Friday, April 28, 2006
Thursday, April 27, 2006
A long time ago, in a mystical fairyland called Hunters Point, there stood a massive circular edifice called Candlestick Park. It was large. It was concrete. It lacked any pretension of neighborhood charm. It was magnificently ugly.
After the successful theft of the Giants from the Polo Grounds, the ball-club played two seasons at Seals Stadium-- which, incidentally, stood at 16th & Bryant in the Mission, an area now roamed by hipsters and (cough) digerati with funny glasses and Eames chairs. Then, Mayor Christopher & Horace Stoneham, as planned, moved the Giants into their new home in 1960. It was like moving an orphan from a kindly foster family into a Dickensian orphanage.
But such an orphanage. Though Stu Miller may have simply lost his balance (and was not blown off the mound, as legend has it), the ferocity of the wind merited its reputation. Around the 6th inning of day games, the daily Dance of the Hot Dog Wrappers would begin: a fantasia of swirling white paper. Night games required polar attire. Fly balls (anyone remember Glenallen Hill?) were physical comedies waiting to happen. The wind, more than Yoko, probably dissuaded the Beatles from ever playing live again.
When I was a kid in the '80s, Candlestick Park meant crowds of 1,750 for Monday night games against the Expos. It meant screaming for Jack Clark from the loge, and having him actually hear you. Only die-hard fans were in attendance: the 300-pound beer-swilling Superfans, and the elderly couples with transistor radios & hats covered with commemorative pins & memories of Orlando Cepeda. Everyone hated Candlestick but the 1,750 of us.
Friday night Dodger games were the best. Once, in the '90s, I went to a game w/my girlfriend at the time, and we sat in the bleachers. We witnessed 30 arrests in our section, no joke, with bloodied faces and riot gear and endless profane invective hurled at Brett Butler. It was fucking great. Dodgers fans had the snot beat out of them with regularity at the 'Stick.
Truth be told, the new ballpark (let's just call it Mays Field) saved the Giants from moving to Tampa, and for that I should be grateful. I should worhip the beautiful views of the Bay Bridge, the Bonds shots into McCovey Cove, the comparative warmth and windlessness. And I've refrained from too much criticism, fearing that it's just blind nostalgia. But no.
Games at SBC/AT&T/PacBell Park are like corporate motivational seminars. The stands are packed with jackasses on their cell phones (ready to be placed back in their belt holsters). My friend DS, a Mets fan, writes gloatingly in an email about the soullessness of the place:
"... as if it were possible to further demean and cheapen the Giant fan 'experience'... the Visa show-us-your-credit-cards promotion in the top of the fifth inning. Exactly what it sounds like, a stadium full of khaki- and cap-clad fans wildly waving their Gold Cards in the air, like they just
don' care, for a shot at a $50 gift certificate. Yep, that's right...$50. Not having a shred of dignity? Priceless."
Move the Giants back to the 'Stick.
Overture, curtain, lights!
This is it... the night of nights!
No more rehearsing or nursing a part!
We know every part by heart!
Overture, curtain, lights!
This is it... we'll hit the heights!
And oh, what heights we'll hit!
On with the show, this is it!
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
It's a birthday for CC&P. Won't give it away, but my first memory is of a buggering by Chiang Kai-Shek (Tupperware party, laundry room). So I will take April 26th off to observe the spontaneous street festivals in various world capitals.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
I want to say a few things about the Dutch. I do not judge. I merely give you the facts.
- First of all, they have fantastic accents when they speak English-- much closer to the Swedish Chef accent than anything actual Swedes can produce.
- Plus, they are tricky. How tricky? They are from the Netherlands, they are from Holland, and they are Dutch. It's like the revolving license plate in Goldfinger.
- Also-- not to apologize for their oppressive colonial history-- but they were absolutely fucking meticulous when it came to record-keeping in their colonies. Wanna know how many millimeters of rain fell in Jogjakarta on November 6, 1874? Ask the Dutch.
- Penultimately, they play baseball. Rikkert Faneyte is a national hero. I once met a guy in Chiapas who had played in the Dutch major leagues. Or so he claimed.
- Finally, they wiped out the dodo. Mason & Dixon has a nice little section on that incident.
That is all for today.
Monday, April 24, 2006
Dude. Blogger's screwin' with me, man. Sorry about the repeated post. I didn't like those words that much. Anyway, some nuggets pour voo:
- You may have seen this: after years of rigorous analysis and careful study, a "controversial" Roman Catholic Cardinal (by no means a spokesman for the Church) has concluded that condom use is a "lesser evil" than a slow, painful death from AIDS... "under certain circumstances." I would venture to guess that these circumstances may involve sexual intercourse, but I suspect the Vatican will not agree. Using a condom to strangle unwed mothers is probably what they have in mind.
- I said I was gonna praise the rocksteady compilation "Red Bumb Ball" here. And so I do: Praise be! All the songs have two chords, all the songs sound exactly alike, and each song has more soul than you can shake a stick at, even if you're shaking the stick really really quickly.
- A friend of a friend directed a little behind-the-scenes vid for Gogol Bordello, which whet my appetite... and I'm real sorry I missed the concert described here. There'll be more.
- Now, you may have seen the Catholic stuff, but I'm sure you've seen this. No reason at all to link to The Onion. Nonetheless, when my brother told me the headline over the phone, I spit half-chewed pheasant all over the front of Mischa Barton's blouse. "Beaver Overthinking Dam." Choice quotes: "On the other hand, a dam is a celebration of beaver culture, and that is what it should reflect." "I don't want this to be one of those generic McDams."
Thursday, April 20, 2006
One day when I was living in San Francisco, I bought a shoebox for $1 from a woman selling junk in a garage sale. This shoebox appeared to be filled with flotsam from the early 1900s, and leafing through yellowed scraps seemed like a good way to kill a few hours on a lazy summer Saturday. I asked the woman about its provenance, and she shrugged; perhaps she'd bought it in an estate sale. She hadn't a clue about its contents other than that they weren't worth anything.
I have an old silver sugar tin in which I throw sundry memorabilia: ticket stubs, notes, anything small that might trigger a memory somewhere down the line when I'm rotting in my nursing home, watching 50-year-old reruns of "The Office" over and over. I also keep most of my letters together in one place; the volume of written correspondence wanes temporally in inverse relation to the popularity of email.
This shoebox was Lois Howorth's version of my sugar tin & letter boxes, sort of a "Selected Precious Stones" of a life. The contents skewed heavily toward her childhood, though there were postcards and hotel business cards from her adult trips to Africa and Japan in the 1940s and 1950s. Photos. Letters. Postcards. Programs, tourist booklets, drawings. Notes she'd passed in class in 1914. Secret code keys she'd devised with her classmates. Doggerel.
There are cruel puns about teachers at the Anna Head School for Girls in Berkeley, CA. There is a training regimen for the girl's basketball team ("No frosted cake; no hot breads"). There is a distraught letter from a classmate over some unnamed tragedy. There are references to World War One, none prescient enough to assign it a numeral. There are brief notes regarding minor triumphs that were saved for their emotional resonance ("had a dreamy time with Roger last night!"). There are herbs (part of a tourist packet) from 1950s Jerusalem, stickers from the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge in Tanzania, a list of Japanese phrases from a cruise program. There are photographs of honest-to-god flappers, of unnamed relatives and friends and classmates. She'd gone to school with Herbert Hoover's niece and was thrilled as he rose up the political ladder ("Secretary of Commerce!") And dozens of frivolous notes that had been passed back and forth: ("Is Betty S. wearing your Chinese tie? It looks like yours." "HELL NO!")
It is endlessly fascinating, sometimes cheering, but not a little sad. I am constantly aware of my status as interloper, as exploitative custodian. Friends and I tried to piece together her life, even making a pilgrimage to the former site of the Anna Head School, which is long-defunct, the buildings now owned by some UC Berkeley administrative unit. I tried to track down surviving relatives, and failed. Now I own the highlights of Lois Howorth's life. Me, just some wiseass, just some dude who likes looking at old stuff.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
I know that I've posted infrequently lately, and that I've whined a bit about being busy. True. I'll give you pie tomorrow. Steaming pie.
You know, it really makes you think... technology is supposed to bring people closer together, but isn't it really pushing us farther apart?
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Corn Chips and Pie will return soon, like Christ into Brussels. And you'll just make a spectacle of yourselves. Try to exercise some restraint.
In the meantime, I'll just lift up my head to note a couple of small things: First, springtime in New York is just fucking fantastic, and would be perfect if the pollen count didn't require me to cram plaster and clay up my nostrils to prevent me from leaving my own personal, uh, snail trail around the city. Let's just forget that last metaphor.
The other thing is that the Giants must be the worst 8-4 team in history. And the ridiculous thing is that they may win the NL West. Their advanced age gets a lot of attention, but probably not enough. I mean, Steve Finley, Omar Vizquel, Jeff Fassero, Moises Alou, Bonds, Durham, etc... holy crap.
Brian Sabean is missing two key pieces of the puzzle: Julio Franco and Rickey Henderson. And both are with the Mets, in slightly different capacities. Franco's 1 for 4 right now with a walk, and Rickey is imparting bits of koan-like advice to Mets hitters. Hey, Sabes: this is CC&P, calling on behalf of Rickey. Pay Rickey. The dude must be going crazy not being able to play. He led the glorious San Diego Surf Dawgs to the Discount League championship last year, and now he's telling Endy Chavez to open with his hips? The worst part is that Julio Franco probably rubs his playing time in Rickey's face. Like one geezer taunting another at Bingo Night. Hey Sabean! Wake up! Offer Rickey league minimum! Suit him up & set him loose!
It doesn't look so good for Peltier & Mumia; I think Volvo drivers should slap "Free Rickey" bumper stickers on their cars.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Again, I'm busier than a dropsical cabin boy on derby day. So I'll just point you to this old Bay Area used car commercial, thanks to The Dust Congress. Turn up the volume really loud first.
Oh, and this video, via Soi Disantra. Enjoy.
It's late & there are better things to do. But:
"Although he likes hardcore partying in Georgetown, Mr. Rountree said, he prefers U Street for food, music and date nights."
(Link here, if you really want more quotes like this.)
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Busy today. Here are some of the stories the boys in the newsroom are feverishly putting together:
- True-life tales of a shoebox filled with the assorted memorabilia of a certain Lois Howorth of the Anna Head School for Girls in Berkeley, CA, around the early 1900s.
- An obscene poem about Esteban Loiza.
- A paean to "Red Bumb Ball," a collection of late '60s rocksteady from Pressure Sounds.
- Art Brut: are your children safe?
- A list of ideas for surefire hits in the execrable market for point-of-purchase books.
- A story about a cute baby giraffe and his adventures in the land of taffy.
- Hootenanny v. jamboree: history renders its verdict. And the results may surprise you.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Perhaps the only good reason to start a blog is to marvel at the Dadaist stream of Google search terms that lead people to one's site. This is sort of an amateur blogger's pastime, I suspect, but it's difficult for me to imagine the novelty wearing off.
With metronomic regularity, a certain someone has been checking this humble web-log for a certain combination of words. This certain someone is, I have reason to believe, a certain someone to whom I have linked. This certain combination of words is "[redacted] fucking photos."
The narrative I have concocted to explain this phenomenon is the following: this certain someone did something very naughty. This certain someone is concerned that said naughtiness was captured on camera. This certain someone is further terrified that said photographed naughtiness will find its way onto the internet. To which I have four responses:
1) If this narrative isn't true, I don't care; I prefer it to any alternative explanation. 2) If they haven't popped up by now, I think they may never. 3) But not to fear: if they do emerge, Corn Chips & Pie will try to get the scoop. You may trust CC&P to handle the matter with discretion and a favorable editorial slant. 4) I never, ever want to see these photos.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
- Last night, during her endearing but somewhat prepackaged between-song banter, Neko Case summoned forth unexpected but welcome memories of Adrian Zmed. It was kind of a Zmed-themed evening.
- If you haven't already, give this early poem by Elizabeth Bishop-- er, Lizzie Skurnick-- a read. Or just skip to the end for the money couplet.
- Bert Campaneris set a record by playing all nine positions in a game for the A's in the 1960s. A couple nights ago, Jason Kendall set a similar record: he wore all 3 major facial hair configurations during the same game. Beard to start. Moustache in the middle innings. Clean-shaven by the end.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
What does the discovery of the Gospel of Judas imply about Dylan going electric? And if I convert to Gnosticism, do I get a free sandwich or something? I mean, it sounds appealing, but I don't know much about it. I guess the Gnostic stance on circumcision will push me one way or the other.
Dispatch from the West Coast bureau of CC&P, via text message at 1am (EST) from the Oakland Coliseum:
"I hope steinbrenner is choking on his sausage, that fat fuck!"
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
There should be a ban, punishable by flogging, on the following headlines:
- Any story on an Islam-related issue: "Behind the Veil"
- Any story on a Russia-related issue: "From Russia With [...]"
- "Synagogues For Hipsters"
Anyhowz. When this blog was born (C-section; fat shoulders), the idea was to steer entirely clear of anything personal. This is a worthy and logical goal: nobody wants to hear about my struggle with macrocephaly. It's been a surprisingly difficult rule to follow strictly, at least for me, because I am massively self-absorbed, and I have no imagination. But I try. For that alone you should thank me.
Here's yet another brief, tantalizing glimpse-- just enough to quicken the blood. I just decided, irrevocably, to leave NYC and move to Baltimore in the fall. This decision, like all decisions, took me forever & tore my soul into little bitty shreds. I need a shot of something strong to dull the piercing stab of opportunity costs.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Opening day. I hear you want some prognosticatin'. Although I'm still reeling & disoriented from the NYT website redesign, I will oblige. Nothing all that bold here.
NL West: Padres. Both the Gigantes & Dodgers look overrated, even by those who predict 85 wins for them.
NL Central: Cardinals. Dusty Baker will whittle a scale replica of Hearst Castle in a maple bat during the season, and the Chicago sports talk shows will bury him for it.
NL East: Braves. Yawn. Drool. Urinate in trousers.
NL Wild Card: Philly. Man, I sure like that Abreu fella. Good thighs.
AL West: The Oakland Athletes. Love Milton Bradley. Love him.
AL Central: Twins. This should be a good division race.
AL East: Yankees. Johnny Damon will catch Larry Bowa crying in the locker room before BP. Neither man will ever speak of it.
AL Wild Card: Cleveland. Edgardo Alfonzo will ensure the Angels miss the playoffs.
Cham-peen: The Cards beat the Athletes.
Also: since the cool kids are doing it, and it seems like fun (& plus a transparent way to brandish one's musical tastes), here're the results of my ipod Ching. No cheatin', no deletin'. Kinda funny. I like "God's Cop" & "The Luckiest Guy etc".
How does the world see you?
God’s Cop—Happy Mondays
Will I have a happy life?
What do my friends really think of me?
I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom—Robert Johnson
Do people secretly lust after me?
Kennel District-- Pavement
How can I make myself happy?
Funky DJ—Fried Chicken
What should I do with my life?
Air Mail Special (Good Enough To Keep)—Charlie Christian
Will I ever have children?
The James Bond Theme—Monty Norman
What is some good advice for me?
How will I be remembered?
You’ve Changed—Joni Mitchell
What is my signature dancing song?
In 3’s—The Beastie Boys
What do I think my current theme song is?
What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
Rock Island Line—Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee
What song will play at my funeral?
The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side—Magnetic Fields
What type of women do you like?
I Was Made to Love Magic—Nick Drake
What is my day going to be like?
Peggy Sue—Buddy Holly
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Because I have "work" to "do," I can only press my face mournfully against my window and watch the children gambol in the limpid spring daylight. Hateful, verminous children. They'll die like everyone else someday. Why don't they realize that?
- My heart goes out to the Duke lacrosse team. No, wait... sorry, false alarm. My heart does not go out to the Duke lacrosse team. I saw a NYT photo featuring a house in Durham festooned with signs supporting the players. Among the slogans: "Rich Kids Unite." Yes, for too long, this fragmented and under-served community has lacked a voice.
- Last night at St. Nick's Pub, PM recounted how he recently kicked the ass of a withered old man inside a Supershuttle. The old man, upset over not being dropped off first, started flailing his fists and had to be, uh, forcibly restrained. This kind of thing seems to happen every time I take the Supershuttle, and I'm starting to think they should use the seediness and frustration of the Blue Van Experience as selling points. "Supershuttle: One of the few socially sanctioned ways to beat up old men and scream epithets at uncomprehending drivers."
- In Junagadh, India, I was diagnosed with typhoid, malaria, and yellow fever within the same week by the same confused doctor. I probably had none of these, but I sure took lots of pills. What neither my doctor nor I realized at the time is that Nyquil will cure any known disease. After last week's delightful sojourn in the stately pleasure-dome of Nyquil intoxication, I plan to reach for the bottle whenever I have a headache.