Posts Tagged ‘Passing’

CHANGE 2018 remix: 10 signs of age

June 13, 2018 1 comment

1)  You are 420 years of age in dog years.

2)  Hello to Mom and Dad.

3)  First MLB players were younger than oneself,

Then MLB players were younger than oneself,

Now MLB stadiums are younger. (Boston’s own Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field are still older).

4)  You “left home” 40 years ago.

5)  Most of your former employers are out of business.

6)  One’s brain has been re-tooled to digital but the thoughts are still analog and that is a good thing.

7)  One’s threshold of pain has increased significantly in the last few years enabling work and exercise unimaginable 5 years ago.

8)  Deaths of friends who have been friends for 30+ years makes one realize that 30+ years of friendship are highly unlikely among current compatriots.

9)  Lifelong regret regarding M.S. and J.M.  Some things can’t be and shouldn’t be forgiven.

10)  39 years a vegetarian!


HAIKU 5*7*5*Spring

February 21, 2016 1 comment

Baseball is the thing

Pitchers and catchers report

The first sign of spring

CHANGE 2015 remix: 10 Signs of Age

1) Your age is 399 in dog years.

2) “Fortunate” is the only way to describe the fact that one’s “troubles” have gotten fewer over the decades.

3) “Youth is wasted on the young is no longer a hoary cliche,” but something directly applicable to your life.

4) Your best friend passes who knows things about you that no one else knows and at this point anyone is likely to ever know.  A short-term but very real friend with the same first name comes to mind.  You let this person down and attempt to make amends.  The past can’t be changed, the future…?

5) First Lady Michelle Obama’s fitness program ‘Move It’ reminds you of the Technotronic hit “Move It” back in 1992 which is 23 years ago!  But Michelle Obama is younger than yourself.

6)  AARP sends you hard copy literature while the Middle East nightclub sends email alerts for the Shonen Knife show that you will be attending on June 24.

7) There is very little that hair care products can do for you at a certain point in life…like now.

8) Weightlifting is fun!

9) You have ties older than your nieces who are 22 and 20.

10) Mom and Dad’s tirades are much missed these days.








Michio Kushi: July 17,1926-December 28, 2014

January 16, 2015 Leave a comment

Michio Kushi passed on 12/28/2014 from pancreatic cancer. 

The 1st. Unitarian Universalist Arlington St. Church here in Boston will be hosting a memorial service and reception at 12 noon on January 31, 2015

Mr. Kushi was a proponent and teacher of macrobiotics, literally “large life,” and the founder of the Erewhon natural food stores in Boston and Cambridge and the 7th. Inn and Sanae restaurants here in Boston.

Folks are sometimes surprised to learn that  I have been a vegetarian for over 35 years.

It was with sadness that I learned of the passing of Mr. Kushi although we had never met.

Mr. Kushi’s Boston store at 342 Newbury St; currently occupied by a Ralph Lauren ‘Rugby’ store  was where much of my early education as a vegetarian was gleaned.

(Erewhon also had a store on Mass. Ave. in Cambridge, MA between Harvard and Porter Squares).

My veggieism began covertly as even I wasn’t completely cognizant of  the first stirrings of what has come to be a life-long path.  During my very first time living outside of the confines of my Mom I was unwilling to clean and even less willing to spend to purchase meat.  To be sure I was working in restaurants at that time as a dishwasher and busser so flesh was on the menu if not in the refrigerator.

In 1978 I was a 20 year-old Counselor-in-Training at the Unitarian Universalist Rowe Camp and Conference Center Junior High Camp  where I read Frances Lappe’s DIET FOR A SMALL PLANET, 1974, ISBN-13 978-0345321206  (This ISBN is for the 10th Anniversary revised edition).

DIET FOR A SMALL PLANET changed my life forever.  Ms. Lappe’s concentration on eating lower on the food chain by the virtue of protein combinations not only cleansed diets but pointed the way to a sustainable form of food economics.

A year later I was in the midst of my 1st. spring in Boston when I lost my job under nebulous circumstances.  Vowing to eliminate immoral acts from my day-to-day life meat was purged from my diet.

Erewhon became my market.

“Erewhon” is an anagram for “nowhere” and ‘Erewhon’ is an 1872 utopian novel by Samuel Butler about communal living.

Erewhon was well ahead of the curve regarding the availability of items such as soba noodles, wheat grass, bok choi, arugula and mung sprouts at a time when the ‘produce’ section of the Westland Ave. Stop n’ Shop deemed Romaine(Boston) lettuce to be “exotic.”

Erewhon featured framed calligraphy of Mr. Kushi’s thoughts from the exposed brick walls long before they had become a cliche’.

(The exposed brick was the cliche’, not Mr. Kushi’s thoughts).

Mr. Kushi was a proponent of macrobiotics and eschewed red meat, dairy, refined sugar and virtually all added ingredients artificial or not.

Mr Kushi also stressed seasonal and local cuisine to more perfectly attune one to one’s locale.

I followed macrobiotic for several weeks and although I was delighted that my 17th. bout with post-adolescent acne had been quelled the extreme weight loss engendered was not practical for my way of life.  By the end of the summer of 1979 I had phased into the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet that has served me well  to this day.

Erewhon represented a retail culture that is now an endangered species in our smartphone/social media millennium.  I remember very well learning the differences between “wheat” and “whole wheat” and between udon and soba noodles not from the staff but from Erewhon shoppers.  Indeed shopping at Erewhon was nutrition for the intellect as well as the body.

Erewhon had precious little competition for its market of veggies, macrobiotics buffs and what would now be called “foodies”.  Boylston St. offered Nature Food Center which plied enormous 1000 count jars of 500 milligram Vitamin C along with carob coated wheat cookies that tasted like carpet remnants soaked in Nestles’ Quik.

Erewhon offered many tastings of its wares and this budget challenged consumer gleaned small meals from strategic arrivals at 5:30 P.M.  Folks wandered around stuffing themselves with organic figs from Bulk Foods containers long before Whole Foods Market realized that “theft” increased sales and the Whole Foods market demographic could afford the markup that endorsed “theft”.

Sad to say but Erewhon was plagued not just with customers seeking freebies but with rampant shoplifting as the staff was disinclined to interrupt those seeking 5 finger discounts.

“Communalism” is a lofty aspiration but an impractical one at the urban, retail level. 

Many a time I wandered through Erewhon with a bag of autumnal Bartlett pears and whole wheat linguini seeking to pay for my goods at the all-too-often unattended registers.

Erewhon practiced a “non-hierarchical” form of management which manifestly failed to collect the prices charged.

Mr. Kushi’s management acumen was minimal at best.  Mr. Kushi’s restaurants, the 7th. Inn at 288 Boylston St; and Sanae at 324 Newbury St; were interesting attempts to bring macrobiotic cuisine to dining.

The 7th. Inn on Boylston St. in the space now occupied by the Four Seasons Hotel was the loftier of the two as the 7th. Inn featured table service from servers in brownish aprons and white shirts without ties.  Even the modest prices of their brown rice and sea vegetables were above my ken at the time so I never sampled the fare.

A press release heralding the opening of the original Sanae notes  that “the SANAE faculty graduated from the heavy hippy drug scene”.

Bon appetit!

Sanae on Newbury St. fared better as it offered counter service only and a hand-lettered selection whiteboard enabling guests to mix and match proteins, veggies and starches.  Sanae was open for several years and closed abruptly in 1982 before re-opening in 1983 as…the 7th. Inn!… before shuttering for good later in 1983.

Erewhon’s food distribution business likewise closed in 1983 although cereal with the “Erewhon” monicker is till sold here in the 21st. Century at my local Whole Foods Market. Erewhon’s website:

is unclear as to whether the current business sprouted from Mr. Kushi’s.  Tony and Joesephine Antoci bought Erewhon in 2011.  The website notes that “since the late 60s” Erewhon has been in the natural foods business.  It is not clear whether this Los Angeles based company bought the name or the business in its entirety.  Any further information on this matter would be welcomed by this author.

Mr. Kushi crossed my mind from time to time as I shopped at such  grocers  as Jamaica Plain’s original Arborway Natural which put a familiar face on wholesome food.  Bread & Circus, especially in its Westland Ave; Fenway store organized the shelves, brought in bar codes and was eventually bought out by corporate behemoth Whole Foods Market in 2003.

Today Whole Foods Market operates a 59,000 square foot supermarket in Manhattan’s Time-Warner building.

While Mr. Kushi was far from the ideal CEO he brought to Boston a dietary awareness that had been flying underneath the radar for some time.

“Food faddists” and “health nuts” were the tags attached to pioneers such as Adelle Davis whose LETS EAT RIGHT TO KEEP FIT in 1954, ISBN 4-87187-961-5 and Euell Gibbons’ STALKING THE WILD ASPARAGUS of 1962, ISBN-10 0911469036.  Both Ms. Davis and Mr. Gibbons earned the attention and couch of Johnny Carson.

Mr. Kushi was in the right place at the right time culturally as baby boomers aged into the thoughtful eating that would become the “foodie” market of our 21st. Century.

Having said that, Mr. Kushi’s holistic happenstance approach to business has been emulated by no one.  Indeed, his message might have had significantly more effect had his stores had been profitable.

It is a testament to the worth of his ideals that his influence is noted by many including this scribe.

Mr. Kushi was years ahead of the curve in making available tamari, sea vegetables and an array of Asian wheat and rice noodles.

Locavores and vegans are the unwitting progeny of Mr. Kushi.

Mr. Kushi seems to have been a more than decent man in his personal life, opening his Brookline home to many and living in accordance to his ideals.

Mr. Kushi’s philosophy and diet are not exactly mine.  But like Stephen Gaskin of the Farm in Summertown, Tennessee and the author of “Hey, Beatnik” his ideas contributed much to my collage as much as for what they aren’t as for what the ideas are.

Mr. Kushi, thank you.

Peace, Steve


Happy Birthday, Mom! 9/17/1925

September 18, 2014 1 comment


 Doris Gallanter, my mother, would be 89 today if she was still with us.

Last week, September 10, I sent an email to my brother, exter and nieces reminding them of her birthday and my warm thoughts upon her birthday.  My recollection was precipitated by the playing of the CD VIVALDI: THE FOUR SEASONS as performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Seiji Ozawa with Joseph Silverstein as lead violinist.

But…September 17th, NOT the 10th. was Mom’s birthday as my brother, Peter and niece Amy quickly pointed out.  It took me a moment, and a consultation with my analog era Daily Reminder to realize that I had been mistaken…or not?

Classical music was one of Mom’s passions.  WQXR and WNCN frequently flowed from the clock radio perched precariously on our refrigerator.  (To be sure News Radio 88 got its due and WABC’s Dan Ingram’s authoritative baritone got their time as well.  I grew up in a loud household!).

THE FOUR SEASONS was one of my Mom’s favorites as even my Dad recognized as when he bought a new LP of the classic to lend melody to their strained relationship.  I had the good fortune of being the unwitting recipient of classical culture.

Classical music is not something that I am intimately familiar with.  However, THE FLOUR SEASONS, along with Ravel’s BOLERO, Beethoven’s 5TH. SYMPHONY and Khachaturian’s SABER DANCE is something almost as familiar as BLITZKRIEG BOP .

I have more music than I can listen to.  LPs, CDs and even cassettes fill my studio apartment even after having purged my collection years ago upon moving from a 1 bedroom to a studio.  I still listen to terrestrial radio and Internet streaming radio, (57 Chevy is the mostest) claim the hammer and anvil while YouTube, (I hear you Golden Earring and Lenny Tristiano) also has its place in my bandwidth.

Daily I pull something from my collection and give it my ears.  On September 10th, I pulled out THE FOUR SEASONS on CD. 

This CD was purchased by me when I bought Mom a portable CD player in 1999(?).

I remember her smile as she pressed ‘Play’.

“I see that it is the Boston Symphony Orchestra,” she said.

“You don’t miss a thing,” I replied.

Oft times my attempts at humor went for naught but on this occasion we both smiled.

Upon her passing I kept THE FOUR SEASONS for myself as both memory and music.

On September 10th, 2014 I inserted THE FOUR SEASONS into my boom box and melody and memory flooded over me.  The current was so strong that I felt compelled to email the family to let them know that I recalled the import of the date.

The lilting excitement of “La primavera(Spring)”, the hyper mania of “L ‘Estate(Summer)”, the descending melody of L “Autunno(Autumn)” and the somber hibernation of “L ‘Inverno(Winter)” evoked my Mom even as the date of her birthday was my misapprehension.

Peter and Amy corrected my misapprehension…

…but is it really a misapprehension when the chord between music and Mom is so strong?

…My mind was mistaken…

…My heart…perhaps…not…



CHANGE: 10 Signs of Age, 2014 remix

1)  Shoe size keeps getting bigger.  When I was 19 a size 11 shoe was right with an 11.5 sneaker with 2 pairs of tube socks for basketball.  (1/2 sizes above men’s 10 could be difficult to find so getting new Pro-Keds New Yorkers often entailed ordering in advance from Shoes and More Shoes in Port Washington, Long Island, N.Y.)

When I was 29 shoes were 11 .5 and the basketball sneakers were 12s with 2 pairs of crew socks.

Now I haven’t played basketball in 18 years and both my shoes and sneakers are 12s regardless of hosiery.

2)  President Obama reminds you more of President Nixon every day.  Exchange ‘WDMs’ for Gulf of Tonkin incident, substitute Lyndon Johnson for George W. Bush and Libya for Cambodia and it is truly uncanny…and frightening.

3)  Your age is 8 years in dog years.

4)  You meet former co-workers bringing their kids to college and they are the ones who are surprised.

5)  21 of 30 MLB managers are younger.  (Kirk Gibson of the Diamondbacks,Ron Roenicke of the Brewers, Terry Collins of the Mets, Clint Hurdle of the Pirates, Bud Black of the Padres, Bruce Bochy of the Giants, Buck Showalter of the Orioles, Ned Yost of the Royals, Rob Gardenhire of the Twins and Ron Washington of the Rangers are older).

6)  Older relatives and folks you grew up with who remember WWII  have all passed on with the exception of Thelma Allera, your Mom’s first cousin, who was born in 1925.

7)  “You look good for your age,” is something you get a lot and are no longer reluctant to hear.

8)  Coffee runs through you faster than Usain Bolt.

9)  Amy Gallanter, your 21 year-old niece, will be attending grad school come September.

10)  CHANGE: 10 Signs of Age, 2015 remix is something that you hope to be able to write.


BASEBALL, PASSING: Ralph Kiner October 27, 1922-February 6, 2014

February 11, 2014 Leave a comment

Ralph Kiner

passed away peacefully in Rancho Mirage, CA on February 6, 2014 surrounded by his family.

The National American Baseball Hall of Fame member and long-time Mets broadcaster was 91.

Ralph Kiner evokes my youth and adolescence as few people can.

In September of 1967 my parents and brother Peter moved from Merrick, on Long Island’s South Shore to Port Washington, on  Long Island’s North Shore.  While I was less than enthused over our move I was cheered by the prospect of being able to watch the Mets on WOR-9 TV.

(The reception on our trusty 12″ black and white GE consisted of “snow” and “flipping” two visual disturbances that today’s cable generation would find amusing.)

While I had long been an enthusiastic hoarder of baseball cards and had attended 2 Mets games at Shea Stadium watching the Mets on TV was a blessing only occasionally available when I visited David Rubin whose home had a directional antenna and a color TV that dominated the living room of his split level home on Lincoln Blvd. in Merrick.

Ralph Kiner then entered my mind’s life.  Mr. Kiner was part of the troika that had broadcast the Mets since Day 1 in 1962. The trio consisted of Bob Murphy of the “happy recap”, Lindsay Nelson whose fluorescent sports jackets went for naught on our black and white TV and Ralph Kiner.

Mom remarked that she knew Mr. Kiner’s name from his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates when Mom still resided in New Kensington, PA.  Given my Mom’s minimal interest in baseball I figured that Mr. Kiner must have been some sort of big deal so I looked Mr. Kiner’s stats up in the GROSSET & DUNLAP SPORTS ENCYCLOPEDIA: BASEBALL, the publication that preceded the MACMILLAN BASEBALL ENCYCLOPEDIA.

“…some sort of big deal…”, indeed.  Ralph Kiner had lead the national League in HRs his first 7 years in MLB and lead all of MLB for 6 years!

Babe Ruth, Henry Aaron and Barry Bonds have all worn the crown of the career HR leader but no one has dominated the most important seasonal statistic like Ralph Kiner.

Finally in 1975 during his final year of eligibility with the BBWAA he was elected to the Hall of Fame.

If any Hall of Fame player can be said to be “underrated” then Ralph Kiner is that player.

Properly impressed I began my 12 years in Port Washington listening and watching Ralph Kiner.  Kiner, Lindsay Nelson and Bob Murphy rotated between TV and radio with 2 men on TV and the odd man on radio handling the play-by-play alone.

Ralph Kiner brought a wealth of knowledge to the game.  Long before sabermetrics had been coined he reminded fans that being caught stealing was really 2 outs as both the base-runner and the out  were lost.

“You have to make it 2 out of 3 for it to be effective.  You don’t see runs scored in an inning where there is a caught stealing”, he instructed this eager acolyte.

Moneyball was 35 years away but Mr. Kiner always urged the Mets to “Get a good pitch to hit,” long before On Base Percentage became a secular religion.

It is worth noteworthy that Mr. Kiner totaled 100 BBs or better from 1948-1953 and lead all of MLB with a .452 OBP and a .627 Slugging Percentage in 1951.

As Bud Selig pointed out Mr. Kiner “was ahead of his time” 2/7/2014 as a Moneyball practitioner long before Billy Beane was born.

Ralph Kiner was a living repository of baseball history.  Upon the inaugural season of the San Diego Padres in 1969 he informed fans that the “original” San Diego Padres had been a Pacific Coast League/PCL  AAA farm team of the Cleveland Indians and had been an “open” unaffiliated team from 52-56.

A few years down the line when the Toronto Blue Jays debuted in 1977 Mr. Kiner educated his audience again offering that he had played for the Toronto Maple Leafs Pirate farm team in the International Association in 1943 where he played against the Brooklyn dodgers Montreal royals AAA team.

Oh yes, the ‘International’ moniker was because “Canada was where Toronto and Montreal were located.”

Not only did Ralph Kiner know the game he made KINERS KORNER  a name, what would now be called “branding”, twice.

In 1947 the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Detroit Tiger slugger Hank Greenberg.  In order to boost Greenberg’s production the Left field corner was moved in from 365′ to 330′ to accommodate a bullpen.

(Forbes Field, built in 1919, preceded the era of relief pitching and relief hurlers warmed up on the sidelines.)

While Greenberg only hit 25 HRs in 1947 Kiner slugged 51 HRs.  Following Greenberg’s 1947 retirement the area was known as “Kiner’s Korner”.

This earned him a 10th place finish in the NL MVP voting!

However Mr. KMiner was able to console himself with dating Elizabeth Taylor and Ava Gardner.  In his time Mr. Kiner was a celebrity who nowadays would be seen on TMZ!

Lest one think that Mr. Kiner was overly favored by Forbes Field’s dimensions it is worth noting that only 210 of Kiner’s 369 HRs were hit at home, hardly a bloated figure.

(Kiner’s Korner was restored to its 365′ distance following the 1953 season).

Ralph Kiner’s career was shortened by chronic back maladies which lead to his retirement from the Cleveland Indians in 1955 at age 32.

After announcing for the White Sox in 1961 Kiner joined the New York Mets for their 1962 historic maiden voyage of ineptitude where the Mets “earned” a 40-120 W-L .250 record that has stood until this day.

However, Kiner’s enthusiasm knew no foul territory.

Among the classics:

“Harrelson to Milan to Kranepool, 6-4-3 for a double play and the  Mets have gotten 1 out.”

“Here at the big Shea the Mets are playing with the home field disadvantage.”

However Ralph’s bon mots were delivered with such naked honesty that this youngster couldn’t help but smile.

Mr. Kiner was serious about the game.  All too often older broadcasters, Tim McCarver comes to mind, deprecate current players in favor of those who played during their time.

“I think one of the most difficult things for anyone who’s played baseball is to accept the fact that maybe the players today are playing the game just as well as ever.”

If Mr. Kiner was bitter about waiting 15 years to be elected to the Hall of Fame he never let it show.

Nice? Yes.  Sugar coated? No.  While Mr. Kiner never scapegoated players with rejoinders such as “He must be the worst leftfielder in the National League”. Mr. Kiner would politely note when a throw was off-line.  The truth gracefully stated was Mr. Kiner’s stock in trade.

KINERS KORNER was the post-game show named after the Forbes Field home run bullpen.  It ran anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes and began with a booming rendition of “Flag of Victory Polka” by Ira Ironstrings and his Marching Polka Band.

Per BASEBALL-REFERENCE.COM Current Events: Ralph Kiner R.I.P. posted by WEB 2/6/2014

(Can you imagine polka being used for sports music nowadays? These days an EDM mix seems to be au courant.)

The 21st. Century MLB “press conference” wasn’t even static in anyone’s wavelength.

Modern fans have players and managers in front of a logo-festooned backdrop, AMERICA RUNS ON DUNKIN’, looming large over Dustin Pedrois’s munchkinesque physique.

Mr. Kiner would have the hero of the game as a guest if the Mets won and occasionally an opposing player if the Mets weren’t victorious.  Ralph spoke without notes referring occasionally to a scorecard and wafting inquiries to players.  In the era long before ESPN and the 24/7 Internet fishbowl the sweaty “It was a hanging curve and I was able to get around on it,” truisms rang true as players relaxed around Kiner’s genial manner.

Tom Seaver was a frequent guest, and winner, and he would speak about pitch sequences and release points educating the viewer.

Ralph would listen respectfully.

Ralph Kiner knew when to be quiet.  This knowledge is largely lost among current sportscasters even as technology makes non-stop commentary redundant at best.

My most vivid memory of KINER KORNER was during a visit from Mets catcher Jerry Grote.   Ralph asked him how he kept hitters behind in the count.  Grote got into a catcher’s crouch and demonstrated his technique of rising up using his quadriceps to make high pitches appear to be “framed” by his chest protector.

Grote then demonstrated his technique of turning his catcher’s  mitt counter clockwise on inside pitches to a righty.

“The key is to keep you glove inside of your elbow, moving the glove to the middle of the chest protector and ‘pull’ the ball into the strike zone.  If I can do that once an inning that’s 9 strikes per game and they are playing an 8 inning game when we are playing 9 innings and that’s how you win baseball games.”

Ralph smiled and nodded.  It is a measure of Mr. Kiner’s baseball acumen that a player shared this tip of his trade on television.

To this day I always watch how a catcher handles the inside pitch to a righty batter.

Mr. Kiner left his mark on my baseball mind.

In 1985 I had access to the Mets after 8 years away from Long island.  Much had transpired as cable TV, Pete Gammons, Bill James and many other factors had  changed the baseball sportscape.  With the Mets on basic cable here in Boston  I anticipated Ralph Kiner with a mix of anticipation and trepidation.  After all, I and so many others had progressed greatly, hadn’t we?

I was surprised and delighted to find Mr. Kiner’s jovial authoritativeness as relevant as ever.

I last heard Mr. Kiner in 2003 when Bob Murphy broadcast the last game of the 2003 season.  The game was accompanied by the on screen graphics used during the 1973 “You Gotta Believe” Mets pennant winning season.  (The Mets lost the series to the Oakland A’s.  Why didn’t Yogi Berra start George Stone in Game 6?  Ah, but that is a topic for another tirade).

Mr. Kiner had contracted Bell’s Palsy in 1996 and had worked a limited schedule of 12-15 home games per season.

Mr. Murphy was to pass in 2004 and I had a foreshadowing of the losses that were to come as Mr. Murphy and Mr. Kiner reminisced about their being with the Mets for 42 years.  (Lindsay Nelson left the Mets in 1979 and passed in 1995).

The repartee between Mr. Murphy and Mr. Kiner was bemused and genial without the contrived hugs and posing of today’s ESPNsters.

Ralph Kiner’s passing along with his New York contemporary Bill Mazer BILL MAZER 1920-2013 remind me of a time when my mind was storing thoughts.  Mr. Kiner’s genial accuracy signified.

Bit by byte, childhood recedes.

%d bloggers like this: