Posts tagged rip
Don Zimmer, who died yesterday at eighty-three, was an original Met and an original sweetie pie. His sixty-six years in baseball were scripted by Disney and produced by Ken Burns. (Grainy black-and-white early footage, tinkly piano, as he marries for life at local home plate in bushy, front-porchy Elmira, New York; smiling baggy-pants young teammates raise bats to form arch.) 

As a stubby, earnest third baseman and utility infielder, he compiled a .235 batting average over twelve seasons for six teams, including the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Cubs, those 1962 ur-Mets, and the Washington Senators. In the off-seasons, he played ball in Puerto Rico and Cuba and Mexico. 

Turning coach, he was hired eleven times by eight different teams (there were three separate stints with the Yankees) and along the way managed the Padres, Red Sox, Rangers, and Cubs. Two championship rings as a player with the Dodgers, four as a coach with the Yanks. He finished up with the Rays, in his home-town Tampa: a coach, then a local presence. 

But never mind Disney: only baseball could have produced a C.V. like this, and it’s not likely to happen again. I think Zim is best remembered as the guy right next to manager Joe Torre on the right-hand side of the Yankees dugout in the good years: a motionless thick, short figure, heavily swathed in Yankee formals. 

The bulky dark warmup jacket and the initialled cap neatly and monastically framed his layered white moon-face, within which his tiny, half-hidden eyes remained alive and moving. He could also run and yell, of course. Boston fans—no, fans everywhere—will not forget the night he charged Pedro Martinez on the mound in that Fenway Park playoff fracas in 2003—and instantly wound up on his back, like a topped-over windup toy. 

Zim burned hard, and the hoots and yells and laughter that ran through the fiercely partisan Back Bay stands were familial and affectionate. 

Postscript: Don Zimmer, 1931-2014

Don Zimmer, who died yesterday at eighty-three, was an original Met and an original sweetie pie. His sixty-six years in baseball were scripted by Disney and produced by Ken Burns. (Grainy black-and-white early footage, tinkly piano, as he marries for life at local home plate in bushy, front-porchy Elmira, New York; smiling baggy-pants young teammates raise bats to form arch.)

As a stubby, earnest third baseman and utility infielder, he compiled a .235 batting average over twelve seasons for six teams, including the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Cubs, those 1962 ur-Mets, and the Washington Senators. In the off-seasons, he played ball in Puerto Rico and Cuba and Mexico.

Turning coach, he was hired eleven times by eight different teams (there were three separate stints with the Yankees) and along the way managed the Padres, Red Sox, Rangers, and Cubs. Two championship rings as a player with the Dodgers, four as a coach with the Yanks. He finished up with the Rays, in his home-town Tampa: a coach, then a local presence.

But never mind Disney: only baseball could have produced a C.V. like this, and it’s not likely to happen again. I think Zim is best remembered as the guy right next to manager Joe Torre on the right-hand side of the Yankees dugout in the good years: a motionless thick, short figure, heavily swathed in Yankee formals.

The bulky dark warmup jacket and the initialled cap neatly and monastically framed his layered white moon-face, within which his tiny, half-hidden eyes remained alive and moving. He could also run and yell, of course. Boston fans—no, fans everywhere—will not forget the night he charged Pedro Martinez on the mound in that Fenway Park playoff fracas in 2003—and instantly wound up on his back, like a topped-over windup toy.

Zim burned hard, and the hoots and yells and laughter that ran through the fiercely partisan Back Bay stands were familial and affectionate.

Postscript: Don Zimmer, 1931-2014

RIP Dr. Maya Angelou. The internationally acclaimed poet died May 28 in her Winston-Salem, N.C. home, aged 86. Above, she reads ‘And Still I Rise,’ from the eponymous 1978 collection

Angelou’s first autobiographical memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) brought her critical acclaim; among other achievements she read her work, ‘On the Pulse of Morning,’ at the swearing in of President Bill Clinton. She received the Presidential Medal of Honor in Freedom in 2011.  

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   

But when I start to tell them,

They think I’m telling lies.

I say,

It’s in the reach of my arms,

The span of my hips,   

The stride of my step,   

The curl of my lips.   

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,   

That’s me.

I walk into a room

Just as cool as you please,   

And to a man,

The fellows stand or

Fall down on their knees.   

Then they swarm around me,

A hive of honey bees.   

I say,

It’s the fire in my eyes,   

And the flash of my teeth,   

The swing in my waist,   

And the joy in my feet.   

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered   

What they see in me.

They try so much

But they can’t touch

My inner mystery.

When I try to show them,   

They say they still can’t see.   

I say,

It’s in the arch of my back,   

The sun of my smile,

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Now you understand

Just why my head’s not bowed.   

I don’t shout or jump about

Or have to talk real loud.   

When you see me passing,

It ought to make you proud.

I say,

It’s in the click of my heels,   

The bend of my hair,   

the palm of my hand,   

The need for my care.   

’Cause I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

grungebook:

Former child actress and diplomat Shirley Temple Black has died at the age of 85. Here she is pictured with her daughter Lori Black, meeting the Beatles. Our sympathies go out to Lori and her family.Lori was a bassist for the Melvins and dated frontman Buzz Osborne, who recounts his interactions with Shirley in my book Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge:BUZZ OSBORNE (Melvins singer/guitarist) When I went to San Francisco, I moved directly into Lori’s house. Now, bear in mind, I started going out with her long before I ever knew who her mom was. Months and months later, she said, “My mom is somebody famous.” I was like, “What are you fucking talking about?” It was crazy. I couldn’t believe that her mom was Shirley Temple.Lori’s dad was Charles Black, who came from oil money, I think. And Shirley is a self-made woman. Shirley’s parents squandered every dime she ever made as a child before she had a chance to spend any of it. She got nothing. Zero. So she’s a pretty tough broad, you know? She’ll rip your head off and eat you for breakfast. She was the ambassador to Czechoslovakia at that point, after being the ambassador to Ghana.Their house was unbelievable. Lots of stuff from the Hearst collection. Amazing shit—they had really great taste. And there was an Oscar sitting there. Shirley talked about her acting a lot. At one point they had her playing drums, and she had a recording of her playing drums when she was a kid, and she sounded like fucking Buddy Rich. And then she showed us how tap dancing is really just drumming. She tap-danced for us, and she was fucking amazing.DALE CROVER (Melvins drummer) Shirley was like, “Yeah, my mom made me give away my drum set because it wasn’t ladylike to play drums.” I was like, “Oh, you couldn’t spread your legs with a dress to play drums. I get it.” She was sad about it.The family was kind of weird and straight and conservative. Proper. I remember we’d line up outside the dining room and all kind of walk in together for some reason. I didn’t really understand it. But they were nice to me.BUZZ OSBORNE They probably thought that I was some leeching weirdo and that their daughter went out with me just to screw with them. Her dad was never nice to me. Shirley was nice to me to some degree, but they’re very guarded people. I’m sure they thought I was going to write some book or something. And believe me, without going into any graphic details, there are massive skeletons in that closet.One thing that Shirley said to me was, “Working in the government, you can always get somebody audited.” I took that to heart. They never did anything to me personally, or even threatened me, but they didn’t need to. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. They were über-right-wing. Now, I’m not talking about Rush Limbaugh; I’m talking about the people who make life-and-death decisions. And it’s not necessarily evil; it’s more realistic. Charles was ex-CIA. It’s weirder than you can possibly imagine. I certainly never got the truth.Since then, everything that’s happened—from Nirvana going crazy and on and on and on—none of that holds a candle to how weird that situation was. That’s David Lynch weird.

grungebook:

Former child actress and diplomat Shirley Temple Black has died at the age of 85. Here she is pictured with her daughter Lori Black, meeting the Beatles. Our sympathies go out to Lori and her family.

Lori was a bassist for the Melvins and dated frontman Buzz Osborne, who recounts his interactions with Shirley in my book
Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge:

BUZZ OSBORNE (Melvins singer/guitarist) When I went to San Francisco, I moved directly into 
Lori’s house. Now, bear in mind, I started going out with her long before I ever knew who her mom was. Months and months later, she said, “My mom is somebody famous.” I was like, “What are you fucking talking about?” It was crazy. I couldn’t believe that her mom was Shirley Temple.

Lori’s dad was Charles Black, who came from oil money, I think. And Shirley is a self-made woman. Shirley’s parents squandered every dime she ever made as a child before she had a chance to spend any of it. She got nothing. Zero. So she’s a pretty tough broad, you know? She’ll rip your head off and eat you for breakfast. She was the ambassador to Czechoslovakia at that point, after being the ambassador to Ghana.

Their house was unbelievable. Lots of stuff from the Hearst collection. Amazing shit—they had really great taste. And there was an Oscar sitting there. Shirley talked about her acting a lot. At one point they had her playing drums, and she had a recording of her playing drums when she was a kid, and she sounded like fucking Buddy Rich. And then she showed us how tap dancing is really just drumming. She tap-danced for us, and she was fucking amazing.

DALE CROVER (Melvins drummer) Shirley was like, “Yeah, my mom made me give away my drum set because it wasn’t ladylike to play drums.” I was like, “Oh, you couldn’t spread your legs with a dress to play drums. I get it.” She was sad about it.

The family was kind of weird and straight and conservative. Proper. I remember we’d line up outside the dining room and all kind of walk in together for some reason. I didn’t really understand it. But they were nice to me.

BUZZ OSBORNE They probably thought that I was some leeching weirdo and that their daughter went out with me just to screw with them. Her dad was never nice to me. Shirley was nice to me to some degree, but they’re very guarded people. I’m sure they thought I was going to write some book or something. And believe me, without going into any graphic details, there are massive skeletons in that closet.

One thing that Shirley said to me was, “Working in the government, you can always get somebody audited.” I took that to heart. They never did anything to me personally, or even threatened me, but they didn’t need to. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. They were über-right-wing. Now, I’m not talking about Rush Limbaugh; I’m talking about the people who make life-and-death decisions. And it’s not necessarily evil; it’s more realistic. Charles was ex-CIA. It’s weirder than you can possibly imagine. I certainly never got the truth.

Since then, everything that’s happened—from Nirvana going crazy and on and on and on—none of that holds a candle to how weird that situation was. That’s David Lynch weird.

Remembering Nora Ephron as Our Dorothy Parker, but More

Nora was both hedgehog and fox. She knew a great deal about a great many things, and she delighted in sharing what she knew. A number of years ago, I was taking a trip to Rome, and she generously availed me of her guide to its enchantments, a small pamphlet she’d composed that included a thumbnail sketch of every terrific restaurant, of every amusing thing to do, of the right place to get a haircut or a manicure, all springily written and completely true. Nora prided herself in knowing how to do things, where to get them, what was good and in what way it was good. Think of the moments in her essays, her novels, and her movies when she addresses the fact of food. No one has ever written about food with more pleasure or more pleasurably—or more infectiously. You wanted to eat the thing she was kvelling about, right then and there, even before the next sentence.

Screenwriter and friend Stephen Schiff salutes Nora Ephron’s wonderful films, impeccable taste, and versatile strength to the end.

I remember going to a party in New York about 35 years ago. They all called me Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. I said, “You, ma’am, your name and phone number? And you, sir, your phone number? And you, sir?” And they said, “Why are you taking our phone numbers?” I said, “Because the night we land on the moon, you’re going to get called.” I was in London when we did. I called three of them, and when they answered I said, “Stupid son of a bitch,” and hung up.
Ray Bradbury, to Newsweek, Nov 12, 1995. We’re totally going to borrow this page from the Book of Bradbury.
I’m tired of seeing creatures from other worlds with the brains on the outside of the skull. There’s too much imitation going on by people who think they’re writers but aren’t. Don’t put me in outer space with another galactic war. I can’t stand galactic wars.
Ray Bradbury, to Newsweek, Nov 12, 1995.
You use these things; they don’t use you. If you allow them to use you, you’re sunk. A library is no better than the person who walks into it. A CD-ROM is no better than the people who use it. A computer’s the same way. It’s all been done backwards. The shuttle should have been done 30 years ago. It’s mail-carrying. They’re making topographical photographs of the planet, making atmosphere studies. It doesn’t lift the heart the way landing on the moon did. We should have done the shuttle first and then taken off for the moon and stayed there. Then we should go to Mars. You have to do one to do the other, otherwise you can’t go.
Ray Bradbury, to Newsweek, November 12, 1995. Bradbury died today at 91.