#BotB Results and #QotM



Uncle Jack commented, “Makes me feel my age when several of your followers say they never knew Jackie Gleason was a musician.” Jackie recorded some thirty-odd albums between 1953 and 1971, so I’d say he was quite the musician, as did three-quarters of you in Battle “Tenderly.” The final results:

Jackie Gleason: 14
Red Norvo Trio: 5


I liked both of these about the same, Jackie’s for the strings and his trumpet, Red’s for the rhythm and the combination of his vibraphone and Tal Farlow’s guitar. Anyway, congratulations to the Great One, and kudos to Red, Tal, and Charles Mingus (who played bass with the trio) for a job well done.


I didn’t get the email for this month’s question and only got the question after I saw Arlee’s and Alex’s responses. More than likely, I did get it and was a little too aggressive in cleaning out my mailbox. Anyway, the question is:

Have you ever met an idol/influence/someone you really admire? How did it go?


A while ago, I talked about my encounter with Sophia Loren in the elevator of the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, but that was more a chance meeting.

One of my favorite books, and by far my favorite baseball book, is Ball Four by former major-league pitcher Jim Bouton. Written during the 1969 season, when Jim was with the expansion Seattle Pilots (now the Milwaukee Brewers) and Houston Astros, it was a diary of that year for him and the guys who were on both teams, the managers, coaching staffs, umpires, former teammates, and front-office personnel. It was an honest portrayal of what it’s like to spend half your year with a major-league baseball team, and wasn’t always flattering to the game, at least not by the standards set by previous baseball books. For example, most books about Mickey Mantle, certainly one of the greatest players to put on a baseball uniform, neglect to mention that the man was an alcoholic and not always the nicest guy to deal with. Most books don’t go into detail about contract negotiations between owners and players, who at the time were indentured servants to the team, unable to become free agents and sell their services to the highest bidder, due to the “reserve clause” that bound them to the team until the team chose to dispose of them or they decided to retire. And no book ever discussed how twenty-five men in their twenties and thirties filled their time away from the field, particularly on road trips and away from their wives and families, or what went on in the locker room.

Naturally, the book was (for lack of a better word) condemned by the Commissioner of Baseball, Bowie Kuhn, and Bouton was criticized by the players (particularly the ones mentioned in less-than-flattering terms in the book). Bouton was asked on at least one occasion to disavow the contents of his book, and he refused. Despite all this, he managed to spend another ten years as a player, and fans who read the book thought it was entertaining and felt a kinship with the guys who play a kid’s game for money. For me, it made me a fan of the game for life.

I was in Raleigh, North Carolina doing training classes for a week back in the early 1990’s, and learned that the Durham Bulls, then the Class-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, were at home playing Pittsburgh’s Carolina League affiliate. I decided I would go to one of the games while I was there, because I had seen the Durham Athletic Park in the movie Bull Durham and wanted to see it live, plus I wanted to see the guys who one day might be playing for the Braves. I had such a good time there that I ended up going every night that week, and in typical fashion the Bulls lost the four-game series.

One evening they announced that Jim Bouton was at the park, signing autographs and throwing out the first pitch. After some hemming and hawing, I decided to go out to the plaza and meet him. There was a long queue waiting to see him. Some people had really prepared for the occasion, brandishing copies of his book and rehearsing the questions they would ask him. I just stood and wondered what I would say. I really had no questions for him, I just wanted to meet him and tell him his book had made a difference in my life. He autographed a card for me (he brought his own), handed it to me, shook my hand, and I managed to squeak out that his book had changed my life. He said “Thanks,” and waved as I walked away.

I lost the card, probably throwing it out by mistake, but it doesn’t matter. I really don’t care about collectibles, and besides, a baseball card off “Jim Bouton, Businessman” probably wouldn’t get me a lot of money, anyway. But I was happy for the opportunity to meet him and tell him what his book had meant to me.

(Monday’s Music Moves Me is on its way!)

#ROW80: End-of-Round Post-Mortem


So, here we are, at the end of another round. Of course, for me, it ended a while ago, when I started getting busy with my duties as a co-host for the A to Z Challenge. It wasn’t that I gave up on the goals I set, I just… stopped caring about them, I guess.

I did get where I wanted to be with the posts for the Challenge that starts a week from yesterday; by next Tuesday I plan on being finished with the posts for it, and can dedicate my time to following up with the other participants that have fallen under my purview, and fighting fires… one of those things I seem to do best.

As for the reading… Well, I read 2.5 of the 3 books I had hoped to read, and if you count the ones that I started reading and decided continuing was a waste of time, I’d be well over 3. Guess getting books from all the “Free Kindle Books!” sites is not the way to go. In more than a few cases, I realized that I had overpaid for some of them, even if they were “free.” I saw a quote recently that the price of something is the value of the time you spent on it, in which case, those were some expensive books…

I’ve participated in ROW80 now for three years, and I realized about a week ago that I’m burnt out on it. That, combined with things that will demand my attention over the next couple of months, is why I’ll be taking Round 2 off. I won’t be gone too far; I’ll continue to look in on those of you I’m following on Feedly, and probably leave the occasional pithy comment when I do. I just want to say that I am in awe of the amount of work you folks do. Sometimes I read your updates and I say to myself, “what in the world am I doing trying to keep up with these people?” You’re an amazing bunch; I read some of your updates where you’re saying that you didn’t get anything done, and then I look at the goals you’ve set and what you actually did do… man, you put me to shame.

Good luck next round, and as always, straight ahead…

#ROW80: Next-to-last checkin

Click on the logo to visit the challenge!

We have one more week to go in this round after this one, and I feel like the wheels have come off… If you read Kait’s post on the ROW80 blog, you know she’s just about over the time change, but I’m not, and neither is Mary. Do you realize we now spend eight months out of the year on Daylight Saving Time, and only four months on “standard” time? Hey, Congress, make this most recent change to the clocks the last change to the clocks, and give us a break, willya? You did it once before (1973), then undid it…

Anyway, the summary:

  • Read three books: I’m still at two and a half. I might get book #3 read by the end of the round.
  • Finish A to Z blog posts: Work continues apace on them. I’m about halfway done.

Next month, I’ll probably be busier than a one-armed paper hanger, so I probably won’t start Round 2 until later, if at all. Just fair warning for all my fans…

Straight ahead!

#ROW80: Moving right along


I’m on track to finish both of my goals by the end of the month for certain, hopefully by the end of the round. The recap:

  • Read three books: I’m halfway through the book on 1969, and since I’ll be going to the doctor this afternoon (nothing serious, just annual check-in, renew the handicapped tag, refresh the prescriptions, get blood work done) I’ll probably get a good chunk read by the end of the day. When I finish that, I’ll have my three books in.
  • Complete entries for this year’s Blogging From A To Z Challenge: I spent a lot of time on A to Z related stuff this week. Unfortunately, very little of it involved writing entries. But work continues, and I still expect to have the entries written by the end of the round. As I see it, if I work on one entry a day, I should finish by the end of next week.

Speaking of the A to Z Challenge, registration is still going on and will be until April 2. Hope to see a lot of you there.

Until next week, straight ahead.

#ROW80: Changing my reporting day again…

Click the logo to visit the Challenge!

I’ve changed my reporting day to Wednesday for the remainder of the round. I realized this past Sunday that I really had nothing to report. The summary:

  • Read three books: I am still making my way through the biography of Lincoln, but it’s going to take a little more time. I started reading 1969: The Year Everything Changed by Rob Kirkpatrick as well, and it’s going much faster; I’ll probably finish that before Lincoln, and that will give me my three books for the round.
  • Finish entries for the A to Z Challenge: I got draft posts out in my queue for all the letters, changed my mind on a few of them (that seems to be a common occurrence with me), and a couple of the entries. I’ll have them done by April 1.

So, that’s the story, Morning Glory, as Mom’s aunt used to say. Straight ahead.