Archive for Wisdom

To NotGraphs, Thanks for Everything! —Dale Thayer

Hey there, Icers. By “Icers” I don’t mean cans of Icehouse brand brewski, though I still call those Icers, too. Icers is what ol’ Dale’s been calling his acolytes lately.

“Acolytes” is a big word, isn’t it? Meaning has to do with something religious, I think. I do not mean to claim that all you Icers come to worship in the Church of Dale or something. I just kinda mean that we’re all in this together, you know? It’s a term of friendship, the way I mean it. Hell, I’m an Icer, too. We’re all just human aluminum, chillin’ out in this big Coleman cooler we call “Earth.” Some of us are soon to be cracked open and chugged up, the rest of us’ll be left in here ’til the ice melts. Huh: I guess that’s a metaphor for global warming or something. Listen to me, gettin’ all metaphorical and whatnot. Seems like every time I talk to you Icers on the ol’ NotGraphs modem here I end up gettin’ wistful or woozy or nostalgic. I guess that’s just a part of me; I guess that’s just a part of NotGraphs.

So, y’all’ve probably heard by now that NotGraphs is goin’ outta business. Gettin’ foreclosed upon. Happened to my uncle back in the early aughts—his house got foreclosed upon, I mean, or he did, or the mortgage did—however you wanna put it. He passed not too long after.

Read the rest of this entry »

I.M. Bitterman’s Acerbic Guide to Watching the %*#@! Playoffs


My name is I.M. Bitterman, and I’m here to tell you how to watch the stupid playoffs and all the stupid sons of bitches who are playing in the stupid playoffs. First, some background: I am a bitter man. The surname is not a coincidence. Upon arriving at Ellis Island, my great-great-grandfather Ignatius Meriwether Biedermann was suspected of having a “struma,” which is now called a goiter, and detained for a further inspection. Embittered, he poisoned authorities until such time that they gave in and permitted his entry, but not before they changed his name to Bitterman and suggested he move to Alaska, which, by coincidence, was called “Struma” at the time.

So, basically, bitterness is a Bitterman birthright. And if you’re anything like me, you’re pretty damn bitter that the Princesses, the Birds, the Birds and the Elephantiases are in the playoffs and your team isn’t. Why do their fans get to have all the fun? I mean, instead of watching that magnificent son of a bitch of a doctor on old House episodes, you sit there 162 times for four hours at a stretch and watch your crappy team play, and what do you get in return?


You get bupkis, while all those other fans are all, “Ooooh, look at me, my team is in the playoffs, I’m better than you, I’m great, I’m the best person, ooooh, look at me!”

Screw them. And if you’re one of them, screw you. Go play in traffic.

But yeah, if you’re anything like me, you still enjoy baseball and want to watch the stupid playoffs, despite the fact that you also want to torch entire cities and let all the animals out of the zoo and also punch walls in the dark.

So, what do you do? Here’s what you do:
Read the rest of this entry »

5 Things You Can Do With Your Team Out of the Playoffs


So, your team is out of the playoffs, eh?

Well, like it says up there in the headline, here are five things you can do.

1) Plant a Hoegaarden. Have you never done this? No? Here’s what you do: Take one bottle of Hoegaarden, preferably of the Grand Cru variety but Witbier and Julius are also acceptable, and drink the bejeebers out of it. Open another bottle, preferably with your eye socket, and drink it while miming the Belgian national anthem. If not yet taken into custody, drink a third beer. Now, convinced of its properties, dig a small hole in an open field and, into it, drop another full bottle. Water liberally with a Miller, Coors or Budweiser.

2) Get in shape. I know you hear this a lot. Get in shape! Or, alternately, In shape, is what you should get! Or, also alternately, Should, as it concerns you, is the appropriate approach to getting in shape! And with your team out of the playoffs, now is finally the time. In keeping with that desire, the shape I suggest to you – again, now that you have little to live for – is all curled up, in the far corner of a dark room, with a pillow over your head.
Read the rest of this entry »

GIF: Omar Infante Does a Spiritual Exercise to Everyone

Kluber 3

Over 6.1 innings tonight, Corey Kluber conceded zero baserunners — a notable feat, that, insofar as, were he to have recorded eight more outs, the reaction of the public would have been considerable. As the above footage reveals, however, Omar Infante rendered all notions of perfection moot in the seventh inning, lining a single to center field off the aforementioned Cleveland right-hander.

What Infante’s single represents, of course, isn’t the end of Kluber’s bid for a perfect game, but rather an entirely necessary reminder — such as one that appears with the Discourses of Epictetus or Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius — that perfection doesn’t exist. Nor is this absence of perfection something over which one ought to grieve. Rather, it’s a fact. Like the capital of Ohio is a fact. Or that Ohio exists at all.

A Zen Koan Featuring Max Scherzer


A young pupil came to his master and asked for a koan to ponder.

Responded his master: “Show me the sound of Hall & Oates playing blue-eyed soul.”

The pupil played “Rich Girl” on a small stereo.

“Good,” said the master. “Now show me the sound of Max Scherzer playing blue-eyed soul.”

The pupil bowed and went to his room to consider this problem.

Read the rest of this entry »

GIF: Stephen Strasburg’s Changeup Is a Metaphor for Futility

The animated GIF embedded here depicts a changeup thrown by Stephen Strasburg to Mitch Moreland from a whole week ago – so, unlike many other media files which will have appeared on the internet today, it lacks timeliness.

Fortunately, what it lacks in timeliness, it makes up for with timelessness — insofar, that is, as Moreland plays the part here of anyone dumb enough to have been born and Strasburg’s changeup plays the part of that which one might desire and Moreland’s errant swing represents the futility of human endeavor, obviously.

Brian McCann Glimpses the Unthinkable, Part II

In base-ball circles, Yankees backstop Brian McCann is known as being a man of substantial left-handed pop, superb defensive chops and a polo-ist’s sense of propriety. He is also — as we have previously explored in this very electric newspaper — prone to strobe-lit glimpses of the yawning void that lies beyond.

Know that it — and “it” is the unnameable thing that harrows Mr. McCann down to his primordial essence — has happened again …

In the Name of All That Is Holy, No

Brian McCann knows what awaits us all. Such burdens are enough to buckle a thousand Frodos.

Night in the Forest: A Pine Tar Parable


The place: a pine forest in Upstate New York

The time: the second hour of a day in spring

As gentle as an angel’s breath, or as placid as a cherub’s fart, a breeze comes to tease the hardwoods, tickling the needles and nudging the cones as it goes. The wind, it shushes, the hush cut through with a warbler’s trill and the trill cut through with what seems a louder fart. And yet the forest knows, as only old growth knows, that this is not an ethereal toot but, rather, the creaking of a tree – a creaking, alas, that mimics the sound of Don Zimmer’s knees the last time he came for a hike.

Read the rest of this entry »

For Cubs Fans: Charles Baudelaire’s “Always Be Drunk”

The Cubs fan in his natural setting.

Since the establishment of this weblog by Kool Keith and Oscar Wilde at a Golden Corral in 1971, it is has been the editorial objective — above all others — to provide such work as to assist the reader along his horrible, forlorn journey from day to night.

In the tradition of that singular effort, the author presents the following translation — largely for the benefit of Chicago Cubs fans, who continue to finds themselves on intimate terms with misery — of very dead French poet Charles Baudelaire’s Envirez-Vous, or Be Drunk.

Read the rest of this entry »

GIF: Nick Swisher Reveals Absurdity of Human Predicament

There’s a certain sort of pain a ballplayer is compelled to endure as a result of striking out in a major-league game. There’s another sort of pain — a more immediate one, surely — which a ballplayer clearly is forced to tolerate on such an occasion as he’s hit by a pitched ball.

Read the rest of this entry »