Tag Archives: cardinals

I Can’t Get Me No… Satisfaction

I am old.  And it is true that I am not as old as the Rolling Stones.  After all, they are living proof that prehistoric fossils can actually still sing.  But I am nearing the end.  My health is rapidly deteriorating.  And while medical technology has advanced worldwide, and is probably the only reason I have lived for 60 years, the cost of that technology to Americans is beyond what I can afford.  I am living now in a house that I saw in my dreams back in college.  In that dream from when I was twenty, I saw myself sitting in an easy chair that is now in this house.   The sky outside was pale orange.  And an angel came to me and said, “This is it.  This is the end.  You must come with me.”


So I am expecting the angel any day now.

But there is so much in this life, in this world, left unfinished.  I have novels left to write, and novels I have written that still are not published.

Page Publishing has my Magical Miss Morgan book and I have to argue now with editors to keep them from totally mangling it.  They even want to change Miss to Ms. in the title!  Don’t they know that kids never say Ms. to a female teacher?    Will the angel have to wait while I labor through the process of correcting those danged ding-batty word-misers?

And the Arizona football Cardinals have not won a championship in the NFL since 1947, nine years before I was born.  I wanted to see them win once before I leave with that angel.  But the team that was practically unbeatable last year lost their seventh game this year to the Dolphins yesterday, and are probably defunct for this year.  It would take a miracle now for them to get funct again and make the playoffs.  Maybe I have to put the angel off for another football season.

And the world has ended in 2016.  The Great Orange Face has won the battle for leader of the free world.  He will institute policies that will make him richer, but will kill me, and eventually destroy life on Earth.  And remember, the Cubs won a World Series again, 108 years after the goat curse was set upon them.  The four horsemen of the Apocalypse are dusting off their saddles right now, and the pale guy is sharpening his scythe.  How can I leave behind such a world for my children?  The angel is getting impatient and tapping his foot quite a lot.


                                                                                                               “You know, it is quite possible I will look like this the next time you see me, Mickey.”

So, I am really not satisfied quite yet with the way things are going.  The Rolling Stones have some sort of secret going for them.  They are never satisfied according to the song.  So maybe that is what is keeping them still singing after most of them have already died and simply refuse to lay down, get buried, and keep quiet.  Maybe I need to learn to sing.



Filed under autobiography, battling depression, cardinals, feeling sorry for myself, humor, nudes, Paffooney, publishing, self pity, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Game Day


Yes, I am an Arizona Cardinals fan.  I have been rooting for the Cardinals since the days of Jim Hart, Mel Gray, Otis Anderson, Terry Metcalf, and Jackie Smith.  My team has ALWAYS been the underdog.  They won the NFL Championship as the Chicago Cardinals before I was born.  They never won it all in all the time they were in St. Louis.  In 2008 they played in the Superbowl and led late in the 4th quarter.  The Steelers beat them in last second heroic fashion.  I still hope for wins and glory.  Tonight they are actually favored to beat the Green Bay Packers.  That has always been the kiss of death for my team.  When they are favored, they lose.  But you never know.  This could be the year I’ve waited so long for.




Filed under cardinals, football fan, sports

Flu Season


The very real possibility exists that it is illness that will end me.  I have six incurable diseases (diabetes, arthritis, COPD, hypertension, psoriasis, and an enlarged prostate).  I am also a cancer survivor (malignant melanoma in 1983).  My fragile, diseased body is like a house made of straw, and the Big Bad Wolf came knocking at my door yesterday.

The Girl with the Red Bird

My daughter, the Princess, came home from school yesterday noon with the flu.  She moaned and cried and was burning with fever.  She vomited on the bathroom floor.  Of course, the retired guy who stays home all day is the one who had to tend her and clean up after her.  But he is also the one most at risk of dying from the flu or from pneumonia as a side-effect of the flu.  I am the son of a registered nurse who worked in the ER and still gives excellent medical advice.  I have been taught how to care for the sick with proper precautions.  The poor Princess is already feeling better today after the overnight miracle of Theraflu.  I am no longer worried for her.  Now it is me that is at risk.

I identify myself with the cardinal.  Yes, the bird is the mascot of my favorite sports teams.  But it is more than that.  It is the resolute little bird who doesn’t fly away when the winter comes..  No flying south with the snowbirds when the world is covered in pure, white, cleansing snow.  It stays through the ice and cold to watch over its personal territory.  But it is not invulnerable to the ravages of winter.  Many of its bright red and pugnacious kind succumb finally to old age and the cold, and die in winter.  But I have no regrets.  If the final winter has come… well, I cannot exactly say I have no regrets, because I have goofed up a lot over rime… but I am satisfied.  If my life has to be complete from this moment, then it is a good life, well-lived.  And I am satisfied.

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Filed under humor, illness, Paffooney, Uncategorized

The Underdog


Yesterday I failed to add to the list of magical powers I possess the ability to make football teams lose.  I have always believed that all I have to do is root for a team to win and they will lose.  I have tested out this power thoroughly over the years.  Through most of my life I thoroughly detested the Dallas Cowboys.  I hated the way they always seemed to have the advantage, the way they would always injure players on my favorite teams and force them out of football for the rest of the season, and they would always win.  Even after moving to Texas and, still rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals even after they moved to Arizona, I rooted against the Cowboys in every game they played.  I am amazed that they didn’t go undefeated for three decades.  But a little miracle called “General Manager Jerry Jones” happened to the Cowboys.  I moved to Dallas at a time when the team was being dismantled and dismembered by a magical ability of Jerry’s that seems very similar to my own.  The Cowboys became the underdog.  So much so that I actually began to root for them when they were not playing the Cardinals.  This, of course, magnified Jerry’s magical gifts tenfold.  The Cowboys became the same kind of perennial losers the Cardinals had always been.


So, you can easily see that I am one of those superstitious nerd-body nincompoops who always pulls for the underdog.  I admit to helping the Boston Redsox win their first World Series at the end of “Babe Ruth’s Curse”.  Those perennial also-rans benefited from playing my beloved Cardinals’ baseball team.  So I rooted against them fiercely, and they won.  In fact, underdogs sometimes win even in spite of magical ability.  Some times they just have to win.  In 2006 the Cardinals won the World Series on the strength of Chris Carpenter’s throwing arm and Albert Pujols’ bat, along with a team of underdogs and ne’er-do-wells who all played far above themselves.  I rooted for them every step of the way.  And we lost some battles, but we won the war.  Such is the way it must be in this world.  The ultimate victory belongs to the Underdog, the unlikely superhero that is sometimes confused with a flying frog.

The football Arizona Cardinals came through for me again in the same way last night.  They were up against another good team in the Minnesota Vikings.  And in spite of the fact that I was rooting for them every step of the way, I saw them pull victory from the jaws of imminent defeat.  With mere seconds left, they created a fumble and recovered it, preventing a game-tying field goal that was practically in the bag.  The Cardinals are now in the playoffs with an 11 and 2 record, poised to make another run at the Superbowl.  That may not seem like an underdog to you, but if you look back over the years of rooting for a team that was often the butt of jokes and were usually losers like the current Cowboys are, then you can see that these are underdogs at the end of a long, long uphill climb.  And aren’t we all like that most of the time?  Aren’t we all climbing the mountainside in spite of numerous avalanches, storms, and falls?

Listening to the radio station KLUV doing their annual radiothon for Children’s Hospital while taking my daughter to school this morning, I heard the heartbreaking story of a little boy who is both autistic and epileptic.  Apparently he collapsed in school, and when taken to Children’s ER, was found to have leukemia as well.  I had to stop the car and cry for ten minutes.   It never seems fair to have to listen to stories like that.  You want to help the underdog to win.  But you feel totally powerless.  I don’t have enough money to pay my own medical expenses, and my daughter had to come home early with a fever.  But believe me, I had to donate $20 to Children’s Hospital.  It is a tiny, meaningless amount… but the magic is in the doing and the believing.  I will continue to use my goofy magic to the very best of my ability.


Filed under humor, Paffooney, philosophy, Uncategorized


Cardinalis_cardinalis,_Northern_cardinal,_male,I_JAG308  I must post upon this holiday because I am trying to post every single day of 2015.  I am only 35 days away from completing that goal.  And, though I have been in poor health and struggling through each and every day of the year, I like to think I am like the cardinal, the little red bird that never flies away when the winter comes.  I am thankful that I have made it this far and that my family is alive and healthy.  I am thankful that I have completed a teaching career that I can feel proud of.  I am thankful that life is full and rich and full of the resonating music of the great symphony of existence.

And I am thankful that the cardinals are winning.

In Baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals won their division, won 100 games, and showed a solid character as the best team in baseball even though they didn’t win the World Series.

In Football, the Arizona Cardinals won 11 games last year.  This year they are already 8 wins and only 2 losses.   Things are good for cardinals fans.

And as an added bonus this year, the Iowa Hawkeyes are undefeated and ranked #4 in the nation.  Things are good for my Elmer Maiter, too.

So, I am thankful for the success God and the universe has afforded me.  Things besides sports are important too.  By the way, I am thankful that someone will even bother to read this post.  It is evidence that as a writer, I have reached the stage where I am no longer totally ignored by the world.  So I am also thankful for you.


Filed under autobiography, cardinals, humor, Uncategorized

Baseball Season

Every Spring is a new beginning, a new hope, a new chance to win the pennant.

DSCN5273When the baseball season starts fresh each year, it renews me, makes feel like I have another chance to make things happen and conquer the world again.  It makes me feel alive again… even now when I am old and retired and in constant pain.

People say to me, “Baseball is boring and slow and not as great a game as…” and then they try to tell me stuff about football and soccer and NBA basketball.  I’m not buying it, even when it is my eldest son selling it.

Baseball became my sport when I was a child in the 1960’s.  Great Grandpa Raymond was a frail and ancient man then, too elderly to share much of anything with me as I was young and full of energy.  But on Sunday afternoons in Spring and Summer, we listened to the Minnesota Twins play baseball on the radio.  I heard Harmon Killebrew hit homers and Tony Oliva make game-winning hits.  I learned that the game was about numbers and strategy… a team game, yet filled with moments of man versus man, star of one team facing off against the star of another, skill versus skill, willpower versus willpower.  I learned that baseball was a fundamental metaphor for how we live our lives.

I remember when Bob Gibson was the greatest pitcher in baseball, and he played an entire career with my favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals.  I remember Lou Brock setting the record for stealing bases in a single season, a monumental accomplishment.  I actually saw Lou Brock steal a base in a game against the Houston Astros, though not in the record-setting year.  I was there in person.  I listened to Bob Gibson’s no hitter of the Pittsburgh Pirates on the radio, listening in a campground in St. Louis while the Cardinals actually played in Pittsburgh.  I didn’t get to see Stan Musial play ball.  He retired before I first became aware of the game.  But he was on TV quite a lot on game day, and I hung on every word.

970012_598081996889896_1749856650_n 10407396_841407729243846_8153033581544611964_n 252384_10151150805491840_424979047_nBaseball has gotten me through some very rough times in my life.  I used to play ball, baseball and softball.  I was a center fielder for our 4-H team and made some game-saving catches in the field, hit a home run once, and once saved a game for our side when I threw out a runner at home plate from center field.  And I have religiously followed the Cardinals year after year.  In 2011, when health problems and family problems and depression threatened to destroy me… the Cardinals won the World Series in seven hard-fought games.  When you reach a moment of crisis, with the game on the line, you can reach deep inside for that old baseball player magic… tell yourself, “I will not lose this day!” and find the power within you to make that throw, get that hit, catch that long fly ball…

Baseball is a connection to family and friends… teammates… everyone who has ever shared the love of the game.  If you don’t win it all this time… there’s always next Spring.  God, I love baseball.


Filed under baseball, humor, inspiration, Paffooney

Cardinal Points

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The cardinal is a personal symbol of mine.  Cardinals, for those who only see them in the south where they live in relatively comfortable surroundings year around, are tough little birds of bright color.  When the winter comes, and the snow piles deep, the cardinal digs in and stays put.  I hope I am like that.  Six incurable diseases, financial problems, being forced to retire from a job I loved by poor health, are all winter things that have not driven me out yet.

And, of course, my favorite teams are Cardinals.  (Sure, you can argue that it’s a St. Louis thing, the Arizona Cardinals were once from St. Louis.)  The St. Louis baseball Cardinals just ended their season with a loss, but the loss was in the National League Championship Series.  They were in that series for the fourth straight year.  They have been doing well, a good sign for me.

The football Arizona Cardinals are at the head of their football division with a record of five wins and one loss.  They had a winning record last year, but were left out of the playoffs because they were in the same division as the Superbowl champion Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco Forty-Niners.  Things are getting better for cardinals everywhere.

So things are looking up.  I am happy, in spite of anything that stands in my way.


Filed under Uncategorized