Friday, July 24, 2009

A Perfect 9

In modern day Major League Baseball it is rare to see a pitcher throw a complete game. Rarer yet is seeing a no hitter pitched. Before yesterday I had seen six no hitters and one of those in person. But the rarest pitching feat in baseball is the perfect game.

In my lifetime, I would estimate that I have seen more than 7000 MLB games. Two of those have been Perfect games. Actually two and a half (I was able to watch the last four innings of Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series – I’ll never forget Yogi Berra jumping on Larsen after the last pitch).

The first perfect game that I watched was on our new 17 inch color television. I believe that my Dad (who would always say “color television hasn’t been perfected yet.”) had bought it so he could watch Baseball games in color. It sat on top of our old 27 inch B&W on which he would watch almost everything else.

This game was the Cubs versus the LA Dodgers in Los Angeles. Sandy Kofax was pitching for the Dodgers. Although we were both die hard Cubs fans we found ourselves cheering for Sandy during the 9th inning. My Dad had never seen a perfect game.

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to watch my second perfect game. It was an afternoon game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Chicago White Sox. Mark Buehrle was the White Sox pitcher. It was shown in the local market by Fox Sports Florida. The announcers were Dwayne Staats and Brian Anderson (I would have much preferred to hear Steve Stone and Hawk Harrelson call the game but it wasn’t on WGN America).

During the eight inning, Staats spoke about the possibility of Buerhle getting his second no hitter in the last three seasons. Shortly after that statement Pat Burrell slapped a ball up the left field line. Fortunately it went foul and Burrell lined out to third base on three pitches later to end the inning.

At the beginning of the top half of the ninth inning both Staats and Anderson intimated that Buerhle was flirting with a perfect game as well as a no hitter: mentioning that the Chicago fans had not seen a no hitter in their ballpark for a long time. This is usually the “kiss of death” as players as well as fans tend to be superstitious. In the old days it was an unwritten rule that broadcasters did not mention these possibilities.

At this time Sox manager Ozzie Guillen made a defensive move placing Dewayne Wise in center field.

The first Rays batter in the ninth inning was Gabe Kapler. After a two and two count Kapler whacked a pitch to center field; it was heading for the center field stands and would surely be a Home Run (Gabe, Mark and I knew that "crack of the bat" sound well). This would end the perfect game, the no hitter and the shutout for Buerhle.

But center fielder Wise timed his move perfectly, jumped high and caught the ball just before it went into the stands. The look of amazement on Buerhle's face was an awesome sight to see. Now, for me, that’s baseball excitement!

Two outs later Buerhle was swamped by his fellow players; he had pitched a perfect game. I cried, thinking about the time that my Dad and I watched Kofax’s perfect game.

The Beach Bum


Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Evil, Evil Ways

During the past 9 days I have started to write 5 different Blogs. They sit here in a folder waiting to be completed along with 8 others from the past 6 months.

It’s not because I do not have the time or inspiration to complete them; but for the reason that I have become easily distracted lately.

I’ll begin to write and then get an hour long telephone call from a friend or sometimes the pain that I suffer within my body becomes too intense for me to bear.

Talking to my friends and family is very important to me because I have no social life where I am now living. I’ll receive two or three calls a week and make another three to four calls. The average length of these calls is usually over an hour long.

One of my shortest recent calls was from my friend Lurch, who lives in the hoity-toity Brentwood area of Los Angeles. He called to get my address (which he already had, but couldn’t find) and we were on the phone for about 30 minutes. Lurch is really a character and a half; in California they call him Dr. Demento.

As for the pain and suffering; most of it has been self inflicted over the course of the past 50 years. What were just aches 20 years ago, have now become major pains. I never took care of myself when I was younger; feeling that I was indestructible.

I don’t take prescription medicines; although they have prescribed them for me at the VA. The Doctors there plan to do a major psych evaluation on me because I refuse to take pain killers; to ease my pain. I refuse to go back there because I feel they are going to lock me up and throw away the key. Of course, they say, that it would be for my own well being.

I medicate with natural supplements, alcohol (a natural pain killer) and nicotine. The Doctors (and some of my friends) think that I am crazy for this course of action. But then again, back in the spring of 2004, the Doctors gave me 2 to 3 years to live if I continued my evil, evil ways. I, of course, ignored them. I, like Dr. Demento, enjoy doing evil things. And five years later I am still amongst the living.

I’ll catch up on my Blogging soon.

The Beach Bum

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Monday, July 06, 2009

For My Good Friend Raymond

My very good friend and brother in arms, from Texas, Raymond, recently left a comment (well, actually two separate comments) on my Blogs from last week

I first met Raymond at Kagnew Station in Africa in 1967. He was a quiet person that didn’t hang out with the people in my coterie. We worked on the same shift (Trick) and saw one another on a daily basis. I found his Texas drawl and the colloquialisms that he used to be very amusing. I was a city boy from the North and was amused very easily with the language that southerners used.

Raymond was what we called a “ditty bopper” (Morse Intercept Operator) and I worked as a Non-Morse Communications Analyst. He spent seven eights of each work day listening to the high pitch sounds of Morse Code (He did the same while stationed in Viet Nam), I, on the other hand, wore headsets for about two hours per shift.

I have a little impaired hearing in my left ear. Raymond is on VA Disability with total hearing loss in his left ear and has to wear a hearing aid in his right ear. Others from our unit suffer the same problems, but to a lesser extent.

One of Raymond’s comments was “NOW this is the ZAZZ I love to read.”

For years Raymond has lived vicariously through some of my emails about the former loves of my life. Most of these stories are not exaggerated or embellished (maybe slightly to make my physical prowess look better than it actually was).

Therefore I will relate a story (on this Blog), for Raymond, that I have not previously told to anyone living or dead.

The Story!

It was in the spring of 1969 that I met a lovely young lady who worked for the Central Intelligence Agency at a party in a neighbor’s apartment in Laurel, Maryland. I was still serving in the Army at this time.

This girl, Nancy, was a Columbia graduate and had been recruited by the CIA in her senior year of college. She wanted to become a field agent but instead was put into an administrative position. She was not a happy camper! But the CIA kept leading her on and she continued to work for them.

She was from Glen Cove, Long Island but lived with her grandmother, just off New York Avenue, on 1st Street NW in Washington DC. Not one of nicest neighborhoods in DC.

Nancy and a few others of her female co-workers (as well as several young ladies that worked for the FBI and No Such Agency) would travel to Laurel, Maryland on the weekends to attend the bacchanalian parties that were held at a place simply referred to as T-2 (the apartment number). They came to drink, dance and find male companionship.

As I recall, there were usually more female guests at the party than male guests – this was good odds for me.

The night in question I was chasing after a blond named Dewey who worked for the FBI and lived in Arlington VA. The farther the distance from the party the better chance that you had with the young ladies spending the night. Plying them with alcoholic beverages also helped.

After drastically failing with my pursuit of Dewey, I moved on to Nancy. We danced and we drank. She was a nice girl and I was a bad guy. Opposites tend to attract.

At roughly one in the morning, I suggested that we adjourn to my apartment a short block away. She agreed.

When we arrived, we immediately headed for the bedroom (which I shared with a roommate - Marty). Much to my chagrin, Marty was laying planks with Dewey. I grabbed my pillows and a blanket and headed onto the living room floor with Nancy.

We made love for several hours (not an exaggeration), and then exhaustedly passed out. We lied naked on top of the blanket.

At the un-Godly hour of 9 in the morning there was a knock at the door. It was our upstairs neighbor, who also served in the same Army unit as I did. We never locked our door, so after a brief knock, he entered to find me and Nancy lying buck naked on the floor of the living room.

The funny thing was that he was more embarrassed than we were; we just laughed and covered up with the blanket.

Nancy went back to Glen Cove in early July; tired of the CIA feeding her Bullshit. We had three good months together; a lot of love making and mad passionate sex.

The Beach Bum

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Sunday, July 05, 2009


Last night, at dusk, I left the relative safety of “the Shed” and relocated to the Pool Deck to watch several neighbors’ fireworks displays. It seems that they compete between themselves to see who can garner the most oohs and aahs from the other neighbors.

In 2006, my daughter and son-in-law participated in this neighborhood event; spending more than $300 on fireworks. Their display couldn’t even come close to the competitive neighbors’ displays (costing $500 to $750).

All day long I heard firecrackers and M80’s being shot off. Our dogs are not too fond of this type of noise and barked continually during the day. At times their barking drowned out the sound of the distant fireworks. Bang Bang Bang and Woof Woof Woof simultaneously.

The neighbors on the street behind our house were also shooting off fireworks (their displays were not worth watching), in fact, it seemed like everybody within a quarter mile radius of the house had some sort of fireworks.

After the “competitive neighbors” finished their pyrotechnical show, I remained on the Pool Deck to finish my evening cocktail. I could still hear the sounds of other fireworks going off throughout the neighborhood.

The sulfurous aroma of gun powder permeated the air.

I closed my eyes and used my imagination. With your eyes closed, it allows your other senses to be heighten.

The acrid smell of gun powder was now more prevalent. The distant sounds of fireworks reminded me of mortar fire, rifle shots, automatic weapon barrages and grenades exploding. One sound reminded me of the small Howitzer, at Fort Meade, that was shot off every night at Taps.

After five minutes I began to daydream and vividly saw American soldiers fighting in a war. I though that I heard them screaming and yelling (but it was just the neighbors across the street partying). The smell, the sounds and the muffled voices became all too real. It was like taking a trip on LSD. Maybe I was having a flashback.

Therefore, I immediately opened my eyes and returned back to “the Shed”; turned on the television with the volume up loud enough to drown out the noises of the continuing fireworks outside.

While in the Army, I fortunately never saw any combat. But on occasion, I dream about fighting in a War (probably from watching too many War Movies), and these are not pleasant dreams.

Bring our troops home!

The Beach Bum

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Thursday, July 02, 2009


Saturday is the Fourth of July, the day that we celebrate our Independence from the British Empire.

Tomorrow morning my son and grandson will be driving down to Florida from Maryland. They will spend Friday night and Saturday morning with me and then they will pick up my son’s live-in girlfriend (actually he is a live-in boyfriend – it’s her place) at Tampa International.

They are spending the weekend in a motel, on the beach, at Treasure Island. There are much better pyrotechnical displays and a lot more things to do there than here in Nowheresville, Florida. I’m sure that he’s bringing his rods and reels and plans to do some fishing in while he is here.

He misses living in Florida and plans to move back some day.

Also on Friday morning my older daughter is driving from Maryland to Florida with her two boys to see the father of her children. She’ll be spending most of the summer here, so that the boys get some quality time with there father (he’s good with the boys, but bad for her). She said that she would see me next week.

Younger daughter is currently away from home, working on “legal stuff” for her maternal grandmother (AKA The Wicked Witch of the East) in Maryland, and will be arriving Saturday on the same flight as my son’s girlfriend. She’ll probably spend about a half hour or so with her brother at the Airport; before she returns home, and he, his son and girlfriend go to the beach.

Personally, I don’t really care to watch fireworks displays. But whenever I see fireworks I think about Francis Scott Keys words “the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.” And I’m reminded why we celebrate the Fourth of July as a National Holiday. We celebrate the sacrifices that were made for freedom and liberty from tyranny.

These sacrifices are still being made today, more than two hundred years later. And by those who will not be watching a pyrotechnics display, but the real thing, the “rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air”, in the Middle East.

On Saturday, I’ll be thinking about and saluting our troops that are currently sacrificing for us. I will stand each time I hear the National Anthem played and ask God to bless our troops (even though, I know, for a fact, that God doesn’t listen to me).

When I was a kid, I asked my Dad (a WWII vet) why we had to stand before the ballgame began. He told me “to honor our flag and those who gave their lives defending it and our country.” I have never forgotten this and will do so until the day I die.

Have a good Independence Day, but don’t forget why we celebrate this holiday.

The Beach Bum

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