Our changing language.

The other day one of my co-workers wondered how in the world someone got the great idea of naming a town in Michigan Climax. What were they thinking? Didn’t they know they’d be a butt of jokes forever after, another Intercourse or Blue Ball (both of Pennsylvania).

I pointed out that history takes a long time to arrive until one day it’s here, and it’s within my lifetime that people even started talking about sex out loud, much less using words like climax to describe what happens during it. Fort Wayne had a mayor named Harry Baals; my father went to grade school with a girl named Lucille Buttlicher.

“I wonder if there’s a town somewhere named Money Shot,” he mused. Let’s not go there. It’s a dirty, filthy enough world already.

I forgot to mention one of the fun activities of last weekend: Alan seemed to notice I was glum, and took me out to the fights. Yes, the fights — boxing, at Detroit’s Masonic Temple, in the Jack White Theater. Our seats were lousy, but the place wasn’t that big, and for once, we were in a central-city event where the crowd was a pretty accurate demographic reflection of the city as a whole. Interesting, I thought, that the boxing crowd was more than 80 percent black, and yet mixed martial arts, which has put boxing in its shade, attracts a far whiter audience. For the record, I hate MMA — the first time I saw it I watched a bloody beatdown that looked like first-degree felonious assault, all while the guy on the next barstool told me how much safer it was than boxing. Whatever.

Anyway, it was a fun night. Eight four-round fights ranging from pinweight to heavyweight, and wasn’t that one a revelation — one guy coming in at 240-ish and the other at 300. I thought for sure the lighter fighter would win. It’s really hard to be quick on your feet when you weight 300 pounds, but shows what I know. The bigger guy landed one lucky punch and boom, TKO. It was like something on “Game of Thrones.” The pinweights — that’s under 102 pounds, smaller than my petite daughter — put up a lively contest, too. They both seemed to hail from a part of the world where children grow up on gristle and wild plants. I really don’t know how you can be a grown man, able to train as a boxer, and still weigh less than I did in fifth grade.

One hometown hero was accompanied by his Omega Psi Phi brothers, entering to their theme song, “Atomic Dog.” He won.

We really need to go to the fights more often. Tommy Hearns was sitting ringside, Buster Douglas was training someone. Celebrities.

So, a little bloggage:

Someday we’ll look back at this era of corporate worship and wonder why we didn’t tie these folks to a whipping post: Two assholes argue over whether they can trademark the word “how.”

A good, simple explainer on the significance of the Supreme Court choosing not to engage with same-sex marriage. TL;DR? It’s over.

Happy hump day, all.

Posted at 10:42 pm in Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' |

52 responses to “Our changing language.”

  1. Basset said on October 7, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Fighting is not a sport. I have no idea how you could find it anything other than appalling.

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  2. alex said on October 7, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    Pennsylvania is also where you’ll find the place name Bird in Hand, which for some signifies Chokin’ the Chicken.

    I used to know some good ones back in the day when I wrote for a sophomoric publication that trafficked in gratuitous bawdiness. Maybe some will come back to me later in this thread.

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  3. Wim said on October 8, 2014 at 1:20 am

    Well, there’s Knob Lick, Missouri–always good for a laugh.

    I’m with you, Basset, as regards prize fighting. If they have to do it, they should go back to doing it with bare knuckles, so at least they’ll stop punching each others’ heads in.

    The Supreme Court lack of decision is a tactical surrender. The conservatives don’t want to have to preside over an expansion of gay rights and in any way be held accountable for it. Apparently inaction is the new judicial activism, to hear the screeching about it.

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  4. Dexter said on October 8, 2014 at 1:32 am

    I have run across strange, funny names such as Stinking Creek and Bone Lick, Kentucky, and many others, but one has puzzled me until one minute ago when after all these years I finally, simply, looked it up. Why, I have wondered , is there a town in the middle of Pennsylvania named Jersey Shore? It used to confuse me when I’d drive over on I-80 and see the exit sign, “Jersey Shore Exit One Mile” and I was one helluva ways from New Jersey.

    Baseball is really heating up. You should have seen what happened in San Francisco last night. One run game, SF leading, and Barrett, the Washington pitcher, attempted to walk Giant “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval, and he chucked the baseball about ten feet over the catcher’s head. Posey, the SF baserunner, tried to score but the catcher retrieved the baseball in quick time and tossed it to Barrett who tagged Posey out.
    I wonder who is behind the “softballization” of Major League Baseball. All teams take one infielder and make him a “rover”, as we called it in softball, to play between the infield and outfield. Now I heard tonight there will be no more intentional walk at-bats. The manager will tell the umpire “four”, and the hitter simply goes straight to first base.

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  5. Dexter said on October 8, 2014 at 1:40 am

    alex: On the classic Nova Scotia TV show “Trailer Park Boys” the character “Bubbles” (Mike Smith) is always mentioning his “bird”. I must say I had not heard “bird meaning penis” before that show. A bird means a young woman, girlfriend material, in England. But when they “flip the bird”, that is much different than how we do it. http://www.cbc.ca/arts/images/pics/tong1.jpg

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  6. Jolene said on October 8, 2014 at 2:02 am

    There are, in fact, several towns named Climax in the US. I knew about Climax, MN because it’s near where I grew up, and a quick Google consult revealed at least two more–one in Georgia and one in North Carolina.

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  7. MarkH said on October 8, 2014 at 3:45 am

    All Things Considered had an interesting story yesterday on the parallels between SCOTUS’ handling of the gay marriage ban appeals and the time it took for them to strike down (remaining) state laws against interracial marriage. While they did take action in 1967, and took no action yesterday, it was logical to assume in both instances they took time to let public sentiment to get out in front of them on both issues.


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  8. Suzanne said on October 8, 2014 at 8:00 am

    In Arizona, there is a town called Show Low which supposedly had something to do with a poker game bet. Some town in central Arizona also has a Bucket of Blood Street which makes me cringe every time I’ve seen the exit.

    FWIW, I don’t see the point of boxing either, but I guess to each his or her own.

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  9. Suzanne said on October 8, 2014 at 8:02 am

    You can read all about the Bucket of Blood St here: http://www.terrastories.com/bearings/bucket-of-blood-legacy-outlasts-route-66

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  10. alex said on October 8, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Can’t wait for the 2016 GOP primaries. It will pit the unreconstructed bigots like Santorum and Huckabee against the opportunists like Mike Pence and Jeb Bush who now want to run away from their histories of exploiting anti-gay animus. Pence is perfecting the new Republican establishment tack, claiming to favor traditional marriage while respecting the rule of law, a wishiness that might wash with the majority of Republicans who never gave a flying frick about gay marriage anyhow but will never satisfy the base, who demand a blood oath for their every last bugaboo.

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  11. Kath said on October 8, 2014 at 8:13 am

    My aunt grew up in the area around Climax, MN. There’s also a little town called Fertile about 45 miles away. She swears that there was once a newspaper headline that said, “Fertile Woman Dies in Climax.”

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  12. Kirk said on October 8, 2014 at 8:32 am

    The no-pitch intentional walk is something that has been mentioned for years as a possible time-saver. I think it’s being tried out in the Arizona Fall League, a league for top prospects, this year.

    As for the “rover,” many teams have chosen to use an extreme shift on some hitters who usually hit the ball to the same area. It’s a very trendy thing in baseball, based on data analysis.

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  13. Dorothy said on October 8, 2014 at 8:42 am

    If someone took me to a boxing arena, I’d have to politely decline and go back and wait in the car. Would never be able to stomach watching people hit each other like that.

    True story: In sixth grade a new boy transferred to my school. His last name was Dickey. A girl who’d been in the school since first grade was named Anne Hickey. It didn’t take long for someone to comment “If Anne Hickey married ______ Dickey she’d be Anne Hickey Dickey.” I’m pretty sure they did not wind up together, but wouldn’t that have been a hoot?!

    Happy birthday, Jolene!

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  14. brian stouder said on October 8, 2014 at 8:45 am

    OK, I don’t understand “TL;DR? It’s over” before the link to the excellent Atlantic explainer.

    Aside from that, what Dorothy said, Jolene!

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    • nancy said on October 8, 2014 at 8:53 am

      tl;dr is internet slang for “too long; didn’t read.” It’s usually indicates a condensed version of the cited text.

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  15. coozledad said on October 8, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Good read.


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  16. Dorothy said on October 8, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Thank you for that, Cooz. I’m going to remember this quote for a long time: “If you let yourself do bad work that’s all you’ll ever do. Try to be perfect. Then you’ll feel proud.” I’m the same age as Mistress Yekeh. I am a seamstress, too. But her advice covers a helluva lot more than sewing.

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  17. Julie Robinson said on October 8, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Dorothy, I’m with you on the fights and feel the same way about football. Just can’t stand violence, and don’t consume it in any form. Which leaves me out of most TV and movies, but that’s okay, there are a host of other entertainments out there and I’m never bored.

    Jolene, Happy Birthday! I hope you’re in less pain and have more mobility. It’s looking to be a clear and sunny day in the midwest after several days of rain, and I wish your outlook is the same.

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  18. Julie Robinson said on October 8, 2014 at 9:52 am

    BTW, I just posted this story on facebook: http://jg.net/article/20141008/BIZ/310089932/1031/BIZ. Wal-Mart is cutting health insurance coverage for those who work less than 30 hours a week, following the example of Target and Home Depot. How many people at those places get scheduled for more than 30 hours a week? Our daughter’s roommate works at Target and is never, ever scheduled for more than that. Plus they make her be on call for her off-hours so she can’t take a second job. It’s serfdom. (And how can this be legal?)

    Anyway, my point in this was that Costco offers fantastic health insurance to anyone who works more than 10 hours a week for $20/pay period. Our son is full time now so gets it free. For me the choice of where to shop is clear.

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  19. Maggie Jochild said on October 8, 2014 at 10:35 am

    My father worked for a while in Cut’N’Shoot, Texas. He swore the name was an accurate reflection of its residents. He had a guy on his crew, Arlie, who could drain a can of beer, hold out the empty at mid chest level, let it go, then pull his clasp knife (not a switchblade) from his pocket, get it open and stab the can before it hit the ground.

    I’m surprised Arlie didn’t marry into my family somewhere.

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  20. brian stouder said on October 8, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Julie – Pam has been casting about; she’s no longer happy with WalMart.

    They very often seem to be short-staffed, making the check-out lines long. While Meijer tends to be better staffed, she’s not quite comfortable there, either. Maybe she’ll give Costco a whirl, although getting to the one we have would constitute the one long-term hassle.

    Cooz – tremendous article, and a needed needle for the fear-mongering flying monkeys of the rightwing airwaves

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  21. Dorothy said on October 8, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Meijer is my favorite place to grocery shop, Brian. I don’t get much in the way of fruit and vegetables there, but for everything else, I like the savings. Do you know why she’s not comfortable shopping there? I’m just curious.

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  22. Deborah said on October 8, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Little Bird’s surgery was successful, I’m still in the waiting room, I just spoke with her surgeon. They’ll let me go in and be with her in recovery in a bit. Thanks for your kind words.

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  23. Dave said on October 8, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Good news, Deborah!

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  24. beb said on October 8, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Good news, Deborah.

    Dorothy, we also do most of our grocery shopping at Meijers. I’m not sure how it treats its weployees on a Walmart to Costco scale.

    Walmart employees need to unionize to deal with issues like On-Call staffing, keeping employees below 30 hours a week and so on. Amazon fulfillment employees are pushing a lawsuit over the time it takes for them to go through security (anti-shoplifting) and punching the time-clock. Amazon makes them punch out then going through the check-out. They say they should be paid for waiting to check out. I would think the law is on their side since an early decision was that in industries where people have to suit up in special garb before beginning work, that time time spent getting dressed must be paid. But these days conservative judges never read the law before ruling for business.

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  25. beb said on October 8, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Dave: jinks!

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  26. Judybusy said on October 8, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks for the update, Deborah. So glad it went well.

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  27. brian stouder said on October 8, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Dorothy – no real idea why; my theory is ‘old dog, new tricks’ – but I’ll deny the ‘old dog’ part, if the question ever arises!

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  28. Scout said on October 8, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Hooray for Little Bird! Sending more good mojo her way for a quick recovery period.

    The marriage issue is all but over. The haters lost this one a while ago. Back when the Supremes ruled for Windsor, my lawyer friend told me it was just a matter of a short amount of time before the rest of the states started falling like dominoes. The 9th circuit ruling the other day put our troglodyte AG here in AZ in a tough spot. Does he continue the losing battle for the optics of satisfying the other troglodytes or does he just go with the flow?

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  29. brian stouder said on October 8, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Well, if he has any courage, he can always resign as a matter of principle, and then see how much money he can make off an angry book, or a Quixotic presidential run….or the Gingerich trick of doing both!

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  30. Scout said on October 8, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Oh, he’s already outta here. Arizonans have great talent for electing the worst possible idiots. Those of us with unfried brains are hoping that sanity will reign for once and Felecia Rotellini will be elected in November.

    From BallotPedia:
    “Incumbent Tom Horne, a Republican first elected in 2010, lost his bid for renomination in the August 26 Republican primary, creating an open seat race for the general election.[8]

    Midway through his first term as attorney general, Horne found himself the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation stemming from an alleged hit and run incident. This blight, in addition to his rumored extra-marital affair with a staffer, led Horne to forgo his long-anticipated gubernatorial campaign in favor of seeking another term in his current post. These scandals led Governing to rate Arizona’s attorney general seat as “vulnerable” to partisan switch in the 2014 elections.

    Horne’s controversy-riddled first term gave way to the incumbent’s six point ousting by sole Republican challenger Mark Brnovich in the party’s primary. Brnovich, the former Director of the Arizona Department of Gaming, faces 2010 Arizona Gubernatorial nominee and Assistant Attorney General Felecia Rotellini in the general election on November 4, 2014.

    Although Arizona tends to vote Republican, especially at the state level, Democrats placed considerable hopes in Rotellini early on in the election season. Rotellini’s background as superintendent of the state Department of Financial Institutions bodes well for as a fundraiser and thus her chances in the race to succeed Horne as Arizona’s chief legal official.

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  31. m said on October 8, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Great news, Deborah, Little Bird!

    Happy birthday, Jolene!

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  32. Dexter said on October 8, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    My second great-grandchild has been gender identified … boy, shall be named “Oliver James”. This will be my granddaughter’s first child. I searched that name and found a ton of photos of an Oliver James who is an English musician, singer, songwriter and actor. Too bad kids refuse to answer phones these days, and some keep their Facebooks private. Maybe I can message her mom and find out the Oliver James selection/reason for naming. This is the Las Vegas, Nevada part of our family.

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  33. Dexter said on October 8, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Kirk, last summer Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said the day is near when outfielders and infielders will be wearing GPS positioners on their bodies that will guide them to the exact pinpoint on the playing field where they will station themselves for every pitch.

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  34. Dave said on October 8, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Beb, that’s when my kids would draw a imaginary X on the other person’s arm and then hit it. That’s what we used to do when we’d get someone to flinch, I learned about jinks when our kids were in middle school, I believe.
    Luckily, I’m out of reach.

    We shop at Meijer’s frequently, they’ve got better produce and a better deli than Kroger’s. I don’t know about now but in the past, when I actually knew someone who worked there, I know that they treated their employees fairly well and had benefits. That is, however, at least five years ago now.

    We go to Kroger’s because it’s closer. I’m not saying we never set foot in Walmart, that would be a lie, but their grocery store is nothing special and it’s very limited on brand options.

    Congratulations on the great-grandchild, Dexter, I don’t hardly expect to ever see any great-grandchildren, you’ve got to get a, ahem, excuse me, early start for that and we didn’t. We’ve two grandsons, one is 2 1/2 and he has a cousin who is 8 weeks old.

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  35. alex said on October 8, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Happy birthday Jolene! Happy happy for Little Bird and Deborah!

    I’m a Costco fan, even though it’s a less convenient option than other stores. Their prescription drug prices won me over. I pay hundreds less per month for meds compared to CVS, which was the “preferred” pharmacy in my health plan. Costco also undercuts everyone else on booze and its meat and produce departments are as good as I’ve seen anywhere else. Kroger remains my go-to store for the most part because it’s close and gives big discounts on gasoline.

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  36. Deborah said on October 8, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Little Bird is at home in bed with doctor’s orders to keep her leg elevated. She’s got some good pain pills too. Everything is all bandaged up, again the Dr was all concerned about the length of the scar, but nobody cares a hoot about that. A neighbor is bringing over a cane and crutches for Little Bird to use. She didn’t realize it would hurt when she put weight on her leg.

    I have to drive back down to Albuquerque again this evening to pick up my husband from the airport. He hates the shuttle even more than I do and his flight gets in late. If he took the shuttle he wouldn’t get here until after midnight and then I’d have to pick him up at one of the shuttle drop offs here in Santa Fe. We call the shuttle the shittle. By the way Little Bird’s surgeon’s name is Anil Shetty. Just a couple of vowels away from something foul.

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  37. Jolene said on October 8, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Thanks for the birthday greetings, everyone. I’m just back from seeing the orthopedist where they took X-rays and told me the trouble with my knee is arthritis. Funny that it should pop up so suddenly and intensely, but what do I know?

    They gave me a cortisone shot and Naproxen and told me to come back in six weeks. Am still having some pain, but it’s much reduced. Presumably, when the cortisone takes hold, I’ll be my normal self again.

    Best news: The doctor said I am a long way from needing a knee replacement.

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  38. Deborah said on October 8, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Jolene, happy birthday and good to hear your knee pain has subsided some. I have arthritis mainly in my fingers, it doesn’t hurt that bad but it keeps me from doing things like twisting off my gas cap sometimes. I don’t even try to twist off bottle caps anymore.

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  39. brian stouder said on October 8, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Jolene, happy birthday to you, indeed!!

    And Deborah/Little Bird – today must have been quite stressful for you both. It is good to hear that it will conclude pleasantly, this evening

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  40. MichaelG said on October 8, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    That “m” at 31 is MichaelG. I don’t know what happened to my name.

    Although I turned in my baseball fan papers some years ago, I sure don’t like the idea of a no pitch free pass.

    Good news, Jolene.

    Had an MRI this am. God, I hate those things.

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  41. Kirk said on October 8, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    There’s a Blue Ball, Ohio, too.

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  42. Sherri said on October 8, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    I don’t think MLB will actually go to a no pitch intentional walk. Every few years, they talk about experimenting with rules changes in the fall league to speed up the game, but nothing changes. Of course, they could speed up the game without changing any rules – just enforce the rules already there about how much time the pitcher is allowed to pitch and by not granting time to the batter so readily. That’s where all the time goes, with the pitcher going walkabout after every pitch and the batter stepping out to adjust all of his equipment even though he hasn’t even taken the bat off his shoulder. Well, they could also cut down on the number of commercials between innings, but that’s not going to happen.

    Dexter, all the unusual positioning of fielder started happening a few years ago after all the parks were equipped with cameras that tracked the ball everywhere. Teams are now able to get data on where batters hit the ball, and find the “hot spots” for hitters. Certain hitters have pretty well defined hot spots in particular areas, so big shifts happen. The Giants aren’t one of the teams that put on huge shits, but they did put one on in the infield for Adam LaRoche, and this chart shows why: http://www.fangraphs.com/spraycharts.aspx?playerid=1904&position=1B&type=battedball

    Go Giants!

    Happy birthday, Jolene! Hope your recovery goes well, Little Bird!

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  43. Kirk said on October 8, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    The pitch that got away on the intentional walk last night is why they shouldn’t go to automatics. And, as Sherri said, they’re not going to anyway.

    And pretty funny typo, Sherri.

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  44. coozledad said on October 8, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Whose job is it to put one on the field for LaRoche? I’ll bet the bat boys have to rake it up.

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  45. Basset said on October 8, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Sign of the times… Mrs. B took a fainting spell this morning and is getting a cat scan as we speak, just about the first thing the ER asked after her name was whether she’d recently been out of the country. No, and they are ruling out Ebola.

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  46. Basset said on October 8, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Lost interest in baseball some years ago, except on cheap beer night with some of the guys from work, but I would say the softballization started with the Astros’ polyester pullovers back in the 70s. Next thing you know we’ll have a 4th outfielder and an “additional hitter” out there.

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  47. Sherri said on October 8, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Oh well, if we had an edit button, I’d clean it up, so to speak…

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  48. brian stouder said on October 8, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Basset – here’s hoping Mrs B is OK. Since I’m 9 years old than Pam, and given women’s longer life expectancy, I’ve been taking for granted that I’ll get ejected from the cheap seats before she will, which is a good thing.

    Aside from that, baseball lost me the year Reds had the best record in baseball, and didn’t get to go to the playoffs, let alone the Series (strike year/split season/screwed up resolution)

    So, yes, any opinion I have is basically worthless…but still – Joe Garagiola (or however you spell it) was right: Baseball is a Funny Game – and crazy things can happen on intentional walks. Pitch the ball.

    (I did note the 18 inning[!!] game that the Nats won the other night)

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  49. Dexter said on October 8, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Jesus Christ, brian! I actually read that book…must have been back in 1960. And you nailed the spelling, good job.

    When I was a kid, I read every baseball book I could get my hands on. The big New York stars had biographies and autobios , ghost written of course by myriad NYC sportswriters.
    Back then, my faves were “Lou Gehrig, a Quiet Hero” by Frank Graham (1942) and a book about Babe Ruth by Robert Creamer. But I read them all, to be sure.
    Baseball can’t be killed, apparently; it thrives. The softball uniforms of the 1970s, the horrible cookie-cutter stadii in Philly, Atlanta, Cincinnati, and St. Louis be damned and be gone…and baseball thrives. I never understood how football stole the spotlight, but who cares?

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  50. Dexter said on October 8, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    I forgot Pittsburgh and Oakland…only Oakland’s survives.

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  51. Kirk said on October 8, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    I read Garagiola’s book, too. Had some good stuff in it. Too bad he was such an insufferable jerk.

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