You know, with the Cubs winning their first world series in 108 years, hope sort of springs eternal, don’t you think?

Who knows, the sentiment of this victory story might work its way into pop culture, and maybe even back in to our American psyche because of their win, and even if it doesn’t, I might fall back on it from time to time.

Like maybe if I say: I’m hoping that after forty years now my hairline might un-recede. To which some cynic will say, “It’ll never happen.” And I’ll reply: That’s what they said about the Cubbies winning a World Series too, and a hundred and eight years later…

Or maybe I’ll long for Abraham Lincoln to come back from the dead and run for president. Or maybe Diana Krall will call and tell me she’s in town for a concert and her drummer is sick and she needs a stand-in. Or maybe the Surgeon General and the New England Journal of Medicine will report that ice cream lowers cholesterol and increases stamina.

Ridiculous, you say? Tell that to the Cubs fans that have been earnestly waiting since 1908.

If I come off here sounding like the eternal, unrealistic optimist, don’t be fooled. When it comes to wishful thinking, I’m ambivalent at best.

Although I have been and will always be a Cardinals fan, I am so grateful for the storyline of the “lovable losers” from Wrigleyvile and their World Series victory after all these years. It was so nice to have something to smile about while living in the wasteland that politics is wreaking on us all these days.

Speaking of politics and hope, or the lack of it, I’ll at least be optimistic enough, maybe not Cubs fan optimistic, but enough to believe that as a somewhat hapless lot, we will survive our next POTUS and the cast of characters that will roam the capital building the next four years, and that maybe, just maybe, in my lifetime I will be fortunate enough to see a true statesman or stateswoman of humility, brilliance and vision rise up to serve.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Although my favorite place to see a major league baseball game live is a Cub's game at Wrigley, my favorite team is the St. Louis Cardinals--been that way for many years.


This is one team loyalty I share with my Dad. When it comes to the NFL we can't agree, my Dad's favorite team is the Dallas Cowboys; my favorite NFL team is whichever team is playing the Dallas Cowboys. It has nothing to do with disrespect for my Dad. It just that I'm the kind of guy who doesn't like the idea of any team assuming I'm a fan because they refer to themselves as "America's Team" and I happen to be an American.

But back to the Cardinals. Once again they are making their way to yet another World Series. My loyalty to the Cards is stitched into the fabric of who I am, sort of like Weber's Root Beer and hot dogs at Coney Islander (both long-time Tulsa icons).

Some of my favorite childhood memories are going to Tulsa Oilers baseball games with my Dad. Tulsa was a farm team for the Cardinals, so it was natural for any kid who loved the Oilers to also love the Cards. Oilers and Cardinals games were always carried on the radio in Tulsa and I spent hours listening to games.

Al McNeilance, aka: Mr. Peepers

Al McNeilance, aka: Mr. Peepers

As a huge bonus for a baseball loving kid, my Dad was close friends with one of the Oilers pitchers, a guy named Al McNeilance, nicknamed "Mr. Peepers" for the little glasses he wore. Al was from Buffalo, New York. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers and somehow ended up in the Cardinals system and pitching for the Oilers in Tulsa. He was a great guy with a huge smile and personality. He was the leader of a boys club at the church we attended. When his baseball career ended, Al and his family stayed in Tulsa.

Of course as a kid growing up in the 50s and 60s, I was a huge Mickey Mantle fan. How can you not idolize one of the all-time greats, particularly when he's from Oklahoma like you are. Add in Roger Maris (who also played in Tulsa) and Yogi Berra, and the Yankees earned my respect and attention. But it was then and still is to this day the St. Louis Cardinals that I want to see hoist the big trophy, which they have done eleven times, more than any other National League team. The American League Yankees of course have won the most pennants: twenty-seven.

Oh, FYI, the Cardinals and the Yankees have met in the World Series five times. The Cards have won three of the five.

How about you? Click the comment box and drop a name, tell about your brush with greatness or vote for your favorite team.

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks... 


Age Is A Number

This week I've been in school. Although it's been years since I put on a new pair of blue jeans, gathered my new #2 pencils and notebook and boarded the school bus, there was still a bit of that old back-to-school angst as I stepped into this school. This school has been for certification to administer a personality inventory.

A couple of years ago I mentioned to my Amazing-Missus that I thought maybe I was going through Mid-Life Crisis. She said, "Don't flatter yourself, you're way past mid-life." She keeps me real.

Well today I learned that, at least to according to the Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, that Mid-Life is a stage of life and not a particular age. After all age is just a state of mind right?

Satchel Paige

Satchel Paige

Don't believe it? Then how would you answer this question:

How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?

This is a quote from the great Satchel Paige. As a kid, I loved listening to baseball games on the radio. I am old enough to remember Satchel playing for the Cleveland Indians. He came to the Big Leagues from the Negro Leagues when he was 42, making him the oldest rookie to ever play on a major league team.

Well back to his question. It's a good one right?

As I've tried to explain to people what I'm trying to do with this blog I explain that it is sort of therapy for me as I go through what I've come to call my Second-Coming of Age.

I also learned today that according to Jung, the second coming of age is a healthy life stage of sorts and that in this stage I can focus on some traits I have that have always been there but sort of in the background. Who knows maybe I'll be braver, bolder, more like Hemingway without the desire to beat people up. Maybe I'll be more interesting and less cynical. Maybe I'll be the same old phart, but it's sort of fun to imagine.


The Real McCoy

“Life doesn’t imitate art, it imitates bad television.”
— Woody Allen
  • Quintessential
  • Authentic
  • Classic
  • Genuine

I have a good friend who's an attorney in Atlanta. I don't mention that he's an attorney in Atlanta as any kind of qualifier, in fact I realize it could cause you to jump to stereotypical conclusions. So let me quickly say that the wit and wisdom I love about Gene supersedes his vocation and location. This good friend is in fact part of the inspiration of this blog. He's the one that reminded me of the now gone TV show ,"Men Of A Certain Age" with themes similar to what we're exploring here at About POPS.

Not long ago he made a visit to Italy. It was a honeymoon trip. It doesn't get much more romantic than that, right? I asked him after his return if he found that a bottle wine and a bowl of pasta tasted better in Italy than it does here. His insightful reply: "Yes, in the same way that bacon and eggs taste better cooked in an iron skillet over a campfire while camping out." Don't you wish this blog was a scratch'n'sniff?

Why is that? What is there about things like reading an actual printed book, preferably hardback, in a good, deep leather chair near a wood-burning fireplace? Why is a baseball game at Wrigley a great experience whether the Cubs win or not?

Somehow these things just seem more real. Thank you Gene for making the case so vividly.

Words like real, authentic and genuine get thrown around these days in ways that aren't very authentic or genuine. So it set me to thinking; what are some of those things, you know, things that endure, things that are above the passage of time, trends and pop culture?

Please add your thoughts to the conversation by posting a comment here.

P.S." In case you're wondering... 

The phrase "The real McCoy" is a corruption of the "The real MacKay", first recorded in 1856 as: "A drappie o' the real MacKay," (A drop of the real MacKay). This appeared in a poem Deil's Hallowe'en, published in Glasgow and is widely accepted as the phrase's origin. -- Scottish National Dictionary