Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2019

Archive for the tag “San Francisco”

There Is Music In The Air

mathis albumSOMETIMES I THINK THAT HEARSAY IS BETTER than actually being a witness to something. A couple of nights ago was one of those times.

Now, I want to put a Caveat, with a capital C, in play here. The following anecdote was told to me by one of the notorious Usual Suspects. For that reason alone I take it all with a fifty pound salt lick. A grain of salt is just not enough.

Let me begin.

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Some Call It Courage

20150818_204155THERE ARE A NUMBER OF DIFFERING DEFINITIONS of the word “Courage.” Some call it “Grace under pressure,” while others say it is “Being scared, but acting anyway.” I think that, in many cases, what is called courage is simply not paying attention to what is happening around you.

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I’ll Have An Espionage Latte, Please

droneTHINGS ARE GETTING JUST TOO WEIRD, even for me, and I have a pretty high threshold for weird. After all, I lived in San Francisco for 25 years – the Ground Zero for Weird.

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What Happens Next?

Typewriter KeyboardFLOATING IN A CLOUD are two partially written novels. Two novels that I have started and then electronically put on the shelf. They are nagging me, pleading with me to complete them. I hate when that happens.

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A Thing Of Beauty In Nine Innings

Double Play Giants

IF YOU HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING this blog for very long you would have picked up that I am a BIG fan of San Francisco Giants baseball. I lived there for 25 years and it gets into your blood stream. I’ve infected my wife, the lovely and articulate Dawn, with Giants Fever and we both stay up much too late when the Giants are at home on the west coast.

Last Tuesday night they were playing in New York against the Mets. It was not a good day for the Mets.

Giants rookie starter Chris Heston (no relation to Charlton Heston, the famous actor in many over-wrought, epic, budget-busting, biblical and quasi-biblical Hollywood movie spectaculars.) threw a beautiful, complete game, No-Hitter against the Mets.

Heston gave up no hits and no walks. The defense behind him played flawlessly, committing no errors. Three Mets did get on base when Heston had a pitch or three wander off track and hit the batters. That was it.

We watched the entire game and it was a thing of beauty indeed. Young Heston (27 years old) showed poise, self-control, and laserlike concentration. He completed the game averaging just a hair over 12 pitches per inning. Very economical.

I know, I know. Some of you are going, “Here he goes again on his baseball kick.”

I do admit that, on occasion, I do wax rhapsodic about The Game and talk about it as if it was the most important thing in the world. I know that it isn’t. Coffee is the most important thing, with baseball executing a hook slide into second place.

How does a thing like this happen to an otherwise rational adult? I don’t know. All I know is that it happened to me and I make limited pretense to being a rational adult anyway.

Baseball is a child’s game played at breakneck speed, even though some people complain that it moves at a snail’s pace. It is the only major team sport played without the tyranny of the clock. It is the only team sport where it is the players on defense that control the possession of the ball.

It is the only sport that, as a child, I could play with any degree of success.

Growing up with full use of only one arm and one leg I was no threat in basketball, football, tennis, hockey (Gimme a break), track and field, golf, or swimming.

My skills in the pool are close to that of a blacksmith’s anvil.

Those other sports were beyond my abilities, but in baseball I could make a reasonable effort and get reasonable results.

I couldn’t run worth a damn, but if you hit the ball far enough you don’t have to. Even so, my hitting was marginal, but I was a good pitcher. My one good arm was strong enough for me to scare other kids my age.

My career was limited to games with and against other neighborhood kids. I wanted to play on a “real” team, but that required getting a doctor to sign a form saying that I was physically able – and that was never going to happen. I guess they felt that having me running around the field while wearing steel braces on my leg was not a good idea.

Oh, well. Time passes.

Since those days I have remained an avid fan of The Game, transferring my loyalties from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Cleveland Indians and onto the San Francisco Giants.

When you finally find the treasure the twisting route on the map becomes unimportant.

I love the game for its complexity as well as its simplicity; for its quick as a rabbit speed as well as its 19th century leisurely pace; for its hammering brute force as well as its almost balletic delicacy.

Watching a cleanly executed 6 to 4 to 3 double play is sharing in a filigree of speed, timing, prowess and unerring accuracy – all while avoiding the spikes of a charging runner.

Yeah, so I do get excited by things like Chris Heston’s No-Hitter the other night.  I enjoy watching it and appreciate the skill and hard work it takes to make it look so easy.

On an evening like last Tuesday it was all so beautiful.

Happy Anniversary – If You’re Still Alive

stress reductionIT DAWNED ON ME THE OTHER DAY that I had just had an anniversary of sorts. Twenty-five years ago I signed up to participate in a long term study on stress reduction.

The study was being conducted by Dr. Meyer Friedman, the man who coined the term, “Type A Personality.”

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It’s Alive! It’s Alive!

Giants Shrine

IN MY SECRET LABORATORY deep within the castle walls and high in the fog shrouded mountains of Terre Haute (That’s French for “What hump?”), Indiana a new San Francisco Giants fan has been created.

When my wife, the ever lovely and perceptive Dawn, first met me she did not know that I was an avid fan and recruiter for the Sacred Fandom of The Giants. I had lived in San Francisco for 25 years and with that long an exposure the infection was inevitable.

I knew that Dawn had been a baseball fan (of sorts), growing up listening to the St. Louis Cardinals on the radio. Little did she know or even suspect that I was a carrier of Giants Fever.

Mwah-ha-ha-ha!

In a similar sense I became a “Texan – in law.” You marry a Texan, pass the oral exam, which consists of mastering the proper pronunciation of the word “Pie” and you become a Texan – in law.

However, becoming a Giants Fan involves a more difficult process. Dawn had to learn such basic tenets of the Canon as – Who was the “Say-hey Kid?” Where is McCovey Cove? Who is “The Thrill?” and, of course, Quote Duane Kuiper’s Home Run Call.

I admit it, gleefully even, that I infected Dawn with Giants Fever. It has taken hold and is now part of her DNA. She and all true Giant Fans DNA consists of the usual Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine and Guanine, plus the additional and key ingredient – Humm Baby.

Dawn’s infection is quite virulent and has manifested itself in glorious fashion. Her favorite colors are now Orange and Black. She dresses in them for every Giants game. She has constructed a lovely shrine to The Boys that is pictured above.

It moves my heart to see her so.

Dawn is also a Minister and she tries to keep her religion and her Church duties separate – although one Sunday, when she said to the congregation, “You may be seated,” she came very close to saying, “Grab some pine, Meat.”

We try to get to a few Giants games each season when they journey east to St. Louis or Cincinnati. When we go we wear our Giants uniform shirts. On the back of my shirt it has my name as “Krafty,” my nickname since childhood. On the back of Dawn’s shirt it proclaims, “The Rev.”

Dawn has stated that her goal is to be named the Official Chaplain for the team.

She makes me so proud.

 The old adage is that, “The family that plays together, stays together.” I’d say that Dawn and I and the Giants are that family. Sure, some members come and go or are designated for reassignment. Sometimes one of the older, retired players is optioned to that Great Dugout in the Sky, but they will always be Giants.

There is no cure for Giants Fever. Who would want a cure when the benefits are so magnificent? Who would not want to rub elbows with Mad Bum, Buster, Hunter, Angel, The Baby Giraffe, Dawn’s favorite – Brandon Crawford, and the rest?

When the game is about to start all of the bobbleheads on the shrine nod in unison as the lineup is announced. They know that The Boys are about to take the field and that a fourth World Series ring is just waiting to be collected.

Dawn has become a consummate fan of the San Francisco Giants.

My work here is done

All I can add is:

“He hits it high! He hits it deep! It is outta here!

Haight Street – Chapter One

In keeping with a Saturday custom: Here is the opening chapter of a novel I am trying to bring back to life. I would appreciate your comments.Haight Ashbury street sign

Chapter One

 It couldn’t have been more different for Marlee Owens. There had always been someone to turn to. There had always been Phillip. He was the kind of man who could hold her hand and go for a quiet walk on a busy street. Now she had to rely on herself.

Now Phillip was dead.

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Haight Street

Haight Ashbury street signKeeping with a rather new tradition…

Below is a cutting from an unfinished novel set in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. It is the story of a young widow who has moved west to rebuild a shattered life. This scene is her first day exploring her new hometown.

*****

Her wardrobe was distinctly Midwest Rust Belt plain. It was excessively Earth-toned for a young attractive blonde in California, but she perked up her look with a vibrant scarf and some jewelry. It would do, she thought, as she opened the front gate, set to meet her new neighborhood.

Taking her time, not wanting to miss anything, Marlee window-shopped and ambled into the eclectic commerce of Haight Street.

She considered the latest Rave fashions on the rack at “Housewares”, all to the driving techno-beat from the in-house disc jockey. The iguanas in the window didn’t seem to mind.

She laughed out loud as she looked through the Anarchist Collective Bookstore. Their display of pamphlets and political screeds loudly denouncing the capitalism at which they were so dismally failing. Signs trumpeting a “Half-Price Sale” and “Clearance” were everywhere, alerting the three lost-looking teenage browsers that they too could join the Revolution at a discount.

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