The Absolute Worst Thing That's Ever Happened to Me in My Whole Life:
I have seen, over the course of the past two years or so, at least three references to James Brown's Autumn '62 performance at the famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem as being "THE GREATEST LIVE RECORDING OF ALL TIME." You figure you see something like that actually written down more than once there must be something to it, right? So after several months of keeping this in a little window in my head, I finally spy it in a catalogue from one of the thirty-one CD clubs I currently belong to. So I order the damn thing. (Say "damn!" like James would, it's very effective.) Then I wait, excitedly checking the mails, until finally one day there it is, with a wide-swathed painting on the cover, in neon-at-night primary colors, of the street in front of the Apollo the night of the gig. When I turn to the back and see the standard no-frill black-and-white liner notes and the great pix of a Very Young James Brown, I am thrilled to assume that they've reproduced the original cover art, and I claw and bite at impossible cellophane until it's open before me and there's the disc and what? What what what the hell is this? 1979's BEE GEES Greatest, "If I Can't Have You" leading off with a horrible whine and offending me greatly and it is not possible for them to have gotten it more wrong. This is just the kind of thing that could push someone less controlled than I right over that edge. Ruined my whole month.
I confess to a pair of minor liberties taken with the "Tripleheader" Shakespeare quote on page 13: referring to the Abyssinians as the "Superbas," the team name they actually didn't adopt until 1913 when the franchise moved to Brooklyn, and then irresponsibly mistaking the French for the Dodgers. All these details.
The great Gene "Two Finger" Carney, gracing me with yet another laudatory mention (in Notes from the Shadows of Cooperstown #86) pulls quotes from my #3 and says:
"if you're on Rick's list, no explanation is necessary (if you're not, none is possible.)"
I get a long-distance phone-call the other day from Tom Herman (ex-Pere Ubu guitarist) and getting off the subject of the call (he who Bulldog Dances) Tom tells me that some guy in San Fran is bootlegging me and distributing SanFran, LA, and environs. To him I say: Thank you for the compliment. Would you like camera-ready? Maybe I could franchise this nonsense?
10/1/94 - 2:00 am—"You say a stigma, I say stigmata... let's call the whole thing off..."
10/30/94 - 2:00 am—"The only way to trust anarchy is if you could trust humans..."
"Oh, well, so much for that..."
2/11/95 - 2:00 am—Clarity embroiled in chaos, the detachment: hovering above that whirlpool,
being in it while not being swept away by it.
[From page 12:]
"Wendy Knickerbocker... is seeking information on the baseball team in Marshalltown, Iowa, in 1881-1883. She is particularly interested in a game on October 3, 1882, against Des Moines. Any information will be helpful."
Right, so Wendy writes back per my query on the above and tells me that "Billy Sunday" is the thing, and she fears that I might take this as disappointing and unromantic since her choo-choo is fueled by academics, an attempt to clarify research on his career. Now she don't know me, do she? Wendy: just about everything is romantic to me. The John G. Carney Archives cited elsewhere contains a picture (an item dated 18xx originally but which I found out was from 1887—and what a thrill it was to add a corrective detail to a library) of Billy Sunday, the .291 batting outfielder-turned-evangelist, "...the first of the preachers fully at home in the commercial media..." (sayeth Napora, see below.) Sunday was a teammate and close pal of Erie's own Dell "Besotted and Dangerous" Darling. Anyone have any juice on Sunday's passages through our town? The next web-strand involves Joe Napora (pg. 12, col. 2) of Bullhead magazine, who nearly a decade ago, in the midst of my Kangaroo Court Publishing heyday, sent me an amazing (and still criminally unpublished) manuscript, 1917: Sentences and Bills, it being an accounting of the IWW labor movement's injuries at the hands of Woodrow Wilson (see pg. 6) and his industrial and financial cohorts, a sad tale among sad tales, and Sunday was involved and appears in fervent voice and deed hawking Liberty Bonds to assist the war effort. Meanwhile, back on the ranch...
Lift a Glass, say Thank You and Farewell to:
Burt Lancaster, died 10/20/94, former A.C.L.U. president; go rent Kubrick's Paths of Glory would you please; how many of you have seen Burt smiling his way to absolutely nowhere in The Swimmer? He also got wet with Deb Kerr but that's a hyped familiarity; aimless in Atlantic City while Sarandon bathed her breasts with lemon juice; so many great ones, and oh, the way he brought Doc Archibald "Moonlight" Graham to life with that wink.
I hate this column...
Raul Julia, died 10/94, his black eyes closed forever.
Cab Calloway, a great American entertainer, diedy-diedy-diedy-ho, who once said to a young Dizzy Gillespie regarding the Be-Bop thang: "You won't be playin' that Chinese music in my band," for which, a short time later, Diz stabbed him in the ass. True story.
Donald Pleasence, 1919-95, "I only make odd films..." Ever see Pinter's The Caretaker? Well then.
Comparative Situational Anatomy
"Well, you know, it's such a transitional creature. It's a piss-poor reptile, and it's not very much of a bird."
—Someone at the Museum of Natural History, to Melvin Konner, author of
The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit,
likening the Mesozoic era's Archaeopteryx to people.
The Terms, as always:
Baseball—A silly game.
The 10,000 Things—As in: "the world and its 10,000 things," (Lao Tzu) its multitude of riches, its infinity of nourishments for our minds and hearts, you know—The Whole Shebang.
The Echoes Column
SORRY FOR THE DELAY, but I'd been staging mock nervous breakdowns to keep my compadres on their toes, tap-tap-tap. Then there was Xmas. Then I junked half of the original material for this because I needed to talk about NIN. Then my mailing list blew off its disk and went to info-hell. Then I had to go shopping for black greezy-leather Doc Marteeen's. These things take time.
Special thanks to Ms. Eileen K. MacGlaughlin-Disk of Pennsauken, New Joisy, for intensive drug research.
Way t'go sis.
Anyone recognize this photo?
Anyone reading this hasn't seen pages 1-12 and wants to, please send a 32¢ stamp for 1-8, and an additional 23¢ stamp for each additional 1-8 page bundle of fun. Or plead poverty, or tell me I owe you. It's all one thing, don't you know.
I'd like to expect #5 by the time Spring has fully sprung? End of May would be good. (I'm leaving this in the web document as an example of how drastic my morphs can be. As I'm posting this on-line it's three years later, February of '98, and the way that events have proceeded can be found in the Sessionographies linked on the main page...)
"There's no love song finer,
But how strange the change
From Major to Minor,
Every time we say good-bye."
All uncredited material © Rick Lopez 1995
Baseball & the 10,000 Things