Showing posts from November 4, 2007

The Mermaid Parade

©2007 by LeeZard
NOTE: Coney Island's Mermaid Parade began in the 1980s when Brooklyn's storied amusement park had devolved to a sorry skeleton of itself. Today the parade is a huge celebration of the summer solstice and a major Brooklyn event. For me, the Mermaid parade is a roller coaster ride back to my youth.

For more on the parade history:

I went with my brother,
To the Mermaid Parade.
Oh, what a parade it was.

There was Ethel Mermaid,
And Kool-Aid Mermaid,
A bearded mermaid,
And bearded mermen.
There were mermaid kids,
And mermaid maids,
Mermaid dudes,
And mermaid nudes.
So many mermaids,
To stir the mermories,
At crazy crowded Coney Island.

It was a searing Saturday in June,
A steamy New York City Scorcher.
A perfect day, a perfect way,
To open the Coney Island season.

It was hot,
So sweatifyingly, humidifyingly hot,
That riding the “F” train from Manhattan,
Was an air-conditioned relief
From …

Stonewall & Me

©2007 by LeeZard

It was just Stonewall and me, only he wasn’t saying much; Stonewall Jackson has been dead for 144 years. But there we were. Well, there I was, standing by myself at the Stonewall Jackson Shrine in the small rural town of Guinea Station, VA where General Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson died at the Chandler Plantation on May 10, 1863.

The great general himself, or most of him, is actually buried across the state in Lexington, VA. I say most of him because, believe it or not, the general’s chaplain took Jackson’s left arm, amputated eight days before his death, from the Chandler Plantation to a field hospital several miles away - and buried it.
That’s where the general was first treated after he was accidentally shot in the arm by his own troops during the Battle of Chancellorsville. So, if Stonewall Jackson wasn’t actually with me on that quiet southern morning, even in spirit, at least part of him was nearby.

Nonetheless, I stood transfixed, staring at a small, lonely marke…

DON'T Kill the Umpire

©2007 by LeeZard

Here’s my theory on youth sports:
* Coaches, referees, umpires and league officials: paid professionals.
* Parents: barred from all practices and games.
* Games and practices: videotaped.
* Videotapes: sent home for private viewing.

It started with my son in Little League. The parents running our local Little League had been around for eons and ran it like a private club. They favored their own kids and their own friends. The fields and the equipment were in disrepair. Many of the coaches were untrained, screaming negative demeaning commands to the kids.

The same 10 or 12 people showed up at the annual meeting each year to elect officers. It finally took a massive phone campaign and countless hours of political maneuvering to draw almost 100 people to an annual meeting to throw the rascals out.

After my kids outgrew little league I joined the local umpires association. Standing behind home plate is the best seat in the house. I umpired everything from Senior Little…