‘Loose and nervous rhythm’

Her line is exquisite in its loose and nervous rhythm; she can create movement with what, out of context, would be a meaningless squiggle; she can suggest by a few doodles a storm-clouded sky or the hidden recesses of a candlelit room.

The Times Literary Supplement some years ago, as quoted in the paper’s recent obituary of the original illustrator of Paddington Bear, Peggy Fortnum.

There’s more wonderful — and wonderfully human — obit writing in those pages today, in “Charles S. Hirsch, New York’s Chief Medical Examiner on 9/11, Dies at 79.”

On good temmmates

From a passage this winter about squash partners, within a long-read about taking up serious squash in middle age. I know nothing about squash but a decent amount about teammates and a little about age.

To play your very best, to make a Houdini-like escape from impossible conditions, you need a partner who handcuffs you and stuffs you in a mail sack, then hurls it into the river. He should also keep his mouth mostly shut, except to say “Nice shot.” The box you’re both in is too small—twenty-one feet wide by thirty-two feet deep—and the necessary do-si-do-ing too close to admit anyone who blocks or bickers. When you find a solid partner, you settle into an oppositional symbiosis, where you improve by trying to crush each other.

‘Feels like the jukebox at a segregated luncheonette’

Belatedly — this tab got lost on the far left edge of my browser tabs for a month — I love how the Times used an entire spot in its “25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music Is Going” package to rip apart the musically sacrilegious, height-of-cultural-approbation Charlie Puth-Meghan Trainor duet, Marvin Gaye, deeply deserving of destruction.

You may think you’ve never heard “Marvin Gaye,” but it’s possible you just haven’t listened to it. It’s a song that tends to register via alternate senses, a clamminess on the nape of your neck or a cloying taste, like children’s cough syrup, in the back of your mouth. … If you type “Marvin Gaye Let’s Get It On” into a search field, you’ll most likely first find Trainor and Puth, who insisted on the comparison and will now suffer by it. “Marvin Gaye” feels like the jukebox at a segregated luncheonette; it is sex performed at someone, and with your clothes on.

Three great baseball brawls

Somehow this is a big part of my Saturday night. Thanks to Deadspin for kicking off this exploration: highlighting the first, linking to the second and inspiring me to find the video from the third. I’d forgotten about that early news in Moose’s career.

The New York Times, June 7, 1993: “BALTIMORE, June 6— Seattle starter Chris Bosio sustained a collarbone injury, at least two players were bloodied, and a manager and seven players were ejected when the Mariners and Baltimore Orioles engaged in a lengthy brawl this afternoon.”

Baltimore Sun, same day: “It started out to be a beautiful afternoon at Oriole Park, but it turned ugly in a hurry. The game between the Orioles and Seattle Mariners turned into a brawl yesterday when tempers flared and a 60-man free-for-all erupted in the seventh inning.”

The Washington Post, same day: “BALTIMORE, JUNE 6 — This was not the usual milling-around, push-and-shove, don’t-get-hurt baseball fight. Today the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners exchanged honest-to-goodness punches — then angry accusations — with an ugly brawl erupting after Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina drilled Mariners catcher Bill Haselman in the left shoulder with a seventh-inning fastball.”

2013 Big Lead look-back: “Kudos to the Camden Yards PA for deciding to play Three Dog Night’s ‘Mama Told Me Not to Come’ during the brawl. Not exactly fighting music, but a nice touch nonetheless.”

Was in the back of the room for Wilco’s new Tiny Desk Concert…

So, it’s great to see the set up close. Summerteeth forever.

Another NPR Music winner for me recently: Morgane Stapleton and Chris Stapleton singing You Are My Sunshine, an Ann Powers pick for the Songs We Love series. A few weeks ago, I heard another cover of the song and thought I was doing with nearing new takes. I was wrong, happily.

When the time arrives for Mike Mussina, I’m ready

As you know, I’m a fan of ex-Orioles ace Mike Mussina.

New York Daily News, a month ago: “Mike Mussina didn’t receive a call from the Hall of Fame, but his chances of one day being enshrined in Cooperstown went up. After appearing on only 24.6% of ballots in 2014, that figure jumped up to 43%, more than any other player, on Wednesday.”

Baltimore Sun, same week: “While Mussina still fell well short of 75 percent needed to gain election, it positions the five-time All-Star and 270-game winner well moving forward. This was just his third year of eligibility, and players can remain on the ballot for 10 years provided they receive at least five percent every year.”

Now in my closet, via Ebay and three months of the seller and I grappling with the mistake-prone United States Postal Service and Canadian Post, a new jersey to go with my Mussina Yankees and Stanford jerseys, ready for a Mussina induction one of these years:



Blizzard ‘grams

Capturing here because there will be no way of seeing these photos all at once ever again. This storm was one of the biggest in Washington’s history and reached blizzard conditions at times. In addition to causing trouble for a lot of people (especially early ice), the snow didn’t arrive at a great time. We weren’t able to join Lori’s family on a planned trip to West Virginia, and my car couldn’t move for almost a week.

But we made the best of it: the first fires in our fireplace (and successful ones at that), Malaka’s noodle-karaoke birthday party down the street, some of Lori’s biggest days yet at the bookstore, reading and a good shoveling workout for me, some of the world’s best hot chocolate and marshmallows from Rob and Danielle, eating burgers and watching football at Big Board, and empty streets — the best part of any D.C. snow.

Cozy night for our first fire.

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And so it begins.

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I finally understand the song.

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This way! We’re almost there.

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Who can resist a pretty snow video? Not us. #bookstagram #capitolhilldc #snowzilla #blizzard2016

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My car, my igloo.

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