Monthly Archives: June 2010

The Face in the Lens.

Europe, circa 1940

The Zardo Trio presenting “Oddities in Jungleland,” USA, circa 1920

UK, circa 1900

Images from The Face in the Lens: Anonymous Photographs by Robert Flynn Johnson

Via (OvO)

The Face in the Lens.

Anonymous Photographs.
Edited by Robert Flynn Johnson, introduction by Alexander McCall Smith.
University Of California Press, Berkeley, 2009. 208 pp., 223 duotone illustrations, 9¾x9¾”.




And Ye Olde Evening Telegraph


South Korea’s Rock Tigers, via PRI’s The World.

Baseball’s tragic mystery man

He was a real-life Roy Hobbs. During the course of a Hall of Fame career with the Washington Senators, Sam Rice never told anyone that years before his whole family had been killed in a tornado on the Great Plains.

Steve Wulf wrote about Sam Rice in a feature for Sports Illustrated in 1993 that you can now read online at the SI Vault. The piece, titled “The Secrets of Sam,” is a remarkable one.

No plaque tells the whole story of a Hall of Famer, but the Rice bronze may be the most inadequate in Cooperstown. Numbers can say that he was a great hitter and a fine outfielder. The story of his life—actually two lives—is the stuff of a novel or a play or a movie. No plaque could tell of the tragedy and triumph of Sam Rice. No plaque could reveal the mystery he held on to with a death grip, as if it were a fly ball in the World Series. His plaque should just read: A MAN WHO COULD KEEP A SECRET.

Father’s Day

My father, Al Sullivan, with my sisters Jody and Kathy, 1945.

Happy Father’s Day to all.

Basketball and jazz

The Boston jazz blog Brilliant Corners likens the Celtics to a jazz quintet:

The Celtics are b.ball players, but they are also a quintet. Like all musical ensembles, they are hit and miss. Creative in streaks, they are capable of long lapses in focus. Their grit is sometimes suspect, but they
can bring it.

And when they sync, they can blow. Here’s how I see them:

Rajon Rondo=Miles Davis
Paul Pierce=Coleman Hawkins
Kevin Garnett=Booker Little
Kendrick Perkins=Charles Mingus
Ray Allen=Big Sid Catlett

* * *

Jazz aficionado Kareem Abdul-Jabbar writes:

Many people unfamiliar with jazz think the music is all about the solo riffs. A single player suddenly jumping to the front of the stage, the spotlight shining brightly on him while he plays whatever jumble of notes that pop into his head. But really, jazz is just the opposite. Each person is playing as part of the team of musicians; they listen to each other and respond accordingly. Indeed there is improvisation, but always within a musical structure of a common goal.

Same with basketball. When you play basketball, everything is timing, just as with a song. You must be able to instantly react to the choices your teammates make. A team of basketball soloists, without the structure of a common goal, may get TV endorsements for pimple cream, but it doesn’t win championships.

* * *

Bob Cousy image via Crosstown Trains.

The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician, things like old folks singing in the moonlight in the backyard on a hot night or something said long ago. ~ Louis Armstrong

1943 Boston Braves

Finished 68-85, 6th in the NL. That’s Casey Stengel in the Guys & Dolls suit.

Art appreciation

A girl looks at “Andromeda” by Francesco Furini, a part of the collection from the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts exhibited in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, Monday, June 7, 2010. Via AP

This is Louisiana

The state seal, rendered in crude oil.

Rod Dreher on the catastrophe in the Gulf:

A rolling apocalypse * On the fate of the pelicans

Image: Charlie Riedel (AP)

Rugby team, Mill Hill School, London

Circa 1926-42

Via the National Archives UK