Wednesday, April 30, 2008

'These Days'

Heard this song on the radio tonight. Feel like it's been ripped from my life at the moment. Hope y'all have a good evening!

Well I've been out walking
I don't do that much talking these days
These days--
These days I seem to think a lot
About the things that I forgot to do
For you
And all the times I had the chance to

And I had a lover
It's so hard to risk another these days
These days--
Now if I seem to be afraid
To live the life I have made in song
Well it's just that I've been losing so long

I'll keep on moving
Things are bound to be improving these days
These days--
These days I sit on corner stones
And count the time in quarter tones to 10, my friend
Don't confront me with my failures
I had not forgotten them

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Islands in the stream

"There are oceans of feelings between us," Jimmy Buffett once wrote, "currents that take us and sweep us away." I think everybody's favorite Parrothead may have said more than he knew.

I heard something described about me the other night, inadvertently, that to say the least was quite shocking. It was downright ironic given the circumstances, but that's another story for another day.

What it got me to thinking about is the fact that quite often how we perceive a situation can sometimes be 180 degrees away from the truth. But, sadly, perceptions are often reality.

Sort of like the time I ran into this girl from Halls High who was clerking at a store. She told me that she thought all through school that I didn't like her -- hated her, in fact. The sad part is I couldn't quite even remember who she was.

It also got me to thinking about the communication gap that human beings seem to have, particularly Buffett's oceans of feelings that often exist between men and women. I'm the world's worst at navigating those waters. Sometimes it makes me wonder why.

But I've long had a difficult time telling the women in my life exactly how I feel about them, so maybe it's just me. God, it took me 10 or more years to tell one or two -- no joke.

I'll just be honest with you: part of it with me is fear -- of rejection or embarrassment or whatever else. Part of it is I often think of exactly what I want to say -- about 30 minutes later. That's why I love that Don Williams song that RobinElla sings all the time -- singers on the radio can say it so much better than I usually can.

Speaking of which, I heard a Paul Simon song this morning driving into work, all about people talking without speaking and hearing without listening. I think that's exactly right. I'm guilty of it, anyway.

So, I think the best thing to do is just speak up. Don't think you have much to lose anyway. Plus, I can promise you that not voicing how you feel will just eat you up inside anyway. There's this one girl that I think about nearly every day, and probably will to some degree for the rest of my life. That's no good, man. No good at all.

It amazes me, though -- absolutely amazes me -- just how far apart islands in the stream can sometimes be.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

'Anatomy of a Murder'

Mix Jimmy Stewart with George C. Scott. Throw in heaping portions of Arthur O'Connell, Ben Gazzara, Eve Arden and the lovely Lee Remick. Sprinkle doses of Duke Ellington every few minutes. Let Otto Preminger stir the whole thing up.

And that, my friends, is the recipe for one groovy little picture, 1959's "Anatomy of a Murder." I spent a couple of hours with it while waking up last Saturday morning and was quite pleased that a second viewing (I had seen it once before, years ago) didn't disappoint.

Stewart is his usual likable self, this time playing attorney Paul Biegler, a man who loves fishing, jazz music and reading the law, pretty much in that order. Paul has spent a few years as his Michigan UP county's district attorney, but he was beaten in the last election by a near incompetent (Brooks West). He can't afford to pay his secretary (Arden) and spends most of his days fishing and most of his nights reading Chief Justice Holmes with the alcoholic aging lawyer Parnell Emmett McCarthy (O'Connell).

Then the Manion case comes into his life.

Lt. Frederick Manion (Gazzara) is arrested for killing a man that allegedly raped his wife Laura (Remick). As time goes along, you don't quite believe either of them, but Paul takes the case and instructs his client to plead temporary insanity.

The district attorney brings in a star lawyer, Claude Dancer (Scott), from down state to help with the case. And he and Biegler lock horns in one of the most engaging courtroom exchanges to ever be put to film.

Preminger's directing is stellar. This fine cast turns in performances to remember. And somebody had the bright idea to ask Ellington (who appears in the film) to compose the soundtrack.

All in all, it makes for a fine little film, somewhat controversial for its time, a perfect little way to spend a Saturday morning on the couch. File this one under the "they don't make 'em like this anymore" category.

"Anatomy of a Murder" is available on DVD.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Duke, Dinah and those crazy dreams

I don't know why a person takes to certain songs.

But they do, and it's magical and palpable and a few other "ables" that I can't think of this rainy Monday morning.

Songs are time machines -- they take you back. Songs are old friends -- they comfort you when you need it, or brighten up an otherwise cloudy day. Songs are special.

I don't guess I can tell you much more about "Teardrops." But let me say this. I heard it last night -- in person from its composer -- and, although I've had a night and part of a morning to think about it, I still can't describe just how beautiful it was.

It's a melancholy song, full of sad imagery and poignant lyrics. And yet, when I hear it, my heart leaps into my throat and I never do want the moment to slip away. The lyric and the artist's phrasing and the band and the moment all came together, creating one of those beautiful pieces of time that you file away somewhere, and think about on rainy days.

Andrea showed up after awhile; she can always brighten up a rainy night. I even saw my cousin Jordan, who came in long enough to say hello and disappeared before I could tell him good-bye.

I drove home in the pouring rain. Somewhere between Broadway and Brown Gap Road I felt an old, familiar feeling lodge itself somewhere amid my blue eyes and jeans, in that organ that supposedly just pumps blood to the body.

I sat up awhile, trying to dull the senses with Duke and Dinah, failing miserably. Even "Harlem Nocturne" didn't work.

Finally I drifted off to dream, lost in the feeling, going to the one place where the sun orbits 'round the moon and crazy dreams come true.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

How to ruin a perfect night

Oh, I thought it was going to be perfect.

Sky was so blue you could swim it. The sun was starting to set. The regular crowd was shuffling in.

And me? Well, I had my scorebook in my hand, chatted with the usher behind Section C, waved to my aunt across the way and got comfy just before I had to stand back up for the national anthem.

The first pitch happened about 7:08 and it was all downhill from there. When I gave up and started walking toward the car about 8:30, ETSU was up on Tennessee 10-1.

The Bucs ended up winning 11-9.

The great thing about baseball is its leisurely pace. I was able to chat with the fan from Fountain City who sits in front of me, walk over to talk with my aunt and her husband, blab about Vin Scully's broadcasting excellence and watch the girls sitting a section over -- all without missing one pitch.

Too bad the Vols had to ruin a perfect night. But, that's how it goes in this grand old game.

Pitches left too high in the strike zone will break your heart every time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Slip sliding away...

I swear, music has healing power. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Wasn't exactly ready to meet the day. Bunch of reasons, none of which matter. It got worse quickly, one of those mornings that cause you to think, "Hmm -- should've stayed in bed."

But, nah. Up pops Paul Simon and the Oak Ridge Boys singing "Slip Sliding Away."

Simon will cure what ails you anyway. Seeing William Lee Golden hit baritone notes behind him, while the other Oaks sway back and forth? Well, if that doesn't put a smile on your face, you're one cold-hearted dude.

A little later I watched Earl Scruggs and The Byrds go to town on Bob Dylan's "You Ain't Going Nowhere." Don't ask me why, but it all works. Scruggs' banjo pickin' slips in between the harmony, as if it had been there all along, waiting in the background while McGuinn sang lead.

But, I'm in a mellow mood today, so I do some more surfing and find Simon again -- reunited with Garfunkel, in Central Park -- their voices smooth as silk together, wrapping around the notes like dew falling on green grass in the early morning.

Hello darkness my old friend, they sing, and we wonder why on earth they ever drifted apart.

By noon I was hungry but otherwise feeling like I could spread out on the ground by a lake somewhere, skip a few stones across the water, watch the afternoon slip out of the horizon, dream about women and read a little Hemingway.

Oh, well. You know what they say.

The nearer your destination, the more you're slip sliding away...

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

No. 21

I guess I should send PBS a thank you note.

Got home last night in time to watch an "American Experience" installment on Roberto Clemente. And, as I told Dean Harned afterwards, you feel after walking around in Clemente's shoes awhile that you finally know what it takes to become a better human being.

No. 21 was one heck of a right fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a great defensive player with a heck of an arm. The hitting came later. But when it came, oh my goodness.

Clemente was from Puerto Rico, and to be a so-called "Latin player" on a major league team in the 1950s and early 1960s brought with it all the ugliness you can imagine. Sometimes it was obvious, like having to stay in another hotel across town during spring training. Sometimes it was subtle, but no less demeaning -- the Pirates announcers were instructed to call Clemente "Bob" or "Bobby"; the same moniker showed up on several of his early Topps baseball cards.

Clemente help bring the Pirates from the National League cellar to the pinnacle of the game -- beating the Yankees (in seven games!) during the 1960 World Series. Eleven years later, the Pirates beat the Baltimore Orioles to notch another championship.

But if Clemente's story was strictly about baseball, well, he'd be just another player, another card collecting dust in some aging Baby Boomer's closet. No, he was also a humanitarian in the best sense of that word, a thinker, a man who forever seemed perplexed by life.

He'd often ruminate on his aches and illnesses to broadcasters, something you didn't do in the stoic '50s. Sportswriters would come up looking for quotes; instead, Clemente would talk about life. Nobody quite knew what to do with him.

Then he died -- suddenly, shockingly -- on New Year's Eve 1972, while flying to Nicaragua on a relief mission after a massive earthquake. The plane was dilapidated, the pilot was a fraud -- but Roberto had to get to Nicaragua. He'd read that the supplies meant for relief were being stolen -- and worse. He had to go. He had to go.

The plane never arrived at its destination. Clemente's body was never found.

In an unprecedented vote, the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Clemente the following year. He remains the only player in history for whom the mandatory five year waiting period following one's career was waived. It was the least they could do.

He'll be remembered for home runs and World Series victories, but that was only part of Roberto Clemente. It's that other part, though, that made him a hero.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Getting 'stoned' with 'Mad Dogs and Englishmen'

Well, I still haven't found it on vinyl, but thanks to Shopper sports guy Ken Lay, I can at least indulge myself in an early '70s rock road show to my heart's content.

You may recall that I found my battered 33 1/3 album of "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" -- the expansive, soul-filled, "you gotta be kidding me" road show from March 1970 starring Joe Cocker and featuring Leon Russell on piano, three drummers, a 12-member choir, Rita Coolidge and some of the best rock/soul numbers you'll ever hear -- while moving last month. Alas, the years have not been kind to the vinyl. It's full of scratches, dents, hisses, pops, unplayable even on my relatively new turntable.

So I went on a mini-mission to find it. Lost and Found Records didn't have it. Initial Web searches turned up nothing.

Dewayne Lawson wrote from Georgia to say he'd found it a couple of places. One was too expensive. The other gave no indication of the record's condition.

Well, Ken Lay called last week to say he was making a CD shop run on Friday. Did I want him to look for the compact disc, just so I could listen to the album while searching for a vinyl replacement?

"Sure," I said. "As long as it doesn't cost me an arm and a leg."

Ken found his way to the Disc Exchange and came up with a great, clean copy for less than 10 bucks. I devoted about an hour to it last Friday night before the Braves game.

Some of it is divine (the "Blue Medley" of "I'll Drown in my Own Tears," "When Something is Wrong with my Baby" and "I've Been Loving You Too Long"); some of it is amusing (the 7-minute version of "Let's Go Get Stoned"); and some of it misses the mark (Russell's cover of Bob Dylan's "Girl from the North Country"). But overall this is larger-than-life, let-it-all-hang-out, sing from your soul excess, perfect for its time, a bit dated now, but still a fine example of what can happen when the musicians and the moment and the crowd and the lyrics all come together.

Apparently, the happy rhythm didn't last long, though. Cocker and Russell were soon sniping at each other. The whole darn tour broke up almost as quickly as it appeared.

But for a few days in the spring of 1970, Joe Cocker got a little help from his friends, and together they rocked from way down deep inside somewhere, singing the way it should be done, throwing it all out there, creating something darn close to art without harboring any pretentious notions of doing so.

The record ended and I drove to Fountain City to record radio spots, humming "She Came In Thru The Bathroom Window" and wondering to myself why in the hell nobody sings like this anymore.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Aunt Betty

Life is fragile.

My aunt, Betty Wyatt, fought our ultimate fate for several years after being diagnosed with cancer in 2003. Funny thing, though. She caught a cold. Handicapped with one lung from the '03 cancer, it was too much to bear.

Betty died last night about 8:15.

She was from Tazewell, but moved with my grandfather's brother, Leon, to Miamisburg, Ohio, after marrying. We'd visit them often in the summers. I still remember going to the Ohio State Fair in Columbus one year to see Crystal Gayle.

After I was finally able to come home from the hospital as a newborn, my grandmother was afraid to feed me because I was so small (2 pounds). Undeterred, Betty, who was home visiting, grabbed my tiny bottle and went to work. I must have done OK.

My favorite part of visiting Miamisburg was going in the mornings to Betty's brother Lynn's diner, the Koffee Kup. I'd play the Statler Brothers on the jukebox in between bites of pancakes and eggs. Lynn would stand in one spot behind the counter and talk. He, too, is gone now.

I loved Aunt Betty in that special way that you attach yourself to certain relatives. I loved her and Uncle Leon so much in fact that my parents used to trick me into eating certain foods I didn't like by saying they came from Ohio. It worked every time.

I'm thankful Betty is no longer suffering, but will miss her more than I have it within my power to say. Memories of her, and of summer trips to Miamisburg, are quite poignant and bittersweet on this Friday morning.

They will remain so.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

'Will Penny': The brooding loner, unable to love

Curiosity got the better of me.

After reading in all those tributes last week to Charlton Heston that he considered "Will Penny" to be his best role, I surfed over to Netflix and moved the late '60s western to the top of my queue. Watched it last night after work and I must say it's quite an interesting picture.

It's a rather quiet western in a curious way and, if you overlook the cliches and all-too-cute plot devices, not a bad movie. Heston plays an aging, solitary cowboy who never has stopped long enough to form any meaningful relationships and can't seem to rise above his personal limitations as a man.

Will Penny is leaving a cattle drive and looking for winter work when he and two cowpunchers (Lee Majors and Anthony Zerbe) run into nefarious preacher Quint (Donald Pleasence) and his crazy family. The Quints shoot Zerbe over an elk and promise further trouble, which they manage to deliver at inopportune times throughout the film.

Penny eventually breaks with the cowpunchers and finds work on the Flat Iron Ranch, where he bumps back into Catherine Allen (Joan Hackett) and her son Horace (Jon Francis). Penny says he's going to have to report the Allens, who are squatting in a cabin on the Flat Iron, to the foreman (Ben Johnson). But, as these things go, he develops an attachment to mother and son and finds himself falling in love with Catherine.

But the Quint family shows back up to cause trouble, Penny is unsure of himself and in the end, he makes a choice. And it's that choice, and the final moments of this film, complete with echoes of "Shane," that make it memorable.

Hackett was the perfect choice to play the female lead. The producers wisely opted against a Hollywood bombshell in favor of a meaty actor who could play this role with a heightened sense of realism.

Anytime Ben Johnson shows up in a film is a good thing, and Pleasence plays the heavy with his typical elan. Ratty Bruce Dern is along for the ride, too. Writer/director Tom Gries peppers his script with witty dialogue and moments that seem, well, real.

As is the case with most of these type of westerns, the plot is full of circumstantial twists that wouldn't happen in a million years. But as a character study, "Will Penny" surely stands out in the long history of Hollywood oaters.

Heston almost rises above his limitations as an actor, delivering as nuanced a performance as he was able to give. And, for better or worse, I found a lot of myself lurking beneath the brooding exterior of Will Penny, which I guess gave me plenty of other things to think about.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The mists of time

The tune was familiar, tinkling just so above the conversation, and I'm blaming a headache for not recognizing it sooner.

I ducked into the Half Barrel on the Strip about 4 to meet my friend and superb history professor Steve Ash. We try to get together once a year or so to catch up.

Steve teaches undergraduate classes on both Tennessee history and Civil War/Reconstruction at UT. He's an excellent lecturer and historian. I can recall leaving his sessions with a tinge of regret, wishing I could sit there for another hour and hear more about the plot to remove Andrew Johnson from office.

Another excellent professor, Lorri Glover, couldn't join us yesterday, so Steve told me all about his new book and we talked about the state of the world and swapped names of historians we liked and books we've loved. I told him about a longstanding project I've had bouncing around profiling a Marine unit in Vietnam. Steve thinks I have something and encouraged me to get off my butt and write the book.

Somewhere amid the talk about Bruce Catton and Thornton Wilder, I heard the song. Familiar. Friendly.

Finally, realization struck. RobinElla.

I noticed that the guy behind the bar was playing music via iTunes. I couldn't quite tell, but I think the song was "Waiting," from Robin's last album, "Solace for the Lonely." I smiled and thought about the rainy Friday night in Maryville when she sang "Left, Right, Back Together," and I swore later I'd never heard anything quite so beautiful.

Steve told me to stay in touch and disappeared into the afternoon. I finished my burger and drove back toward Halls, high on music and conversation, wishing I'd never left my dreams of becoming a historian lying back there somewhere in the mists of time.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Intrigue on a train, in glorious black-and-white

The April rain turned the baseball diamond into a mud puddle Friday night, so I grabbed a burger and headed home. Plopped down in front of the TV and enjoyed a great little film noir classic from 1952 called "The Narrow Margin."

Tightly directed by Richard Fleischer (who would later go on to helm the Disney version of "20,000 Leagues under the Sea"), the action takes place on a train headed from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Detective Sgt. Walter Brown (Charles McGraw) is assigned to escort a mobster's wife (Marie Windsor) to testify before a grand jury. Oops, but his partner gets killed and the bad guys know that Mrs. Neall is on the train, too.

But as is the case with these kind of films, nothing is quite what it seems. I should have seen the proverbial twist coming from a mile away, but I didn't.

McGraw is excellent as the sterotypical police detective and Windsor shines in her surprising role. "The Narrow Margin" is a very simple film in terms of plot. What makes it enjoyable is the atmosphere and the characters -- highlights of any good film in this genre.

The film also rekindled my passion for passenger trains, which have as you know all but vanished from the United States, other than in the northeast. I drove to Nashville earlier in the year to attend a baseball banquet and wished so much that I could have driven to the L&N and hopped a Pullman to the Music City. (Now that gas is $3.16 a gallon it makes me really wish I could do so.)

Ahh, well. I guess that's what old movies are for. If you could do it in real life, it wouldn't look near as romantic in glorious black-and-white.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

'April's strange, sweet sadness'

One of our columnists, Lynn Hutton, wrote a piece this week on things that make her heart sing. Editing through the copy, one stood out:

April's strange, sweet sadness

This is, without question, my favorite month of the year. There's so much to celebrate: spring and baseball and afternoon rains and days that make you glad to be alive. But I know what Lynn means about this so-called cruelest month.

Part of it is family history. My sister died in April. An uncle was killed tragically one year just before Easter.

Part of it is personal. For the last few years, my kidneys have develop stones the last weekend in April. Strange, isn't it? Here's hoping that dubious trend gets bucked this year.

Part of it is historical. The Civil War began -- and ended -- during the fourth month of the year. Lincoln was killed on Good Friday, 1865. (By the way, I'm quite tired of these ignorant neo-Confederates who practice fast and loose historical revisionism with Lincoln and his legacy. But I digress. That's another story for another day.)

April has a gentle beauty to it that the other months lack. I'm not quite sure why, although it has to be wrapped up in the newness of spring. April is like a newborn baby -- pure and beautiful, but delicate.

I went walking on the greenway trail yesterday afternoon and marveled at the beauty of the moment. A rabbit appeared on the sidewalk, not bothering to hop away until I was close enough to grab it.

I wish I could grab this month, hold onto it awhile, keep it with me as protection against the stifling realities of July and August.

But, no. April's beauty does bring with it a strange, sweet sadness, more than enough for one person to consume in 30 days.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Go down, 'Moses'

I never will forget the first time I saw "Planet of the Apes."

I was a kid -- something like 12 or 13 -- and still remember the chill that went up my spine when Charlton Heston’s character discovers what planet he’s really stumbled onto at the end of the film. I thought about that moment Sunday morning when Charles Osgood told me on CBS "Sunday Morning" that Heston had slipped the surly bonds of earth.

Chuck Heston wasn’t really that great an actor. He tended to be a bit wooden and, in those ’70s disaster flicks, almost became a caricature of himself. His best role, certainly, was in the quiet western "Will Penny." Osgood said the other day that Heston himself named this film as his best role.

But he was an icon certainly, playing all those larger than life biblical characters in a slew of films. My favorite was his wild portrayal of John the Baptist in "The Greatest Story Ever Told."

("Repent! The kingdom of Heaven is at hand!")

A few months ago, I watched one of his mid-70s camp classics, "Two-Minute Warning," and must say I was entertained. That was one thing about Heston’s movies. You might not get an Oscar winner, but you were rarely bored.

He was a political activist, too, stumping for Civil Rights long before that became fashionable in Hollywood, and standing up for his beliefs on politics and gun control later in life. Whether you agreed with him or not, you had to admire him for never backing down from what he thought was right.

My friend Dean said over the weekend that Heston, other than maybe somebody like Clint Eastwood, is the last major star from Hollywood’s classic era left, and even Eastwood didn’t start making his name in motion pictures until the ’70s.

Godspeed to you, Chuck. I’m glad you’re no longer suffering from that terrible disease. Nobody deserves such pain.

Thanks for the memories.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

The simple joys of the season

This time of year is like one big Technicolor motion picture come to life.

No, really. The grass is greener, the sky is a deeper hue of blue, everything is alive and I just get to feeling good despite myself.

Even if the Tigers can’t figure out how to win a darn ball game. But that’s another post for another day.

Yesterday, we took in Sunday brunch at the Downtown Grill. Quite nice, I must say. Dean ordered steak and eggs; Allison enjoyed the French toast. I branched out and tried something called Mountain Eggs -- cooked in a muffin pan. Good stuff.

We walked down Gay Street as the sun began to peek through the clouds. Ducking into the Mast General Store, we spotted Halls guy David Wayland downstairs in the outdoor gear. David works downtown on Sunday afternoons after church. He was the longtime guidance counselor at Halls High and says he is enjoying retirement.

From there, we headed south to the Bijou for the KSO Chamber Classics’ "All Mozart" concert. Maestro Lucas Richman took to the piano for the first selection, "Quartet in G Minor for Piano and Strings, K. 478." After intermission, the chamber orchestra performed Mozart’s final symphony, "No. 41 in C Major, K. 551," also known as the "Jupiter" symphony.

We walked out of the grand old Bijou into the golden sunlight of a spring afternoon. I didn’t want to sit at home on such a pretty day, and the UT baseball team had already concluded their abbreviated game with Florida, so I drove out to West Knox and took in a Chinese dinner with friends.

My former boss and good friend "The Rat" gave me a belated birthday present -- a collection of wartime correspondence between Random House co-founders Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. Sounds nerdy, I know, but Cerf is one of my all-time favorite human beings. He surely led a charmed life.

I drove home in the fading twilight, Sinatra playing gently on the iPod (This time, we almost made the pieces fit, didn’t we, girl?), quite thankful for the simple joys of the season.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Might as well be spring

One thing I love to do on cool spring nights is open the windows and let the air stir around the house. Usually this is accompanied by the velvet voice of Vin Scully, or Mario Impemba, or other favorite announcers, as they describe the action on the baseball diamond. I would do this tonight, in fact, were it not raining cats and dogs.

As it is I’m here in the office, typing copy, listening to Dan Dickerson tell me that the Tigers are blowing yet another one to the Royals up in Motown. Dang it, this team was picked to win the World Series. Good thing there’s 159 of these things left to go.

I like to walk in the early evening, during that period known as twilight (or "magic time" if you’re a fan of author W.P. Kinsella). One can feel so alive this time of year, full of vigor and hope.

Haven’t been feeling too well this week. I’m hoping to change that this weekend by hitting the Halls Greenway Trail if I feel better and it doesn’t keep raining.

BTW, I’m on a quest to find a vinyl copy of Joe Cocker’s "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" album. I found mine as I was cleaning things out before my move. Alas, it’s scratched all to pieces. CD would be OK, but there’s something special about that black vinyl.

Oh, well. Enough rambling. Time to get back to work.

Here’s hoping the Tigers can figure out how to score runs. They’re getting paid enough...