Friday, June 15, 2012

Dis N Dat


* A friend of mine lent me his copy of Meyer Berger's New York. "Mike" Berger was a New York Times columnist in the Fifties, who made the big city seem more like a small town, only better. Here's a timely and fascinating sample:

"Nowadays (1953) the major lower-city banks burn billions of dollars worth of matured bonds each year and...few are aware that fortunes are undergoing cremation...Big banks have cremations on average of twice week...Some banks have put as much as $750,000,000 through within a twelvemonth."

Hah! If he were alive today, Berger might be surprised to know that today's "banks" like MF Global or JPM Chase don't even wait until maturity, and sometimes burn-up $2-3 Billion or more in bonds in a day or two. Even more. Turn them into dust.
Talk about productivity gain!

* How much do I love baseball? Enough to board a 1:57pm Acela Express in Stamford for a ride to Penn Station, Baltimore on a rain-threatened day to watch the Orioles take on their 1971 and 1979 World Series opponent, the Pittsburg Pirates, who won both in seven games? Well, yes. 

My friend and host Dave and I arrived in that dingy, unkept (by Grand Central Station standards) station before 5pm and then boarded the Light Rail for Camden Yards. Camden was the first of the "friendly" type ballparks, based on Wrigley and Fenway. That formula has been overdone, and, with the introduction this year of the Miami Marlins new stadium statement, run its course. But, Camden, the original throw-back, is still magnificent.

Along the way, our rail attendant highly recommended Mo's Fisherman's Wharf Seafood Restaurant. So, we knew we could not lose, even if the game was rained out.

As it happened, the skies cleared and we sat practically on first base, in the first row, courtesy of the owner of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, co-owned by one Cal Ripken, who is somewhat known in the area. From that venue we could see that baseball is a whole lot harder and faster than that game we see on the little TV screen. Think of it as the difference between seeing a snapshot of Giselle Bundchen and actually siting next to Giselle in the dugout, live. Substantial.

A Fan, Live. Swear.

Since we had to catch the 9:28 back to Penn Station, NY, we left before the fifth inning, with the Orioles ahead. Eventually the two teams would blast 25 hits, 5 of them homers, and the O's would win 9-6. How much do I love baseball? Enough to take the slow Amtrak train home, hop a taxi, get the 1:15am local and arrive home just after 2am: a twelve hour round trip to see two hours max of live baseball? Indeed. Worth it too.

* The entire staff here has been working on a little book for a major publisher (RareBurghers Press). The book takes some well known sayings and, there is no polite way to say this, makes minced-meat out of them, with illustrations (as soon as we find an illustrator). Here are a few samples:

                                               A walk is as good as a hit?
                                               Certainly not.
                                               Not even close. Not even a bunt.
                                               A walk is a stale bun without the dog.

                                                Living well is the best revenge?
                                                Vengeance always gets in the way of living truly well.              
                                                 Poetry Updated:

                                                 1) There was no frigate like a book.
                                                 2) Two roads diverged in a wood one day,
                                                      But, luckily, I wasn't in the woods,
                                                      when it happened.


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