No More Yogi-isms

Yogi Berra, as remembered by Dave Granland

The Passing of a Verbal Yogi

Yogi Berra passed away this week. He lived to the grand old age of 90 until he succumbed a thing eventually takes us all. It’s called death. Though Yogi was a great player and manager, he also wrote books (nine by my count). Nonetheless, even though Yogi played in ten World Series (most ever), made the Baseball Hall of Fame and managed teams from both the National and American League that made it to the World Series, he will still be most remembered for his one liners. Now that’s testimony to the power of the spoken word. How many contemporary writers can claim to have had as much to say (and remembered) on the American psyche as Yogi Berra……Damn few.

Some Yogi-isms To Always Cherish

  1. If I didn’t make it baseball, I wouldn’t have made it workin’. I didn’t like to work.
  2. We made too many wrong mistakes.
  3. All pitchers are liars or crybabies.
  4. Little league baseball is a good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets.
  5. You can observe a lot by watching.
  6. The future ain’t what it used to be.
  7. You can’t hit and think at the same time.
  8. It’s deja vu all over again.
  9. When you come to a fork in the road take it.
  10. I didn’t really say everything that I said.

And last but not least: “Always go to other people’s funerals. Otherwise they won’t go to yours.”

Short Tribute

And as far as Yogi Berra’s funeral went, I haven’t read any press accounts, but I can only imagine that it was very well attended. And though we haven’t heard too much from the man lately (last book, You Can Observe a Lot By Watching, published in 2009) , nobody has captured the true essence of baseball as Yogi did with his catchy one-liners….that is…..back in the heyday before we had designated hitters and World Series games that are in competition with Halloween. Baseball just ain’t what it used to be.

Yogi Berra understood the true essence of baseball.
Yogi Berra understood the true essence of baseball.

 

 

 

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Leornard’s Legacy

Remembering Elmore Leornard

When I first became interesting in the writings of Elmore Leornard, I had a hard time finding his books in the bookstore because I could not get his name straight. I was always looking for a man named Leornard Elmore…and I was perusing the Literature section instead of Crime Fiction or Mystery, which is where you will usually find this writer’s works. It took a long time to get used to the idea that his last name was actually Leornard.

Devoted to Detroit

Perhaps one of the most interesting things noted about the late author is his dedication to the city of Detroit. Though born in the “Big Easy”, Leornard spent most of his life in and around the Motor City. He attended high school in the city and also graduated from the University of Detroit in 1950 with a degree in English philosophy. Even after Elmore Leornard became successful, he chose to live in one o Detroit’s more modern suburbs, Bloomfield Hills. No wonder Leornard is often referred to as the “Dickens of Detroit”.

My Experience With the Dickens of Detroit

Though Elmore Leornard had been on writer’s radar for many years, it was only in the most recent year or two that I had become familiar with his writing. And that began with viewing the movie, “Get Shorty”. My main impression after seeing “Get Shorty” was that the author was from the LA area. And then I read “Rum Punch” and figured he was from Miami. Next there was “Cuba Libre”, which upon completion had me convinced that Mr. Leornard was actually of Cuban descent. Overall I can’t think of a better skill for a writer, than that of adapting to whatever place he (or she) may find themselves.

My Favorite Elmore Leornard Quotes

“I try to leave out the parts readers skip.”

Question: What kind of writing pays best?
Answer: Ransom notes.
from Get Shorty

Never open a book with weather.

These are just a few to wet your whistle. Actually for a writer who was so known for his dialogue, there were not many quotes to be found easily, except for those dealing with writing.

So long for now.

A Few Worrds About Charles Bukowski

a self portrait of Charles Bukowski at work

Not too long ago, I discovered a stack of about 50 copies of Ham and Rye, by Charles Bukowski, sitting in one of the local bookstores that is located in our downtown area in Portland, Maine. No, this great American writer did not all of a sudden find a surge of hidden popularity, here along the rocky coastline of Maine, but rather his classic novel was required reading at one of the local universities and so this bookstore had found it necessary to stockpile one of “Hank’s” more important works of fiction.

Still, since that great day of discovery, I have found a new fascination with the big boozer, which has been spurred on by two DVD’s of his movies (Barfly and Factotem), along with a lengthy biography (Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life by Howard Sounes) and several readings of his poetry, which have come my way courtesy of “You Tube”.

All in all, it is a fascinating record and literary achievement by one of America’s most loved and eccentric authors. I suppose now the late Mr. Bukowski is reaching that stage in his literary career, where he will be become more of a standard fare among college students and scholars.

From what little I have sampled of his poetry, I have found it to be quite humorous and profound all at the same time. In fact there are some great links on You Tube to various people reading his poems. There are even some video clips of Bukowski reading his own poetry. Here’s one of him reading, “Bluebird”, (audio only). And here’s another link to the poem, “The Tragedy of the Leaves”. Both of these come from You Tube.

Charles Bukowski at work

But unfortunately there was a very dark side to “Henry” or  “Hank” as he was often called. The two films barely scratched the surface, but Howard Sounes, travels far into the alcoholic and sometimes violent world of  Bukowski, for it seems that not only did the poet have a problem with alcohol, he also had a problem of violent fights and feuds with some of his female acquaintances, especially when he was in an inebriated state. Some of these altercations  left Bukowski in the slammer for a few days

His life story is something else. Born in Germany, Charles immigrated to America with his parents, eventually finding a home in the L.A. area. As a teenager he had an extreme case of acne that is hard to fathom and so his main solace became the public library in Los Angeles. From a childhood spent coming of age during the height of the depression Charles developed a wit, an attitude and a style that would eventually make him a much read poet and novelist, known the world over. From what I have read and that is not very much his literary efforts are well worth the time invested.