Two Quick Read Recommendations

There are two newspapers on my steps every morning. I read online, but there’s a special magic about reading a newspaper in its native form, so I do that too. One form complements the other.

Without my printed New York Times I wouldn’t have read two profiles, one an obituary, the other about a sports star ascending. I stumbled upon both while reading something unrelated.

dr joyce brothersYou’d have to be a lot older than me to remember how Dr. joyce Brothers got on TV. She was there all my life, appearing as a psychologist, personality or playing herself tongue-in-cheek as an actor.

I did know her backstory. She was on the original $64,000 Question, the show at the center of the 50s quiz show scandal. Dr. Brothers was legit, though she learned her topic, “Boxing,” specifically to look ‘fish out of water’ to the producers.

Dr. Brothers quickly saw that the show prized incongruous matches of contestant and subject: the straight-backed Marine officer who was an expert on gastronomy; the cobbler who knew all about opera. What she decided, would be more improbable than a petite psychologist who was a pundit of pugilism? – NY Times obituary

The other profile was written about Felix Hernandez, King Felix of the Seattle Mariners.

safeco fieldHelaine and I watched Hernandez pitch while at Safeco Feld while in Seattle last summer.

I knew he was good, but not this good. He’d be a prominent national figure, if he played for a better team.

More important than his skill as a player is how he lives his life. He is a professional athlete who values happiness.

Why stay? Why Seattle? Why, when Roy Halladay went to Philadelphia and C. C. Sabathia joined the Yankees, when stars in all sports jump to more established contenders, did Hernandez not follow the same pattern?

The answer, in part, was pancakes.

For Hernandez, the choice came down to comfort. Comfort in his neighborhood, east of Seattle in the Bellevue suburbs, where his two children play in the local parks. Comfort in the direction being taken by the Mariners’ organization, its minor league teams laden with young talent. And comfort food at his favorite local eatery, Chace’s Pancake Corral, an unassuming joint that suits its most superstar of clients.

The two profiles were not Earth shattering. You will be a better person for reading them.

I’m a big newspaper fan.

Inside Stuff Between Husbands And Wives

“Mention that at the station,” she said, “and no one will know what you’re talking about.”

Sobering. No one wants to be the obviously old guy.

Helaine and I have been together a long time. More on that next week. Like most couples… God, I hope most couples… we have little inside things only the two of us understand. Here’s an example.

Anytime Helaine mentions Seattle Mariners pitcher Cliff Lee I slap my hand down like the opening drum hit and hum my way though Cliff Nobles’ “The Horse.” It was an instrumental that made it to number two in 1968. I played that song hundreds of times on-the-air.

Cliff Lee. Cliff Nobles. OK, it’s a stretch but it works for us me and she nicely plays along puts up with it.

Tonight we were on the phone when Lee’s name came up. He had shut down the Yankees in a masterfully pitched game.

I did my “Horse” hum.

Helaine groaned.

“Mention that at the station,” she said, “and no one will know what you’re talking about.”

Sobering. No one wants to be the obviously old guy.

As I sat and pondered Helaine was busy looking up Cliff Nobles. He was a cipher. Other than his name I knew nothing about him… and as it turns out I wasn’t too good with even that! Until she did the research I thought his name was Noble with no “s.”

Then Helaine read from Wikpedia.

“Their second release for the record label was the single “Love Is All Right” b/w “The Horse”, which featured the horn section from what would later be known as MFSB. “The Horse” was simply an instrumental version of the A-side, and Nobles, who was the lead singer, does not actually play on the track at all.”

Excuse me?

“Nobles, who was the lead singer, does not actually play on the track at all.’

Yeah, that’s what I thought it said the first time.

Forty plus years after the fact and I’m just hearing Cliff Nobles is a no show on his biggest only hit! Who does he think he is, Gary Lewis&#185?

This is just too weird. I can’t wait for Cliff Lee to pitch again.

&#185 – In spite of putting Gary Lewis down for possibly not being in the room while his songs were being produced I love the music attributed to him. Honest.