Posts Tagged ‘parody’

Ed Mickelson: Minor League All Star!

November 19, 2009

Mickelson Got the Last RBI in St. Louis Browns History.

Today at 83, Ed Mickelson is a silver-haired Cary Grant type living out his happy life in St. Louis, Missouri. Yesterday at 27, he collected the last run batted in recorded in St. Louis Browns history. He did it in a 2-1 losing cause against the Chicago White Sox on the last day of the 1953 season at old Sportsman’s Park. I wrote a parody to commemorate the event, once upon a time.  That signature RBI wasn’t the only thing that Ed ever did in baseball, but it is the thing he wants to be remembered for having done as a member of the Browns’ far from legendary last club on earth back in 1953. The next season, the franchise moved to Baltimore and hatched upon the scene as the Orioles.

In 2007, Ed Mickelson personally wrote his own story and published it through McFarland’s.  Still available through Amazon, the Mickelson biography is entitled “Out of the Park: Memoir of a Minor League Baseball All Star.” It’s well written and a good read, detailing Mickelson’s eleven season career (1947-57). He started with Decatur and ended up with Portland, achieving a lifetime minor league batting average of .316 and 108 home runs in 1,089 minor league games played. Ed even went 3 for 9 as a Houston Buff in 1952 before being reassigned by the parent Cardinals club to Rochester.

Mickelson also played 18 games total in the major leagues for the 1950 St. Louis Cardinals, the 1953 St. Louis Browns, and the 1957 Chicago Cubs. That record RBI single that scored Johnny Groth from second base in 1953 also was one of only three RBI that Ed managed in his brief major league career. His MLB average of .089 helps to explain his limited action beyond the minor leagues.

Ed Mickelson is one of the nicest people you could ever meet. He’s a bright guy who looks the part of his current role as an aging gracefully first baseman. The BR/TR, 6’3″ and still lanky guy could not better look the part if he tried.

Mickelson compiled a number of honors for his minor league play over the years, but that’s the stuff of Ed’s story in the book. Just one peek here: Ed Mickelson is also notably proud of the fact that he got his first major league hit in the form of a single off the great Warren Spahn back in 1950. I definitely remember Ed’s short 1952 stay with the Buffs too, but the Cardinals didn’t leave him here long enough to do that sad Buff team much good.

In honor of Ed Mickelson’s last RBI in St. Louis Browns history, here’s that parody I wrote years ago in all their honors:

The Lost Hurrah: September 27, 1953
Chicago White Sox 2 – St. Louis Browns 1.

(A respectful parody of “Casey At The Bat” by Ernest L. Thayer in application to the last game ever played by our beloved St. Louis Browns.)

by Bill McCurdy (1997)

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Brownie nine that day;
They were moving from St. Louis – to a place quite far away,
And all because Bill Veeck had said, “I can’t afford to stay,”
The team was playing their last game – in that fabled Brownie way.

With hopes of winning buried deep – beneath all known dismay,
The Brownies ate their cellar fate, but still charged out to play.
In aim to halt a last hard loss – in a season dead since May,
They sent Pillette out to the mound – to speak their final say.

The White Sox were that last dance foe – at the former Sportsman’s Park,
And our pitcher pulsed the pallor of those few fans in the dark.
To the dank and empty stands they came, – one final, futile time,
To witness their dear Brownies reach – ignominy sublime.

When Mickelson then knocked in Groth – for the first run of the game,
It was to be the last Browns score, – from here to kingdom came.
And all the hopes that fanned once more, – in that third inning spree,
Were briefly blowing in the wind, – but lost eternally.

For over seven innings then, – Dee bleached the White Sox out,
And the Browns were up by one to oh, – when Rivera launched his clout.
That homer tied the score at one, – and then the game ran on.
Until eleven innings played, – the franchise was not gone.

But Minnie’s double won the game – for the lefty, Billy Pierce,
And Dee picked up the last Browns loss; – one hundred times is fierce!
And when Jim Dyck flew out to end – the Browns’ last time at bat,
The SL Browns were here no more, and that was that, – was that!

Oh, somewhere in this favored land, the sun is shining bright;

The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;

And somewhere men are laughing, – and little children shout,

But there’s no joy in Sislerville, – the Brownies have pulled out.

Mysteries of American Life!

October 12, 2009

Excuse me! I don’t want to take up a lot of your time because I know you’re a busy person, but I do have a few questions I wish somebody like you could help me answer. – I promise to keep it brief. OK?

Colombo(1) Why is it that we pay into Social Security with money that’s already been taxed, but then, when we start getting it back in monthly retirement payments, we have to pay income tax on simply reclaiming the same money that was already ours? Can you explain that to me? I wasn’t too good at math in school. I figure I missed out on something.

(2.) Why is it that women say to their husbands, “if you want to have a better love life with me, you’ll first try to do a better job of getting close to me emotionally,” but the men turn right around and say to their wives, “if you want to get close to me emotionally, you’ll first help me make sure we have a better love life!” I tried to get Mrs. Colombo to answer this one, but she just said, “if I have to explain it to you, it doesn’t really matter!”

(3.) Why does being born on American soil to non-American parents automatically make you an American citizen who will be eligible to run for President at  age 35 while an immigrant naturalized American, born elsewhere, is automatically disqualifed by place of birth from ever serving as President? Isn’t place of birth more of a coincidence than it is a statement of how American or Un-American you are as a baby? – Unless one of your parents is already an American citizen , shouldn’t you just be a citizen of whatever country your parents come from, no matter where you first see the light of day? Otherwise, doesn’t the present law of the land pretty much establish a “running back headed for the end zone” relationship between some  foreign pregnant women and American soil?

(4) Why do we allow members of Congress to establish and benefit from retirement and health care plans that are so far superior to our own? Don’t you think they might find some better answers quicker to these two great national issues if they were stuck in the same retirement and health care boiling pot with the rest of us? What do you say we figure out a way to “rein in” Congress to Social Security and Medicare with the rest of us and press Congress to pass an amendment that prevents our lawmakers from ever again establishing retirement and health care plans that are separate and superior to those available to us “Everyday Joe and Jane” American citizens? Don’t you think those steps my light a fire in their desire to find better solutions for “our” plans?

(5) Why do “John and Kate Plus Eight” matter to anyone? Oh well. maybe they have the answer to that man and woman relationship question I asked earlier. John and Kate, please listen up. – Mrs. Colombo and I need an answer here. What’s most important first in a marriage? – Good loving? – Or good feelings?

(6) Why do we bother to have smoking sections in restaurants when we don’t have urinating sections in swimming pools? Wouldn’t the latter be about as ineffective as the former, even when people play by the rules? I guess the only difference is – at least – in the case of smoking sections, we can see who’s violating the rules.

(7) When I first reached the age of eligibility for Medicare, I didn’t sign up for Part B, the part that pays some your office visit and prescription drug bills. I didn’t take it out because I first misunderstood that my other very good private insurance would make it fairly meaningless as help and just cost me money deducted from my new Social Security payments. Then I said to myself, “I’ll just save the system some money by holding off taking Part B until later. – Well, it’s later now. – Now I’m being told that I’m going to be penalized on the cost of my Part B plan because I didn’t start it when I first had the chance! Nobody told me that earlier. Am I that dumb? Doesn’t the government ever want to save money? Why should I be penalized for doing something the bureaucrats in Social Security ought to be rewarding me for doing? Oh, that’s right. I keep forgetting. The bureaucrats get their pay regardless of whether or not the programs they run make, save, or lose money for the taxpaper. Forgive me. I’m taking way too much of your valuable time with matters that should be very obvious to a smart guy like me. After all, I’m Colombo!

(8) Why do we live in neighbborhoods that pay good money to management firms to preserve quality of life when all they do is snoop through our streets, noting things we need to do with our money, on their short-time schedules, to fix up our properties – or else? Oh yeah, these little weasling micromanagers are straight out of George Orwell’s “1984” too. They let you know by anonymus letter (what they call a “courtesy contact”) that they have been watching your house and that they have observed certain things “you need to fix” to move out of harm’s way from possible legal action. – This kind of thing is only important to the quality of life enjoyed by the little anal-retentive people who snoop through the neighborhood, squinting at everyone else’s houses, enjoying the only power they have to abuse others! – Why can’t we just tar and feather people who do this kind of dirty work and get back to the simple enjoyment of living in our own homes? We’re not talking cars parked on the front lawn here on my block. We’re talking, in the case of one neighbo, about an ivy vine that managed to run a strand out of bounds down the side of a front yard rain gutter. Now, I gotta ask. – Is that one little vine really going to ruin mine and all my other neighbors’ days? Man! Do we really want to hop to the tune of some chicken-livered overseer who doesn’t even have the guts to ask us face-to-face about things he or she finds wrong at our houses, preferring only to send us an unsigned “couresy contact” ultimatum? What’s wrong with this picture, anyway?

(9) So how come so much of life seems controlled by bad timing? When we’re young and in good health, but broke, we miss out on a lot things we can’t afford to do.  Then, by the time we can afford these things, we’re either too old or too ill to even entertain the idea of travelling far from home. – With Mrs. Colombo and me, it works more lke this. She says to me: “You never take anywhere!” I say: “OK, let’s drive over to Nevada to see your sister.” Then she says: “Do you really think I’d want to drive all the way to Vegas in a car with you?” – Why is she like that? I’m damned if I do, and damned if I don’t. – You tell me!  I may be smart enough to solve a lot of crimes – but not this one!

(10) Why do they call the game of baseball “America’s Pastime” when, for a lot of us, we’re not passing time at all when we go to the ballpark. When we’re at the ballpark, we’re pretty much living our lives as we want to live them. So how come Mrs. Colombo doesn’t understand that?  She can’t figure out why they don’t do something to shorten the games. As for me, I don’t care how long the game runs. When I’m at the ballpark, in fact, I don’t care if I never get back. In fact, don’t you think life would be simply so much easier if Mrs. C. could just think more like me?

(BONUS 11) How is technology helping us to communicate better when the Internet, cell phones, and texting only encourage us to reach out to talk with people who are not with us while we simultaneously ignore the people who are with us? Mrs. Colombo thinks that she and I have a problem in this area. I told her to call me about it sometime. Is that so bad?

Sorry I took so much time here after I promised to be brief. I’ll tell the Pecan Park Eagle man to get back to baseball tomorrow.

Pardon Me, Ford!

August 16, 2009

Nixon Ford Over the years, writing parody has always been one of the main ways I sought rest from a particular research subject for a day or so. The practice rejuvenated me. It felt like the written equivalent to doodling. I followed this pattern all through school too – and also over the heaviest years of my private practice work – when I practically had  no other energy left over at the end of the day for writing anything beyond case record notes. – Even then, I could write parody, if nothing else. Wow! – Talk about “all work and no play making Jack a dull boy!” I had some nadir-level years with writing much beyond my own signature in that regard back then. I may still be duller than dishwater as a writer, but I’m enjoying it a whole lot more these days.

Most of my word doodles I’ve trashed, but the one I bring you today felt like a keeper from the start. It was my favorite – and I’ve needed no hard copy to hold onto it. It long ago took its place in the jukebox (i-pod?) region of my memory bank and won’t go away from my list of favorites.

My favorite little “vacation” work came to me back in 1975, when I wrote Pardon Me, Ford, a parody of how I speculated that the pardoning of President Richard M. Nixon came about. I was so pumped from the experience that I even submitted it to Lorne Michaels at Saturday Night Live for their use as a skit. They didn’t use it, but Michaels, at least, wrote me back. He explained that they only did their own material – and that they didn’t take in unsolicited writing or do other people’s laundry.

That being said, here it is again. I did something like this way back on Chron.Com, but what the heck? I feel the need to do it again this morning.

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

Pardon Me, Ford

By Bill McCurdy

The time is 1973. The scene is the Oval Office of the White House. President Richard Nixon is meeting with newly appointed Vice-President Gerald Ford to discuss the potential fallout from Watergate and the probability that he is going to be impeached and possibly face jail time for criminal acts. Ford is sitting. Nixon is pacing the floor. When Nixon finally speaks, he sings what he has to say to the tune of the old Johnny Mercer song, Chattanooga Choo Choo. Use yur imagination and you will see the scene evolving to the point of Nixon and Ford dancing off stage at the end of the act like a couple of smiling, hand-waving vaudevillians.

Pardon me, Ford! – Let’s have a chat and choose your new shoes!

I will resign! – Then everything will be fine!

There’s gonna be – a Watergate Investigation!

It won’t be fair! – ‘Cause Johnny Dean will be there!

They’ll have the votes for my impeachment so I might as well go!

Then you can be the President – and they’ll never know!

If I have conceded! – (Expletive Deleted!)

If I knew – or didn’t know – they just can’t read it!

I’ll never roam – away from my own tax-free – San Clemente home!

And you can wear the new shoes – that go along with the throne!

Pardon me, Ford! – Pardon me, Ford!

All aboard!

Pardon me, Ford!  – Pardon me, Ford!

Get on board!

(both Nixon & Ford now singing and dancing off stage together)

AND WE CAN WEAR THE NEW SHOES … – (trombones: dada da da!)

THAT GO ALONG WTH THE THROOOOOOOOOOOONE!

(drum riff: Bada-Bing! – as Nixon & Ford disappear off-stage left.)

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

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle