Monthly Archives: August 2021

Beauty is in the Eye…

I s’poz I should reassure my friends and declare myself safe from the hurricane.

Chloe my pup, AKA the Queen of Debris (QoD) and I have just returned from our afternoon ramble, this time through the eye of what’s left of Hurricane Ida.

I noticed on the weather radar that Lexington was currently nestled in a spot clear of rain. We hastened to don our journeying attire (no, no pith helmets…sigh) and bravely went forth where no man has gone before…at least in the last fifteen minutes or so.

The wind roared along at a brisk zephyr-ish clip as we left the house, passing the fish pond.

We scrambled the frog army from their lily pad perches where they’ve been partying like it was the deluge. They abandoned their “Bud-wei-serrr” keg temporarily, but we turned a blind eye in the nostalgic hope that Louie might crash the gala when it reassembled.

We negotiated (le mot juste) a path that allowed the QoD to venture near, but not in the excavations of home improvement projects in our neighborhood. Janie would not be pleased if I returned with a muddier pooch than that with which I set out.

It was a short walk, but we managed to cross various streets five times within a couple of blocks…always satisfying. Street crossing is especially important to this hound’o’mine. On a cellular level, she believes that both sides of every street are hers…at the same time. She believes she can have momentum, and be mired and admired in the present moment…all at the same time! She believes if she were Schrödinger’s Dog, she would be alive and dead, within or without the box…at the same goddam time!!

Whaddyadoo with a critter like that?

You get out of her way, but keep a tight hold on her leash.

And you walk her in the eye of a hurricane.

Two-Fisted Noir…Japanese Style

<< Trains? Waterfront docks at night? Rain-slick shiny pavements under halo-sporting street lights? >>

Well sure.

Director Koreyoshi Kurahara’s 1957 criminous flick, I AM WAITING is on the menu tonight.

<< Black and white? Sweat-spraying boxing matches? Crinkly blue international postal envelopes? Cigarettes disdainfully lit by wooden matches which are then disdainfully flung into the sea? >>

Most certainly.

Yojiro Ishihara plays Joji, a promising young welterweight who’s been banned from boxing and now runs a diner while awaiting a summons from his brother to come to Brazil and be a farmer…a summons that never comes.

Guess you can kiss that dream goodbye.

Joji is boyish and kind, with fierce loyalty and a fiercer uppercut.

<< Bars? Pool halls (with billiards, no less)? Dice games? The most inept gunsel since Elijah Cook Jr. in THE MALTESE FALCON? >>

Why not?

Saeko (Mie Kitahara) is an opera singer whose voice has been damaged by illness and now can only sing in cabarets for gangsters.

Guess you can kiss that dream goodbye.

Saeko ponders suicide, but can be dissuaded with a warm bowl of soup.

<< Trench coats? Shoulder pads? Drunken, disgraced doctor? >>

Yes, yes, and yes.

The soundtrack of the film is clever and effective. A lugubrious shot of two feet walking in the dark is accompanied by a slow tuneful whistling by the walker. A tense moment in the diner is backed by a cheap radio on the bar playing Rossini.

Some of the shots are just as imaginative. The first sea change in Joji and Saeko’s relationship is a night scene between two completely black silhouettes against the water…two unhopeful but hoping clean slates trying to find each other. The same two searchers later challenge each other on long quayside concrete slants of separating levels. Will they ever connect?

<< Sleazy gangsters? Sleepy detectives Short-order cook who was a former ocean liner chef? >>

All the basic ingredients.

This was a tasty dish.

If You Build It…

Well, I have pretty well wasted the weekend.

My beloved Reds are getting well and playing well…and they’re damn fun to watch.

Watch I did, every inning against the woeful Pirates for four games – all won by the Reds. The weekend closes with Cincinnati trailing the despicable Milwaukee Brewers by a mere five games. Can the World Series be far behind?

But it’s not just the winning.

The team boasts three young players who are legitimate contenders for Rookie-of-the-Year, two current all-stars and one former, a shortstop/catcher (whatta combination) having a career year, and a for real starting pitcher rotation. And they’re ten games over .500.

But it’s not just the winning.

There is joy in Mudville.

They smile, they dance (poorly, but…), they ride motor bikes, and they play hard.

Today they honored the memory of Joe Morgan, perhaps the greatest second-baseman of all-time. His daughters were in attendance. His plaque from the Hall-of-Fame was there. People had their picture taken with the plaque. Bob Costa was there. Stories were told. Tears were shed. For a few minutes national stupidity and incivility evaporated.

There was joy in Mudville.

Baseball does that.

“It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again.”

A wide-eyed James Earle Jones says that in the film; FIELD OF DREAMS.

I watched the MLB Network’s 25th anniversary special on the making of FIELD OF DREAMS this evening (wasting the weekend, remember?). It featured Bob Costa interviewing Kevin Costner and Timothy Busfield on the corn-ensconced baseball field in Iowa.

“It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again.”

I’m gonna get me one of those MAGA baseball hats, but it’s gonna stand for Make America GOOD Again.

Good to know.

Good to stand next to.

Good to live next to.

Good to each other.

Jes’ good.

We know how.

For this geezer, baseball immersion helps a bit;

  1. It’s a team game, but individuals are held responsible for individual actions.
  2. You may win today or you may lose today, but you still have to play tomorrow.
  3. Failure means you have to let someone else swing, pitch, run, or catch…but you still have to play tomorrow.
  4. It’s a game. Find the bliss in each play. Remember, you GET to play tomorrow.

PS. If I may recommend a couple of books that will NOT change your life, but might help you happily waste a weekend or two.

W. P. Kinsella wrote SHOELESS JOE, the book on which FIELD OF DREAMS is based. He also wrote THE IOWA BASEBALL CONFEDERACY, which I like even more.

Troy Soos has written a series of baseball mysteries set in the years after World War I. I’m enjoying them.

Now, who might these Rampaging Reds be playing tomorrow?