"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Monthly Archives: February 2012

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Cool Breeze

Here’s a bit about golf from Pete Dexter’s 2003 novel, “Train”:

“Disappointment was the only thing about the game that lasted. You could try not to get your hopes up, but you might as well tell the cat not to kill the birds.”

The time is 1953; the place, Los Angeles. A burned-out detective, Packard, watches Train, an 18-year-old protegee on the golf course:

“One thought,” Mr. Packard said. “Focus on one thought.”

Train heard that advice before, of course–all the twenty-six handicappers in the world was somewhere on a golf course right now, giving each other swing thoughts–but himself, he didn’t think one thing at a time, and didn’t know how. To start with, everything he saw had names–the ball, the grass, the club, his shoes–and he looked at those things and knew the names, and the names were thoughts. Just like being cold was a thought, and being hungry, and being worried. And besides the thing he was worried about, the worrying itself was a though. Things came and went away; you couldn’t stop it if you tried. He wondered if it was the same way for people that did the big thinking–Eisenhower and General MacArthur–or if somehow they could turn off the names while they was envisioned in a better world.

“What’s your swing thought?” Mr. Packard said behind him. “What are you telling yourself over the ball?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “I just get out of the way and let it go.”

That seem to amuse Mr. Packard, and he leaned back on his elbows and shut up to watch. The thing that made it work right wasn’t a thought anyway. It was whatever moved the ideas and thoughts along, the breeze that kept things circulating in and out of your head at a speed where nothing was hurried but nothing stayed so long you had to notice. That was all you wanted in your head to swing a golf club, a light breeze to empty things out.

Didn’t mean you had to be stupid to play the game, but it didn’t hurt.

It’s about golf but it could just was easily be about anything, including baseball.

[Photo Credit: Daniel Seung Lee]

Beat of the Day

Sticking with a theme:

Less is More

Alex Rodriguez spoke with reporters over the weekend. Chad Jennings has the highlights:

“I’ve always felt that more is better. It’s just the way I’ve always done it. It’s the way I saw my Mom work when I grew up. I just felt that I needed to get up early and do the work, and stay up late and do the work. It’s been a hard lesson to learn, but over the past two or three years I understand that doing my corrective exercises, focusing a lot more on recovery (is best). When you’re in your 20s, you think about training and (then) you think about recovery, and at this point in your career it’s actually the exact opposite. To your point, yeah, I think I learned that lesson… The one thing Philippon told me many years ago when he did (the hip surgery) is that less is more, but I didn’t listen to him then. I went back to see him this winter and he’s very happy with the range of motion and how it looks. He reiterated the importance of less is more. I’m on board now.”

[Photo Credit: Matt Slocum/AP]

New York Minute

The light is changing. I started noticing it a few weeks ago. Now, each day I see it more.

It’s a beautiful thing. Spring is on the way.

…And the Winner is…

The Oscars. Have at it.

Repoz to the Rescue

Adapted from his essay that appears in the forthcoming collection “Damn Yankees,” here’s Dan Barry in the New York Times:

The Yankee cards among my tired collection are like mug-shot exhibits, prepared for presentation to the Court of the Beleaguered. From Jake Gibbs, catcher without bat, to Walt Williams, outfielder without neck, they confirm my childhood status as underdog. Here is Bill Robinson, one would-be phenom, batting .196; here is Steve Whitaker, another, batting little better. Here is first baseman Joe Pepitone, sporting his game-day toupee. Here is second baseman Horace Clarke, who so disliked body contact that he often failed to make the relay to first on potential double plays.

Here are Roger Repoz and Ruben Amaro, Andy Kosco and Charley Smith, Fred Talbot and Hal Reniff, Frank Tepedino and Gene Michael and Joe Verbanic and Thad Tillotson and Johnny Callison and Danny Cater and Curt Blefary and Jerry Kenney and Jimmy Lyttle and Celerino Sanchez, poor Celerino Sanchez, and so many others you do not remember, probably by choice.

As hollow as it might sound, though, these were my heroes. I ached and rooted for every one of them as they failed daily on baseball’s Broadway stage, Yankee Stadium, facing two opponents every time they stepped onto the field: the American League team of the moment and the Yankees teams of the past. My father’s Yankees.

“Damn Yankees” will be released in early April.

Sundazed Soul

Beautiful sunny day in New York.

[Photo Via: Gruesometwosome ]

Saturdazed Soul

Twinkle Toes.

[Photo Credit: Elevated Encouragement]

One Ringy Dingy

Million Dollar Movie

The opening minutes of David Lean’s great version of “Great Expectations”:

Afternoon Art

“Abstraction #1,” By Franz Kline (1951)

Hang ‘Em High

Here’s DJ, via Chad Jennings:

“If I didn’t’ think I was still capable of doing everything, I wouldn’t be playing,” Jeter said. “If I didn’t think I was capable of playing the game at a high level, I would go home. If I wasn’t enjoying myself, enjoying the competition, then it’d be time to go home. Right now, I think I’m capable, and I’m enjoying myself. I can’t comment on what would force me to retire, go home, stop playing. But I have a lot of confidence. I’ve always had a lot of confidence. If that starts to waver, then I wouldn’t do it.”

For more Jetes, here’s Andrew Marchand at ESPN, New York.

And hey, congrats to River Ave Blues who just celebrated their five-year anniversary.

[The Photo I swiped from Lo-Hud. Credit goes to AP]

Taster’s Cherce

Check out this piece about the importance of authenticity by Sara Jenkins in the Atlantic:

I pride myself on having a profound understanding of what Italian food is and what makes it authentic…And yet, I ask myself, what is authenticity and does it really matter? Italians are, of course, passionate about their food culture and ready at all times to chastise a foreigner for not understanding that right combinations or sequences of flavors. Salad always comes after the entrée — never before. Pasta and soup fill the same slot in the meal, so you eat one or the other and not both. Plum tomatoes are for pasta sauce, globe tomatoes are for salad. And so it goes, a dizzying array of rules and regulations for how you eat. But still I wonder, what is the importance of authenticity?

Italian food and flavors changed dramatically after 1492 with the influx of the New World fruits and vegetables — tomatoes, corn, beans, peppers, potatoes — that were gradually integrated over four centuries of gardening and cooking and are at the core of today’s version of Italian food. If we wanted to be really authentic with Italian food, shouldn’t we do away with all the invasive species? Doesn’t that make tomato sauce and polenta inauthentic?

Food is not static. What we eat is constantly evolving and changing. New things become available. When I was a child in Rome, cilantro, limes, and yams were unknown and unavailable; today, thanks to immigration and the global produce trade, you can probably find all three at the corner vegetable stand. When I first started paying attention to my neighbors’ farm in Tuscany, they were extremely self-sufficient in terms of their food. They grew, raised, and foraged probably 90 percent of what they consumed. Their food and flavors were delicious and unvarying, and the dishes Mita cooked formed the basis of my understanding of Italian food.

Terrific stuff.

[Photo Credit: Quick Gardens]

The Annals of Justice

If the piss ain’t shipped, you must acquit.

If you can’t see the pee, he must walk free.

If FedEx is closed, your case is hosed.

If the pee is refrigerated, he must be exonerated.

What you got…?

Beat of the Day


New York Minute

A husband and wife on the subway this morning, mid-thirties. The wife sits next to me. She is blond and her face is plain but she’s not unattractive. The husband stands in front of us. He is wearing a baseball cap and his full beard and strong hands can’t hide the fact that he looks like an overgrown boy.

They talk quietly. I read my book. Then I see her take his hand in hers.

“Your hands are so dry”

“They still have plaster on them.”

“You want some hand lotion?”


“I have neutoagena.”

“That shit smells.”

“It’s oderless.”


“Are you sure?”

My wife is always on me to use lotion and I still look at her like she’s got three heads. Sometimes, she puts it on my arms anyhow and after I squirm and make faces I feel better.

I look up at him. We exchange a look and a smile. Then I return to my book.

[Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography]

Fly Pelican Fly

The Knicks gave a spirited effort tonight but they are not yet ready for Prime Time. The Heat pulled away in the third quarter and Jeremy Lin had his toughest game since becoming a starter as the Knicks lost in Miami. A good loss in a way. Shows the Knicks how far they need to go in order to compete with the best.

[Picture by John Bryson]

Moon Over Miami

Knicks at Heat tonight. This used to be a rivalry. Let’s see if the Knicks play well and finish the first half of the season on the good foot.

[Picture by Craig Redman]

Ruh Roh

Ryan Bryan has won his appeal against MLB.

Afternoon Art

“Dining Room in the Country,” By Pierre Bonnard (1913)

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