Blind Mumbling

A compilation of writings that never got anyone excited.

Name:
Location: N. Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, United States

Former teacher, co-editor of Total Football and the author of more than 20 books and over 200 articles, most about sports history. His credits include Pro Football: When the Grass Was Real, The Hidden Game of Football (with John Thorn and Pete Palmer), Baseball Between the Lies, The Importance of Napoleon, and the Battle of Stalingrad. He is presently Executive Director of the Pro Football Researchers Association.

Monday, May 30, 2005

THIS JUST IN

Several male Indy drivers have complained that Danica Patrick had an unfair advantage with her 100-pound weight. They complained her car could go faster because of its lighter total weight. Obviously, that's why all the best racecar drivers are jockeys.

Oliver Stone has announced his new project. It's about a conspiracy to railroad an innocent man to prison. It opens with a spurious DUI.

A mother in Nashville was arrested for hiring a stripper to perform at her 16-year-old son’s birthday party. She was turned in by a clerk at the drug store where she took the photos to be developed. The clerk explained that for his birthday he only got socks and underwear.

Those who’ve agreed with the criticism Nixon loyalists have aimed at Mark "Deep Throat" Felt will enjoy reading Al Capone’s assessment of Elliott Ness.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

I DIDN'T FORGET YOUR BIRTHDAY

Dear Sweetie,

You probably think I forgot your birthday. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I didn’t mention it Thursday because the gifts I ordered for you hadn’t arrived yet. I couldn’t say, "Happy birthday; now hold your horses for presents."

I went all out to get great birthday presents, and I wanted to see your face when I gave them to you. I ordered a 24-carat diamond ring, a full-length mink coat, a 60-inch digital television, a paint-by-numbers picture of The Last Supper, and a big cake with sprinkles.

Well, they all arrived yesterday, and I was set to invite you over so I could give them to you.

But first I wanted to be sure everything was okay. I tried on the coat, counted the paint tubes, and watched Regis on the TV. Then I put the ring on my little finger. It was really shiney. Looked great! But when I tried to take it off, it got stuck. So I pulled and pulled. Suddenly my hand slipped and my left arm went flying out.

I happened to be standing in front of the television set. Wouldn’t you know, my hand collided with the screen, making about a ten-inch scratch on the glass. Worse, the set started teetering over backward. I grabbed for it, but I was too late.

The TV set crashed with an enormous noise right on the paint by numbers. Smashed that sucker flat! All the paint tubes, of course, spurted out their paint like rockets going off.

Well, the bad part was the mink coat happened to be sitting next to the paint set, and the thing got drenched in every color present at the Last Supper. It looked more like Joseph’s coat than a mink’s.

Here’s a funny thing. Did you know that when you try to clean oil paint out of mink fur with turpentine the mink sheds?

After a while I just gave up and tossed the balding coat in the trash along with the flat paint tubes and the remains of the TV set. That’s when I noticed that the 24-carat diamond had fallen out of the setting in the ring. I’m still looking for it. I guess the only thing harder than a diamond is finding a diamond that’s lost.

The only present I had left was your cake. I hope you don’t mind but I was so depressed I ate it.

Anyway, happy birthday. I’ll get you something really great next year.

Love,

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

PHEROMONES

Pheromones are the chemicals we
Send out to entice other sexes.
"Mones" have no taste or smell, you see,
But they conquer like love-loaded hexes.

Like dogs get yipsy at notes so high
That only a doggie can hear ‘em,
Gals go all tipsy over a guy
When they sniff pheromones near ’em.

A guy can find all the lovin’ he seeks,
And get it a whole lot quicker
Than years wasted usin’ techniques
Like flowers and candy and liquor!

No aphrodisiacs needed for moi
Or learning erogenous zones.
The sexiest guy you ever saw --
Just me and my great pheromones.

Right now my passions are all on hold.
Their moment will come soon enough.
It’s just that the girls must all have colds.
I’ll score when their noses unstuff.

Friday, May 20, 2005

GUEST LIST #5

Boss Annova: Mafia crime lord and graceful dancer
Helmut Olivet: Franco-German hermit
Constance Pated: uptight lady
Wade Ryetin: rash first-day hire
Denny Grate: put-down artist
Cal Cuelator: IBM vice president
Marvin Gardens: monopolist
Virginia Avenue: Marvin’s assistant
Diego Nafloor: clumsy chef
Wade Dingpool: cautious near water
Norma Lizer: calming influence
Bob Ben Weaver: elusive boxer
Evan Munny: careful gambler
Otto Mayted: lacking in spontaneity
Cora Spondant: named as "other woman" in divorce suit
Della Gates: manipulator who always gets others to do her work
Perry Normal: ghost chaser
Heidi Hoe: drives the local Welcome Wagon
Sharon Clapp: Party Girl who has recently lost her popularity
Jess Gruven: cool cat
Gail Warner: Weather Girl
Donna Teeshird: casual dresser
Ivan Myemomma: immature complainer
Les Filling: captain of a championship Beer-Debating Team
Paul Behrer: professional mourner
Ellis Emefftee: lucky smoker
Gordon Knott: extremely twisted enigma who never opens up
Gregor Ian Chan: religious Number 20 Son
Wood Dennikle: counterfeiter
Arrianna Klozer: impatient traveler
Stacy Tedplees: a calming influence
Nick Slevel: constantly improving
Armand Joy: sweet but kind of nutty
Selma Body: prostitute
Sadie Word: always ready
Rosemary Thyme: Herb’s companion
June Moon: failed poet
Phil DeBurn: demanding personal trainer
Tod Danfetherd: into S and M
Orel Whoopey: cunning linguist
Hugo Victor: author of Les Selbaresim
Peyton Toowan: oddsmaker
Bobby Rant: Londoner who complains long and loud about the police
Kenny Topthis: constant challenger
Marian Haste: leisurely repenter
Sam Andreas: Californian with a fault
Jess Hangengout: loafer
Bemis Upscotti: Trekee
Justin Stock: the man who has everything
Cece Andesist: quitter

Monday, May 16, 2005

THREE WISHES

My friend Joe calls me up so excited he’s fit to bust. "You won’t believe it!" he yells. "I bought this dumb lamp at an auction this morning. I get it home and start to polish it and poof! Out pops a genie! He says I got three wishes."

Naturally, I hustle over to Joe’s house. When I get there, his yard is full of cowboys, all carrying ropes and guns. And all drunk as a skunk.

I go up to his door and I can barely get through ‘cause his front hall is taken up by this guy shoving wrist watches, alarm clocks, hour glasses, and other time pieces into bags.

I go inside and there’s Joe sitting on his sofa crying. Next to him is a genie looking baffled. And next to him is the littlest guy I ever saw – less than a foot tall – bangin’ away on a miniature piano.

"Joe," I shout, "you could ask for anything in the world and you ask for a nine-inch pianist, a tight posse, and a clock sacker. Are you crazy?"

And the genie cups his hand to his ear and says, "Lazy? Who’s lazy?"

Saturday, May 14, 2005

ME AND GEE: A BASEBALL STORY

The Christmas when I was eleven I got a bat. My parents didn’t try to disguise it in a box. It’s hard to make a bat in a box look like like anything else except maybe a length of pipe or a dead snake, and I hadn’t asked for either of those. They just tied a ribbon around it and stuck it under the tree. That was okay. If I’d been in Florida or California, I’d have gone right out and hit a few flies and let the other presents sit. But that year we had the rotten luck to have a white Christmas in West Virginia.

Until I got mine, the only kid in my gang to own a bat was Chuckie, and we all used it in our games. But Chuckie’s bat was so old the wood had turned gray and the barrel end was starting to split. I blamed Chuckie’s bat for the hitting slump I’d been having since I was eight. My new Christmas bat was a rich chestnut and polished to a sheen. It looked filled with home runs.

Stamped on the barrel was the authentic signature of Gee Walker. I’d never heard of him -- I found out later he’d been long retired by the time I got his bat -- and it would have been nice if it had been stamped Ted Williams or Joe DiMaggio. But, having gone my whole life without owning any bat, I wasn’t going to complain about Gee Walker.

I did complain about the weather. After the Christmas snow melted, it snowed some more -- all through January. Of course, we could only play baseball, if we’d been able to play baseball, on the weekends because everybody but Billy had chores after school, and it got dark early. There was one nice Saturday in February, but the ballfield by the tracks was deep in mud and the schoolyard had a four-inch sheet of ice covering its bricks.

Billy had an idea. "I’ll bet we could break the ice off if we hit it with a bat."

I almost hit him.

When it was too cold or rainy to play ball in March, I began to worry. Miss Pratt, our health teacher, told us one day that muscles that weren’t used got weaker and weaker.

Billy asked, "Do you mean like that muscle between Chuckie’s ears, Miss Pratt?"

Everybody laughed except Miss Pratt. She wrote "A TROPHY" on the blackboard, and then told us that once she broke her arm and had it in a cast for weeks and weeks. "When the doctor took off the cast," she said, holding a ruler up, "I could barely lift this ruler." Then she brought the ruler down very fast and hard on Billy’s fingers. Smack! "But, with excercise, I got my strength back," she said.

I was scared my Gee Walker bat would get a trophy! It was almost April and it hadn’t been able to hit a single ball. If we didn’t play ball soon, it might be permanently weakened!

The last Saturday in March was perfect for baseball. But Mickey owned the ball and his dumb grandmother died. He had to go to her dumb funeral and wouldn’t let us use his dumb ball. The next day it rained. Gee Walker was wasting away!

At last, we got a playable Saturday. The tracks field was still too muddy, but the ice was gone from the schoolyard. We all got there early and chose up sides -- three to a team. Billy chose Mickey and Jimmy the Fat Kid, which meant his team had speed, power, and good fielding. I had Chuckie, Ross, and me, which meant our team had Chuckie, Ross, and me.

At least, we batted first. I took a practice swing with Gee Walker and announced I’d bat first. Chuckie urged that he bat first instead. Chuckie was a half-foot taller than I and twenty pounds heavier, so his logic prevailed. "Okay," I said magnanimously, "but use your own bat."

Surprisingly, Chuckie hit the ball, but it flew out to the pitcher funny. Billy ducked, and that’s when I saw it wasn’t a ball whizzing by his head, but half of Chuckie’s bat.

"I’m up," I yelled. Me and Gee!

"Captain always bats last," Ross hollered. "I’m up."

I explained to him that this was a special case -- the first time I’d get to use my Christmas bat. He explained to me that if he didn’t get to bat he’d go home.

"Game over! We win!" Billy yelled.

"Can we tape Chuckie’s bat back together?" I asked.

Ross held out his hand. I gave him Gee. I didn’t cry.

The worst part was that every time Ross got a hit, he threw the bat. Poor Gee would be scraped raw on the schoolyard bricks before I ever got to use him.

"C’mon, Ross! Get a hit!" Chuckie yelled.

I yelled, "C’mon, Billy! Strike him out!"

When Billy twirled that third strike past Ross, I ran up and grabbed Gee out of his hands before he could throw it. "This bat’s no good," he told me. Ha!

As soon as my fingers closed around Gee’s handle, I knew he was not a trophied. After all these months, he was bursting to crack line drives. Everyone sensed that a new power was coming to bat. Mickey, the left-center-rightfielder, backed up almost to the fence. Jimmy the Fat Kid twisted the wrapper around his Zagnut bar and stuck it in his pocket. Somewhere a dog stopped barking.

I stood at the plate. I felt loose, powerful, and ready. I cocked Gee over my right shoulder. The schoolyard fence beckoned. I swear Billy cringed as he pitched the ball.

Coming in, the ball looked big as a grapefruit. I hate grapefruit. Gee hated grapefruit. I swung him with all my might.

Twap!

The ball blasted back toward Billy. On its second bounce, it hit a loose brick and leaped over his head. Jimmy the Fat Kid couldn’t bend over fast enough as the ball flashed between his legs. Mickey raced in but misfigured and the ball rolled to the fence.

At full gallop, I was around first, around second, third. Mickey was just throwing the ball in when I reached the plate. Home run!

"You’re out," Billy said.

In our excitement, Gee and I hadn’t parted company. He was still in my hands. I had broken one of the cardinal rules and carried my bat onto the basepaths. I’m not sure why we had such a rule -- perhaps because a baserunner with a club in his hands might inhibit a fielder in a close play -- but it was certain that such a rule existed. Once Jimmy the Fat Kid had been called out when he couldn’t let go of the bat because of sticky fingers.

I didn’t try to argue with Billy. Gee and I had smashed a wonderful home run, but we were definitely out.

Billy’s team came in to bat. I suddenly realized that they would be using Gee -- Jimmy the Fat Kid with his sticky fingers and Mickey who threw the bat almost as bad as Ross!

"I’ve got to go home, " I announced. "It’s my grandmother’s funeral." Maybe by tomorrow Chuckie might have fixed his bat.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

DEAR TED:

Draft of a letter; found in the Oval Office wastebasket in 1998. [The words in red were scratched out]

Dear [Mr. Kazinski] Ted,

By the time you read this, you will have learned that I have issued you a Presidential pardon. Your release should follow in a day or two and you can get on with your life’s work. [I’m sor] I didn’t intend to take so long to get around to it, but I have been extremely occupied with a PRIVATE and PURELY PERSONAL problem. Even Presidents have private [affairs] lives.

I take full responsibility for acting so slowly. I might have forgot completely except that during a recent [inquisition by] conversation with Mr. Kenneth Starr, the well-known lawyer and ADVOCATE OF TECHNOLOGY, he happened to refer to you as "that CRAZY MAN" who should be "LOCKED UP FOR LIFE." His harsh, unforgiving words caused me to feel your pain. He shouldn’t have done that. In fact, it was wrong. There’s no nice way to say it – he has sinned.

In starting a new life, you might want to seek help from some politically powerful people. I am enclosing with this letter the names and addresses of the 50 most important Republicans (Ken Starr’s address is on page 6). I may send you a list of important Democrats later [depending on a few votes].

Best of luck with your new freedom. Have a BLAST!

Your friend,

Bill Clinton

P.S.: Ken Starr also wants to raise postal rates on packages!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

ADDED ADAGES

Politics makes strange sodomites.

You can’t win lying down. To get elected, you must lie UP and down.

He who hesitates has time to double-check the bungee cord.

Too much masterbation will make you lose your memory and something else I can’t remember.

Little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice, except for your bratty daughter.

You can’t burn a candle at both ends -- unless you put it on its side, or you can soften it in the middle and bend both ends up, or you can make the wick out of something that will burn no matter what, or you can cut it in two and set the bottom half upside down, or . . . .

You know you’ve got a poor sex life when you can walk into a drug store with a dollar and walk out with a lifetime supply of condoms.

Eat natural. Never touch food that hasn’t grown out from under a ton of animal feces.

My favorite player never used steroids. He owes his exceptional muscles to the many hours he’s spent combing his back.

Theological ethicists say there is growing evidence that the unusual recent outbreak of destructive weather is God’s punishment for Pat Robertson.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

THE DOUBLEDAY LEGEND


By Dr. Charles T. Gregory (Guest Blogger)
Professor of Leisure History and Comparative Phrenology, Mountebank University

Nearly every modern history of baseball is at great pains to explain that General Abner Doubleday did NOT, as was earlier alleged, invent the national game. Historians have found that the Doubleday claim rested solely on the questionable testimony of one Abner Graves to the Mills Commission, a group of baseball graybeards assembled at the turn of the century to investigate baseball’s origin. Graves said that his boyhood friend, Abner Doubleday, had conceived baseball on an April day in 1839 at Cooperstown, New York.

Among other proofs used to debunk Graves’ assertion, it is usually stated that Doubleday could not have been in Cooperstown at that time because it would have meant he was absent-without- leave from West Point where he was then enrolled as a cadet. In that Doubleday rose to the rank of U.S. Army general, indeed was a hero of the Civil War, such a blot on his record as an early AWOL seems highly unlikely.

However, a newly discovered document casts further light on the subject. It explains some discrepencies in Graves’ story and suggests that contributions to American sport by the Doubleday family may have been far greater than is presently believed. The document in question is a letter written to the Mills Commission by Hamilton J. Cresap in August of 1904. It was found only this year in an old trunk stored in the attic of Mrs. Louise Cresap Haines, Hamilton Cresap’s great-grandaughter. Mrs. Haines resides in Credulous Hollow, New York, near Cooperstown. She happened on the trunk while looking for possible contributions she might make to the local old clothing drive conducted by the the Third Methodist Church.

The letter was addressed and sealed but never mailed. Mrs. Haines has investigated her ancestor’s history through notes in the family bible and news clippings from the Credulous Hollow Gazette. She believes the letter was unmailed because Cresap met an untimely demise beneath the wheels of a Coopers Brew beer truck before he could consign his story to the post office. Handwritten on lined paper, the contents of the letter are here published for the first time:


April 18, 1906
Dear Mr. Mills & Gentlemen,

The last time I talked to my old friend A. Graves he told me he had communicated some information to you about our mutual acquaintance A. Doubleday and a certain day in 1839. Unfortunately, from his discription, Mr. Graves seems to have got some of his facts wrong.

I well remember that April morning for it happened to be my 16th birthday. My uncle George Cresap gave me a new bat for the occasion. I named it "Herschel" and put it in a cage in my room. As it turned out, Herschel was not a very good pet. He slept all day and caused quite a ruckus at night. I finally released him to the more congenial confines of the Third Methodist Church belfry.

Later on the morning in question, a number of us boys turned out with ballbat and ball at our local green, intent upon a rousing game of One-Old-Cat. We were met there by A. Doubleday. However, this was not Abner but instead his first cousin Anser.

I can understand why Mr. Graves mis-remembered. No doubt all of us who knew him would like to forget Anser. He was a perverse individual, who gained pleasure by forcing others to his will. For a time he was known as "Bully" Doubleday. This was later shortened to "Bull."

Doubleday told us we were not going to play our usual game of One-Old-Cat but instead a new game that he’d thought up in his spare moments at the Cooperstown Iron Foundry where he worked. He ordered us all home to procure the necessary equipment.

When we returned we discovered that Bull had set four stones on the lawn, placed so as to form the corners of a rectangle. These, he instructed, were the boundaries around which we were to race. Then we all put on our rollerskates and spent the morning playing Bull Doubleday’s new game which he called "Roller Derby."

The last I heard of Anser Doubleday was that he had disgraced his family by showing the yellow streak at the Battle of Manassas. In fact, his cowardice was so pronounced that the affair has since been widely known as "The Battle of Bull’s Run."

In hopes that this will clear up any unfortunate misunderstandings caused by my old friend Graves’ faulty memory, I remain

Your Obedient Servant,
H. Cresap

Sunday, May 01, 2005

A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT PLEDGING

When one pledges his allegiance "to the flag," he is not expressing loyalty to that piece of cloth. One of the many meanings of the word "to" is "toward." What is really meant is "I pledge my allegiance toward the flag and to the republic for which it stands." Or, to be absolutely clear, "I pledge my allegiance to our republic as I’m facing the flag which symbolizes it."

The reason one looks toward the flag while proclaiming one’s loyalty is that flags are handier than complete maps of the United States, particularly since we added Hawaii and Alaska.

Of course, one does not absolutely need a symbol to focus on while pledging, and if one is alone and feels like pledging allegiance, one can dispense with the flag. Actually, one can dispense with saying it out loud.

However, assuming that the pledging is being done aloud in a room full of, say, third graders, it is probably best to have them all face in the same direction. Otherwise, they tend to make faces at each other. They might simply face the front of the room, but it would eventually be thought of as pledging allegiance to the blackboard.

Besides, pledging "to" the flag keeps them from asking difficult questions like, "Teacher! Teacher! What the hell is a republic?"