Artifice v. Artfulness


Speaking of the English language, it’s not all that surprising to discover how the exact same word can “sport” worlds apart connotations.

What better, more timely way to showcase this “war of the words” than a tie-in with the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

To flesh that out a bit more, let’s discuss the problematic issue of “unjuiced” v. “juiced” Olympians.

  • Honest athletes’ artful performances sport a sheen; as if they’ve been VARNISHED.
  • Cheaters’ performances actually are more about artifice; i.e., the VARNISHED truth.
  • Honest athletes typically medal when their performances are winsomely GARNISHED.
  • Frauds, who medal/eventually get outed (rightfully so) have their medals GARNISHED.

That duly noted, let’s check out one final word that’d be tough to pretty up:


To demonstrate that key T-word’s much needed, long overdue (practical) application, let’s award not one, but two TARNISHED lead medals to…

  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) for not consistently enforcing their anti-doping / level playing field rule; i.e., for their utter failure to disqualify each and every pharmaceutical fraud.
  • Again, to the IOC, for denying the winning, legitimate athletes their Thrill of a Lifetime; i.e., to be standing atop the world stage; to be awarded their Gold, Silver and Bronze medals; to ear-witness the ambient, aural mix; the swell of their national anthems and the audience’s adulation and applause.




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Synthetic Steel


Drug tests of Olympians, mean nothing today
When the juiced are allowed to compete anyway
Fair play’s rule book, these rip-offs, will tear asunder
With their synthetic steel, they steal all the thunder


Shot up with steroids / pain killers; obtained at their leisure
Their Ill-gotten gold medals, muddle spectators’ pleasure
Their warped playing field fraud, is not a true measure
Of human steel, esprit de corps; their legit rivals treasure




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The Only Game in Town!

The pandemic, which has noticeably quieted our human hubbub, has certainly created a far more inviting, critter-friendly habitat… inclusive of my own backyard (which, btw, is situated less than 0.8km from a small forest). Case in point…

Today, mid-afternoon, I spotted a small furry visitor, which, most assuredly, was not one of the countless rabbits who, since this past February, have successfully set up housekeeping within the immediate vicinity.

Anyway, this critter’s vision must’ve been impaired, seeing how she (or was it a he?) could not spot me directly behind my patio door… not even when we were “socially distanced” at a mere 0.6 of a meter! Or maybe the screen and reflective glass was sufficient to render me invisible?

Whatever the case, remaining out of sight and at a close vantage point, had afforded me the opportunity for comprehensive study… in particular… to ascertain the exact species (my hypothesis being either a wolverine or woodchuck). Fortunately, my Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedia includes fine photography of both.

However, it wasn’t until I had read about the differing fur lengths and my visitor struck a standing up pose (just like in one of the photos) that I became reasonably certain that this small short-haired mammal is a woodchuck.

However as for what purpose Woody was visiting me? I could only guess. Perhaps it was wood chips still remaining from three recent tree stump grinding projects? Well, apparently, wood would not be on the menu.

All the sudden, there came ol’ Woody lumbering (more like waddling) in hot… more like tepid… pursuit of its intended prey… the far faster, fleeing for its life, panic-stricken chipmunk (belated apologies to both for my being gender unspecific).

As for my post game analysis of this small game hunting expedition… pandemic edition…

I’d say the chipmunk should feel damned lucky that ol’ Woody had not been schooled by my neighborhood’s feline mousers… the veritable clowder of cats… who are always on the prowl, too. From what I’ve seen, their laid-back, stalk and capture techniques seem to be damned near close to 100% successful. In other words, neighborhood mice don’t stand a chance.

As for my op-ed… pandemic sports edition…

Seeing how the coronavirus crisis has already sidelined most fall season, collegiate and professional sports… and factoring in how the animal world has been routinely reclaiming suburban… even urban… areas… perhaps the TV sports networks need to dispatch their play by play announcers and full camera crews into my neck of the woods. It’d appear that…

I’ve got the only game in town!


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Needless Loss of Life

To quote from our above clip’s accompanying text… as it appeared over at YouTube…

Stephen Colbert and Jon Batiste offer their condolences and discuss the tragic helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester and Ara Zobayan.

My condolences, too.

Admittedly, as neither an avid sports fan / team follower nor a seasoned air traveler, up until I viewed this vid, earlier today, I hadn’t really been paying this foggy weather related tragedy all the attention it is due.

The discourse between Batiste and Colbert thoughtfully addresses the grief of the families, friends and fans. Anyone who has ever experienced the loss of someone near and dear… regardless of the circumstances… can relate… will feel the tug on the heartstrings.

Also noteworthy is Colbert’s appeal to the National Transportation Safety Board… i.e., urging the NTSB to make “black box” flight recorders mandatory equipment aboard helicopters. The data from such devices could make for more flight-worthy aircraft, and ultimately, that would save lives.

True, my own travels, as a commercial airline passenger, to date, have involved only a couple of Michigan to California trips. But, factoring in how my very first flight, ever (at the age of 49), involved a foul weather experience, I believe I have an inkling as to what may’ve been going through the minds of Bryant and the other passengers during their final moments of life.

My basic game plan had been to attend a family reunion of two (following the recent death of our family matriarch). I also had some high hopes that, by vacation’s end, I’d be able to [1] get my mourning into perspective, [2] elevate my mood, [3] better accept that “life goes on” sentiment and [4] reestablish some ‘live each day to the fullest” determination.

However, it was during my return flight that I began to wonder if the home I was heading for would be Earthly or Heavenly. Mechanical difficulties had delayed, by three hours, our departure from the Golden State. We did eventually hightail it back to the Great Lakes State, but, by that late afternoon, clashing cold and warm fronts had produced severe thunderstorms.

In the air, that meant major turbulence, which not only, inwardly, unnerved me but appeared to have a similar effect on our (supposedly) unflappable flight attendants (one of them nearly losing her footing and getting floored. On the ground, unsafe wind velocities of 129kph / 80mph had closed down the control tower and necessitated our hour long holding pattern… as well as an unscheduled, diversion to Pittsburgh to refuel.

Yet, oddly enough, throughout, I did experience solace on multiple levels. From a purely practical standpoint, prior to takeoff, I had caught a brief glimpse of our pilot who appeared to be a confidence elevating veteran. From a philosophical perspective, were I to perish in a crash, it’d have been following my fun in the sun, California, celebration of life. Even on the spiritual plane, I was fully covered. I’d be testing my “wings” to soar upward from the mangled wreckage to attend yet another… albeit otherworldly… family reunion.

Obviously… I did luck out and survive. Now, if only each member of the entire Kobe Bryant entourage could say the same.








What if Game 5’s fans had reacted differently?


I’d like to extend my belated congrats to MLB’s World Series Champions, the Washington Nationals. Were there ever a better moment for some positive news coming out of DC, this was it!

Now, as for that DC negative news, let’s revisit the World Series’ Game 5 Trumpian moment. Egad… must we? Long sigh… we must. But I promise to keep it mercifully brief…

As most of us know, this past Sunday night, many of the fans directed their boos and “Lock Him Up” chants at the in attendance, Donny.

Since then, the more I’ve considered this demonstration, the more I’ve wondered… WHAT IF, instead, the entire stadium had suddenly gone dead silent… nary even a whisper amongst the 43,910 fans in attendance?

Think about it. The abrupt cessation of joy. What a dramatic statement that would’ve made. It would’ve been like a power grid crash blacking out the entire stadium.

Hmm… not unlike how… for nearly 3 years (seems more like 3 million)… a very dark-minded, head of state has been casting his dark, oppressive ideological shadow over an entire nation… an entire world.






A Major League Demonstration


Deep down, I didn’t like it when World Series attendees, en masse, loudly booed Donald J. Trump. Yes, you’ve read that correctly. It’s not that Fascist Vladimir Putin’s understudy didn’t deserve it… BUT

As an American, I’d expect any Oval Office dweller to be deemed sufficiently reputable to… at the very least… warrant perfunctory applause. Alas, Donald is not that man.

Beyond that, the Trumpster has no one but himself to blame for this baseball stadium crowd’s raucous chants of “Lock him up!” After all, his obstruction of justice deeds always fly in the face of his words claiming innocence. After all, he is the very Rabble-Rouser-In-Chief who, first, whips his campaign rally’s throngs into a rabid lather and, next, contentedly stands back as they enthrall him with their exuberant chants of “Lock her up!” and “Send them Back!”

During these past, nearly 3 (million) years, Sunday night was one of the few instances… perhaps even the only one… where the so-called prez has ever been confronted by real Americans… not the paid for, trained seals who frequent his propaganda ministers’ staged events.

Oh, that crestfallen look on Donny’s face when his protective bubble was finally burst… upon his realization that the mindless, unconditional adulation that he flat-out demands would not be forthcoming. It’s a sure bet that if he had it his way, he’d have locked them up!

A rational man would’ve viewed this demonstration as his wake up call… gone back to the White House to do some serious soul searching… to start mapping out a policy changing path, that’d earn him some genuine admiration. Alas, Donald is not that man.

It’s not difficult to imagine what actually went down afterwards. Scores of his handlers must’ve been rudely awakened by phone calls notifying them of a hastily convened, top-secret, emergency meeting. Then, upon arrival, they promptly heaped on their praise for their boss until their verbal manure was nose deep in the Oval Office.

Even though humoring such an individual can only worsen his chances of ever getting guided back to good mental health, I suppose it was all for the better.

Would we rather see the man-child throwing his “I’ll show them”, nuclear temper tantrum?





On This Day In History… Game 7 of the ’68 World Series

Let’s set the WayBack Machine’s time/space coordinates to October 10, 1968 / Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. Baseball fans, we’re just moments away from the start of Game 7 of the 1968 World Series… the battle between the American League’s Detroit Tigers and National League’s St. Louis Cardinals.

On this picture perfect sunshiny p.m., Tiger Mickey Lolich and Cardinal Bob Gibson will soon be taking to the pitcher’s mound.

By Game 4 in this best of seven Fall Classic, the Detroit Tigers had only 1 victory… due, in part, to ace pitcher Denny McLain’s post season arm troubles. Folks, his record shattering 31 victories during the regular season just may’ve taken their human toll.

The big question… can the Tigers… who had so valiantly battled back to win Games 5 and 6… extend their winning streak to three? What could complicate matters is how team Manager Mayo Smith will be sending Lolich to the mound with only two days rest. So, regarding this do or die game for both teams, can Lolich pitch his team to a Game 7 victory and make the Detroit Tigers Major League Baseball’s 1968 World Champions?

But first, a few words from… me… back in the here and now…

My being a lifelong Michigander, I’ve spent countless summers cheering on my home team Tigers… and… I’m looking forward to watching this YouTube clip for mostly nostalgic reasons. Additionally, Lolich and I have something in common… our shared ethnicity / ties to Yugoslavia. My plans are to “tune in” to Game 7 later this afternoon… you know… just to keep everything more in sync with its long ago start time.

While I (obviously) do know the outcome to this game, I also realize that many of you may not. Since only diehard sports fans would watch when they already know the final score, I’ve intentionally refrained from mentioning any game details.

I also realize that not everyone can spend two+ hours to watch this blast from the past broadcast in its entirety… ergo… for those of you who’d like to avoid the pregame ceremonies… FF the Complete Game clip to time index 12:58.

For those of you who can spare only about 13 minutes I’m also including a 9th Inning Only clip.

For those of you who are not big baseball fans at all, here’s the link to the Game 7 Scorecard. As a final warning… for those who’ll be watching the game… I’ve labeled that scorecard link SPOILER ALERT!!!

Without further ado… broadcast booth, play-by-play veteran announcers Curt Gowdy and Harry Caray are about to get the 50th anniversary broadcast of Game 7 of the 1968 World Series underway!


Complete Game

9th Inning Only