I Note More Dead People

Both Mark Evanier and Fred Hembeck (him, again?) have noted the passing of Nipsey Russell, The Poet Laureate of Television, who I knew best from his appearances on Match Game, where he’d say things like:

The kids are saying, ‘Make love, not war.’
And I’m beginning to think they’re right.
For war costs millions of dollars a day,
And love, just a few bucks a night!

(Check out Einstein’s 30 Minutes of Unmatched Fame for some of that Match Game wackiness.)

I found a reference to Nipsey as poetry editor of some online poetry thing, a gig about which he had this to say:
Of this job, I don’t think so highly,
But hey — it beats hangin’ out with
Charles Nelson Reilly.

But what really caught my interest is something in Mark’s posting:
they don’t seem to be noting all the decades he spent working dives and clubs, many in the so-called “Negro Circuit,” before joining the thin ranks of performers who broke out of that show business ghetto.

As I wrote to Mark, in all my life (and I’m 52, and black), I’d never heard the term “Negro circuit” used in the context that he had it. “Chitlin circuit,” yes. Here’s a definition of that term from Bartlesby
NOUN: Informal. A circuit of nightclubs and theaters that feature African-American performers and cater especially to African-American audiences: “I was traveling up and down . . . with these little groups on what they call the chitlin’ circuit.”
(And if you don’t know what chitlins are, look here.)
Whereas, “Negro circuit” seemed to be tied primarily to sporting events, as Google suggests, such as the barnstorming baseball teams.

Hey, I’m a librarian. This kind of thing always catches my attention.
And speaking of same, Michael Wittenberg died last week. Who is that? Why, the (considerably younger) “husband of Broadway musical-theater star Bernadette Peters…in a helicopter crash in Montenegro [along with three other people]. He was 43.”

I know she’s the big Broadway star and he was “an investment adviser.” But the fourth paragraph in every story was all about HER. “Peters most recently appeared on Broadway in the 2003 revival of ‘Gypsy.’ Her other Broadway shows include ‘Sunday in the Park With George’ and ‘Into the Woods.’ She won Tonys for her performances in ‘Song & Dance’ and the 1999 revival of ‘Annie Get Your Gun.'” Looks like they took the info for HIS obituary from HER probably pre-written obit.

Ask Me a Question, Pt. 1:WS

You still have until 11:59 p.m. tomorrow to ask me questions about ANYTHING that I promise to answer. But given that baseball’s post-season (or “second season”, as FOX likes to put it) starts tonight, I feel compelled to answer one of the questions now:

Our first contestant is a scooting gentleman named Scott: Who do you think is going to win the World Series this year? I have no idea, except that it won’t be the San Diego Padres. Next question.

Actually, I’ve been working on a Goldilocks theory, in terms of peaking teams. Too early and the team has a chance of being flat in the post-season. Too late and the team will have used up all of its energy just to get to the post-season. Just right teams have been tested, but have a chance to put their pitching in order.

American League:

EAST: New York Yankees- used a lot of energy just to win the division in Game 161
CENTRAL: Chicago White Sox- limped to their division title, more as a result of Cleveland’s collapse than anything. They almost blew the 15-game lead they had on August 1.
WEST: Anaheim Angels (yeah, I know what they’re really called)- seems just right. A good competitive race with Oakland, but resolved before the last week of the season.
WILD CARD: Boston, clinches on the final day. At least they don’t have to do a playoff game against Cleveland.

NYY vs. the LAA: Yankee pitching too inconsistent. Pick: the Angels.
CWS vs. Bosox: as beat up as Boston is, I think Chicago is going down. Pick: the Red Sox.
LAA vs. BoSox: This is a rerun of the 1986 series that went VERY badly for the Angels, after being within a few outs of the World Series. Redemption, finally. Pick the Angels.

National League:

EAST: Atlanta Braves- had a terrible beginning of the season but surged into first place. Peaked a little early, but to their credit continued to play solid baseball.
CENTRAL: St. Louis Cardinals- WAY too big a lead early, cruised home.
WEST: San Diego Padres – they’re a .500 team, fer cryin’ out loud.
WILD CARD: Houston staves off Philadelphia.

ATL vs. Astros: Probably the best matchup of the four in the first round. I thought Houston would do better in the season because of their pitching, and in a short series, the pitching’s even more important. But the Braves have pitching, too, and they’re more rested. Pick the Braves.
Cards vs. Padres: St. Louis is flat, but not so flat that they can’t beat the Fathers. Pick: the Cards.
ATL vs. STL: As much as I would prefer St. Louis, I feel that it will be the superior depth of the other team. Pick: Atlanta.

World Series:
Atlanta beats the Angels in 6 or 7. Atlanta wins a WS in a year ending in 5 again.

Note that this isn’t what I WANT to happen, this is what I think WILL happen. I really don’t like the Braves. I think it’s that “America’s Team” schtick they have because they’re broadcast on TBS. That and the Tomahawk chop.

And while I’m talkin’ baseball: I have no pick for the AL MVP- A-Rod, Papi, they both have decent credentials. But for the NL MVP, my pick is the pride of Curacao, the favorite player of every Little Leaguer from the island this year, Andruw Jones of the aforementioned Atlanta. He carried the team when Chipper and others were hurt. I was watching the game many years ago when Bobby Cox pulled Andruw Jones IN THE MIDDLE OF AN INNING for his failure to hustle. The man has definitely grown up.

What are YOUR World Series picks?

(Aside to Fred, No, you can’t pick the Mets.)

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