Very Well Then

Contradicting myself, always contradicting myself

Archive for April, 2010

Sweeping Isn’t Minnesota Nice

Posted by verywellthen on April 26, 2010

[ UPDATE:  6/17 — Twins are now 2-9 in “sweep” games — where winning the final game of a series would give them a sweep.  On one hand, it’s good that they’ve had so many sweep opportunities — but 2 outta 9?  Original Post of 4/26 follows:]

Oh, there you go there, Twins. Yer doing real good.  Got a two-and-a-half game lead in the Central.   Don’t cha know how proud I am of you, winning six straight series and never hurtin’ anybody’s feelings by sweeping them.

Oh, fer nice, ya guys.    Just downright Minnesota Nice.

I mean four times all you had to do is win one game and you could have humiliated your opponent with a series sweep.    But you had a good upbringing, I tell ya.   No need to rub the other team’s nose in it. Those Kansas City Royals, they got feelings too, you know.

Winning two out of three is above-average enough.    I’m just so pragmatically happy that yer going out there and doing what needs to be done to win a series and then stopping there.   Not getting too big for your britches.   Like they say, you just might see those on the way back down that you pass on your way up.  Wouldn’t you want the White Sox to let you win a series too sometime down the line, so that you can feel good on a plane trip home.

There’s more to life than a few more wins, you know. Don’tcha know that?  This season is supposed to be a no rough stuff deal.   The next thing you know,  there’ll be Jon Rauch standing there with Nick Punto in the wood chipper.  And for what?   A few more wins?

And there ya’ll be and it will be a beautiful day at Target Field.  And  Well, I just won’t understand it.


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When the Dogwoods Bloom…

Posted by verywellthen on April 25, 2010


There is that video (and photo) effect – where everything is in black and white, except for one thing, which becomes the center of all attention because it has color.   I think the first time I saw the effect was in the 80’s in an Elton John MTV video (Sad Songs Say So Much, perhaps?).

That’s how I see the world in late April in my neighborhood (Blue Heron Land — a.k.a. the Pacific Northwest of North America).

The only thing in color in my late-April world are the dogwoods.  Everything, at least to me, might as well be black and white.

Walk down any block in town, you’ll see one or two in glorious bloom and it’s the only thing that visually matters.  I’m sure there are other beautiful things happening – just a few weeks ago the cherry and plum blossoms had caught my fancy.  Perhaps they’re still around, but I only have eyes for dogwoods.

I’ve heard a seasonal interconnection attributed to the regional Native American tribes: “the salmon run when the dogwoods bloom.”

(Using the advanced anthropology tool of “Google”  — I’m not able to attribute the saying with any certainty.  But I’ll bet in the old days, local indigenous types without MTV and Elton John wouldn’t miss noticing the dogwoods nor fail to link the timing to their most important food supply.]

I’ve moved around enough in my life to know that every relocation is both a door to soul-invigorating experiences and a painful uprooting.   When my eyes first focused on the scene-stealing dogwoods a few weeks ago, I knew that the spring runs of salmon would be in the river.    The next time I crossed a bridge, I looked down and saw the fleet of local fishermen in the aluminum boats — confirming the connection of tree to fish.    Even if I was only re-making an simple connection, I smiled with pride and momentarily felt that I might be finding a sense of place.  With a new tendril of a root sprouting into this earth.

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The Waltz of Baseball

Posted by verywellthen on April 7, 2010

In honor of Target Field’s opening season.

This season, I want to create a movement in baseball.    One that twirls like a dance floor in Vienna – in perfect three-quarter time.    I want baseball to waltz.

I don’t want a craze.  I’m not talking about a mass-Macarena type of stunt – using baseball crowds to further a national fad.   I want a long-lasting rethinking of baseball’s long-established theme song,  Take Me Out to the Ball Game.  It’s already a sing-along.  Now I want it to be a dance-along.

For years, on the rare occasion of a baseball date, I have grabbed my partner (usually surprised) when the organ music starts and we have carefully danced in the peanut shells in front of our seats during the seventh inning stretch.  Take Me Out to the Ballgame is a waltz, a rare step that even I can figure out.  So it just seems natural that people would want to dance to it.   But like all things related to my dancing, no one has taken my lead.  I don’t see baseball fans gliding through the aisles.  My idea has yet to catch on.

Harry Carey in his drunken sloppiness made the song a crowd-swaying drinking song.  Replace the disposable plastic cups with steins and you could be at a Munich beer hall (with foul poles).  I love the idea that such a grand sing-a-long exists, at any baseball stadium, anywhere.  Now, let’s add the twist – or the twirl.

My reform will come about only by an organic movement, and an organist movement.  First, the organists.  Pick up the tempo a bit.  Or you’ll be replaced by a string section.  Come on, it’s baseball, not a funeral.

Next, the organic movement.  This is where you come in.  You, reading this. Dance.  Grab your partner and dance.     A baseball stadium at the stretch is a place full of joy.  Dancing should be on the agenda.  But hey, keep it a tame joy — it’s a tight spot you’ll be dancing in.  Safety first.

Finally, the third step for the three-step is to spread the word.  If you blog, consider a link.  If you Tweet, Tweet the news.   Use your social networking and your social graces.   See if you can get the baseball loving world to dance.    Create the critical mass, that beautiful dancing cheek-to cheek critical mass.

I’ll know it went viral when I look up from my dance partner’s eyes during the seventh inning stretch, and see my vision.   The whole stadium twirling.  Cubs fans and Cardinals fans all halting on the hesitation step in perfect unison.  Right after the “and cracker Jack” line, the whole place reversing spin together.  Couples falling in love again.  Strangers meeting.   Brothers comfortable enough with each other to dance, albeit at arms length.

Take me out to that ballgame.

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Opening Day Music

Posted by verywellthen on April 4, 2010

For at least the last dozen years, I have made it my opening day tradition to pull out Steve Goodman’s version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”  from my CD collection.    I love Jethro Burn’s mandolin work.  In the joy of opening day, Jethro is as much plucking my heartstrings as he is plucking mandolin strings.

And every year, while I’ve got the Steve Goodman CD out, I inevitably play Steve’s more famous “A Dying Cubs Fan Last Request.”  More smiles.

This year, My opening day music selection continues with a CD I picked up since last opening day:  the Baseball Project.   There’s a line in “The Yankee Flipper” (About Jack Black McDowell) I like on so many levels:

Jack loved the Replacements and we drank enough that we became them.

And I’ve spent plenty of time in the last years channeling the spirit of the Hold Steady.   The first time I ever heard of the band, oddly, was when I heard their version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”   The only youtube version of the song I can find is a mashup with some good Metrodome nostalgia.

Happy Opening Day.

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