Tuesday, May 28, 2019

'The Ball Gets Through Buckner!'

One Unforgettable Play: Bill Buckner, an outfielder and first baseman whose long, solid career was overshadowed by a crushing error that cost the Boston Red Sox Game 6 of the 1986 World Series against the Mets, who went on to win the championship in seven, died on Monday. He was 69.


Now, some of you young 'uns out there might think: Is this a Jewish story? So please let Abq Jew assure you: It is. It is.
  1. First of all: Baseball is Jewish. Everyone used to know that. Maybe you did, too. If not, you should read this and this and this.
  2. Second: Even though Bill Buckner was not, as far as can be determined, a MOT - Vin Scully (b 1927), the NBC sports announcer who called Bill Buckner's most famous play, most definitely is ... not, either. Nevermind.
  3. But third (really, second): Daniel E Slotnick, who has written (see below) the best description of Bill Buckner's inglorious error, is, we may presume, a MOT.
Buckner was ready to field a 10th-inning grounder by the Mets’ Mookie Wilson,
but it rolled between his legs and drove home the winning run for New York
in Game 6. The error shadowed Buckner for the rest of his life.  

Stan Grossfeld/Boston Globe, via Associated Press
Buckner began his career mainly as a speedy outfielder, but he had a bad ankle injury in 1975, and by the time he went to Boston, in a trade in 1984, he had become a full-time first baseman.

It was at first base that he made the error that would haunt him. Boston, facing the Mets, was looking for its first World Series championship since 1918.

It was the bottom of the 10th inning at Shea Stadium in New York, and the Mets had scored two runs to tie the score, 5-5, with Ray Knight on second base. There were two outs, and outfielder Mookie Wilson was at the plate with a full count.

Wilson, batting left-handed, hit a slow bouncer up the first-base line off reliever Bob Stanley, and to the fans at Shea and in the television audience, it looked like an easy third out. 
All Buckner had to do was scoop it up and touch first base, and the Red Sox would have had another chance to come to the plate in the 11th and possibly win the title that their fans had craved for 68 years.
It was not to be. 
The ball unaccountably skipped between Buckner’s legs and into the outfield. Knight dashed home, scoring the winning run as Mets fans went wild and sending the Series to a seventh game in New York.

The Mets won that one, too, 8-5, ensuring that Boston’s long dry spell would, to the bitter consternation of Red Sox fans, drag on, and cementing the most amazing Mets season in memory.
Bill Buckner returned to Fenway Park in 2008 and got a hero’s
welcome 22 years after a dribbler went through his legs.
Jim Davis/The Boston Globe, via Getty Images
Buckner, who endured heckling for years as the goat in Boston’s defeat, told The New York Times in 2011 that his error remained, unfortunately, unforgettable. 
“You can never really forget it because it comes up all the time,” he said. “I’m a competitive guy, so it’s something I didn’t enjoy. But for some reason, the stars were all lined up just right for the Mets that year, and here we are, 25 years later, still talking about it.” 

For the 25-Year Anniversary of the day that Buckner missed the ball, ESPN shot this video.


The Times' Tyler Kepner notes (Bill Buckner Got Over It):
Had it not been for his fateful error in that 1986 World Series, Buckner — who suffered from Lewy body dementia, a degenerative brain disease — would have been best remembered as one of the finest hitters of his generation. 
Instead, his legacy includes some very gaudy statistics and one terribly unfortunate mistake but also proof that there are opportunities for true grace even after one really bad night. 
Bill Buckner at bat against the Mets. He won the National League’s batting title in 1980 and was an All-Star in 1981, when he was with the Chicago Cubs.
Larry C. Morris/The New York Times
In a career that lasted from 1969 through 1990, Buckner compiled 2,715 hits, won a batting title, made an All-Star team and never struck out three times in a game, something 16 major leaguers did on Sunday alone.
“He handled it amazingly well, but it killed him,” said [1986 Mets manager Bobby] Valentine, speaking metaphorically, of course. Valentine roomed with Buckner in the minors and played with him on the Dodgers. 
“There were probably 50 interviews where he could have blamed [1986 Red Sox manager John] McNamara, or said something about [Red Sox reliever Bob] Stanley throwing the wild pitch, or anything else about Game 6. He never said any of that.”
Bill Buckner throws the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park on April 8, 2008. Brian Snyder/Reuters

This brings us, as Abq Jew has previously (see Blood, Spit & Years) mentioned, closer to what is known in the trade as a:


As Nathan Heller wriote in the August 6 & 13 2018 issue of The New Yorker:
Long before the founding of Rome, the Etruscans measured time by something called the saeculum. 
A saeculum spanned from a given moment until the last people who lived through that moment had died. It was the extent of firsthand memory for human events—the way it felt to be there then—and it reminds us of the shallowness of American history. 
Alarmingly few saecula have passed since students of the Enlightenment took human slaves. We are approaching the end of the saeculum of people who remember what it feels like to be entered into total war. 
The concept is useful because it helps announce a certain kind of loss: the moment when the lessons that cannot be captured in the record disappear.

Many of Bill Buckner's achievements, of course, have been captured in the records of baseball. But (except for family and close friends) he will be remembered for one thing. Not at all a good thing. In fact, a very bad thing.

But one thing.

What one thing would Abq Jew like to be remembered for? What one thing would you, his loyal readers, like to be remembered for?


PS Some of you, Abq Jew's loyal readers, may have noticed that this blog post, 'The Ball Gets Through Bruckner!', is almost the direct, word-for-word opposite of Abq Jew's May 8 blog post, 'Havlicek Stole the Ball!'.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Ziggy's Home

Borzoi, Greyhound, Je Ne Sais Quoi: Mr & Mrs Abq Jew are happy to announce the latest addition to our sight-hound family.


You've already met Belle and May-May (see October 2016's Temporary Dwellings) and learned their stories.

Ziggy (formerly, albeit briefly, known as Edwin) has his own story to tell.

If only he could!

Edwin (Ziggy) is an estimated 3 year old white and red borzoi / greyhound / mixed breed male. Edwin was found in Royse City [Texas] with Lottie and Ervin; a nice couple in the countryside fed them and called GALT to pick them up. 
Ziggy's age can only be estimated, because he did not have his driver's license with him when he was found. Or a tag. Or a microchip.

But his breed? That we can be more sure about, thanks to the genetic health analysis done by



Discover the secrets of your dog's DNA
Using the latest science, this test scans your dog’s DNA,
both for ancestry information and specific genetic markers.
Your veterinarian can use this information to create
a custom health and wellness plan based on
your dog’s genetic code.

Here is the chart that Royal Canin produced for Ziggy.


Which shows that Ziggy is

4 parts Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound)
3 parts Greyhound
1 part Je Ne Sais Quoi ("Mixed Breed")


Now, Mr & Mrs Abq Jew knew that Ziggy was BIG before they adopted him. Ziggy's foster mom had written us
Not only is he stunningly gorgeous, he is also a sweet, sweet boy. He absolutely loves people, and is a big tailwagger.   
Y’all know how big he is, right? My older dog is 82 lbs, and Ed stands a good 5-6” above him. He does crate well, but he needs a giant crate—a 48”, and he still can’t stand all the way up.
When we first met Ziggy, we confirmed his foster mom's description. Still, at some early point, Abq Jew's reaction to Ziggy's SIZE was


But Ziggy's foster mom and GALT prepared Ziggy for home life very, very well. Abq Jew's response quickly changed to


And as for Ziggy's name -


You psychology / psychiatry fans might think that Ziggy is named for Sigmund Freud. What do you think that means?
Sigmund Freud (born Sigismund Schlomo Freud; 6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst.

And you history buffs will automatically turn to the well-known and very popular (in certain circles) Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor.
Sigismund of Luxembourg (15 February 1368 in Nuremberg – 9 December 1437 in Znaim, Moravia) was Prince-elector of Brandenburg from 1378 until 1388 and from 1411 until 1415, King of Hungary and Croatia from 1387, King of Germany from 1411, King of Bohemia from 1419, King of Italy from 1431, and Holy Roman Emperor from 1433 until 1437, and the last male member of the House of Luxembourg. 
In 1396 he led the Crusade of Nicopolis, which attempted to liberate Bulgaria and save the Byzantine Empire and Constantinople from Ottoman rule. Afterwards, he founded the Order of the Dragon to fight the Turks.

Which is to barely mention some of the other possibilities:
Zig Ziglar; Archduke Sigismund, Grand Duke of Tuscany; Siegfried (opera); Ziggy Marley; Ziggy Stardust (song); or Ziggy Switkowski.
And - of course! - Sigismondi Bros Farm. In beautiful Manalapan, New Jersey. They used to have the best nursery in Livingston, NJ.

Ah, but up till now there's been only one Ziggy for whom the angels sang!
Harry Aaron Finkelman (May 26, 1914 – June 26, 1968), known professionally as Ziggy Elman, was an American jazz trumpeter associated with Benny Goodman, though he also led his group Ziggy Elman and His Orchestra. 
Elman was born in Philadelphia, but his family settled in Atlantic City, New Jersey when he was four. His father was a violinist who had hoped Elman would play violin. Although he did learn to play violin, he preferred brass instruments. He began playing for Jewish weddings and nightclubs at age 15. 
His 1939 composition "And the Angels Sing" with lyrics by Johnny Mercer (recorded in December 1938 by his own band as an instrumental, "Frailach in Swing" based on the 1918 recording of "Der Shtiller Bulgar" (The quiet Bulgar) by Abe Schwartz) became the number one song in the nation.

But whence did Ziggy Elman get his name? Christopher Popa's interview of Ziggy's son Martin Elman appeared in the November 2005 Big Band Library.
Where did the name "Ziggy" come from? 
 "I think he took it from Ziegfeld," Martin responded. 
Florenz Ziegfeld (1869–1932) was a Jewish-American [not really] impresario who created a series of theatrical spectaculars, called "the Ziegfeld Follies." 
Elman evidently enjoyed spending his breaks at work surrounded by chorus girls, so the moniker seemed to fit. 
As for the last name "Elman," it was a shortened version of Finkelman.
What was it like to grow up as Ziggy Elman's son?
The public voted him their favorite trumpeter in quite a number of Down Beat and Metronome polls. But it wasn't until several years afterwards that his own son, Martin, understood how special Ziggy Elman was. 
"It started when I was about 11 or 12, I really started noticing it, you know, who he really was," Martin told me. "We'd go to Vegas for 10 or 12-week shows with Mickey Katz.  We'd stay up there all summer." 
Had his friends at school realized who his father was? 
"A lot of the teachers did," Martin said. "Not many schoolmates... The people on my street did." 
And then, there was Ziggy Elman's trumpet-playing style.
Elman's trumpet was joyous, unrestrained, and... loud. 
"Very loud, yeah," Martin agreed. 
His tone was clear and enunciated. 
"It was very sharp.  When I listen to the radio, I can pick it out," Martin said.  
And it caught Benny Goodman's attention.  Goodman offered Elman a job in September 1936. 
Harry James joined Goodman in January 1937 and, with Elman and the third trumpeter, Chris Griffin, they became known for their collective ferocity and were nicknamed "The Biting Brass." 
 

Here is And The Angels Sing. For our Ziggy, and for all the rescue-able greyhounds, sight-hounds, hounds, and other dogs out there looking for a furever home. Oh, alright. For the cats, too.


Monday, May 13, 2019

The Land of Honey, Honey

Eurovision Tel Aviv 2019! Are you psyched for Eurovision? Abq Jew sure is. ICYMI: After Netta's grand victory in Lisbon last year, the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest will travel to Expo Tel Aviv!


The first Semi-Final will be held on Tuesday May 14; the second Semi-Final on Thursday May 16; and the Grand Final will take place on Saturday May 18. The three shows will be hosted by Bar Refaeli, Erez Tal, Assi Azar, and Lucy Ayoub.

Welcome to Tel Aviv IL

Never been to Israel? Never been to Tel Aviv? Lucy Ayoub and Elia Grinfeld welcome you! And in this delightful, highly-criticized (wait; you'll see) video, introduce you to the Holy Land's ... idiosyncracies.


And in case you're wondering: Yes, they meant lovely beaches. And God's watching from above.

Just think - for just a little bit more money than what they already paid for this PR piece, they could've hired a proofreader!

Tel Aviv Beach

They did hire one? Next time, hire two. But Abq Jew digresses. Big surprise.

Antway, here is a video of Kobi Marimi and Israel's 2019 Eurovision entry.

Kobi Marimi: Home 2019


And here is a video of Netta and Israel's winning 2018 Eurovision entry (see Netta's 'Toy' Brings Jerusalem Joy). It is thanks to Netta's winning 'Toy' that Eurovision 2019 is being held in Israel.

Netta: Toy 2018


Wondering how this year's competition stacks up? This video is a preview (recap) of all 41 Eurovision 2019 entries.

All 41 Eurovision 2019 Entries (Recap)


Got a favorite? Abq Jew is sticking with Israel and Kobi Marimi. Even though 'Home' doesn't sound at all like the old music we grew up with. Or grew older with. Or something.

You know - the good stuff. For example: Here is the earworm with which (with whom?) Abq Jew has been blessed since Jane Ellen's June 2018 OASIS class.

Ofra Haza: Chai 1983



Wednesday, May 8, 2019

'Havlicek Stole the Ball!'

One Everlasting Play: John Havlicek, a relentless force for the Boston Celtics over two decades and two championship eras and one of the greatest clutch stars in NBA history, died Thursday April 25 in Jupiter, Florida. He was 79.


Now, some of you young 'uns out there might think: Is this a Jewish story? So please let Abq Jew assure you: It is. It is.
  1. First of all: Basketball is Jewish. Everyone used to know that. Maybe you did, too. If not, you should read this and this.
  2. Second: Even though John Havlicek was not, as far as can be determined, a MOT - Johnny Most (1923-1993), the Boston sports announcer who called John Havlicek's most famous play, most definitely was.
  3. And third: Harvey Araton, who has written (see below) the best description of John Havlicek's glorious steal, is also a MOT.
John Havlicek and Coach Red Auerbach were hoisted by fans surging onto the Boston Garden floor in 1965 after the Celtics won their seventh consecutive NBA title. Boston won again the next year. Frank Curtin/Associated Press
One play epitomized Havlicek’s reputation as the pre-eminent hustle player of his time and possibly, as many older Celtics fan would argue, of all time. 
On April 15, 1965, the Celtics were clinging to a 110-109 lead in the decisive seventh game of the 1965 Eastern Conference final playoff series. With five seconds remaining, center Bill Russell’s inbounds pass from under the 76ers’ basket hit a guy wire overhead, giving the 76ers the ball and a chance to win the series. 
Guarding Chet Walker, a star forward for Philadelphia, in the area near the free-throw line, Havlicek began silently ticking off the five allotted seconds that 76ers’ guard Hal Greer had to inbound the ball. Then, at the count of four, Havlicek peeked back at Greer, who had just tossed the ball in Walker’s direction. 
Havlicek reached and tipped the pass to Celtics guard Sam Jones, who then dribbled out the clock to cement the Boston victory, setting off pandemonium in Boston Garden. Havlicek was hugged by Russell, mobbed by fans and stripped of his No. 17 jersey. 
The play was immortalized by the Celtics’ longtime radio broadcaster, Johnny Most, whose call — “Havlicek stole the ball!” — became enshrined in every highlight reel of the Celtics’ glorious history.

“Red Auerbach always said, ‘Look for an edge,’” Havlicek recalled in a 2015 N.B.A. video marking the 50th anniversary of the steal, referring to the Celtics’ organizational patriarch and nine-time champion coach. “I did what I was supposed to do. I never realized it would last this long, but it is everlasting.”

For the 50-Year Anniversary of the day that Havlicek stole the ball, the NBA shot this video - which also appears in Harvey Araton's Times article.


Harvey Araton also notes:
Havlicek, who averaged 20.8 points for his career, played in more games (1,270) for Boston than Russell, scored more points (26,395) than a later Celtic star, Larry Bird, and handed out more assists (6,114) than any other Celtic playmaker except Bob Cousy.
This brings us, as Abq Jew has previously (see Blood, Spit & Years) mentioned, closer to what is known in the trade as a:


As Nathan Heller wriote in the August 6 & 13 2018 issue of The New Yorker:
Long before the founding of Rome, the Etruscans measured time by something called the saeculum. 
A saeculum spanned from a given moment until the last people who lived through that moment had died. It was the extent of firsthand memory for human events—the way it felt to be there then—and it reminds us of the shallowness of American history. 
Alarmingly few saecula have passed since students of the Enlightenment took human slaves. We are approaching the end of the saeculum of people who remember what it feels like to be entered into total war. 
The concept is useful because it helps announce a certain kind of loss: the moment when the lessons that cannot be captured in the record disappear.

Many of John Havlicek's achievements, of course, have been captured in the records of basketball. But (except for family and close friends) he will be remembered for one thing. Not at all a bad thing. In fact, a very good thing.

But one thing.

What one thing would Abq Jew like to be remembered for? What one thing would you, his loyal readers, like to be remembered for?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Summer 2019 @ OASIS Abq

Great Courses of Jewish Interest
Abq Jew is pleased to inform you that
OASIS Albuquerque has just announced
their Summer 2019 line-up of classes!
Registration opens on
Wednesday May 8
but you can Wish List your selections now.



OASIS Albuquerque Executive Director Kathleen Raskob continues (as always) to bring you new and interesting class offerings, and continues to make sure there are plenty of courses of Jewish interest.

This session's courses and instructors include but are by no means limited to:

The Three Rs of Healthy Spiritual Living
Thursday 27 June 2019 @ 10:30 am - #97
Instructor: Paul Citrin
What It Is: The three Rs of healthy spiritual living from a Jewish point of view are reconciliation, resilience, and rejoicing. We examine texts and role models which relate to these three Rs with the goal of reflecting on how we incorporate these elements into our lives.


Catholic Rescuers in the Holocaust
Thursday 11 July 2019 @ 10:30 am - #98
Instructor: Christopher Zugger @ Our Lady of Perpetual Help
What It Is: While not enough people were involved in rescuing and sheltering Jews during the Nazi occupation of Europe, those who did are recognized as Righteous Gentiles by the Yad Vashem Institute in Israel. We look at Catholics who were motivated by faith to take bold actions in assisting Jews, looking at their lives and the dangers inherent when interceding for Jews from 1939-1945.


The Spiritual Journey of Simone Weil
Monday 22 July 2019 @ 10:30 am - #100
Instructor: Frank Yates
What It Is: Simone Weil lived only 34 years (1909-1943) but made an enormous impact in philosophy, political theory, cultural criticism, and the Judeo-Christian tradition. From a secular Jewish home she joined the French Resistance. A profound spiritual experience led her to the Christian faith but she was never baptized. Her writings Waiting for God, The Need for Roots, Love in the Void: Where God Finds Us, and Intimations of Christianity Among the Ancient Greeks have become classics in our modern world.


The Beginnings of American Global Diplomacy
in the Early 20th Century
Wednesday 24 & Friday 26 July @ 10:30 am - #64
Instructor: Noel Pugach
What It Is: Just before the beginning of the 20th century, American leaders shifted their attention to American participation in world affairs. Why did they do it? And why did they focus on China and North America? Who were the key figures? What did they achieve and how did they do it? Finally, what were the consequences of these actions? These questions are important because American activity between 1898-1917 set the foundation for a continuing and growing role in global affairs.


Unexpected Bride in the Promised Land:
Eyewitness to History in Palestine & Israel
Monday 5 August 2019 @ 10:30 am - #65
Instructor:  Iris Keltz
What It Is: Resolving the ongoing tragedy in Palestine and Israel may be a central issue of our time. When Iris Keltz found sanctuary with the Palestinians during a war that changed the face of the Middle East, she was forced to confront personal myths. Raised in a family that stressed the narrative of Jewish suffering, the Israeli military victory in 1967 should have been a jubilant moment for her. This lecture includes a discussion and reading from Unexpected Bride in the Promised Land.


Brujeria: A History of Witchcraft in New Mexico
Wednesday 14 August 2019 @ 1:00 pm - #123
Instructor:  Rob Martinez
What It Is: The history of witchcraft in New Mexico is a fascinating subject that spans the Spanish Colonial period, the Mexican period, and the US Territorial period. In this presentation about brujería and hechicería, witchcraft, and sorcery, Rob Martinez looks at actual case studies from historical documents that help to explain why New Mexico is still a hotbed of witchcraft beliefs.


Solomon Bibo, Jewish Governor of Acoma Pueblo
Thursday 22 August 2019 @ 10:30 am - #124
Instructor:  Gordon Bronitsky
What It Is: The 1880s were a time of great change in New Mexico as the railroads were coming through bringing new products, new markets, and new people. In 1885, Solomon Bibo, a Jewish merchant originally from Germany, became Governor at Acoma Pueblo, where he served three terms. He is the only non-Indian ever to serve as official leader of an Indian tribe in New Mexico. Learn about the Acoma people, Solomon Bibo, and the setting that led to this unique achievement.


Regular OASIS Albuquerque instructor (and award-winning composer and recording artist) Jane Ellen also continues (as always) to bring you new and interesting class offerings, and continues to make sure there are plenty of courses of musical and Jewish interest.

Jane's courses this session include but are by no means limited to:




Musical Satire 
From Tom Lehrer to the Smothers Brothers
Thursday 25 July 2109 @ 1:00 pm - #82
What It Is: Singer-songwriter Tom Lehrer (1928- ) gained a national following in the 1950s and 60s as a piano-playing political satirist, poking fun at politicians, academia, Cold War paranoia, and anything else that tickled his fancy. Tom (1937- ) and Dick (1939- ) Smothers followed in his footsteps by turning their popular folk song act into mainstream comedy with a biting political edge. Despite popular success, their Comedy Hour became one of the most controversial television programs of the Vietnam War era.



How African Americans Invented American Music
Part 3: Jazz to Hip-Hop
Thursday 11 July 2019 @ 1:00 pm - #80
What It Is: The focus of this series is the contribution of African American composers, musicians, and entertainers to the tapestry of American Music. An infinite diversity of musical styles, ranging from blues to jazz to rock and roll to house (EDM, or electronic dance music), would not exist were it not for the phenomenal talents of African Americans. Part 3 (of three parts) examines Part 3 presents a survey of 20th century styles including jazz, rhythm & blues, rock, soul, and Motown, forward to the 21st century. You do not need to have taken Part 1 or Part 2 to enjoy this class.



Minnie's Boys: Groucho, Harpo,
Chico, Gummo, & Zeppo Marx
Thursday 22 August 2019 @ 1:00 pm - #28
What It Is: Five brothers, sons of Jewish immigrants born in New York City, banded together to become the first family of American comedy in vaudeville, in theater, on Broadway, and in motion pictures from 1905-49. Breaking into the movie business at the beginning of the “talkie” era with their zany and surreal comedic style, five of their 13 feature films have been selected by the American Film Institute as among the top 100 films of all time.