Archived News & Information Archived June 30, 2002

Archived News Items

June 26, 2002
Cosmic Baseball Player
Poet Philip Whalen Passes On
Link to 1997 Cosmic Player Plate
Philip Whalen, also known as Zenshin Ryufu ("Zen-mind-dragon-wind"), died on the West Coast today. He was 78. Notable as a mentor among his Beat Generation friends, Whalen was called a "poet's poet" by his longtime friend and fellow Zen-mate poet Gary Snyder.

Whalen was born in Portland, Oregon in 1923. He had jobs in an airplane factory and a shipyard, and served in the U.S. Army during World War II (his service was stateside.) After the Army, Whalen attended Reed College using the G.I. Bill to finance his education. His roommates at the small progressive college were Snyder and Lew Welch. All three were aspiring poets.

In San Francisco after college Whalen, like Snyder and Welch, collided with the East Coast spawned Beat Generation writers like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. This fusion in turn spawned the so-called "San Francisco Literary Renaissance" of the 1950s and 1960s. Whalen was one of the poets who read at the famous Six Gallery in 1955. He read "Plus Ca Change," a wry poem that displays his always-present wit,

Listen. Whatever we do from
here on out
Let's for God's sake not look at
each other
Keep our eyes shut and the
lights turned off--
We won't mind touching if we
don't have to see.

After studying in Japan, Whalen became a Zen monk in 1973. He was abbot at the Hartford Street Zen Center in the Castro district of San Francisco and comforted dying AIDS patients.

A prolific writer, much of Whalen's work remains unpublished.

Whalen joined the Cosmic Baseball Association in 1984 when the Dharma Beats drafted him. His connection with the Beat Generation began in the 1950s. He was fictionalized twice by Jack Kerouac: As Ben Fagan in Big Sur and as Warren Coughlin in Dharma Bums.

Whalen has played ten cosmic seasons and he is currently the starting secondbaseman for the Beats. His corporeal death has, of course, no bearing on his status as a cosmic baseball player.

Philip Whalen's Cosmic Baseball Record

June 23, 2002
Cosmic Baseball Game
June Miller Pitches a No-Hitter
Link to Game Report
The enigmatic June Miller, muse and one-time wife of the American writer Henry Miller, pitched a no-hitter today as her surging Vestal Virgins defeated the visiting Dharma Beats in an Overleague game.

June Miller first joined the Cosmic Baseball Association in 1991 as an outfielder with the now deactivated Nude Island Erotics. In 1997 Miller joined the Paradise Pisces who transformed her into a pitcher. She was traded to the Virgins in 1999.

The Game Report includes a biographical note.

June 16, 2002
Fathers Day 2002
Baseball & Fathers
Happy Fathers Day to All the Dad's Out There...

The child is father to the man.

Built into the natural rhythm of the baseball game are the pauses, between pitches, between new batters, between innings and so on. It is during these pauses that father and child carry on the dialogue.

Baseball is about fathers. Not the day-to-day machinations of baseball as a business, trade rumors and free agents, the scandals and increasing high-tech ugliness of the sport, but mythical baseball, the baseball that addresses childhood and lodges itself in memory, this baseball is always about is the father exposed, made vulnerable and lovable, the little boy in the father fleshed out, made palpable. (see more at "baseball and fathers" by William Van Wert)

One of the many reasons I love baseball is because of my dad. (see more at "Fathers, Baseball, and Growing Up" by Michael Dittelman)

June 10, 2002
Termites Petition for a Team
Link to More Info About Termites
Led by a former cosmic baseball pitcher, a group of termites (Order Isoptera) presented a petition to the Cosmic Baseball Association for the creation of a cosmic baseball team composed entirely of different types of termites. Included with the petition were supporting papers documenting the fact that there are some 2,200 species of termites who have been around at least 150 million years since the Cretaceous Period (Mesozoic Era).

The petition was signed by members of every one of the seven termite families and included over 500 signatures in all. A Zootermopsis nevadensis termite who pitched for the 2001 Imperial City Insects led the termite delegation that delivered the petition to the Cosmic Baseball Association at its universal headquarters near Washington, D.C.

It is rare for entities, humanoid and/or insectoid, to petition for a team during the active portion of the playing season. Usually team spots open up at the conclusion of a playing season. It is at that time that petitioners for teams abound.

As of this writing, there was no official word on the status of the termite delegation's petition.

Related Links

June 3, 2002
Summertime Reading Selections
Salt Water by Charles Simmons. (1998).
In Salt Water, Charles Simmons re-tells Russian writer Ivan Turgenev's story, "First Love" (1870). Simmons updates Turgenev's tale so that the story now takes place in the early 1960s in a summer vacation resort for the well to do. The story is simple: boy meets girl, father steals girl. Told from the point of view of the young adolescent boy, Salt Water is a tender story that talks about the meaning of love. There are those that can be hurt by love and those that cannot. Who is better off?

Baseball Biography
Dock Ellis: In the Country of Baseball by Donald Hall with Dock Ellis (1976).
"In the country of baseball," the poet Donald Hall writes, "the magistrates are austere and plain-spoken. Many of its citizens are decent and law-abiding, obedient to their elders and to the rules of the community...But there have always been others- the mavericks, the eccentrics, the citizens of independent mind. They thrive in the country of baseball." This is the story of one of those maverick and eccentric citizens. Dock Ellis was a left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball for twelve years. Most notoriously, Ellis pitched a no-hitter under the influence of LSD. But most important of all, Dock Ellis was a thinking man in a thoughtless world.

Tinder by Lynn Behrendt (2000).
This work is a series of eleven pieces by Hudson Valley poet Lynn Behrendt. This is poetry that does not heal, instead it "flatly opens the wound of being without tears." These poems are alternately melancholic and metaphysical in nature. Each poem needs to be read several times, so despite the shortness of the collection, spend at least a couple of days by the beach reading and re-reading each one. Tinder is used for kindling, to ignite a flame. Tinder is made of thin sticks and twigs and perhaps the meaning of the collection's title emerges in the piece entitled "Intemperance" where the poet writes "...In my mind you are alms, a brush fire at the base of my tinder heart." If you read the Simmons novel mentioned above, compare it to Behrendt's third selection in this collection, "My First Love." The piece called "Fiction" is outstanding, "My father and mother never got divorced. They never had children. Both of them died."



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Archived: June 30, 2002
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