy Crump.

I alwasy wonder about guys like Crump who had one single, solitary game in the majors. Crump went 0-for-4 in five at-bats with one RBI, and never played in the big leagues again.

Dunno about you guys but I’m having one of those days where you just can’t focus. I just spent longer than I’d care to admit looking at Google Image results for sea otters. They are goddamn adorable, it turns out.

Is it vacation time yet?

No Controversy Here

Your National League MVP: Joey Votto.

Beat of the Day

One of these days I’m going to cut you into little tiny pieces…

Taster’s Cherce

The Times also had a little piece on Esposito’s Pork Sausage store, one of my old haunts when I lived in Brooklyn.

City Lights

I was in a book store on Friday night and this caught my eye: Denys Wortman’s New York: Portrait of the City in the 30s and 40s.

I’d never heard of Wortman before but I was immediately taken with his work.

Yesterday, the Times ran a long feature about Wortman who is the subject of a show at the Museum of the City of New York through March:

If there is a single constant in the creative world, it is that fame has a nasty habit of disappearing overnight. One prime example is the cartoonist Denys Wortman, who from 1924 to 1954 contributed six drawings a week to The New York World and its successors.

His feature, “Metropolitan Movies,” was admired for its strikingly naturalistic portrayal of daily life in Gotham. Using a single panel and a conversational caption, Mr. Wortman adroitly summoned up an entirely believable world of housewives talking across fire escapes, girls in the subway hashing over last night’s date, and men and women trying to make a buck in diners, offices, music halls and factories — or struggling to keep afloat during the Great Depression. Mr. Wortman’s drawings were also beautifully composed and finely worked, a legacy of his art school years, when he studied alongside future Ashcan school painters like Edward Hopper and George Bellows, and with their guru Robert Henri.

Even then “there was nothing quite like it,” said the cartoonist Jules Feiffer, who enjoyed the drawings as a boy. “His work didn’t seem studied. It was as if you were looking out the window — or my window in the Bronx.” And because it was syndicated nationwide (as “Everyday Movies”), Mr. Wortman’s world spread far beyond the Hudson.

But in 1958, four years after his retirement, Mr. Wortman died of a heart attack. By then cartooning had become character-driven and graphically streamlined (think of Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts”) while art was ruled by the Abstract Expressionists. And when The World’s successor The World-Telegram and Sun folded, he was as forgotten as yesterday’s fish wrap.

The book and the show look like a must.

That’s No Broad, That’s a Lady

Rest in Peace, Norris Church Mailer, dead at 61.

Mailer was the subject of an excellent profile by Alex Witchel earlier this year.

Case You Missed It

Larry Rothschild was named as the Yankees new pitching coach.  Ben Kabak has the details. And for more on Rothschild, check out It’s About the Money, Stupid.

Former Yankee Jim Lerityz was acquited–Steve Lombardi’s got the links.

Yeah, there was some more posturing on the Jeter negotiations–from Jeter’s side–but nothing worth noting. And in the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo reports, “Word is the Yankees are in the $115 million-$120 million range for five years, while the Rangers are determined to match whatever it gets up to. The Nationals are another team aggressive in this hunt.”

Hope most of you have a short work week as the big boid looms on Thursday. We’ll be here.

Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick

Am I wrong but wasn’t Terry Collins an incorrigible red ass when he managed the Angels?

Should make for some fun temper tantrums.


Slow weekend round here at the Banter but nice day of NFL action on tap: Jets at 1, Peyton vs. Brady at 4, and the Giants vs the Eagles tonight.


It’s cool and most cloudy here in the Bronx. Short week before Thanksgiving coming up. We should start to see some player movement around or just after the holiday.

In the meantime, hope you have a good one. And yo, remember: Do something nice for yourself…

Or someone you know…

You deserve it. Say Word.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver