I know it is Halloween time, but this is no decoration.
Hanging in my closet and folded in my dresser drawers are the clothes I used to wear every day.
When I retired in June, I figured that my sport jackets, ties, dress shirts, slacks and shoes would be put to less use.
Combined with the pandemic’s shutdown, I have had even fewer opportunities to dress up with nice restaurants closed.
One of the things I miss about not working is getting dressed for my job mainly because I got dressed up. I enjoyed choosing which tie to wear with each shirt, which socks with each pair of shoes.
The majority of people don’t dress up anymore, and now with the economic shutdown forcing people to work from home, t-shirts and yoga pants have become standard work wear.
Where I worked, I was a walking anachronism. In 31 years, I can count on one hand how many male teachers I saw regularly wearing any form of dress-up clothing: a tie, a jacket, a dress shirt, long pants, shoes with a heel. It was common to see men wearing shorts and sandals. As Judge Judy would admonish, “Where did you think you were going today—the beach?”
In recent years, not even the male administrators dressed properly. If it weren’t for the gray hair and facial wrinkles, they could have been mistaken for students in their hoodies get-up. I’m sure when they passed by me, they thought, “Who does he think he is?”
What I thought I was was an educator, a role model for young people. Dressing formally meant that teaching was a serious profession just like medicine and law.
I cannot remember when I first became a Dodger fan because I was too young to remember such a thing. I simply grew up loving the Dodgers through the decades as a boy during the 1960’s.
Some of my all-time favorite Dodgers include: Sandy Koufax, Maury Wills, Don Drysdale, Ron Fairly, Wes Parker, Willie Davis, Don Sutton, Jim Brewer, Steve Garvey, Claude Osteen, Davey Lopes, Tommy John, Reggie Smith, Manny Mota, Al Downing, Dusty Baker, Orel Hershiser, Pedro Guerrero, Mike Scioscia, Fernando Valenzuela, Steve Yeager, Rick Monday, Kirk Gibson, Mike Piazza, Bob Welch, Eric Karros, Brett Butler, Paul Mondesi, Ramon Martinez, Adrian Beltre, Hideo Nomo, Shawn Green, Jeff Kent, Chan Ho Park, Eric Gagne, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Hanley Ramirez, Juan Uribe, Adrian Gonzalez, Manny Ramirez, Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, Yasiel Puig, Justin Turner, Zach Greinke, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, Mookie Betts.
My favorite Dodger of all time, of course, is Vin Scully.
As of this writing, the Dodgers will be playing in their 21st World Series, third in the last four years. In their history, they have won 6 titles out of 20—a 30% winning percentage.
Here are the top all-time World Series champions in baseball. The first number is titles won over the total trips with the winning percentage.
Yankees: 27/40, 67.5%
Cardinals: 11/19, 61%
Red Sox: 9/13, 69%
Athletics: 9/14, 64%
Giants: 8/20, 40%
Dodgers: 6/20, 30%
If you are a lifetime Dodger fan, then you know a lifetime of heartache. The Dodgers have lost the World Series more times, 14, than any other ball club in history. That is why it is tough to root for them when they make it that far. Imagine if you are a Yankee, Cardinal, Red Sox or Athletic fan: about two-thirds of the time those teams win it all.
What’s extra frustrating about the current group of Dodgers is that they have won 8 straight division titles, second only to the 14 straight won by the Atlanta Braves. However, the Braves did win one title; the Dodgers nada.
The Dodgers should have won the title in 2017 against the Astros since everyone now knows they cheated; even with that dishonest advantage, the Dodgers pushed them to seven games.
In 2018, most people viewed the Boston Red Sox as the superior team so, no surprise, they lost that series 4-1.
This year, however, most pundits favor the Dodgers to win it all. Imagine how heartbreaking it would be for them if they don’t. If baseball gods exist, L.A. will win its first championship in 32 years.
Back in 1988, I was studying to become a teacher. Both the Lakers and Dodgers won championships that year.
This past June, I retired after 31 years. From 1989 to 2019, the Lakers won 6 championships; the Dodgers not a one.
Laker fans know how long it felt before they won a title, longer than the actual 10 years it took. Dodger fans have been waiting three times as long for the drought to end.
And that is why whenever there is a Dodger playoff game day, I get the DPA’s: Dodger Playoff Anxiety. My mind obsesses about DODGER BASEBALL. I can’t keep focused on anything.
I read all the stories online, hear all the sports talk shows on the radio, watch the pre-game show on the Dodger cable channel.
And when they start playing ball, I will go from watching it on TV to hearing it on the radio depending upon what is happening on the field.
For example, in last Sunday’s Game Seven against the Atlanta Braves for the pennant, in the later innings, I hid in my bedroom with the radio on when the Braves were batting, then come out to the living room to watch the Dodgers bat.
When the situation is extremely intense, I can’t be still so I drive aimlessly. listening to the game on the radio.
Everyone has a Kirk Gibson story where they were when he hit his famous home run to win Game One against the A’s in 1988. Here is mine. I was in my car driving west on the 134 Freeway going from Pasadena to Glendale. I heard Don Drysdale’s call, not Vin Scully’s or Jack Buck’s. And, if you have never heard it, do yourself a favor and listen to it:
It will put goosebumps on your arms.
So, Dodger fans, keep your fingers crossed, light some candles and keep your radios handy.
There’s nothing more depressing than the seven-day weather forecast. Do you look at it often?
I keep fooling myself that I will look at it and see comfortable temperatures in the horizon. Maybe it won’t be 90 in 2 days or 4 days from now.
I’m always disappointed when the coolest day forecast keeps getting pushed back to 10 days or 14 days from now.
Anytime we are in the midst of a heatwave, why does it always seem that when meteorologists predict it will end, it ultimately continues two to three days longer than expected? However, if the forecast is for cool temperatures or rain, those days never materialize.
Even though I have lived in the Los Angeles area all of my life, the San Fernando Valley to be exact, I have never enjoyed the heat.
We have three seasons. The shortest one last 20 days. That’s when the temperatures are below 70 degrees. Then we have the middle one that lasts 160 days. That’s when the temperature ranges between 75-85. The longest season is, let’s call it, HOT, half the year where temperatures barely dip below 86, but often rage out of control like a California forest fire into the mid-90s and, more often in recent years, Death Valley-like triple digits past 110 degrees.
I read somewhere that we just lived through a six-month period of record high temperatures in 125 years. Great.
Remember, there is no climate change to explain this.
Summer-like weather starts on July 1 and continues until Nov. 1—at least.
My favorite months of the year—November and December—have to do with 3 traits: cooler weather, shorter days, and holidays.
Whenever there is a heat wave during those two months, I feel cheated. There should be a law that no day reach 80 degrees or higher for those 61 days. A few Thanksgivings ago we had a record 93 degrees. That was awful.
You try to wear the few sweaters you have, you try to have some fires in the living room (if for no other reason than for atmosphere), but it doesn’t feel right when the thermostat in your house never dips below 72 degrees throughout the night.
Going to school in Burbank meant two things: one, airplane noise would interfere with the lessons on a regular basis, and, two, when you returned to school in September there were bound to be days when the non-air conditioned schools would close early due to excessive heat.
Up until my late 30’s, I suffered the hot weather at home since I had no air conditioning. But even when I’m home with the air conditioning on, the sweltering blast from outside still gets under my skin. I feel lethargic, whereas when it’s 65 degrees outside, I feel invigorated.
I keep telling myself that one day I will move out of this area to a cooler climate, say, Santa Barbara, or Morro Bay. However, it is difficult when you have family, friends and favorite restaurants to pack up your tent and leave it all behind.
In the meantime, I’m going to ensconce myself watching “Holiday Inn” and sipping hot cocoa—all with the curtains drawn.
One of the short stories I used to teach was Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death.”
Prince Prospero decides to hold a masquerade party in his castle high on a hill and away from the town which is experiencing a plague, the Red Death. The Prince invites special wealthy guests to be safe in his abode and enjoy themselves while the paeans below them die mercilessly. He locks the doors to ensure that the pestilence does not come in and harm him or his guests, similar an idea that building a wall will prevent illegal immigration.
So what happens at the party?
The morale of the story is that no one, not even the wealthiest denizens, are immune to disease. One can’t lock one’s doors to the plague. A virus does not know the bank account or pedigree of its hosts. It’s just contagious.
And now we turn from 1842 when the story was published to present day where we have a President who does not believe the scientists or doctors. He feels he is immune, above reproach from a disease, from dying even. Just as he runs away from paying his fair share of federal income tax, he fools the American people not to do anything that could protect them from getting sick from the worst pandemic in 102 years.
Call it karma, schadenfreude, or a simple comeuppance, Trump has the coronavirus. Is anyone surprised? What is surprising is that it took this long for him to catch it.
Just a few days earlier at the presidential debate, he mocked Joe Biden for wearing “the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.” For months he mocked Biden for being too old and feeble. Well, who looks too old and feeble now?
What will be interesting to see is how Trump comes out of this episode. Will he restart his anti-mask campaign? Or will he admit he was wrong about Covid?
Don’t expect an epiphany from a family (all of them shunned masks at Tuesday’s debate even when a doctor in attendance was passing them out) who, like Prince Prospero, feel that they are better than us, richer, more privileged, who don’t have to contribute part of their earnings for the good of the country. How can regular people feel good about that?
To quote another piece of literature, in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Roman senator Caius Cassius is manipulating fellow senator Marcus Brutus to kill Caesar. While faulting the leader for having physical maladies such as epilepsy or the falling sickness, he tells Brutus that “we have the falling sickness” when it comes to doing nothing to rid Rome of a dictator.
In a month, the people will have their once-every-four-year moment to decide not only the outcome of the election, but the direction of this tattered country. It is in the hands of its citizens, just as the Founding Fathers wrote it in the Constitution. The question from a 400-year-old play remains: how many of us have the falling sickness?