Morning all:

Quote Of The Week:

“A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight.” Robertson Davie

Betty has Veronica, everything from sports to politics to pop culture has its rivalries—it is no different between our two cats. This morning it’s to the point where I am ready to toss my freshly poured coffee on them.

They’re in a house large enough to house a small orphanage and these two beasts vie for an identical spot on a window sill; what gives? “If you knock my coffee over you’re both out of here—got it?”

It’s a bit tricky knowing what to write this morning, or rather, this early morning. Baseball’s status as “America’s Pastime” took another nosedive yesterday. No, not Barry Bonds’ steroid allegations, but Joe Nuxhall. Joe passed away yesterday at age 79. One day in June 1944 he was brought in to pitch late in what was already a losing game for the Cincinnati Reds (professional baseball’s oldest team)—he was just 15 years old. As the youngest major league pitcher ever, he faced the formidable Stan-the-man Musial, got completely unnerved, and was certain he was done as a major league player.

In 1966 Nuxhall hung up his glove and began resting his arm – but not his mouth. Over the next decades he was the beloved radio voice of the Cincinnati Reds. For 28 seasons Cincinnati’s folksy broadcaster kibitzed, cajoled, and taught, closing each game with his signature; “rounding third and heading for home.” This week the ol’ lefthander rounded third for the last time and finally made it safely home.

Go here to vote for Joe for the Hall of Fame.

Praise be, the screen writers strike is still in full swing. Hollywood, I have read, is losing millions per day. Here in ‘fly-over’ country the rest of us should be jumping for joy being the real winners in this fight. As our TVs crank out re-runs it’s a great time to pick up a book. Personally I have just finished reading a wonderful bit of story telling—The Long Patrol by Brian Jacques, part of his Redwall series.

I just love great story telling. Earlier this year, while in Dubai in the Arab Emirates, I looked for the English translation of the The Thousand and One Arabian Nights by Sir Richard Burton. I didn’t find it.

The fables compiling the Arabian Nights are among the best in storytelling. Not familiar? Here is the CliffsNotes version of Dirk’s Arabian Nights for Dummies. The legendary tale’s journey starts in old Persia and consists of fables layered within other multi-layered tales. A very rich cuckolded Shahryar (king) kills his queen and thereafter will only sleep with a young virgin who then gets slain the morning after (this was in pre ‘morning after’ pill days).

Fast forward beyond three thousand slain young virgins.

A young woman, Sheherazade, volunteers to be the next victim virgin. Afterwards, in place of a cigarette, she mesmerizes the King by telling him a story. Cleverly each morning the story ends at a ‘to be continued’ point. After a thousand of them the King is a new man, one who is now much less prone to ‘slaying’ around.

All great storytelling works on many levels. Some folk and fairy tales are social commentary. Other stories are to learn from, and some are even set to music.

Now this ingenious segue which brings me to what will certainly be the highlight of my Saturday.

Later today I am taking Marin to see, hear, and listen to Zak Morgan—comic, singer, songwriter, and storyteller. For kids, Zak fits somewhere in that magical line that passes through the likes of Dr. Seuss, Captain Kangaroo, and Mr. Rogers. He writes his story songs to teach while bringing imagination to kids; just listen to his Bill Fisher and his Running Nose or I Hide My Muscles Well. I might even have a better time than Marin. I just love this stuff.

Make it a great week. Oh, go ahead, leave the TV blank and pick up your new favorite book.



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