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September 1999 Archive

September 27, 1999
COSMIC SEASON 1999: Littleton Magazines Deactivated; Player Deactivations

The Cosmic Baseball Association has announced the deactivation of the Littleton Magazines, a cosmic Underleague team. The Magazines, created and activated for the 1999 season compiled a .500 record (81-81) but attendance at their games, both home and away, was below average. Visits to the team's official roster plate on the World Wide Web were also lower than expected. A replacement team has not been announced.

In other end-of-the-season moves several teams have announced various cosmic player deactivations...

Overleague The Alphatown Ionians have deactivated pitcher Edith Stein and leftfielder Noam Chomsky. The Wonderland Warriors are deactivating pitchers Yahuda Katz and Henry Shelton and shortstop Frances Marion.

Middleleague Pitcher Soledad O'Brien and veteran outfielder Jackie Gleason have been deactivated from the Telecity Superbas. The Bolex Poetics announced the deactivation of leftfielder Sergei Eisenstein. The Heartland Capitalists are going through a wholesale housecleaning and they have deactivated pitchers George Fisher, Eckhard Pfeiffer, James Barksdale, and Andy Gross; Captialist infielders Leonard Peikoff and Charles Lee have been deactivated along with veteran Capitalist outfielder Lee Iacocca. The Psychedelphia Woodstockings have deactivated pitcher Trang Van Tra and catcher Mario Savio. The Bhutan Vanguards have said goodbye to pitcher Albrecht Durer and utility infielder Jasper Johns.

Underleague The Sweepland Curves, one of the best of the new teams this season, are deactivating the pitcher Spiral of Archimedes and infielders Cardioid, Cartesian Oval and Cycloid. The Motherland Mothers said farewell to pitchers Lillian Farmer and Naomi Ginsberg and infielders Rose Cain and Amalie Freud.

September 26, 1999
Wilhelm Reich Quits Mindland Brains

The Mindland Brains who played mindless baseball this season have lost one of their best pitchers, psychologist Wilhelm Reich. This comes as no great surprise to those of us who follow the Brains. Things got off to a shaky start last April when Reich and Brain rookie centerfielder Walter Freeman got into a verbal and physical confrontation (see this April 1999 News Item). Throughout the season Reich became increasingly more isolated and some say paranoid. When not pitching he could often be seen sitting by himself in the confines of the bullpen.

Even so, Reich had a fine season finishing up with a 15-7 won-loss record and a very good 3.33 earned run average. (Freeman also had a very good rookie year compiling a .263 batting average with 20 homeruns in 373 at bats). But the team itself finished up in the cellar of the Underleague with a dismal 73-89 record (see Final Standings).

Reich had made it known during the summer that he was going to be gone after the season no matter what. He has apparently talked with Alphatown Ionians General Manager Ludwig Wittgenstein and the word is that a deal is in the works.

September 25, 1999
Reality Baseball: Earning From Other People's Mistakes

Baseball rules define an error as a misplay (fumble, muff or wild throw) which prolongs the time at bat of a batter or which prolongs the life of a runner or which permits a runner to advance one or more bases. (Rule 10.13) A fielder doesn't have to touch the ball to commit an error. For example, a ground ball that goes through a fielder's legs could well be charged as an error. (Rule 10.13: Note 2.)

In Game Six of the 1986 World Series Boston Red Sox firstbaseman William Joseph Buckner (6) committed such an error. New York Met Mookie Wilson's (1) ground ball got through the infield via the space between Buckner's legs and since it was the tenth inning of a tied ballgame in Shea Stadium and since there already was a Met baserunner on thirdbase...well, the so-called Buckner error contributed to the Red Sox loss in Game Six. Ultimately the Boston Red Sox lost Game Seven and the 1986 World Series to the New York Mets.

It has been reported that the American actor Charlie Sheen bought the baseball that rolled between Buckner's legs for one million dollars. On Sunday September 26, 1999 an auction company is selling the left-handed firstbaseman's glove that wasn't used to stop the Mookie Wilson grounder. The asking price for the glove and some additional Buckner-error related items is between ten and twenty thousand dollars. The Sotheby company is auctioning the Barry Halper Baseball Collection. Apparently Buckner gave Halper the items with a note referring to the glove as having too many "holes" in it and the error as a "nightmare."

Of course the Boston fans vilified Buckner and he was treated as just another manifestation of the curse they call Bambino. In a city situated not far away from Salem Massachusetts, curses and other perceived voodoos are routine events. Question: What do Bill Buckner and Michael Jackson have in common? Answer: They both wear one glove for no apparent reason. Boston fans take their baseball very seriously.

But a baseball game is a series of actions and reactions and, just as in real life, it can be irresponsible to isolate one event as the single determining cause of subsequent events. Therefore, assigning blame is almost always problematic, especially when all the blame is stuck onto one person. Buckner will most likely never be able to scrape off the stain on his scapegoat coat. That coat, by the way, is not for sale at any auction for any price.

In this case it's difficult to lay all the blame on Buckner for the failure of the Red Sox to win the Fall Classic. After all the Game Six winning run came across home plate in the tenth inning because the Boston pitcher Bob Stanley, with two outs and two strikes on Wilson, had just thrown a wild pitch advancing a Met already on base. Stanley was pitching in relief of reliever Calvin Schiraldi who left the game after just giving up three consecutive two-out singles. The Boston team's karma had already changed before Buckner muffed the Wilson grounder. And remember the Red Sox had to blow a 3-0 lead and lose Game Seven.

All reports indicate that Buckner, who played in the major leagues for 22 years is a very decent man. He's a father to three children and owns "Bill Buckner Quality Motors" a General Motors car dealership in Salmon, Idaho. Buckner won't go into the Hall of Fame but his .289 career batting average puts him above average for baseball batters.

And the cost of that black glove, with all its holes, suggests that errors do have value in the scheme of things. We don't know if Buckner himself is making any money off or on his collector items. But others are. Not only can we learn from other people's mistakes but some of us can get rich in the process.

September 23, 1999
COSMIC SEASON1999: Regular Playing Season Ends

The 18th Regular Cosmic Playing Season concluded today, the first day of Fall. The Eden Bohemians snatched the Middleleague pennant by one game from the Telecity Superbas and the Bolex Poetics. The Bohemians will meet the Underleague champion Pre-Raphaelites (2 game margin over the new Sweepland Curves) in the annual post-season Subleague Series which begins October 1.

The Subleague Series winner will meet the Overleague champion Paradise Pisces in the Cosmic Universal Series that gets underway on Thanksgiving Day.

Click Here for the Final 1999 Season Team Standings.

Season 1999 Table of Department Leaders

League Batting Average Hits Home Runs Runs Batted In
Overleague Alan Turing
(Ionians), .335
Frances Farmer (Virgins), 218* William Taft (Presidents), 82* William Taft (Presidents), 151
Middleleague Andy Warhol (Vanguards), .342 Steve Case (Capitalists), 200 Steve Case (Capitalists), 63 Steve Case (Capitalists), 144
Underleague Douglas Adams (Giants), .363* William Bell Scott (PRB), 196 Henrietta Crosby (Mothers), 71 James Otis (Journals), 162*
*- Led all CBA Batters
League Wins Earned Run Avg. Strikeouts Innings Pitched
Overleague Cyd Charisse (Pisces), 18 Vanessa Williams (Pisces), 2.74 Jack Micheline (Beats), 163 Sylvia Plath (Virgins), 249*
Middleleague Tom Green (Superbas), 18 Charlie Mingus (Dragons), 2.59* Marc Rothko (Vanguards), 150 Jerry Seinfeld (Superbas), 224
Underleague Knuckle Ball (Curves), 19* Etta Lake (B'Stormers), 2.72 Aurelia Plath (Mothers), 169* A.A. Brill
(Brains), 242
*- Led all CBA Pitchers

September 20, 1999
Vestal Virgins Draft Edie Sedgwick

The Vestal Virgins in desperate need of pitching have drafted 1960s icon Edie Sedgwick. Sedgwick came to national attention during the 1960s when she appeared in several Andy Warhol films. Bob Dylan apparently wrote a couple of songs on the "Blonde on Blonde" album about Edie. Daughter of a wealthy New England family that relocated in California, Edie's life ended prematurely when she was just 28 years old from an overdose of barbiturates.

It's not clear just which pitcher or pitchers the Virgins are going to release. Those decisions will likely be made after the new field manager is announced sometime after the close of the season. Current manager, Sappho, has indicated she will not return next season as the team's skipperess (see this news item). The Virgins did not play very good cosmic baseball this season. More than pitching changes are going to happen, according to sources familiar with general manager Hannah Arendt's plans.

September 11, 1999
Jack Kerouac Estate Controversy Update

Jan Kerouac
The New Mexico State Supreme Court will not become further involved in the litigation over Jack or Jan Kerouac's literary estates. The judges decided on September 9 not to rule on any more aspects of the controversy. New Mexico's involvement in the litigation is a result of Jan Kerouac, Jack's estranged daughter, having died in the state in 1996.

It is likely that the New Mexico court's decision will stop a Florida-based lawsuit initiated by Jan. Writer and Kerouac biographer Gerald Nicosia had sought to continue the litigation in Florida on behalf of Jan's estate. The Florida lawsuit questions the veracity of the signature on the will of Gabrielle Kerouac (Jack's mother.) The Florida case was put on hold until New Mexico decided who controlled Jan's estate: Was it Nicosia or her ex-husband John Lash? Jan named Nicosia her literary representative and Lash her estate's executor. It looks like John Lash will have the final say on whether or not the Florida case moves forward. Lash has indicated in the past that he would not pursue the lawsuit in Florida.

It is a complicated case. Jack Kerouac's literary estate that has been valued in the millions of dollars although no official value has, to our knowledge, ever been confirmed. As it stands now, the Sampas family of Lowell, Massachusetts are the rightful executors of the Jack Kerouac estate. This latest judicial decision will likely keep it that way.

Jack Kerouac is an outfielder with the Cosmic Baseball Association's Dharma Beats baseball team. Jan Kerouac plays for the CBA's Dharma Roses.

Click Here to visit the Kerouac Literary Estate Controversy Plate

September 11, 1999
Motherland Mothers Draft Julia Warhola

Andy Warhol's mother was described by a friend of the artist's as "protective" when he was a child. She lived with her son off and on after he moved to New York. At one point they lived together in a house. Andy was upstairs and his mother with a bunch of cats all named Sam lived downstairs. But by the time Mrs. Warhol's son was a very famous artist she had become perhaps less protective.

Warhol writes of his then-elderly mother, "she had a habit of letting anybody into the house who rang the bell and said they knew me. Any reporter could have gone right up there to talk to her and, if nobody was there to stop her, she'd take them on a complete tour, play my tapes for them, arrange a marriage for me...I mean any embarrassing thing could happen if my mother became a hostess."

Julia Warhola has been drafted by the Motherland Mothers for Season 2000. Warhola is expected to fill the pitching spot being left by the departing Naomi Ginsberg. There isn't much statistical history available on Warhola although it seems she has pitched off and on in the Pennsylvania Czech League for the past fifty or so years. (Andy Warhol is a utility infielder for the 1999 Bhutan Vanguards.

Click Here to visit the 1999 Motherland Mothers Official Team Roster

September 9, 1999
Vanessa Williams- 1999 Cosmic Player Plate

With the Miss America 2000 pageant right around the corner it's interesting to reflect on the situation of Miss America 1984a, Vanessa Williams. Her reign became a terror when controversial photographs showing her beautiful body without the Miss America crown on her head appeared in public. Some have suggested that the fact that she was the first African-American Miss America made America the Beautiful cringe.

Despite the controversy she has gone on to a successful music and acting career. Her name has even cropped up in gossip columns suggesting something's going on between her and the famous retired basketball star Michael Jordon. Williams denies the rumors (Jordan is married, Williams is divorced)...but maybe it's the price one pays for being a beautiful star in America.

Williams is a rookie pitcher with the 1999 Paradise Pisces and she's been quite a story here. She has a 14-1 won-loss record with an earned run average under 3. She's obviously in the running for cosmic rookie of the year award. And since the Pisces are headed to the Cosmic Universal Series in November, we'll probably be hearing more about Miss America 1984a.

Click Here for Vanessa Williams' 1999 Cosmic Player Plate

September 7, 1999
Eden Bohemians Draft Ted Hughes

The Eden Bohemians have drafted rookie outfielder and British poet Ted Hughes for the 2000 cosmic season. It is not clear whether Hughes will replace veteran Virginia Woolf or Joyce Maynard, a rookie who has been a disappointment this season both on and off the field of play.

In 1984 Ted Hughes was named Britain's poet laureate. This was 21 years after his wife, the American poetess Sylvia Plath, put out cookies and milk for their children and then stuffed her head in a gas oven and kissed it all goodbye. It was fifteen years after his lover, Assia Wevill, also took her own and her child's life. Just before Hughes died a more natural death on October 28, 1998 he published two well received, prize-winning books: the 1997 Whitbred Award winner Tales from Ovid and the 1998 Forward Prize winner Birthday Letters. The latter book of personal poetry puts his final spin on his complex relationship with Plath.

September 4, 1999
Book Review: KEROUAC's NASHUA CONNECTION by Stephen Edington

Reviewed by Diane De Rooy.

What began as an epiphany on a street in Nashua turned into a seven-year-long mission to document the North American presence of the ancestors of Jack Kerouac, "a family which is too old to lie anymore."

In KEROUAC'S NASHUA CONNECTION (Transition Publishing 1999, $12.95, ISBN 0-9654497-6-9) author Stephen Edington writes, "I stood in the middle of Pierce Street as a cold December rain fell and stared at the house, feeling as if I'd discovered some long-lost treasure."

The long-lost treasure he'd discovered was the link to the genesis of Kerouac's "road"-the bloodline that began in a village in Quebec and eventually sent Jack spurting out across the world in search of his identity.

Edington demonstrates the integrity of his bond to Kerouac when he writes, "Jack appears to have seen himself as being "in" but not "of" this family."
Acknowledging that he developed a "strange need to undertake a task that Kerouac himself wanted to do, but was never quite able to accomplish," Edington takes on the task of writing what he calls "the prequel" to the Duluoz Legend,

"I guess I felt I owed Jack one, given the impact his writings have had upon me," Edington explains.

Edington's knowledge of his subject matter and evidence of exhaustive research is obvious from the first page. He expertly cites Kerouac books where the Duluoz Legend is mentioned and compares Duluoz aliases with Kerouac birth, death and marriage records he spent years exhuming.

That's no mean feat. North America was lousy with Kerouacs, beginning with the person of "The Ancestor," Maurice-Louis Alexandre Le Bris de Keroack, to whom all Kerouacs since 1730 trace their lineage.

Kerouac's identity, on the surface, seems inextricably meshed with his immediate family, as well as his genealogy.

But scratch the surface and you'll recognize a sort of dysfunctional denial Jack's parents had going on. While they instilled a sense of ancestry in Jack, they avoided family ties with their own constant nomadism. Jack characterizes his parents, Edington notes, as "being strongly tied to their Nashua/Lowell roots, but straining to get beyond them as well." He refers to THE TOWN AND THE CITY, where Leo is about to lose his printing business and is "horrified at the prospect of losing his life's enterprise but simultaneously thrilled at the idea of being cut loose from all that is weighing him down."

Edington shines the spotlight on what is destined to remain a mystery in Kerouac's life-at least for the time being. "Except for that passing reference to Uncle John in the sterility passage in VANITY OF DULUOZ, I can find no other references to his Uncle Jean Baptiste Kerouac, Jr., the man who was also Jack's godfather."

In another family, this might not be so curious. But in Kerouac's family, where kith and kin were king, the fact that Jack's namesake goes virtually unmentioned in his 26 published books is odd. More curious than that is the lack of response to Jean Baptiste's death, which occurred on 8 October 1969, just two weeks before Jack's own.

But following the essentially fatal beating Jack took at the Shangri-La Club in September of 1969, all his communications seemed to focus on getting some money in his pocket and writing another book. His own pain and desperation is clear in his letters and postcards to family and colleagues. Maybe Jack just didn't have anything left over to spend caring about a dead uncle.

Imminent death and psychic pain don't explain the omission of mentions of his Aunt Caroline, who became Sister Antoine de Jesus when she committed her life to the Catholic Church.

Based on the 1959 publication of "Gerard, A Short Story," precursor of VISIONS OF GERARD, Edington reveals that Aunt Caroline visited Gerard just before his death and wrote him a poem:

"He has come to harvest him, this flower of morning light, before the impure breath of the world could tarnish his whiteness."

Although Caroline's poem is in the short story, it was cut from the novelized version of Gerard Kerouac's life and death.

Edington's own understated prose style serves his subject matter well, making an area of research-usually dull and dry-vivid against his own quietly spoken background.

On page 60 Edington even puts words in Jack's mouth, and does so deftly, intuiting Jack's own voice to include forgotten relatives in published pieces where they were omitted.

Perhaps the most poignant moment of the whole book is Edington's comparison of fresh-faced Jacky's romantic account of his father's funeral in THE TOWN AND THE CITY with the naked voice of the aching alcoholic who authored VANITY OF DULUOZ.

In THE TOWN AND THE CITY Kerouac wrote, "They buried George Martin [Leo Kerouac] in New Hampshire, on the long slope at the foot of a hill, in the middle of the farming country around Lacoshua.misty lands and farmfields and pine woods of the old New Hampshire earth from which the Martins of two centuries had risen secretly, hidden and unknown, enveloped and furious, to live and work and die in the brooding presence of themselves and the earth, in the dark atmospheres of their own moody dream of things."

Some 20 years later, the bloom was off the funeral roses as Jack described his father's death and burial: "So the undertakers come and dump him in a basket and we have him hearsed up to the cemetery in New Hampshire in the town where he was born and little idiot birds are singing on the branch.the bluejay mother throws the weakling out of the nest and he falls to the foot of the tree and thrashes there dying and starving."

By the time he wrote VANITY OF DULUOZ, Jack's lifelong conflict had bloomed into full-fledged fatalism. Edington notes that even as Jack "sought to find the holy in the ordinariness of life," he could not avoid "writing of a certain futility to being alive as well." It almost seems as though Jack had subconsciously set out to end the Kerouac line single-handedly, because "any family that old cant go on much longer. 'Bad blood' as Claude used to say to me."

Edington demonstrates the integrity of his bond to Kerouac when he writes, "Jack appears to have seen himself as being *in* but not *of* this family." With this quasi-religious metaphor, Edington paraphrases the admonition Christ gave his followers, to be "in the world but not of the world." Jack was accustomed to conflict, and chose to use ambivalence to deal with his "earthly" family. At the same time, the balancing act Edington describes feeds into the unavoidable Christ allegories of Kerouac's tragic life.

Jack the prophet presages the overstuffed morality of the 1990s as he winds down VANITY OF DULUOZ. "Think of all the literary and political asses who get prizes for being abstract telling you that life and its 'values' are wonderful, in great chosen terms deliberately stuffed with cover-up platitudes, who don't know what it is to come from an old family which is too old to lie anymore." Kerouac knew. Edington helps another generation to understand.

The research that forms the basis of KEROUAC'S NASHUA CONNECTION is impeccable, although some typographical problems may confuse readers of the first edition. A misnumbered footnote on page 43 leaves the reader wanting the source of the information [New Hampshire Bureau of Vital Statistics, 10/8/69]. And a transitional comment by Edington beginning "Young Jack's imitations." starting on page 76, is erroneously formatted to appear as if it is part of VISIONS OF GERARD.

But these trivial matters don't detract one bit from the incredible amount of information Edington crams into this slim volume. Without question, KEROUAC'S NASHUA CONNECTION assures Edington's position as THE authority on the facts of Kerouac's strange and troubled family ties.

Diane De Rooy is a freelance writer with a keen interest in Beat Generation personalities and literature.

September 3, 1999
Website Homepage Redesigned- Version 13 Uploaded

It's been six months since CBA made a major overhaul of its main plate cba1.html. And that's how long it took the project designers to create and implement the radical new design that has just been uploaded. While it is unlikely this new design will last until the 3rd millennium begins (January 1, 2001), it is expected that Version 13 of the CBA's website home page will make it through most of the last year of the 2nd millennium.

Version 13 Colophon
HTML Editor: Arachnophilia V. 3.9 Build 5181 by Paul Lutus, Port Hadlock, WA

Image Editor: Paint Shop Pro Version 5.03 by Jasc Software, Eden Prairie, MN 55344 (Primary); Microsoft Photo Editor Version 3.0 by Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, Washington. (Secondary)

Browser Software: Microsoft Internet Explorer Version 5.0 (primary); Netscape Communicator Version 4.5 (secondary)

Design System: Gateway GP6-366c running Windows98. Optiquest 17" monitor; True Color (32 bit); Screen Resolution- 800x600 pixels. Mustek MFC-600S Scanner.

Lead Graphic Designer: Jessie Numata

September 2, 1999
COSMIC SEASON 1999: Post-Season Schedule

The regular cosmic season concludes on Thursday September 23 (the same day Autumn begins).

The best team in the Cosmic Underleague will match-up against the best team in the Cosmic Middleleague for a five-game Cosmic Subleague Series that begins Friday October 1.

The winner of the Subleague Series confronts the best team in the Cosmic Overleague in the the XVIIIth Cosmic Universal Series which gets underweay in the Overleague team's home park on Thanksgiving Day November 25.

It looks like the Paradise Pisces are going to win the Overleague pennant again this season. But the Middleleague and Underleague races are not over yet. See the current standings to get a feel for the league races.

Cosmic Season 2000 starts, as all cosmic seasons do, on the Ides of March (15th.)

Link to the 1999 Cosmic Season Main Plate

September 1, 1999
Y2K @ CBA- Millennium Issues

Even though the 3rd millennium doesn't begin until January 1, 2001 there is already an enormous buzz about the year 2000. It is also interesting to point out that a significant portion of the world's people operate under different calendars. For the Chinese people it will be the year 4698 (Year of the Dragon); it will be the Jewish year 5760; Islamic people will call it year 1421.

The buzz about Y2K-related technology problems is very loud. It is true that computers have pretty much successfully completed their invasion of planet Earth. Computers, using such advanced weaponry as embedded chip technology have got a lot of people scared. It is not surprising that the so-called millennium transition generates considerable anxiety. But is this any way to celebrate a New Year, millennial or not?

CBA's computerized systems have all been checked and tested. Our systems are Y2K compliant. According to computer security analysts, there isn't any reason for any concern over the safety of our electronic databases. The analysts have also reviewed and tested our use and reliance on embedded chip technology. Identified problems have been corrected.

As a precautionary move CBA will not simulate any cosmic games on September 9, 1999 (9/9/99). But frankly, that's about the only concession CBA is making to the anxiety over the date-sensitivities of the computerized environment.

Links to more information about Y2K and Millennium Issues

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