June 25, 2001|
Cosmic Baseball Player
Oscar Janiger- Season 2001 Cosmic Player Plate
Oscar Janiger is a veteran outfielder for the Psychedelphia Woodstockings, the Cosmic Baseball Association's team of individuals from the 1960s.
Janiger is also a Los Angeles-based psychiatrist who has received some notoriety for being one of the doctors who administered LSD therapeutically to Hollywood personalities such as Cary Grant. More importantly, Janiger, who began researching the effects and potential applications of LSD in 1954, stands in a dialectical relationship with the various Dr. Strangeloves hired by the U.S. government to investigate LSD. Janiger never did work for the government nor did he take its money. Unlike the goons working for the Technical Services Staff of the Central Intelligence Agency, Janiger never administered LSD to a human being without telling the person. He did conduct an elaborate study of the effects of LSD. Nearly one thousand test subjects agreed to take LSD and report on the experience.
Janiger studied the effects of LSD on creativity and he explored the use of the drug in society. He theorized that LSD might be useful in ushering in a new Eleusinian Mystery, appropriate for our own time.
We honor Dr. Janiger with this cosmic player plate because instead of trying to figure out how to use this strange acid to melt someone's mind, he sought to explore its potential for attaining cosmic consciousness.
June 24, 2001|
Cosmic Baseball Players
John Lee Hooker & Carroll O'Connor Pass On
John Lee Hooker died on Thursday June 21 in California. He was either 80 or 83 depending on which account you read. Born in Mississippi, he was one of eleven children of a sharecropping Baptist Minister. His father tried to dissuade him from becoming a musician.
Nevertheless, Hooker became a legendary blues musician known for a distinctive vocal style. His stepfather taught him to play the guitar. After failing to find success as a musician in Memphis and Cincinnati, he went to live in Detroit. His first hit, "Boogie Chillun" was released in 1948. Hooker's unique one-chord rhythmic style matched with his distinctive vocal sound helped make him popular with and a significant influence on the emerging Rock and Roll movement. Groups such as The Animals, Canned Heat, and musicians like Van Morrison, Keith Richards, Bonnie Raitt and Carlos Santana have all spoken of the influence Hooker had on their music. Santana has said that, "When I was a child [John Lee Hooker] was the first circus I wanted to run away with." Van Morrison produced Hooker's last album Don't Look Back (1997).
In 1991, Hooker was induced into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2000, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award during the annual Grammy Award ceremonies.
According to press reports, in Hooker's later years he mostly "hung out with friends and family at his houses in Los Altos and Long Beach watching baseball and enjoying a fleet of expensive cars."
John Lee Hooker became associated with cosmic baseball in December, 1999 when he became the owner of the Delta Dragons, a cosmic baseball team of interesting musicians.
Rest in peace John Lee Hooker.
Carroll O'Connor, imprinted on many Americans as the irascible television character, Archie Bunker, also died on June 21 in California. He was 76. O'Connor was born into an affluent family in Forest Hills, New York. His father was an attorney, his mother taught school. Described as intellectual and significantly more liberal than the reactionary character he played to perfection for 13 years on television, O'Connor won four Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Bunker. In 1995 tragedy struck O'Connor when his only child, Hugh, died in what has been called a "drug-related suicide." In 2000 he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
O'Connor was an original member of the Telecity Superbas, the Cosmic Baseball Association's team of television personalities. In a cosmic baseball career that spanned 14 seasons O'Connor compiled a .258 batting average. He was deactivated from cosmic playing status after the 1996 season.
Rest in peace Carroll O'Connor.
NOTE: As always, a cosmic player's corporeal demise in no way alters their status at the Cosmic Baseball Association. Mr. Hooker is still the owner of the Delta Dragons and Mr. O'Connor is still a deactivated player eligible for reactivation at any time.
June 17, 2001|
Cosmic Game Report
First Daughters @ Father Figures
A Personal Cosmic Game played in honor of Fathers Day 2001. This game matches real daughters of Presidents of the United States against virtual fathers as depicted in popular television shows and movies.
Baseball is frequently thought to resonate best when fathers and sons play catch or when a son is taken to his first baseball game by his dad. But baseball is also frequently a connecting point between fathers and their daughters.
Doris Kearns Goodwin (who was the official scorer of this game) is a good example of a woman who learned to love baseball from her dad:
My father loved the Brooklyn Dodgers, passed that love down to me, taught me how to keep score when I was only six years old, so that when he went to work during the day I could record for him the history of that day's Brooklyn Dodger game. And when your dad sits with you at night for two hours and in excruciating detail you tell him every play of every inning that went on that afternoon it makes you think this baseball is a wonderful thing because it's connection with the other people that's really at issue.
As the current wave of patriarchy wears down and erodes these seemingly trivial almost intangible connections between fathers and their children will become more important.
June 11, 2001|
Ira Slotkin Poetry
A lot has been made about the significance of the relationship between a father and his child and the intersection of both inside the realm of baseball. Books and movies use the theme. The Natural and Field of Dreams are two popular examples of the idea that wound into and bound up in the act of tossing a baseball is something very significant. The point is, upon reflection, there is something mystical in this act.
We leave it to our poets to explain the mysteries. Ira Slotkin, a New York-born poet now living in Colorado, does just that with his poetic contribution, "More Than a Game". In an autobiographical note Ira writes, "My father was born in New York in 1911 and played semi-pro baseball there against guys like Hank Greenberg. My father died in 1990. I still have the glove that he used in the 20's and 30's, and his piano."
The poet is also the father of a young son and the traditions of our people go on.
June 10, 2001|
Cosmic Game Report
Psychedelphia Woodsox @ Heartland Capitalists
In 1960, the average age of today's starting Heartland Capitalists was 9.7 years. (The Captialists are the Cosmic Baseball Association's team of business people.) Two of the starting Capitalists, Jeff Bezos and Michael Dell, were not even born. At the end of that decade, in 1969, the average age of today's Capitalist starter was 18.7 years.
In the last couple of years the Capitalists have focused on selecting rookies from the young captains of technology pool. Five of the Capitalist starters of today are under the age of 50. It looks as though the so-called "baby-boomers" are becoming the dominant group on the team. But this youth movement doesn't seem to have made the team better, only worse.
There seems to be a downside to the great wealth of these technology capitalists. Their material success has been achieved at, what some would say, too high a price. Or, put another way, it is the children who have had to pay the price.
In the eight years between 1990 and 1998 the children of the baby-boomers increased their drug use by 6.2%. Over half of the nation's 12th graders are getting stoned, giving new meaning to the concept of high school. How does this correlate with the statistic that in 1996 U.S. high school seniors ranked 19th of 21 nations in math achievement? Some things are connected and interconnected, some things are not.
Do these fragmentary facts and figures account for the Capitalists' recent slide into the basement of the Middleleague?
On the other side of the coin is the Psychedelphia Woodstockings, the Cosmic Baseball Association's team of individuals active in the 1960s. These days the "1960s" are more a moral concept than a chronological section of recent history. Historically the Woodsox have not been one of the stellar performing teams in the Middleleague. However, rather suddenly last season, something coalesced on this team of very individualistic players. The collective functioned like a mechanism in perfect synchronization. The Woodsox won the Middleleague pennant and made their first trip to the Cosmic Universal Series. So far this season, while the Capitalists languish in the cellar, the Woodsox are once again the top team in their league.
We are always mindful of the so-called cosmic resonances between events. So we wonder if the result of this particular cosmic game has significance in a wider context. Could the Woodsox defeat of the Capitalists in this one isolated game be an indicator of something more profound? Could the fact that the Woodsox are dominant in the Middleleague suggest some cultural sea change is afoot?
We have a number of Cosmic Baseball Research Alliance (COBRA) scholars looking into these matters. Preliminary reports suggest that if you look at this game closely some important events and individuals stand out. While no definite conclusions have been reached, we do know that a sub-group of researchers is looking closely at the play of Oscar Janiger, the game's Most Cosmic Player.
The facts and the details are here in this cosmic game report for anyone to analyze. Draw your own conclusions. Will the rich keep getting richer...will the stoners keep getting stoned...will the poor and the meek escape the flaws in the state's laws of inheritance...will the free copy right be banned for good by the intellectual property scriveners on behalf of greedy clients who have as much to do with the original and inspired act of creation as my ex-mother-in-law had on the birth of my children?
Let's just play ball, one way or another, with each other.
June 9, 2001|
Team Notes: Psychedelphia Woodstockings
Lennon Wants to Play, Not Manage
Psychedelphia Woodsox field manager John Lennon announced today that he's tired of sitting on the bench managing the team and now wants to play cosmic baseball. He is tired of calling the shots; he wants to start hitting the shots. Lennon has managed the Woodsox since 1995 when he replaced Carl Ogelsby. With Lennon at the helm, the Woodsox have compiled a losing record: 474-481 (.497). Last season, however, they made their first appearance in the Cosmic Universal Series. Ultimately the awesome Paradise Pisces swept them in a four game series.
Lennon has reportedly approached veteran Woodsox outfielder Dr. Oscar Janiger and proposed that Janiger take over the reins while he, Lennon, take a place in the team's outfield. Team general manager Judge Julius Hofmann, hardly known for his patience, is furious with Lennon for carrying on such discussions, especially during the season, while the Woodsox defend their Middleleague pennant (The Woodsox are currently 40-29 and in first place.) There are some reports filtering out that Judge Hofmann has contacted former Woodsox field manager David Dellinger about replacing Lennon. Nevertheless, nothing can be confirmed at this point. Calls to Dr. Janiger and to Mr. Dellinger went unanswered. (No calls were placed to Judge Hofmann; he has a long-standing policy of not talking to anyone outside of team circles.)
In an interview with us before the start of the current season, Lennon gave no indication that he was tired of managing. If the Woodsox fire him, Lennon could consider playing for the bottom-dwelling Delta Dragons, the Cosmic Baseball Association's team of interesting musicians. The Dragons would not have too much trouble making room for Lennon on their roster.
Of course, the essential question is, can Lennon play cosmic baseball with any skill? Managing a baseball team is very different from playing on a baseball team. There is no historical evidence to suggest that in his corporeal life Lennon ever played baseball or even held a bat or caught a baseball with a baseball glove.
One quick aside: Oscar Janiger would make an excellent field manager for the Woodsox or any team. No doubt, he has years of productive playing still in him but his extraordinary intelligence and keen insight into human behavior makes him an ideal candidate for a cosmic baseball field management job.
June 4, 2001|
Personal Cosmic Baseball Game Report
Technology Machines @ Natural Phenomena
Certainly there are citizens among us who truly believe that environmentalism is just an hysterical reaction to science and technology. To these folks, Rachel Carson and the Greenpeace movements are not heroic symbols to be cultivated from history lessons. Alternatively, radical ecologists and environmentalists and so-called back-to-nature evangelists are perplexed at the stubborness of the technologists and scientists who seem destined to corrupt and pollute in the name of progress and at the expense of Mother Nature.
Who has the edge in this battle? Who will be declared champions when all is said and done? There's no simple or easy conflict resolution here. It's difficult to say who will ultimately win and at what price.
On the other hand, on the cosmic baseball field (which by the way, makes use of virtual and green real grass) there are almost always winners and losers. In today's game, the tree-hugging, backpacking nature lovers have something to cheer about. Nature triumphed over technology, 5-3, in a well-played cosmic baseball game.
June 1, 2001|
Cosmic Baseball Research Alliance
H.M. Bartleby Named Chief Librarian
The Cosmic Baseball Association is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. H.M. Bartleby to the position of Chief Librarian of the Cosmic Baseball Research Alliance (COBRA). The appointment is effective today.
Mr. Bartleby was born in Fall River, Massachusetts and graduated in 1988 from Northeastern University's Library Arts program. Since 1995 he has been the senior librarian at the Vilnius (Lithuania) branch office of McDermott, Will & Emery, a large Chicago-based international law firm. He is also the author of the controversial book A Notary Private. The 1999 novel purports to tell the true and gruesome story of a sadistic lawyer and the havoc he wreaks. All the characters in the book are named Bartleby. The various plot twists and use of strange language confounded the reviewers but a small and vocal group of "Notary Privates" has elevated the 800-page book to virtual cult status.
In reality Mr. Bartleby is a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan (of course) and an excellent chess player. He is working on another "shorter" novel but says he'd rather not talk about it. All he told us was that the story takes place in the future. His poem "Red Means Unread" was recently published in Factotum and he is a contributing editor to the journal Lotus Notes for Librarians.
The Cosmic Baseball Research Alliance (COBRA) maintains a state-of-the-art research library on its campus in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Cosmic baseball historians, among others, make use of the library's books, databases and periodicals throughout the year. The library has a staff of eight.