In re-reading Matt's "Toga Party" story from last week my eye was drawn to the following:
"Like most girls who came our way, she quickly found herself naked with Mike."
I'd like to say for the record that on this evening I was, indeed, a perfect gentleman. The events of the evening are as follows:
Inspired by the film "Animal House," our motley crew decided to have one hell of a toga party at my house. Main instigators included myself, Matt, Scott Gilbert, Rick Sousa and many others. After the "let's chase Matt into the street" episode I was shocked to discover that Rick had gotten into some of my dad's paint (he was a contractor and was actually renovating the house I was living in) and painted the Greek symbol Delta in the middle of the street in front of my house. As I was heading back on to the porch a very attractive young lady approached me and asked for directions to I75. She was hitchhiking to, if memory serves me, Arizona, where her sister had gone a few months before. I told her she had quite a trek ahead and asked her if she wanted to come in and rest a spell. After talking a few minutes I told her that we (the people in the sheets) were probably going to be up all night so she was welcome to crash there for the evening. She seemed relieved that she had a place to rest and we talked for another half hour or so. I told her that she could stay in my dad's room and that nobody would bother her. She asked if she could take a bath which was fine with me. She was still in the tub when I brought her a towel and she asked me to sit and talk with her, which I did for quite a while. She had lots of doubts about her journey and told me a good portion of her life story. Nothing too tragic but enough to keep a 17 year old kid focused. We talked for awhile after she went to bed until we were interrupted by a voice telling me my father had shown up. He had stopped by with his girlfriend to pick up clothes for the next day and seemed quite surprised of the fact that there was a girl in his bed. After the "Mr. Smith/Pepsi" episode my dad put, I believe, Scott in charge and took me out to the local Sambo's, where I was given a lecture on the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases. One of those bonding father/son moments that sticks in your memory. Thus ended the greatest toga party ever held in north Tampa, which was soon followed by the greatest road trip that ever happened but that is another story...
As I mentioned last week I spent most of this past summer playing on my son, Phillip's, men's baseball team. This past week our team, the old man included, played for the league championship. Though we didn't win (we lost a couple games in heartbreaking fashion in the last inning) we had a fun time and, more importantly, nobody got hurt! Though our team name was the Monarchs we never bothered to get jerseys so we all just wore what we had.
The Griffeys. The Raines'. And now, the Smiths. Father and son on the same field is a pretty great feeling (at least for the old man)
THE ANSWER IS
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the scenario. A young couple is robbed at gunpoint, the father is dies and the son gets his vengeance by becoming a crimefighter. However, if you think I'm talking about Batman, you may be mistaken. In the new book, "The Book of Lies," author Brad Meltzer found the following facts in his research: In 1932 Mitchell Siegel died in a robbery. Though the police report notes that a gunshot was fired the autopsy shows he died of a heart attack his family always maintained he was murdered. The public outcry for justice caused one individual to write a letter to the editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, decrying vigilante justice. The author of the letter was identified as L. Luther. A few years later, Siegel's son, Jerry, helped create the man of steel himself, Superman. Can you say hmmmmmm?
PLEASE HURRY UP AND DIE
According to the Sun newspaper in London, Heather Mills was dropped from "Celebrity Apprentice" because she wanted to be contractually assured she would reach the finals. HELLO! ATTENTION EVERYONE! THIS WOMAN IS NOT A CELEBRITY! As I've said before, just because you've blown a Beatle doesn't make you famous. Otherwise you couldn't swing a cat in Hamburg, Germany without hitting one.
GET OUT THE VOTE
This week the Baseball Hall of Fame released the names of 10 players to be considered for induction by the Veteran's Committee. Once again on the list is the great Ron Santo. Maybe I'm biased because he is my favorite player of all time so let me add here that the greatest 3rd baseman EVER, Brooks Robinson, told me he thought Ronnie belonged in the hall. Please drop an email to the hall of fame and let them know that #10 deserves to be among the game's greatest. Also eligible, with my vote if they are deserving in my opinion:
Joe Torre - as a player, he's very close. But add his managerial achievements into the mix and he's close. A good run with the Dodgers will help him, showing he doesn't need George Steinbrenner's money to win.
Gil Hodges - a popular player in his time and manager of the 1969 Miracle Mets. However, going from his stats, I would say no.
Dick Allen - another one of my all time favorites. Very consistent for many years but sadly not enough to make it.
Jim Kaat - 283 wins. 181 COMPLETE GAMES! Almost 2500 strikeouts. And possibly the greatest defensive pitcher ever, with 16 Gold Gloves to his credit. That he wasn't voted in during his original eligibility borders on criminal. YES!
Luis Tiant - former Indian and Red Sox known for his unusual windup. Solid pitcher but not great. No.
Maury Wills - FAST. But that's all. No.
Tony Oliva - like Tiant, solid but not great. No
Al Oliver - No.
Vada Pinson - No.
Fred Crane, whose best known role was alongside George Reeves as one of the Tarleton twins in "Gone With The Wind," died of complications from diabetes. He was 90. His is the first voice heard in the film, asking Scarlett O'Hara "What do we care if we were expelled from college, Scarlett? The war is going to start any day now, so we'd have left college anyhow."
Richard Wright, keyboardist and founding member of Pink Floyd, died this week at the age of 65. Cause of death was given as cancer. In 1965, Wright, Roger Waters and Nick Mason, already playing together, met Syd Barrett and became Pink Floyd. He was "fired" from the band by Waters during recording sessions for "The Wall" album and later rehired on a salaried basis. He joined the group again full time after Waters left. He did play with Waters, Mason and David Gilmour, who joined the group in 1968, at the Live 8 Concert in 2005.
Norman Whitfield, one of the greatest song writers in the history of Motown, passed away this week, also from diabetes complications. He was 67. In the early days of the label he and writing partner Barrett Strong produced such hits as "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," which scored big for both Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight and the Pips and "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" by the Temptations. In 1968 their songwriting took on a more social tone, dealing with the problems facing society, including "Runaway Child, Running Wild," "Smiling Faces Sometimes" and Edward Starr's anthem, "War." Whitfield, as producer, made sure that artists sang the songs as written, even when they got personal. Temptations lead singer Dennis Edwards balked at the beginning of "Papa Was A Rolling Stone," which starts off, "It was the third of September. That day I'll always remember. 'Cause that was the day that my daddy died." Ironically, Edwards father HAD passed away on that day and he wanted to change the date. Whitfield refused and you can hear the anger in Edwards' voice when he sings the lines. Whitfield left Motown in 1973 and won a Grammy in 1977 for the title song to the film "Car Wash." Other later hits include "I Wanna Get Next to You" and "Love Don't Live Here Anymore."
A LITTLE CULTURE
Last week I promised to publish one of my father's poems in this space. He wrote in two styles: either long, romantic sonnets or short, humorous prose. I chose one of the latter and I hope you enjoy it:
A REFLECTIVE CINQUAIN by Floyd Smith
MY OWN POETIC STATE
TO VALUE WHAT ITS WORTH MAY RATE
AN EASY TASK,
AS FRIENDS QUITE OFTEN ASK,
TO BLEND CASK, FLASK, DEMASK AND BASQUE
EQUAL THE BEST,
I MUST APPROACH WITH ZEST
THE VALUE OF THE WORDS I TEST
I SAY TO YOU
WHO SEEK PERFECTION TOO,
FIRST, STUDY WHAT THE MASTERS KNEW,
AND THE OSCAR FOR 1997 SHOULD HAVE GONE TO...