Archive for the ‘humor’ Category

A Century Ago in America

December 10, 2018

Sigmund Freud, The Father of Psychiatry
**********
Steven Spielberg should produce, direct, and star in
the bio-movie of Freud’s life.

 

Thank you, fellow St. Thomas High School classmate Ed Szymczak from the Class of 1956 for sending me this list of everyday data on different aspects of Life in America back in 1917. Even though these reports are from an era that transpired only a little more than 100 years ago, it’s still hard to wrap the mind around how much life has changed since that version of everyday life was regarded as someone’s “good old days” ~ and even more mind-staggering to consider how things may be from now ~ for those heading into the Christmas of 2118. ~ Do you think there will still be something called “Christmas” that people celebrate a hundred years from now? ~ Well, if Christmas remains tied to the retail gift industry, or whatever they call it in another hundred years, and why would it not be still so joined, my guess is “yes” ~ there will be.

Here’s The 1917 List of Facts about their era. (I have no idea about their efficacy, or who put them together, but they do sound credible):

The average life expectancy for men was 47 years

Fuel for cars was sold in drug stores only.

Only 14 percent of homes had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of homes had a telephone.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.

The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour.

The average US worker made between $200 & $400 per year.

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year

A dentist $2,500 per year.

A veterinarian between $1,500 – $4,000 per year.

And, a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

More than 95 percent of all births took place at home.

Ninety percent of all Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION! Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND the government as “substandard.”

Sugar cost four cents a pound.

Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.

Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month, and, used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.

The Five leading causes of death were:

  1. Pneumonia and influenza
  2. Tuberculosis
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Heart disease
  5. Stroke

The American flag had 48 stars …

The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was only 30.

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn’t been invented yet.

There was neither a Mother’s Day nor a Father’s Day.

Two out of every 10 adults could not read or write

And, only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at local corner drugstore. Back then pharmacists said, “Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach, bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health!”

(A TPPE Addition): Back then, Dr. Sigmund Freud prescribed cocaine to patients suffering from depression.

Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help…

There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A.

******************************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

A Few Baseball Team Mascot Names

December 1, 2018

Works as a soft drink. As a baseball team plural nickname ~ not so much.

 

Baseball team mascot nicknames have been a long-time interest and amusement here since my childhood day trip journeys viv-a-vis The Sporting News during the post-WWII era. That’s where I began to get the lesson that small town American baseball teams used the nickname aspect of their clubs to advertise everything from their own notions  of tenacity to getting the word out about their smaller community’s commercial interests.

The Mayfield (KY) Clothiers were an excellent example. They manufactured everyday clothes for people and wanted the world to know where they could do their wholesale shopping. The same state Hopkinsville (KY) Hoppers may have been so-named to communicate their energy for movement, but maybe they also manufactured those clothes hopper receptacles that could hold those dirty Clothier products once they had been through the sweat and dirt grill of actual game play.

The Terre Haute (IN) Tots and the Hancock (MI) Infants may have been trying to tell us that they were new to this game of organized baseball, but maybe ~ just maybe ~ they could have joined with the Houston Babies ~ and all of the other small towns that began in the game with that “Babies” sobriquet to form something colorful like the Delivery Room League.

Orange, Texas and Alexandria, Louisiana  both fielded clubs in the early 20th century called the “You Hoos”, but we don’t know if this had been two separate franchises or one that moved elsewhere in a vain effort to elude failure. Either way, on the surface of things, the idea seems more laughable than it does funny.

In 1905, the Paris (TX)/Hope (AR) Parasites failed after one season played out in two small towns. Folks should avoid naming their baseball teams “Parasites.” It’s a little hard to build anything that wins on the backs of people who, by their shared name, are all simply a bunch of hangers-on.

Muncie (IN) Fruit Jars? ~ They had to be kidding! ~ Just as you can’t go swimming in a baseball pool, you can’t find a pennant in an old fruit jar!

The Iola (KS) Gasbags, the Garden City (KS) Wind and the South Georgia (GA) Waves are a good start on building a league in which everyone else gets blown away by the strongest member. Among these three first members, the Garden City Wind has the early money as pennant favorites, but we all know too that there may be other stronger nicknamed winds out there that could come along and win in a greater frenzy of breeze.

Bottom Line. Seventy years ago, when I was ten. I spent a lot of musing time with stuff like this bizarre baseball team nickname business when the weekly Sporting News came in ~ and what do you know? ~ Here I am ~ still mind-doodling away with it today.

Have a nice weekend, everybody! ~ And please forgive us for an occasional meandering column on a laid back Saturday that just happened to fall at the end of a very busy and joyous week of family commitment beyond baseball.

 

******************************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

Mr. Daddy Long Lead

November 27, 2018

Ty Cobb Stealing 2nd.

 

Mr. Daddy Long Lead

 

Mr. Daddy Long Lead ~ was a surefire crash and burn,

He stole a lot of bases ~ with a low crouch start and churn.

Once the pitcher raised his foot ~ to let the next ball fly,

Off would go old Daddy man ~ kicking sand back to the sky.

 

And as he ran ~ his speed would grow ~ as would his eagle eye,

To race with love ~ toward fielder’s glove ~ where all the chips would fly.

Left or right ~ high or low ~ decisions without thought,

Were matters that unfolded now ~ from all that time had taught.

 

~ It could have been written in 1905, but it wasn’t. It was written five minutes ago. Have a nice day and remember to mark your calendars. Although it has not been officially announced, spring training for the Houston Astros probably starts on February 13, 2019 ~ when the pitchers and catchers probably show up. ~ That’s 79 days from today, Tuesday, November 27, 2018.

Harmless Useless Trivia Question Parody: As improbable as this deal might be, if Mr. Gonzalez of the Astros were to end up playing for that far south Florida National League team in 2019. would they change their name again ~ this time to ~ The Miami Marwins?

Have a nice day, everybody!

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving 2018

November 21, 2018

 

Classic Thanksgiving cartoon by Glenn McCoy.

Dear Pilgrims ~ Hail Ye! ~ Hear Me!

This is the Voice of the Future speaking to you from the year 2018! We may sound to you that we are speaking in a strange new form of English usage ~ but that’s cool. ~ We’re down with that!

Our time/space broadcasting technology may also resonate into your neck of the woods ears like the always booming Voice of God ~ but hang tight ~ we are not God ~ nor any other spirit that your own ladies in those black pointed hats has conjured up in one of those big boiling plots! ~ No way! ~ We simply are who we say we are ~ The Voice of the Future ~ and we are here to give you a shout out about that not-so-fast first Thanksgiving cartoon that you dudes have decided to publish! ~ You know the one! ~ The one that shows all the female Pilgrims sweating their hearts out over the preparation of that first turkey day dinner of gratitude ~ while the male pilgrims cavalierly engage the even then famous Washington Redskins in the first Turkey Day football game in history!

Just hold the presses right there, folks!

My wife saw that cartoon all the way up here in the 21st century (thanks to an ancestral aunt who lives among you in 1621 as one of the black pointed hat ladies who witch-crafted it all the way up here to her) and now she wants me to do what I can to dissuade you from letting this new practice of an annual thanksgiving day upon which the men get to play while the women slave away fixing them a scrumptious meal as the whole thing unfolds into the shocking tradition it is likely to become!

“I’ve never seen such rampant sexism and racism in the act of getting started from the very first day as an American tradition ~ while everyone just moves around ~ filling all the necessary roles ~ and making it happen!” So said me deary ~ and in a fomentation of fury I’ve rarely seen in this once sweet image of youthful saucy energy that she truly is!

“Me neither,” I said ~ and in my strongest voice of concisely chiseled emotional support.

“William,” Norma continued, “I think we should try to do something about it with our present level of understanding, need, and technology! ~ DON’T YOU?” ~ She added, in a voice that reverberated like a bolt of runaway thunder.

“Me too!” I quickly answered. Then I looked into a nearby mirror and smiled, as I also mutely formed the sound of those two glorious words of courage again ~ this time, mimed and so silently whispered into my own smiling face ~ as I watched the formation of each facial muscle I was required to make to have pitched and flat-out delivered the first aloud expression of these great liberators ~ the ones that came instants earlier with credible affirmation oozing from both my words of response to my dear wife Norma’s strongly emphatic request for support of her opinion ~ and my own desire to do the right thing.

“Me too!” ~ Gee, I thought! You did sound great, kiddo! Then I uttered those same two turn-key words again ~ and this time ~ more softly ~ and to my own congratulatory ears.

Norma wanted more.

“Well, what are you going to do about it,” Norma demanded. ~ “Are you going to do one of your time travel broadcasts ~ one that shakes the leaves of every apple tree in the valley during their harvest time season? ~ ‘Cause, if you do, let ’em think you’re God all they want. We sure know you’re not, but they’ve never met you ~ and it wouldn’t hurt them to worry about an invasion of bugs for a while ~ and, at least, until they mend their ways!”

“Me too!” ~ I said again, in even greater focus. ~ “But I cannot tell them an untruth. And besides, I’ve already told them the truth in the part you walked in and heard.”

But here’s what I will tell them, sweetheart ~ even if the word “commandments” does fall a little bit on the heavy-handed and unenforceable side: …..

Male Pilgrims Behold ~

And Heed These 11 (ahem) Commandments

For Pilgrims on Your Next & 2nd Thanksgiving Day:

1. Put away that oblong-shaped ball.

2. Only pick it up when its freezing outside.

3. Send the Redskins home to help their squaws.

4. Never play football on Thanksgiving Day again.

5. Make baseball your Thanksgiving Day tradition.

6. First find 4 trees that are 90′ apart in a diamond shape.

7. Make sure you can hear the dinner bell from that spot.

8. Cut down the trees, but leave the stumps in place.

9. Use the 4 stumps as home plate and the 3 bases.

10. Play ball ~ if you can find the balls to do so in 1622.

11. When dishes are invented, men should help wash them. *

* And, if ever there were a new 11th General Commandment, this one about the dishes ought to be it. If it weren’t for the more general “raise and lower the toilet seat with the ladies in mind,” it probably would be #11 among the new general commandments too.

******************************

Norma to Bill: “I’m grateful that our relationship always has been based on giving each other the mutual right to be different from each other!”
********
Bill to Norma: “Me too!”

            ~ from Everyone at The Pecan Park Eagle!

 

******************************

 

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

Another Tom Lehrer Adaptation

November 17, 2018

 

Ballad of WWIII was about shorter wars. ~ Ballad of MLB is about shorter baseball games.

The Ballad of World War III (Post-Nuclear 20th Century)

By Tom Lehrer

So long, mom!
I’m off to drop the Bomb
So don’t wait up for me
But while you swelter
Down there in your shelter
You can see me
On your TV

While we’re attacking frontally
Watch Brin-k-ley and Hun-t-ley
Describing contrapuntally
The cities we have lost

No need for you to miss a minute
Of the agonizing holocaust

Yeah!

Little Johnny Jones
He was a US pilot
And no shrinking violet
Was he, he was mighty proud
When World War III was declared
He wasn’t scared
No siree!

And this is what he said on
His way to Armageddon:

So long, mom!
I’m off to drop the Bomb
So don’t wait up for me
But though I may roam
I’ll come back to my home
Although it may be
A pile of debris

Remember, mommy!
I’m off to get a commie

So send me a salami
And try to smile somehow
I’ll look for you
When the war is over
An hour and a half from now

 

********************

The Ballad of MLB

By Parody Adaptation (Today)

So long, mom!
I’m off to crunch the bomb
So don’t wait up for me
But while you swelter
Down there in your shelter
You can see me
On cable TV

While we’re attacking so bunt-free
Please keep your utmost faith in me
We just score runs in gobs, you see
And save those small ball costs
No need for you ~ to watch a second
As the agonizing fouls get lost

Oh Yeah!

Little Johnny Jones
He was a Seattle Pilot
And no shrinking violet
Was he, he was mighty proud
When his big move came around
Did he miss Puget Sound?
No siree!

And this is what he said on
His way to beer-ball-geddon:

So long, mom!
I’m off to crunch the Bomb
In dear old Mil-Wau-Kee
But though I may roam
I’ll come back to my home
Although it may be
A pile of debris

Remember, Mommy
I’m paid to drop the bomby
So save me a salami ~ as you watch those homers fly
I’ll come home to you ~ when the game is over

A minute and a half from now!

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

It Makes a Fellow Proud to be An Astro

November 16, 2018

“Ball Four” by Jim Bouton (1970)

At this week’s November 2018 meeting of the Larry Dierker SABR Chapter, Maxwell Kates did a fine presentation of his new book on MLB expansion and sharing credit with those who helped. Then he followed that nice accomplishment with a stimulating Q&A session with a panel of two former players from the Colt .45 days (Bob Aspromonte and Larry Dierker), plus, the most significant executive in the club’s long history, former GM and President Tal Smith. Slugger Jimmy Wynn was supposed to be there too, but a little DL time came up and yours truly was asked to sit in for him. ~ Well, I don’t have any trouble filling any chair these days on a literal basis, but my Pecan Park Eagle sandlot background was never any match for what Jimmy Wynn and the other guys named figuratively brought to the presence we needed here. I still, nevertheless. most humbly enjoyed knowing that I even had been asked on a fill-in basis. It was a lot of fun

The subject of Jim Bouton’s “Ball Four” book came up for its reference to the parody song that had been written about the spirit of the old 1969 club. It was called “It Makes a Fellow Proud to be an Astro” ~ and, as Larry Dierker explained, it was actually a parody of an original parody written by the genius talent of those days, a fellow named Tom Lehrer, who also was a math professor at MIT around the same time he was scorching everything sacred in western culture with his acerbic wit and talent for poetic symmetry. ~ What Lehrer did in many other areas ~ and with his original piece in this instance, “It Makes a Fellow Proud to be a Soldier,” left the “Astro version” seem tamer by comparison.

Here’s a link to how the original Lehrer piece sounded ~ in case you need to know the flow of the melody before you read the words to the Astros version ~ which follows thereafter. Can’t really verify who actually wrote the Astro version, but you may want ask Jim Bouton if he’s ever in town and you run into him at an Astros game.

There’s really nothing terrible about the Astro version. In fact, it’s quite creative in its own right. It just happens to contain (presumably) the one four-letter word that turns into four consecutive asterisks (****) faster than any other in the English language, but I don’t really know that because ~ I’ve never seen the Astro version in writing prior until now ~ nor have I ever it heard it explicated in any sung version.

If you are excessively prudish ~ or too young ~ or too old ~ it might be better, if you just didn’t pursue it any further. ~ There are other days and tamer subjects awaiting us all.

The rest of you ~ still living folks ~ filled with a sense of humor and some awareness of the characters referenced in the song ~ please just let go and dive right in. ~ Those close to the action cherished of all among you already understand the difference between a Buddy Hancken cranking ~ and a Big Mama spanking!

Just Let it be 1969 again ~ when the Astrodome was still a baby ~ as were all our hopes for that first Houston Astros World Series Championship. ~ Back then ~ Astros catcher Johnny Edwards might even have been able to break into a parody chorus from one of his name-cousin’s ~ singer Tommy Edwards’ ~ biggest hits:

“Many a beer has to fall ~ but it’s all ~ in the game,

All in that wonderful game ~ that we PLAY ~ with glove!”

OK, as promised ~ first ~ the Tom Lehrer Proud-To-Be-a-Soldier Version Link:

 

And finally ~ the written Astros version: 

It Makes a Fellow Proud to be An Astro

Now, the Astros are a team that likes to go out on the town,
We like to drink and fight and **** till curfew comes around
Then it’s time to make the trek,
We better be back to buddy’s check,
It makes a fellow proud to be an Astro.

Now, Edwards is our catcher and he’s really No. 1,
Dave Bristol said he drinks too much and calls some long home runs,
But we think John will be all right,
If we keep him in his room at night,
It makes a fellow proud to be an Astro.

Now, our pitching staff’s composed of guys who think they’re ‘pretty cool,’
With a case of Scotch, a greenie and an old beat-up whirlpool,
We’ll make the other hitters laugh,
Then calmly break their bats in half,
It makes a fellow proud to be an Astro.

Now, Harry Walker is the one that manages this crew,
He doesn’t like it when we drink and fight and smoke and screw,
But when we win our game each day,
Then what the **** can Harry say?
It makes a fellow proud to be an Astro.

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

The Smells-A-Little-Fishy Lineup

August 14, 2018

 

Couldn’t find a Perch or a Minnow in the entire MLB player batch ~ and we also passed on nicknames like “Catfish” and “The Human Crab” to come up with a slightly less potent (on paper) ~ Smells-A-Little-Fishy Lineup!

It is lamentable that the big leagues, so far, have missed out fielding at least one single  ballplayer whose surname is “Snapper.” If there ever is a Snapper, especially if his DNA runs back to those port city Vikings that long ago came, conquered, and stayed in Ireland in places by the sea ~ is there any doubt as to what his nickname most likely would be?

Today we’ll just have to find consolation in this negatively aromatic lineup of the mind. Perhaps the rest of you can submit nominations for other roster additions that could make it smell better or even worse.

Here it is in its original lineup form:

The Smells-A-Little-Fishy Lineup

# Batting Order Year Pos BA HR RBI
1 Ralph Garr 1974 LF .353 11 54
2 Kevin Bass 1986 RF .311 20 79
3 Mike Trout 2016 CF .315 29 100
4 Tim Salmon 1995 1B .330 34 105
5 Mickey Rivers 1977 DH .326 12 69
6 Geronimo Gil 2002 3B .232 12 45
7 Eddie Lake 1945 SS .279 11 51
8 Bert Whaling 1913 C .242 0 25
9 Sam Fishburn 1919 2B .333 0 2
Pitchers Year Pos Won Lost ERA
P Dizzy Trout (R) 1944 P 27 14 2.12
P Eddie Fisher (R) 1965 P 15 7 2.40

Tim Salmon at 1st and Geronimo Gil at 3rd are playing out of position for the sake of filling out the defensive needs of the club, but large outfielders have been known to make the move to 1st OK in many other instances ~ and where else do you put a slightly slower catcher when you want him in the lineup ~ and 1st is already filled? – Third Base! ~ Of course! ~ That’s right.

You know what else is fishy? ~ It’s watching the Astros go through this period in which they look like they belong at the bottom of the American League ocean. ~ Maybe tonight they will break out of it. After all, they are only playing the Rockies ~ and all the Rockies are doing these sweat-heavy days of mid-August Houston heat is running tied with the Dodgers, one game back of Arizona in the NL West. ~ How fired up are they going to be on the heels of knowing that the Mariners just pulled the Astros back into a tighter division race than anyone saw coming prior to the pile up of all our local team player injuries?

Baseball moves in mysterious ways. ~ Have a bite on this little Smells-A-Little-Fishy Lineup. ~ It’s all we’re serving up for a late baseball afternoon “afunch” today at The Pecan Park Eagle Bar & Grill.

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle