November 15, 2013 2 comments
On October 20, 2013 the Boston Red Sox concluded the World Series with a Game 6 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. Matt Carpenter’s feeble swipe at closer Koji Uehara’s dive-bombing split fingered fastball sealed the deal.
Baseball is the dinosaur of sports.
Indeed, back in my early prepubescent days of fandom Roger Angell was writing his essay “The Leaping Corpse” in his compilation THE SUMMER GAME to refute those who claimed baseball to be moribund.
In the bar where I tend bar our crowd was happy and without the kind of anger one senses all too often at sports events. Having worked since 11:30 A.M. I was all too happy to be able to relax and enjoy the victory. My manager let me off a little early and I savored a Barenjager before commencing the 10 minute walk home.
I have moral reservations regarding Boston’s imposition of virtual martial law for the World Series if only for 1 night. Having said that the prohibition of re-entering a bar following an exit spared the bar’s security AND bar staff from dealing with those already close to intoxication. Additionally, public safety was served by limiting the bar-hopping which would create a progressively more intoxicated crowd on the streets of the Fenway Park area.
To be sure Park Drive did sport an overturned vehicle and the intersection of Mass. Ave. and Boylston St. featured a fool jumping on the top of a moving cab but the virtual army of MA State Police, Boston Police and private security on the streets surrounding Fenway Park deterred the most excessive elements of victory.
Upon awakening on Thursday I wolfed down 3 Whole Foods Market Bean and Rice burritos and headed to Symphony Market at the corner of Hemenway and Boylston to buy a …
Newspapers are the dinosaur of media.
(I especially enjoy reading the paper in my Coelacanth t-shirt).
Being of a certain generation I retain the habits of the analog 20th. Century. While I must confess to a certain fondness for CNN the websites of the NEW YORK TIMES, BOSTON GLOBE/boston.com and even the WALL STREET JOURNAL offer little for the literate.
(By way of contrast the BOSTON HERALD‘s website is exactly on the same literary level as its cellulose sire).
Newspapers provide me with a degree of negativity that is comforting and informative. Even the most dire reportage of war, crime and corruption is read silently. Editorials advocating ideas that I would turn off on television or the Internet get their due of mental bandwidth. Expressions that would my prompt my feet to move away from the speaker only make my reading more critical.
The beauty of newspaper journalism is in reading silently. Reading silently casts all voices in one’s own. Televised or digitally generated images are produced to appeal. The dirty gets cleaned, the clean gets sensationalized and all is reduced to a 25-words-or-less format.
Radio news offers the hottest, most timely information and relates salient points in the most efficient fashion.
However my favorite voice is my own.
My inner voice takes even the most disquieting material and casts it as dialog for my own internal dialog. I read things that I would never watch or listen to.
Literacy blesses us in this most ephemeral yet tangible of means.
So it was a pleasant shock to see the once-familiar green and yellow BOSTON GLOBE panel truck, (surely an archaic vehicle), unloading bundles of GLOBEs into the Symphony Market. I have long observed the diminishing number of papers being offered for sale at various purveyors and was taken aback at seeing an early afternoon delivery.
Stumbling, pre caffeine, into Symphony Market I saw that there were no BOSTON HERALDs for sale. I bought 2 BOSTON GLOBEs for $1.25 a piece.
(I remember when a GLOBE was .25).
“Oh man, everyone is buying a paper today,” said the nameless but familiar face behind the counter as he held up a BOSTON GLOBE with a jubilant Koji Uehara on the cover.
“Oh man, I sold out of all of my HERALDS. I had to call the office to get 2 more bundles of GLOBEs,” he added.
While the counterman spoke some guy came in and bought 2 GLOBEs plunking down $2.50
…read the banner headline over the image of an ecstatic Koji Uehara being surrounded by his teammates…
Then it struck me…these people were buying the paper in order to keep it more than to read it. More than a souvenir, the GLOBE was a talisman of victory rendered significant by the Marathon terror.
Kinship is not something I feel tremendously often. Community is more of a concept and aspiration than my way of life. So it was oddly gratifying that here in the foyer of Symphony Market, caffeine challenged on the day after the World Series I Found others who acted as I.
(If you choose to make your newspaper a keepsake the Ri-Pac 16″ x 11″ Zip Lock Reclosable Freezer Storage Bag is a good choice. (ZipLoc is a brand name that has become a generic). The frosted exterior prevents damaging UV rays from marring the newsprint).
My 10/31/2004 BOSTON GLOBE SPECIAL COMMEMORATIVE SECTION’s cover featuring Keith Foulke’s pumped fist is still resplendent in all of its colorful glory.
Alongside on my bookshelf is a BOSTON GLOBE SPECIAL COMMEMORATIVE SECTION of 10/29/2007 featuring Jason Varitek leaping into the arms of Jonathan Papelbon.
2013 will fit right next to them ensconced in a Ri-Pac 16″ x 11″.
With any luck they should last as long as I do.
Kinship is not something I feel tremendously often.
Community is more of a concept and aspiration than my way of life, so it is oddly gratifying that my caffeine challenged self found others that acted as I because of the Red Sox winning the World Series.
Baseball and the BOSTON GLOBE: Dinosaurs mating!
P.S. It is more than apropos that the 8/3/2013 FORBES magazine details Red Sox’ majority owner John Henry’s acquisition of the BOSTON GLOBE.
Mr. Henry details his rational for buying the GLOBE in his editorial of 10/27/2013 available at:
Dinosaurs ARE mating! I wonder what the kids will look like!
October 29, 2013 Leave a comment
Bill Mazer passed on Wednesday, October 23, 2013. He was 92.
Mr. Mazer is the root of my more serious impulses of sports fandom. Mr. Mazer was a pioneer on two fronts. As the host of his WNBC-AM 66 sports talk show Mr. Mazer anticipated the absurd number of sports talk shows that have since populated radio, TV and the Internet.
Along with Lee Leonard Mr. Mazer’s WNEW Metromedia 5 Sunday evening SPORTS EXTRA was SPORTSCENTER before ESPN ever laid a cable.
Mr. Mazer was born in 1920 in the Ukraine when that territory was part of the Soviet Union. He graduated from the University of Michigan before serving in the Pacific in WW II per Richard Goldstein 10/23/2012 www.nytimes.com
As was the case with so many sports broadcast journalists of that time, Marty Glickman provided assistance as Mr. Mazer landed his first media job at WGR Radio and TV in Buffalo, N.Y. In 1964 Mr. Mazer made his way to New York and WNBC AM 66.
The first radio show I can remember deliberately tuning into was Mr. Mazer’s on WNBC AM 66. That show anticipated the absurd number of sports talk shows that now populate radio, TV and the Internet.
(Mom always liked Mr. Mazer for being “so nice” to the kids who called up the show).
The sports mediascape of that time consisted largely of empty platitudes. With the civil rights era becoming more contentious and Muhammad Ali being stripped of his Heavyweight title Mr. Mazer’s incisive commentary informed his audience of a sports world that no longer existed in a cultural vacuum.
Mr. Mazer had a serious side equal to that of his contemporary Howard Cosell without Mr. Cosell’s needless rancor.
(Dad was the furthest thing from a baseball fan but I recall Dad and I listening to our gray Emerson AM radio while Mr. Mazer unraveled the complexity of Curt Flood’s fight against MLB’s reserve clause. Dad remarked, “Mazer would make a good lawyer).
On any medium Mr. Mazer knew more than the score and frequently made references to ”wheel plays”, “red dogging” and “safety defensemen” without making the audience feel as if they were being talked down to. Unlike today’s psychoanalyzing pundits Mr. Mazer’s frame of reference was always what actually happened during a contest.
Trivia was always in the playbook. Dad purchased Mazer’s SPORTS ANSWER BOOK, Grosset & Dunlap, 1966, for my Christmas gift of 1969 and its pages were well-thumbed. Mr. Mazer’s knowledge of sports history went well beyond the days’ scores. Mr. Mazer gave this 11 year-old a passing acquaintance with Man O’ War, Sonja Henje, Vasily Alekseyev and the historic dimensions of Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Mr. Mazer’s knowledge of history lent a moral dimension to his work. I vividly recall Mr. Mazer’s show following the murder of the Israeli Olympians at the 1972 Munich summer Games. Mazer’s contrasting the 1972 atrocity with Jess Owens’ triumph over Nazism would be above the aspirations of most of the sports media and below the minds of the mainstream news media.
It is a talisman of Mr. Mazer’s moral authority that the thoughts provoked in that 14 year-old remain in this man’s mind.
SPORTS CENTER was a precursor to ESPN’s SPORTSCENTER. Mazer, along with co-host Lee Leonard who was the very 1st. person to appear on ESPN, this weekend wrap-up show brought all of the New York market’s teams together with a lively mix of highlights and commentary.
(Mr. Mazer treated Rutgers’ basketball and the NBA New Jersey Nets as equals, which come to think of it, they were).
On occasion thoughtful guests such as Dick Schaap and NBC’s MLB statistician Allan Roth were guests for reasons other than self-promotion. SPORTS EXTRA rose above the fodder of that time…and ours.
Mr. Mazer had a long career. The sheer number of memories posted online attest to the large number and portions of brains claimed by Mr. Mazer.
Kind AND sharp, fun AND scholarly are the adjectives prompted by the passing of Mr. Mazer.
Bit by byte, childhood recedes.
July 30, 2013 Leave a comment
The trial of George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin ended in Mr. Zimmerman’s acquittal on the charges of manslaughter and 2nd. Degree Murder.
My interpretation of this verdict is simple: No witness=not guilty.
I would have voted for acquittal based on what I read of the case while it transpired. It is worth writing that I did not follow the case via CNN’s constant coverage and barely glanced at the Yahoo! News website.
As with the case in the trials of O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony a highly disproportionate amount of the public’s bandwidth was occupied by these carnivals of crime and media.
The sequence of events that preceded Mr. Martin’s death is a matter of speculation at best. Juror B-37 on AC360 7/21/2013 offered that Mr. Martin contributed “hugely” to his own demise at the weapon of Mr. Zimmerman. Even Trayvon Martin’s father couldn’t positively identify his son’s voice from the garbled audio.
“Profiling” is one of the salient issues in this case. My experiences in Allston in 1986 and in Back Bay, Boston in 1995 have unalterably convinced me that profiling takes place. No, I do not think that this is because both of these incidents occurred in Boston.
However the “profiling” done by a police department is much different from Mr. Zimmerman’s pursuit. Police officers have considerable training and are paid to do what they do. Indeed, the police officer may have considerable information regarding the Modus Operandi of someone questioned whether that person fits an existent profile or a witness’s description.
However, Mr. Zimmerman is not a police officer or even a private security guard. He was an off-duty volunteer for a Home Owners Association/HOA. ‘Volunteer’ conjures up associations of altruism and devotion to causes other than self-interest. However as egregious as the intrusion of a police officer may be one always has recourse against the police.
The Miranda warning, booking and arraignment procedures and all the phases of due process mitigate the power of the state to do its will.
Indeed, a private security guard of the type contracted from Allied-Barton, the Boston area’s leading provider of contracted security, is specifically taught to follow instructions from the police. I was a residential concierge for Allied-Barton for 3 months and a residential concierge for Tillinger’s Concierge for 3 years and 8 months and in both of my stints we were told very specifically to follow any instructions from the police to the letter upon pain of dismissal.
A volunteer is unencumbered by management supervision of professional law enforcement boundaries..
My suspicion is that the veneer of a volunteer helping his community clung to Mr. Zimmerman and made it difficult for the jury to think of Mr. Zimmerman having malicious intent.
What is truly problematic about this case is that gated communities and “exclusive” urban multi-unit complexes are spawning a virtual army of private security and volunteers. The security folks I know have been working folks making a living. Many of them aspire to careers in law enforcement and the need to create a positive employment background mitigates the worst impulses of contracted security.
Additionally, Allie-Barton in Boston is known for dismissing employees for wearing the wrong socks so disregarding company policy is unlikely.
Volunteers of both commercial HOAs and neighborhood watch groups are far more problematic. Armed with little training and less aptitude they attempt to serve without the training of police officers or the constraints of private security.
One of the questions of the Trayvon Martin’s death is why a Neighborhood Watch of The Retreat at Twin Lakes HOA thought it appropriate to allow Mr. Zimmerman to possess deadly force while doing his rounds. (Mr. Zimmerman was carrying his weapon legally).
However this was not a question for the jury to deliberate.
My inkling is that Mr. Zimmerman is a cop wannabe. From his car Mr. Zimmerman saw Trayvon Martin who didn’t appear to be from the “community” and decided it was time to “step up” to quell the perceived threat.
A telling aspect of this confrontation is that Mr. Zimmerman was driving to the grocery store at the time. He was not on duty for Neighborhood Watch of The Retreat at Twin Lakes, Sanford, FL.
Not surprisingly Mr. Martin objects to Mr. Zimmmerman’s “stepping up” and gives Mr. Zimmerman a piece of his mind. Mr. Zimmerman goes back to his car and calls the police. The police explicitly instruct Mr. Zimmerman to remain in his car.
Mr. Martin calls his friend Rachel Jeantel. Ms. Jeantel tells Mr. Martin that Mr. Zimmerman might be a “rapist”. Hmm.
Mr. Martin and Mr. Zimmerman meet again as Mr. Zimmerman, for whatever reason, elects to disregard the police’s explicit instructions and a physical confrontation takes place.
From this point what happened and in what sequence is speculation. The 2 things that are certain is that Mr. Martin is dead and Mr. Zimmerman is injured.
Mr. Zimmerman is taken into custody, questioned for 5 hours and released without being arrested as evidently the police take his version of the event at face value.
Wikipedia SHOOTING OF TRAYVON MARTIN Citation 68 “George Zimmerman: Trayvon Martin attacked me” CNN 6/21/2012
I find it hard to believe that any police force would release a person involved with a violent death with such a perfunctory investigation. Legally and morally a violent death deserves more attention than did the death of Trayvon Martin.
The apparent acceptance of Mr. Zimmerman’s version of Mr. Martin’s death without reservation marks the Sanford, FL police as incompetent regardless of the verdict that was eventually reached.
Mr. Martin’s parents were deeply upset, the case reached the public, Mr. Zimmerman was arrested and a trial was held.
I did not follow the case via TV or internet. I cling to my 20th. Century habits and derive most of my news from newspapers and radio as these anachronistic platforms are less sensationalistic than TV and Internet news. Even the BOSTON HERALD has more substance than CNN, FOX, CNBC…etc.
While the public debate over the verdict continues on CNN the public policy debate has barely been broached. Gated communities and “exclusive” urban homeowner and rental properties will certainly continue to encourage volunteers to “protect” their communities in the face of real and perceived shortcomings by law enforcement.
Legal standards must be set for for contracted security and volunteers of HOAs and rental establishments.
Volunteers should not be armed. Off-duty volunteers should not be intervening in police matters.
Thornier still is the deployment of legally armed private security. Perhaps we are returning to the days of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN defending condominiums.
My brother Peter is an attorney and judge, albeit not a criminal attorney or judge. this past Christmas we discussed the case. Peter offered that “self defense laws need to be very carefully written.” He added that “Mr. Zimmerman forfeited any ‘stand your ground’ defense when Mr. Zimmerman left his car.
Indeed the “stand your ground” defense was not legally cited during the trial. If proffered this would have made Mr. Zimmerman immune to prosecution under FL criminal law
On the juror note I think it entirely inappropriate for jurors to go on TV, the Internet or print media recalling the deliberation process.
Furthermore, TV cameras have contributed to the media circus atmosphere that we call reality TV. It might be useful for TV to voluntarily return to the days of ‘Artist Rendering’ sketches to lessen the hyperbole and protect the privacy of all involved in the proceedings.
One would hope that these changes would transpire out of common sense but…
Is this a “racial incident”?
All of this is in the light of diminishing crime, especially black-on-white crime. Indeed, our current era of black-on-black crime was heralded by N.W.A.’s STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON.
The gentrification of many urban areas, Trayvon Martin was with his father visiting his father’s fiancee at The Retreat at Twin Lakes, the popularity of hip-hop, the electing of Governors’ Wilder/VA, Patrick/MA and President Obama are evidence that skin color is not quite as conducive to stereotypes as it once was.
Yet, a visceral, physical fear of black guys remains when there is the potential for confrontation regardless of how the confrontation begins.
Mr. Zimmerman is one of these folks.
“Concerned neighbor” and/either/or “cop wannabe” Mr. Zimmerman turned to deadly force to resolve a conflict. Everything else is speculation.
Whether Trayvon Martin was a “good kid in a hoodie” or someone who “played a huge role” in his own death as Juror B-37 said on CA360 is speculation.
The events of the very last moments of Trayvon Martin’s life are without witness.
On Monday July 20 I saw on AC360 the prosecution’s summation. Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda described Mr. Zimmerman as a “cop wannabe” and then urged the jury to “look into their hearts.”
This is akin to saying that ‘the evidence isn’t very strong’.
Trayvon Martin’s parents are everlasting victims. Our 24/7, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube digital world will have Trayvon Martin dying and dying again and again in virtual relaity.
The trial of the Trayvon Martin’s parents will be endless.
July 12, 2013 Leave a comment
The Funkmaster Flex martini is the foster child of the Dr. Funk cocktail.
2 1/2 Oz. Myer’s Jamican rum
1/4 oz. Pernod anise liquer
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/4 oz. grenadine
1/4 oz. sugar
The Dr. Funk is made with crushed ice in a shaker. The lime is cut in half, squeezed and the shells and sugar are added. Shake well and pour all ingredients into a Tiki glass and top with club soda.
The Dr. Funk is an early 60′s Tiki bar favorite. The Boston of the late 70s boasted the Kon-Tiki, named after the Thor Heyerdahl’s non-fiction book KON TIKI which chronicled the tale of floating from Fiji to America by raft, located in the Sheraton Boston slot now occupied by the SideBar.
Comm. Ave.’s Somerset building featured Aku-Aku’s “Polynesian” food and cocktails. Both food and drink featured lots of sugar, copious amounts of Red Dye #2 and paper umbrellas.
The 80s brought the demise of these establishments leaving the Harvard Square and Fanueil Hall Hong Kongs’ to carry the flag of Dr. Funk.
As it does so often cocktail culture began strip mining the past in the 21st. Century as Lansdowne St.’s Tiki Bar and Kingston St’s, Peeping Duck brought a revival of faux Cantonese food and Tiki Bar drinks.
During my brief but educational tim at the Harvard Square Hong Kong we served the Dr. Funk, along with a variety of Tiki drinks.
The Funkmaster Flex was born of hip-hop. At the dawn of the 21st. Century I was working once a week in a bar in one of Boston’s outer reaches.
(This tavern is no longer in existence)
A gentleman stepped to the bar and asked for a “hip-hop” drink.
“Nice or nasty? “, I asked.
“Nice AND nasty,” he replied.
When I was asked for a “nice” hip-hop drink the Henne Russian was my go-to. 2 parts Hennessy, 1 part Kahlua and a splash of milk. On the rocks for clubs, which rarely permit glassware at hip-hop events much less stemware, and as a martini in more genteel environments. The Henne Russian is a remixed version of the Brandy Alexander with the Hennessy lending the cache’ of hip-hop and Kahlua standing in for the brown Creme de Cacao of the 1940′s classic. (The Brandy Alexander’s classic version featured half-and-half which is too thick for modern mouths).
When “nasty” was requested my mix was the Beat Box, 2 parts Hennessy to 1 part Peppermint Schnapps. The Beat box was a remix with a quickness of the classic Stinger again up-scaling from brandy to Hennessy and replacing white Creme de Menthe with Peppermint Schnapps.
A burn to the tip of the tongue with a long, sweet swallow to follow.
As detailed in my recipes for the Floratini and Metropolitan gender is a primary factor in cocktail preference. Most men, with a few significant exceptions like burn. Most women, with a few significance exceptions, like sweetness. This determines the flavor profile of the drink.
“Nice AND nasty!”
Bartending can accelerate the brain without resort to coffee or Red Bull as your reputation and your employer’s reputation is hanging on every drop.
Funk is the root of hip-hop. James Brown’s epochal “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” featured the baritone sax of Maceo Parker as the hook playing tag with the staccato guitar of Jimmy Nolen, ushering in an era. Beginning with James’ throaty “Papa…” the chorus, verse, chorus, verse bridge structure reversed the constraints of pop and served notice that rhythm ruled. The seminal funk of James Brown gestated into the Sugarhill Gang’s 1979 “Rapper’s Delight” and music would never be the same.
“Nice AND nasty,” the guest repeated.
From the CD jukebox in the corner the Jay-Z/Jermaine Dupri hit “Money Ain’t a Thang” blared in all of its materialistic majesty.
“…bubble hard in my Double R…new whips…money ain’t a thang”, Jay-Z’s authoritative flow gave words to the cover art of HARD KNOCK LIFE PART II bringing car culture to the beat.
“Nice AND nasty!”
My brain is in cocktail overdrive and all I can think about is cars! (Disclosure: I don’t even have a driver’s license). And then an idea made its way into one of unused sections of my cerebellum. YO! MTV RAPS had begun featuring a segment featuring NY’s HOT 97 personality Funkmaster Flex displaying “tricked out whips”. “Whips” are mentioned prominently in the Jay-Z/Jermaine Dupri jam “Money Ain’t a Thang” jam playing on the jukebox at that very instant.
So I took a chance that the gentleman knew who Funkmaster Flex was and declared:
“I’ll make you a Funkmaster Flex,” I said and began the mental process of remixology.
Cocktail knowledge is based on basing drinks on other drinks so I knew that Dr. Funk’s remix into Funkmaster Flex would stay in mind.
To make the drink “hip-hop” I substituted Hennessy for Myer’s rum. The tavern I was working at did not carry Pernod which is just as well as the chartreuse coloration of Pernod French anise would detract from the Funkmaster Flex’s visual appeal. I substituted Sambuca which is clear and offered the virtue of being hotter/nastier than Pernod.
As of late drinks have been served in ever larger glasses and seeing as how the tavern did not offer martini glasses, we were in the outer reach of Boston, I made the drink in an iced 16 oz. acrylic glass. This necessitated using sour mix, O.J. and pineapple juice to create visual value and make it “nice“. 2 drops of grenadine gives the impression of added value and casts the cocktail in a lovely color that calls to mind Tropicana’s Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice.
“Here is your Funkmaster Flex!”
“Yo, this is nice AND nasty!”
Thus the Funkmaster Flex was born and it has been a player in my cocktail repertoire since back in the day.
1.5 oz. Hennessy
3/4 oz. Sambuca
1 oz. sour mix
1 oz. O.J.
1 oz. Pineapple juice
2 dots grenadine
Fill a martini glass with ice water.
Fill a 24 oz. shaker with ice.
Pour all ingredients into the shaker and top shaker with mixing glass.
Shake until the frost line climbs to the top of the mixing glass.
dispose of ice water in martini glass.
Break shaker and mixing glass into martini glass.
Garnish with lemon flag.
REMIXOLOGY: REINVENTING CLASSIC COCKTAILS FOR MODERN MOUTHS
Oh yeah, feel free to rename this concoction. (“Nice and Nasty” would almost certainly fit the bill). As always position the glass under the bar spots for maximum visual appeal.
BOSTON SPORTS: June 23, 2013-June29, 2013, Highlights of the Off Season…PATRIOTS, BRUINS, CELTICS, CHANGE CULTURE, PASSING
June 28, 2013 Leave a comment
A guy goes into a sports apparel store.
Patriots) “Do you have any Patriots Aaron Hernandez jerseys?”
“We have them in stripes.”
Bruins) “Do you have any Bruins Stanley Cup Champions shirts?”
“You’re 17 seconds too late as the last 2 were just sold.”
Celtics) “Do you have any Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett jerseys?”
“The delivery was routed to Brooklyn.”
June 14, 2013 Leave a comment
1) You know that President Obama is younger than yourself.
2) You used to look at your hair in the mirror, now you look at your hair in the sink.
3) You remember when President Kennedy was killed.
4) Your age is 7.8571428 in dog years.
5) You have no recollection of your grandparents but you know that they were born in the 19th. Century.
6) You know your cholesterol count as well as what David Wright of the Mets is hitting. (122 and .275)
7) You remember when people protested war.
8) You refer to any song as a “good record.”
9) You say “Thank you for your time”, without irony.
10) You realize that deaths of contemporaries are no longer “unexpected” or “tragic” but…deaths of contemporaries.
June 11, 2013 2 comments