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15 Days To Go | blog.deanland.com

15 Days To Go

15 Days To Go

In 15 days the year will come to an end. What a year it has been speeding by faster than any previous year, or so it seemed earlier this month. Now we are down to two weeks and counting.

This has been a troublesome health year. I had Pneumonia, ear infections, two serious colds, and my bad knee is getting worse. Maybe this coming year will be the one during which I finally have the knee replacement surgery the doctors told me would eventually be necessary. Since I canít even walk a few steps without some knee pain, it looks like the time may have come. Stairs are a dreadful concept, and even the walk to my car from the office is enough to make me think about the use-by date of the aspirin in the glove compartment.

The Diabetes-related weight gain is a real issue, and an exercise program is in order. The weight gain is surely a part of the knee problem.

Gee now it isnít just age keeping me from playing Second Base for The Yankees. Not only is Alfonso Soriano doing a great job, but with a completely rotted out knee, or even a new one, but I just must give up on that Cinderella Fantasy Ö the one where Gene Michael (Yanksí SuperScout who lives pretty close to here) sees me play in an Adult League game and signs me up, to play the very next day.

And the thought of it . . . to hear the venerable Bob Sheperd announcing my name to the [sell-out] crowd at Yankee Stadium: Now Batting, Number 52, Dean . . . (pause, thatís how Bob Sheperd does it). . . Landsman. Number 52.î

A Tampa Bay fan offers a nice appreciation of Bob Shepard here.

It has also been a year of some significant growth. Horizons have expanded, communications have improved, and intuition seems to be tweaked to a higher point than in years past. It was a year when professional ethics came into play a great deal. I took the high road, and there were some curious moments.

Funny how a very innocent and well-intentioned move I made in the Fall of this year came back to haunt me, as it was mistaken by two associates as a ìsubversiveî sort of move. I didn't even have a material gain from this move, it was purely a favor.

In past years this might have caused me much duress and concern. But I came to realize that this perception or suspicion that I might be doing anything underhanded or ethically incorrect . . .was either a paranoid view, or the view one might take who would go down such a road, themselves.

Speaking about this over the weekend with a friend, his comment was right on the mark:

ìPeople see in others what they know in themselves. An insurgent sees sabotage, a crook sees crooked ideas, a thief sees an opportunity to steal, a paranoid sees an opportunity to run from that which might intimidate them

Since I am neither a sabateur, crooked, a thief, or trying in any way to intimidate the fellows who characterized this move I made as some or all of the above, I had chosen not to argue with them, or even attempt to make a case beyond stating that I felt nothing I did was harmful, out of the ordinary, or even real cause for concern.

To sum up my friendís quote: one sees what one knows. And these guys who saw some skullduggery Ö well Ö best to let sleeping dogs lie. There are bigger and better things ahead.

And, for what it may be worth, I have a great deal of family travel and non-work-related issues to deal with over the next two weeks. Going to North Carolina, then Florida, then back to NC, then back up here, and of course at that point it will be New Year's Eve.

I can make very good use of the time, focus on the personal, family issues, and move forward.

A new year coming, hopefully healthier in numerous ways.


ROSE: ALL BETS ARE OFF

in Cooperstown, NY.  As fine a place as there is to be found, this side of Yankee Stadium.  Make the trip, immerse yourself in Baseball's rich history and deserved place as a part of what is known as Americana.Baseball fans are forever arguing about Pete "Charlie Hustle" Rose. Hall of Fame entry: yes or no? Reinstatement in Baseball: pro or con? Gambled on baseball games, or ñworse yetóon games he managed: true or false? Best hitter ever in the game: agree or disagree?

Thereís an excellent article about this, written by Marcos Breton in the Sacramento Bee.

For years I was of the opinion that Rose does not deserve entry to the Hall of Fame. Thereís another matter, though, to consider in the Rose flap. Since he did, in fact, break Ty Cobbís record for hits, maybe he should, indeed, be inducted into the Hall of Fame. But as a former player/manager now banned from any involvement in the game as sanctioned by MLB (except for two recent appearances in ìbest of the centuryî and ìgreatest momentsî pageants ñ both appearances allowed, by the way, by MLB) there should be some conditions attached to Rose being allowed into the Hall.

He bet on baseball games that he was managing.  He busted a catcher's leg in an All Star game.  He put his own records and stas above the goal of winning.  He put the missing I think Rose should be allowed induction into the Hall, if he was open to the voting, and made the cut. His plaque, however, should note in big letters that this record-holder, a player of significant note, was banned from baseball, placed on the permanent ineligible list, for shamefully betting on the game while he was involved in it. His shame is as noteworthy and merits as much attention as do his Hall-worthy efforts. Maybe special mention should be made of his obsessive "Charlie Hustle" antics. Not just running to First Base when he received a base-on-balls, but also that foolish, insensitive, inane crash at home plate in the 1970 All Star game. He broke catcher Ray Fosse's leg in that collision. Hustle? Sportsmanship? Zeal? Nope. Sounds more like a sick mind. Incapable of making rational judgments. Like the kind of trait associated with a compulsive gambler, especially one not able to face the truths associated with the illness.

Bottom line: Rose deserves the MLB version of a Scarlet Letter. The Shame of the Fame.

In Mondayís New York Times there is an excellent Op-Ed piece on the Pete Rose brouhaha, written by former Commissioner of Baseball Fay Vincent. You can read it by clicking here. He and his immediate predecessor (Bart Giamati, who banned Rose after the MLB investigation proved that Rose had, indeed, gambled on the game while he was in it) were two men who excelled in the job. How sad that the Commission position if now filled by ass-kissing lackey and Acting Commissioner for Life Bud Selig, owner of the Milwaukee Brewers. When ìwhatís wrong with Major League Baseballî is a topic for discussion, I answer with two words: Bud Selig. When people ask how to fix it, thereís another two word answer: Fay Vincent.


HOLIDAY SEASON DECORATION?

My son pointed out an interesting holiday decoration (well, not quite, actually, read the link) put up in Pompano Beach, FL.


LOVINí SPOONFUL MINUS ONE

was the musical heart and soul of the Lovin Spoonful.  The guitar riffs in Summer In The City and Do You Believe In Magic were from his creative and passionate mind.  A sad loss for the music world as 2002 comes to a close. Very sad to learn that Zalman Yanovsky died last week, just before his 58th birthday. He was the long-haired lead-guitar player/songwriter with The Loviní Spoonful. Heíd gone from the band (well, he was actually thrown out of the band after a marijuana bust in San Francisco) to a short-lived solo career. After that he moved back to his native Canada, in Ontario just outside of Toronto, and rehabbed buildings, eventually becoming a restaurateur.

The Canadian press took much note of his passing. Articles and appreciations appeared in print, on line, on the radio and on TV.

His guitar work, a folksy-bluesy, yet also jug-band and whimsical ragtime style, was unlike most of the guitar work found in Rock or Folk-Rock at the time of The Spoonful. This was a band that grew out of the folk scene in New Yorkís Greenwich Village. Originally in a band with fellow Canadian-ex-pat in New York Denny Doherty (that band was the Mugwumps and Doherty and Cass Elliot went on to become one half of the Mamas and The Papas), Zalman teamed up with John Sebastian and for a short period of time, The Spoonful was ìAmericaís answer to The Beatles.î

After his career with the band ended, came the solo album, and then some touring with Kris Kristofferson and othersÖ.came producing. Among the records Yanovsky produced were two early Art-Rock classics: Tim Buckleyís Happy/Sad, and Morning Glory. Yanovsky clearly had a serious side, a Zappa-esque musical bent, and a smile that could warm up a crowd.

Quite a loss, this somewhat forgotten, almost ancillary figure from 30 years ago. I was always a fan of his, and loved the fact that I could stump so-called rock music experts by asking them to name the lead guitarist from the Loviní Spoonful.

Think about their hit Do You Believe In Magic.. Give it a listen. Tame though it may sound now, the guitar work Zalman did back then was different, special, a key part of the appeal and the success of The Loviní Spoonful.

You can hear more Spoonful (et al) at this site. Enjoy. And dig up those old Tim Buckley albums. Youíll hear the depth and art Zalman Yanovsky could elicit from an artist -and catch on record- on those Tim Buckley records.

A major testament to Yanovsky's wit (and the entire Spoonful, as well) was that they composed the soundtrack to Woody Allen's film, "What's Up Tiger Lily."
A few days from 58. Only The Good Die Young seems to be a recurring theme of late.