Monday, October 31, 2005

Wellington Mara

There are few sports executives that are actually loved, but Wellington Mara was the exception.

Wellington's dad was a Irish ( legal ) bookmaker in Manhattan who bought the NY Giants football team as a lark for $500 in the days when the NFL was small beer. Wellington grew up around the team, holding every position from " ballboy " to General Manager. He was and is widely respected as being one of the architects of the NFL as the most successful US sports league.

But it was his personal decency that stands out. He showed kindness to his star players, but was equally kind to the lesser players who " did the best they could " .

Any fan who wrote a letter to the Giants was likely to get a personal note back from Mara. All the little people were treated with the greatest respect.

Yesterday, his grand-daughter sang the National Anthem before the Giants game, surrounded by Wellington's many grandkids. It was a beautiful, emotional performance.

And then the Giants, not favored to win the game, crushed the Washington Redskins 36-0.

I'm not a big reader of obits, but they are occasionally of interest. Not only do you read interesting things, but you occasionally get unspoken tips on how to live one's life.

Goodnight, Mr. Mara.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Back from Vietnam

I returned from Vietnam a week ago today.

The Vietnam trip was very good. I am still adding photos to the Vietnam trip blog, I will soon be adding to this blog in a more substantive way once again.

It has been chilly the past week, but today we find a warmer, sunny, simply gorgeous fall Sunday.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Am in Vietnam now. Comment on this trip will be on Vietnam View

Friday, October 07, 2005

Johnny Cash, American Recordings

Now listening to: Johnny Cash, American Recordings. How in the name of God did I miss this album until now? As an album, it may be better than the other late-career recordings. What a treasure. Mr. Cash, I know that you and June performed in Vietnam for the boys. Well, this album is in my MP3 player, you're going there again, my friend.
Artist/Band: Cash Johnny Tabs
Song: Vietnam Talkin Blues Tab

Singin' The Vietnam Talkin' Blues
Recorded by: Johnny Cash
Written by: Johnny R. Cash
Recorded: April 13, 1971

The entire song is spoken

One mornin' at breakfast I said to my wife
We've been everywhere once and some places twice
As I had another helpin' of country ham
she said "We haven't never been to Vietnam
there's a bunch of our boys over there"
So we went

Well we got a big welcome when we drove in
Through the gates of a placed named Long Ben
We checked in and everything got kinda quite
But a soldier boy said "Just wait til' tonight
Things get noisy things start happening'
Big bad firecrackers"

Well that night we did about four shows for the boys
And they were livin' it up with a whole lot of noise
We did our last song for the night
Then we crawled into bed for some peace and quite
But things weren't peaceful things weren't quite
Things were scary

Well for a few minutes June hadn't spoken a word
Then I thought at first she hadn't heard
Then a shell exploded not two miles away
She sat up in bed and I heard her say
"What was that" I said "That was a shell or a bomb"
She said "John I'm scared" I said "Me too"

Well all night long that noise kept on
And the noise would chill you right to the bone
The bullets and the shells and the atomic bombs
shook our bed and finally fell and it never let up
It was gonna get worse before it got any better

Well, the sun came up the noise died down
We got a few minutes sleep and we were sleepin' sound
Then a soldier knocked on the door and said
"Last night we brought in seven dead and fourteen wounded!"
We were goin' down to the base hospital
To see the boys Yeah

So we to the hospital day by day
And of the night we were singin' away
Then the shells and the bombs again til' dawn
And the helicopter brought in a wounded man
night after night day after day
comin' and a goin'

So we sadly sang for them our last song
And reluctantly we said so long
We did our best to let them know that we cared
for every last one of them over there
Whether we belonged over there or not Ê
somebody loves them and needs them

Well now that's about all there is to tell
about our little trip and the livin' hell
and if I ever go back over there again
I hope there's none of our boys to sing for
I hope this ol' war's over with and they're all back home
To stay in peace

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Off to Vietnam, Guys

Will be posting a lot less frequently over the next two weeks, as I leave for Vietnam tomorrow night. Will not be a complete stranger, as they do have internet cafes there, and I am too addicted to stay away altogether.

I have created a small blog just to talk about the trip for those who are interested. You're welcome to check out Vietnam View.

Now with the flight leaving in 25 hours, perhaps I should start packing.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Brooklyn Dodgers - 50 Years Since Only Series Win

On October 4, 1955 the Brooklyn Dodgers won the World Series for the first and only time in their long history.

The World Series was played in the daytime in those days. When these all-important games were being played, precious little work was done at any office or school, as everyone listened to the game on the radio.

After the last out, there were scenes of wild celebration throughout the vast borough, that ran deep into the night. The bars could not close at the normal 4am legal close, they were jam-packed with overjoyed customers, and this was one night when the police were happy to look the other way.

The Dodgers had come close before, but now the much beloved team had won it all. Against the mighty Yankees. It was as though every family had won the lottery on the same night.

Two years later, owner Walter O'Malley moved the team to Los Angeles.

Bali: Death of the Innocents

The Balinese are in mourning for those killed in Saturday's terror bombing in Kuta. The Australians too.

This atrocity, again, is believed not to have been done by anyone from Bali, a peaceful Hindu island trapped in a vast Muslim disaster of a country that is not a country at all, rather a group of disparate but geographically close islands cobbled together by the Dutch at one time.

The suspects are Muslims from Java and from Malaysia, who are part of the Muslim terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, a group active in the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. This group is of course linked to other Muslim terror groups.

The Aussies have borne much from this terror cult. The Australian govt is believed to be mighty pissed at the Indonesian government for taking it easy on people suspected of involvement in the first Bali bombing. They must cooperate with Indonesia now. But their patience will not last forever.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Vietnam, Village, Vietnam

A week from now, I will be in Vietnam. A wee bit jet lagged but there. On the other side of the world. In a country that's very different, but that's what I am looking for.

Some friends ( old friend Neal, new friend Mike ) from Hawaii were in NYC over the weekend, and we met up in the East Village. Had a Vietnamese meal at Cyclo which was good, washed down by Vietnamese Export 33 beer, which was ok. Tried to get some German beer at Zum Schneider, who had an oompah band for the Oktoberfest, but they had a line and were seriously crowded so that was a no go. Went to a dive bar by Tomkins Square Park, which was good and will require a return visit.

Went to Hop Devil Grill on St Marks Place for three large bottles of Blanche de Chambly, a pale aie in the Belgian style from Quebec. Then, off to the subway, but first a cocktail that turned into three at this place near to Cooper Union.

But anyway, will be in Vietnam in a week. Their currency is 15,900 ( dong ) to the dollar. Jesus, f*** , even $20 means a lot of dong in exchange. And the local beer is cheap, or so I am told. And it gets the job done, or so I have been told. Will require extensive testing, from Saigon to Hoi An to Hue to Hanoi.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Yanks Win Tainted Title / Selig's Secret Rule

Well, its not their fault. And they probably would have won it anyway.

Here's the drill. The Yankees came into Saturday tied in the standings with the Sox. They won on Saturday, which put them one game ahead, with one more game to play. But the Yankees were proclaimed AL East Champions anyway, though the Sox had the potential to win on Sunday -which they have just done. The two teams have identical records, but the Yankees were proclaimed division winners. Huh?

Seems that there is a new rule that says in the event of a regular season tie, there's not a single winner take all game, as happened in 1978. The winner is determined by which of the two tied teams had the best record against the other.

There are at least two things wrong with this. One, this " team vs team tiebreak " rule is new I think, and many fans that I speak to were completely unaware of it. On today's Yankee tv broadcast, Michael Kay said that the Yankees' players were unaware on Saturday that a win would give them the title. And if that is the case, you can bet that Joe Torre and the coaching staff were also unaware, as you'd think that they would have passed on this fact to their players.

Second, it cheapens the integrity of the standings. Two teams can be tied and not really tied, a situation that never existed before.

But my main beef is that this was a big secret. Maybe Bud Selig thought a rule change such as this, one which violates all precedent, was unimportant. I will bet the majority of fans were unaware of it, as well as many sports journalists, though they'll all deny it now.

The geniuses that run baseball will say that this change was made in order to make the teams play harder against one another, but that is complete bullshit.

One of the greatest moments in the history of the Yankees - Red Sox rivalry was when they did tie in 1977 and there was a one game playoff. If this phony rule was in place in 1977, would this playff have taken place at all? Would need the team vs team record to know this.

The new rule stinks.

It would have really been bad if the Sox had been kept from the playoffs by Selig's Secret Rule, but they qualified as the wild card, so all is fine. Now, let the games begin, and let the Yankees commence kicking ass.


See column from NY Daily News columnist Mike Lupica. I just found this, and he takes the same postion that I have.

Writes Lupica : "Nobody who bought a ticket to yesterday's Yankee-Red Sox game at Fenway Park thought that with the Yankees and Red Sox tied, that somebody could win the division. Nobody. This whole thing should have been played out today on the field.". Right on, Mike.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Another Terror Attack in Bali

Another terror bombing ( disturbing image ) in Bali.

Bali is a Hindu island in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. I've been there.

The Balinese are not behind any of this. They're the majority of the dead, and they will be the ones who suffer when tourists stay away. It's awful to see this happen again.