Saturday Odds & Sods: Down On The Riverbed

Valley Farms by Ross Dickinson.

Dr. A and I are going to the Antiques Roadshow at the Morial Convention Center today. We’re not 100% certain what we’re taking as of this writing but I’m nervous that she’ll use me as her antique. While I have some patina, I’m not sure how valuable I am. On the other hand, if puns add value I might be worth a few bucks.

A quick political note. Here’s a tweet I sent out marking the resignation of Sean Spicer, the press secretary who could lie and chew gum at the same time:

I chose this week’s featured image because our theme song is tres Californian. So is the artist. The late Ross Dickinson was our friend Bonny’s grandfather. The Bonster went to grad school with Dr. A. End of cronyistic shout-out. Is cronyistic a word? Since I’m Greek I should know; of course, we specialize in nepotism. Unfortunately, the current administration* is giving nepotism a bad name. I take that as an affront to my heritage.

Down On The Riverbed was written by David Hidalgo and Louis Perez for Los Lobos’ fabulous 1990 album, The Neighborhood. The original studio version features John Hiatt singing harmony with some grit but without the syrup. Hominy grits you want with your eggs, Mr. Hiatt? Dave Alvin’s version comes from the 2006 album West of the West whereon he recorded some of his favorite songs written by California tunesmiths.

Now that we’ve been down on the riverbed without drowning, it’s time to don a life jacket (I wish they were still called Mae Wests) and go to the break.

I’ve been listening to West of the West a lot recently because Dave Alvin is coming to New Orleans next month. He’s playing at an intimate venue called Chickie Wah Wah. I was relieved that he wasn’t playing at the Trump-n-Bowl as he has in the past. It’s actually named the Rock-n-Bowl but its owner is such an obnoxious Trumper that many locals refuse to go there. Shorter, Adrastos: if you’re in town, skip the Trump-n-Bowl. Besides, they make you rent shoes if you want to bowl. Wearing used shoes is as appealing to me as dirt sleeping but giving my money to an in-your-face Trumper is worse than either.

Since we’re on the subject of Dave Alvin, here’s his cover of a Garcia-Hunter song:

If you’re in a Russia, let’s move on to our first segment, which involves a recurring segment (there’s that word again) on the op-ed page of the  failing New York Times.

Red Century: It’s the 100th anniversary of  the Russian Revolution, which was one of the most significant events of the 20th Century. Russia abolished the Tsarist monarchy but not autocracy. Every Monday, the Times runs an interesting piece by various writers under the rubric of Red Century. Spaseeba.

A July 10th piece by Anastasia Edel, The Remains of the Romanovs, was of particular interest to me. I recall all the wild theories and impostors that roamed the globe when the Soviet Union was still a thing and DNA testing was not. I even read a book years ago positing that the Romanov women had all survived even if none of them became Ingrid Bergman. I never encountered any Romanov impostors but Dr. A met Anna Anderson who was not particularly regal. So it goes.

The most recent Red Century piece has a wonderful title, How German Condoms Funded The Russian Revolution. Who knew?

Let’s relocate to the intersection of sports and politics.

Silent Prayer: Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was known as Chris Jackson when he played college hoops at LSU. He was quite simply one of the best college basketball players I’ve ever seen. He played alongside Shaquile O’Neal for one season and Jackson was still the star.

He turned pro after two seasons in Tigertown, converted to Islam, and changed his name to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. He was the Colin Kaepernick of the Nineties, getting into trouble for praying silently during the national anthem. He landed on the NBA’s informal black/shitlist and his career was truncated. Marc J. Spears has the details at The Undefeated.

Before moving on, here’s a clip of one of Abdul-Rauf’s best games as a freshman against the hated Florida Gators:

There’s No Crying In Baseball: That line was  spoken by Tom Hanks in the swell movie about women professional baseball players, A League Of Their Own. Hanks played a manager who was based on Hall-of-Famer Jimmy Foxx who was washed up by age 34 because of his drinking problem. End of barely relevant anecdote. Baseball makes me all anecdotal and shit.

There’s a fine piece by Jessica Luther at Bleacher Report about an all-girls traveling baseball squad who one day hope to make the show. It’s titled A Team Of Their Own. I wonder where they got that from? I also wonder if Jessica Luther is related to either Martin or Lex. I suspect the latter of changing the spelling of his name so it’s possible. Ya never know.

I’ll let Luther give you the skinny on these young athletes:

They are part of Girls Travel Baseball (GTB) and have come to Miami from all over the country to play in the SummerSlam youth baseball tournament against teams full of boys.

Here’s my favorite passage:

Aubrey Evans is sitting in the lobby of GTB’s hotel on the morning of the first day of the tournament. Her socks are pulled up to her knees, she’s wearing a Dirtbags baseball T-shirt and on the brim of her GTB baseball hat sits a pair of sunglasses. Behind her, some teammates are playing catch.

She knows she’s there to be quizzed about baseball. She sounds like she’s answered all these questions before; she probably has. Nearly every member of GTB has had a profile published in their local paper and a few have done radio spots or TV hits. Reporters pop up every so often to ask them about being one of a few girls who play the nation’s pastime. Maybe that is why Evans is gruff but patient, not quite bored but not far from it.

Her mood changes, though, when she talks about what it’s like to be on an all-girls team that plays teams full of boys. A sly smile crawls across her face, a corner of her mouth kicking up, as she says: “Everyone looks at us weird, and they’re like, ‘Oh, a bunch of girls. We can beat them.’ Then once they see us actually beating them, they start to get scared.” She loves that feeling, when the boys realize their level of competition. “Feels great,” she says. “Because they’re all crying when we strike them out or tag them out. [They] throw their helmets and everything.”

Aubrey Evans is a bad ass. I wish her and her teammates well. I think it’s possible for a woman to play in the show. They’re used to be quite a few petite male ball players in the pre-steroid era. I met one of them after his playing days. Albie Pearson was 5’5′ and his playing weight was 140 pounds. He was American League rookie-of-the-year in 1958 and played for 9 seasons. He was a slick fielding outfielder with no power whatsoever hitting only 28 homers in his career. He did, however, have a helluva firm handshake.

Attitude is the biggest barrier to women playing in men’s leagues. I’m talking about men, not women. There are some great female basketball players who could have played in the NBA, after all. I hope they and their baseball counterparts will get a chance.

Tweet Of The Week: This could qualify as a separated at birth entry since both the Insult Comedian and Homer have weirdly colored skin. The picture of Trump came from his Made in America event, which merely served to remind us that all Trump branded products are made offshore. Do as he says, not as he does.

Dave Weigel, of course, published his book about prog rock. The Show That Never Ends, not long ago. I haven’t read it yet so I’m not sure if he delves into the world of jazz-fusion, which is at the very least a bastard offspring of prog.  Speaking of which:

Saturday Classic: Ever since I posted the Chick/Herbie Soundstage show last Sunday, I’ve been listening to the odd jazz-fusion record. Romantic Warrior is one of the best. Enjoy.

That’s it for this week. I’ll be at the Roadshow gawking at the appraisers. I hope to see Wes Cowan so I can tell him how much I miss History Detectives. We’ll also keep our eyes peeled for the Keno Brothers who you see below with Gordon Ramsay. Gordon has nothing to do with the Antiques Roadshow but I liked the picture so I bat-memed it. So it goes.

2 thoughts on “Saturday Odds & Sods: Down On The Riverbed

  1. Pearson was with the Angels in their first year in the AL. So was Steve Bilko, who was 6′ 1″ and 230 lbs. Of course the print press had a great time posing the two side-by-side. I saw a game that year at old Wrigley Field in LA with Pearson in the OF and Bilko playing 1B.

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