How Zamboni knew the Cubs would win even when they were down 3-1

You’ll notice my last post was Oct 30th, when it seemed it would be lights out for the Cubs, When Cleveland had their Wahoo fingers around the necks of the cute and cuddly Cubbies, when it seemed all over. After all, coming back from being three games down to one?- it had only happened five times in 132 years of this batting game you Americans love. Yet I predicted a Cubs win. It was easy.

Zamboni knows the ultimate truth that all mortals know deep in their chotzkes:  Everything ends. Sometime. Every leaf, at some point, falls. Red Sox fans know this. Game of Thrones fans know. Mad Men watchers even faced the end. Sopranos too. Even my favorite author, Pulitzer winning Danielle Steele, may one day expire and stop spinning her beloved yarns…Fabio’s hair even, one day will cease.

Also, you remember the man who brought the billy goat into Wrigley field, was ousted and cursed them? IT WAS MY UNCLE!

Yes, this is factual and I can vilify it as well. My uncle Tormallen had come from Estonia, changed his name, and opened a pub. Of course he had his goat with him when he came over to this country and named his pub the Billy Goat Tavern as the bond between an  Estonian and his  goat is as strong as iron yet as tender and soft as a newborn baby’s willy.

And so he brought his goat to game four of the 1945 world series. Evidently the smell of his goat -which we Estonians barely notice- bothered some. Yet I believe it was intolerance to immigrants!! He was booted, and summarily spoke on his way out the turnstile, as his poor goats’ horns were entangled- “these Cubbies aint gonna win no more!”

Until last night. Because you see, even the curse of someone in the bloodline of Zamboni can only last a maximum of 71 years. (Unless of course you have the fingernail of a toothless fishmonger’s wife, the eye of a marmot, the toe of a tax collector, and an evil eye stone, put all said sundries in a bag, bury it beneath the victims home and say out loud 11 vigorous times the ancient bon mots “I FUCKING CURSE YOU GOOD MOTHERFUCKER!”, but old Tormallen did none of that. We all know an off the cuff curse has an expiration date.

And yet it is more than that. It is also due to the power of love, brotherhood and extreme emotional vulnerability. This is like a mighty wall that there is very little can trounce or triumph over.

Late in the game, Anthony Rizzo put his arms on the shoulders of veteran David Ross, and poured forth, “I can’t control myself..I’m trying my best…I’m an emotional wreck…I’m in a glass case of emotion right now…” And was at this moment when the “grit” was found to finally beat the Indians, and end the 71 year old curse, and the 108 year old drought, and win the World Series.

So there is your doggy bag  for today’s lesson. Always pour out your fears and anxieties to your friends, it is not weakness, but strength. Your little fears?- clowns, finding a bit of sand in your sandwich at the beach, the Kars for Kids commercial, who cares. But when you are in a glass case of emotion? Always.

‘I’m an emotional wreck’: Watch Anthony Rizzo’s touching dugout exchange with David Ross

If we are lucky enough to survive the next 5.5 billion years and the sun expands enough to fry the earth, and we think we will be better off living further out in the solar system, and we can hope for cutting edge technology, like what that those boards tied together was to our intrepid early ancestors who shoved off and headed for their horizon, is there something we should be doing first? What I am wondering, G.Z., is should we take our wanderlust to Estonia before launching more space exploration? Starring into space in Louisiana,

Long question! from “Staring into space in Louisiana….”

Yes. And no.

The fact is, every day is a day you should set out to explore a new world. But there are new worlds right under your nose and around the corner. Such as:

-your feelings

-Grasses. There are like thousands of varieties even just right off the road or in an abandoned lot. Did you know they even have little flowers, many of the grasses? But they are small since they pollenate with wind and don’t need bees and such, hence no need for big petals and smell.

-Mustard. You can make it yourself, and flavor it with anything!

-Sunsets and sunrises, can literally be seen from anywhere!

-Take a walk, look closely at things at your feet and in the air. Watch.

Yes indeed the sun will fry the Earth like a doughnut somewhere way off in the future- but that’s a hill of beans. It’s our beans, yes, but still. Thinking about it won’t really change anything. Just explore the world that are already here. Not frying.

As my one-eyed uncle Slippknot used to say back in Estonia, “Finish the plum brandy before you go to the liqour barn!” Wise.




“Zamboni, why should I keep calm and carry on?”

Tonight this question came to me  via a migrating goose flying over the bay. And I take it the asker, signing  name only as “Joey Silverado”, is really saying, not just why should they stay calm amid turbulent troubles, but perhaps also how. How do we carry on when it is hard, even painful to do so.

I had a Buddhist friend once who told me to be kind to everyone, because everyone is on their own complicated and stormy journey- and we have to allow for that. We have to know that it isn’t just us that “all this is happening to” but in fact, it is likely that everyone has moments in a day where they say, like Beckett,  “I can’t go on.. i’ll go on…”

I will say this. Despite the horrible corruption of this saying (which comes from posters that the British gov.  put up around London during the bombings of WWII)- yes you see all this nonsense like “keep calm and krav-maga on” or “keep calm and knit on” etc..despite all this, the aphorism is a great one, and sums up all of Seneca and Epictetus in those 2 words.

But should you, should you is the question. Sometimes yes. Sometimes you must simply breathe and brave on to another day. But other times, no- there are times when to carry on the same way is crazy- there are just a few times in life when you must put up both hands and say NO- “in my gut I know this is wrong, so No.”

So if the bombs are dropping on you, at first, keep calm and carry on- but later, in calmness and reason, fire up the jets and get back at those bastards.

Keep calm and Zamboni On

You Can’t Kill a Tree

The girl in the tree was 18, maybe 19. I forget her nom de treesit, something like “Squirell” or “Moth”. She did not and would not come down. My kids made her cookies. We yelled up to her one day, “hi there! we support you!” she was just a kid. Blonde hair, red face, wrapped up tight in a donated sleeping bag and tree-top tent complete with cell phone and water jug. Of course we had to leave the cookies at the bottom of the old Oak. Three or four other trees were occupied. This was way before Occupy.

They were organized. Several people manned a table with flyers, and also managed food donations, media relations.  They were the “treesitters” and the Treesit went on for months.

UC Berkeley planned to remove the old grove of noble, serpentine branched Oak trees to expand building around the football stadium. There were maybe 20, 25 trees that made a beautiful shady grove between streets, nestled next to the old stadium. Was it on scared ground as was claimed? I don’t know. I do know it was a beautiful grove, and they were stately trees. They planned -and have now built- some form of “high performance center” on the site, which i’m sure will hold a state of the art weight room and other modes of sparking “high performance”.

The Trees are gone. The sitters were violently brought down. They were blasted with  bright lights 24/7 and loud music. Sleep deprived. They were supported by many students and citizens, heckled and jeered by others. I even secretly harbored thoughts, while I stood by often in support, thinking “only in Berkeley….hrumph..” But they cared about the trees, right or wrong. They didn’t care about fame or notoreity- who knew them, they were up in trees? All the same I hadn’t thought about them for a year or two, until yesterday. Strange, as for months we talked of them all the time, we’d go and demonstrate, watch tense interactions with UC Berkeley, police. For months it was high drama…

Yesterday, for the first time in the newly remodeled stadium, with new high performance center attached, UC Berkeley played Stanford.  They lost to Stanford 21 to 3. Cal was powerless, listless, clueless, and almost pointless. Stanford’s mascot is not the cougar, wildcat, hurricane, bear, crimson, panther or shark- it is a tree. The winner of the Big Game, (of which this was the 115th) gets to keep the Axe.


To paraphrase the old Parkay commercial, “it’s not nice to fuck with Mother nature”

The Boston Red Sox traded Babe Ruth and were cursed for almost a century for the mistake. Cal won’t beat Stanford till they fix the Karma. Start planting.

Irony. Defined.

“Dear Zamboni, what is a ‘teebow?'”

This question came to me from a small gnome named Troilus. I met her long ago squatting in an abandoned oil tanker outside of Marrakesh and she send me this question via carrier pigeon as she is without any devices except a Soviet era  Hamm Radio in which a mole is nesting.

She say she was hearing this name, “Tim Tebow” very oft on her frequencies and she wishes me, great zamboni to explain this to her. “Is this a new President of United States, or new Pope, or big hurricane like Katrina?” she ask me in her note.  I will also explain this to you my readers, as my research shows that most of you are so highly decorted with sophistic degrees and NPR as to maybe know very little about Football and this pop phenomenon of Tim Tebow.

I myself follow the Estonian fencing team, Professional Skeet Shooting, amateur bass Fishing, and american Football since in my youth I played alonside the great Pudge Heffilfinger,- so I had to do very little thought and research into this, as usual.  “What is a Tebow?”…

Tim Tebow is a great quarterback who people love to hate. The hate and laughter he gets are for these reasons: He throws funny. He believes in God and himself very much. Despite imperfect statistics, he usually wins.

This last season he sits on bench for first five games because his coaches don’t like him. His team loses again and again… the fans keep chanting, “tebow! tebow!” Finally they put him in and win seven straight games. Now maybe they go to Superbowl. The wins are not pretty and much of the time Tebow is running like big jackal holding a sick baby down the field or they are losing the game until the last few seconds- but like the old Bulgarian pole vaulter Shminsky Shminsky used to tell me, “I can win with a broken foot if the other guy has a broken leg.” Ya!

That’s it. Now, in the larger sense, a Tebow, as the question asks, is someone that shouldn’t be as good as they are, and  makes people mad for it. George Bush was Tebow. On paper he should have been a train wreck, but he believed in his destiny so we had decade of “War on Terror,” and “No child left a dime”. Oy.

Henry Thoreau was Tebow. “Hey look at that freak in the cabin, ha ha!” Everyone else wanted to sit on couches. He gave us Walden.

Steve Jobs, definitely a Tebow. College dropout. Believer, patient. Made that weird “next” computer no one bought. Margaret Thatcher was Tebow too. See the movie.

As the picture below shows, Tebow is okay with being a fool in others’ eyes. (Rookie hazing led to this coiff, though I sported this look all through college and the chicks love!)  Like it or not, he answers to higher power, and seems to attribute both the good and bad to it, or to “Him”. The irony in all this is that now people look at Tebow himself like a god, in joking they say “Praise Tebow” or “Tebow for president.” So this is really what a Tebow is: our need for a hero, our need to believe in something. It is also lots of hard work, never being comfortable.Tebow is bigger than Tebow, and he believes in something Big. He believes there is a reason for Tebow.

Zamboni dropping back…. “Go deep, go deep!”

What is reason for you?

"i'm goin' monk..." Hansel

Call in the Cavalry: Why you have Friends back you up

Sometimes you are running and running and you get backed up into a corner, maybe you get pressed into a box that doesn’t fit you anymore. Ever happen to you? You go left, then more left and you have nowhere to go so you cut back right, then farther right. And just when it’s for sure that you’ve got nowhere to go but  knocked-flat on the ground, splat- what do you do that saves you? You depend on your friends for help.

You lateral. And they lateral if they have to. And guess what, after a while, after you get saved, sure enough some day you’re the one that is there for back up- you get to save the day too. This is just the way it works. No one is alone.

Cool. We all need backup.


Yes it looks pretty damn silly, and you feel weird depending on people some times- is it weak to pass the buck 15 times? I don’t know, but if it ends in a win, does it matter?

Mind Bending Duck: Oregon Vs. Stanford 2011

Watch it once first. Then read the following.

In  normal life after a touchdown, a kicker comes onto the field and kicks an “extra point” just a little old “1” to add to the 6 points of a “touchdown”. It’s just what teams have done, for decades. It’s “what you do”. Like brushing your teeth before bed. Like salting the pasta water.

Normal. Houses that had “A” shapes were once normal. Then Buckminster Fuller made a geodesic dome. Frank Lloyd Wright made a house like a rock fallen over a creek.  The first viewers of said creations must have dropped their jaws, wrinkled their brows: “what am I looking at?”

That is what I did tonight when I saw this play. You see, every once in a while, a team does a perfectly legal gamble for a Two Point Conversion. Instead of kicking just the solo point, they do a little pass or run back into the end-zone and get 2 points.                                                                                       Then there’s this.

This bizzarre set up that looks like two different plays set at once and a snap that moved sideways. Looks like it was directed by Anne Bogart or drawn up by a grad student at Cooper Union.       Way left you have nice little triangle, three men.  A man hiking the ball,  behind him looks like a quarterback waiting. Normal except for their strange isolation.  On the right the normal looking scrum of players. “Hike!” The ball skews out not behind to the dummy quarterback but sideways into the big scrum, to the real passer.

Defense is defenseless. #17 in red runs one way, then the other, lost, because the other two points in our little triangle have run streaming into the end zone’s corner… While he is busy being lost, the Oregon Duck who hiked the ball  just steps into the endzone, receiving pass from the guy who was set up way over yonder and caught that sidelong nap.

I could watch it a hundred times and never tire of the legerdemain, the unexpectedness, the architecture of it.  The acting it took. The conviction of the two red herrings fleeing into the corner to make the guys in red into Keystone Cops, confused, too late. They are the magician’s waving hand and the “Abracadabra” that distract you from seeing him…what? Where’s he get that rabbit? Alas, my team has lost, but we may have learned something.

And like a true piece of art even truer than a painting or sculpture, it can never be used exactly like that again.

It would be expected.


Mr. Clark/Orvis/SF

Today I shook hands with someone who shook hands with veterans of the Civil War. I know because he told me while he was shaking my hand, and pretty damn well for someone about 91. He said as a small boy in Mississippi he’d chat with some old vets around the corner store.

I met him  at a fly fishing store, Orvis in downtown San Francisco. He was introduced to us as Clark, and that’s what his nametag said too, but we all seemed to call him Mr. Clark.

Said something about cooking breakfast once for a vice-president.

-“rain and wind- makes the fish come up”

“keep the wind behind ya, not in your face”

Crisp blue shirt not only with french cuffs but shiny silver fly reel cuff links. When have you seen someone in retail wear french cuffs?

Looked like the old grand dad on Old Grandad

“Oh and one last thing”, store manager warns, “don’t fish behind Clark.” He catches lots.

A Sentence About Why I Need Baseball

(I had to write this, Zamboni doesn’t do sports)

So you snap at your kids  and they do that saracstic little OMG face and you snap back at them for that and they say, “what face?” and there are tears and it gets all ugly and you wish you hadn’t said what you did and there are more tears because now you’re angry at yourself so you get more angry at her and all the time you realize all these years are going by so fast anyway and what does it all add up to and you want to rewind or at least stop time but you know you can’t so you go home and in a huff you turn on the TV and no one’s talking but you discover that the Phillies and the Reds are in the 12th inning, tied at 4 a piece and you just start watching and the 12th becomes the 14th and everyone in Philiadephia gets up and sings again take me out to the ballgame for the 14th Inning Stretch and suddenly you and both kids are on the couch inching a little closer together and laughing sleepily because now it’s the 17th, then 19th inning and it’s 1 a.m. in Philly and they have run out of pitchers so the second baseman has come up to pitch and he retires the side with all his teamates smiling and laughing and the boy went to sleep in the 16th but the girl, the cusp of teenage girl is now asleep on your shoulder waking up just long enough for you to tell her, “they won it in the 19th” and time stopped for those 7 innings you watched because baseball has no clock and you realize that’s why you need it because sometimes you just need to stop time.

a stitch in time

Locker Room Wisdom #2 Jordan Posts (Zambones Day off)

It was Chrismas Eve, the place was mostly dark, but I knocked and someone let me in...
I'd mixed the days up...Dolphin Club has open use days M, W, F..South End the other days. It was Fri. but I wanted a boat so...

Kayaked down to Pier 39. The bay is funny, always looks like a calm lake from land.

Out there it’s surprisingly  rough, like some huge barge had just come through but there  was no barge. I wanted to go to Alcatraz.

Maybe next time.

After a steam, shower and shave (there's a big jar marked "razors" with about 100 community ones) I roamed the locker room a bit. It was empty. There were distant shouts from an intense Handball game. There was an old Japanese guy who'd been showering for 30 minutes and was going strong.
Wonder who JR is?
I have to say I don't wanna know too much about this one. But i'm fascinated. Urologist and woodworking hobbyist? Cock doc? Wonder whats in Dr. Schwantz's locker.

The bay was lovely dark and deep, but I had a Christmas eve party to go to at my brothers. Stopped by a bar (The Bus Stop, on Union st) to have a beer with strangers, something that always gets me in the Christmas mood, then went on my way. I love to be in the middle of a bunch of loud people that know each other, the regulars, the bartenders, and just listen, add the choral comment about the interception or touchdown.

Forever fixing former follies. There are worse ways to live. Like having none to fix.