Monday, January 3, 2011

Pensees: Pascal’s Pugilistics, Ruth’s Prosopagnosia, and Samuel Todes’ New Noumenology

What possessed me to bury the hatchet and not hatchet the Barry, I likely shall never make clear to myself, although the strange concurrence of Pearl Harbor Day (when we would commemorate his father playing basketball at the Honolulu YMCA during the attack before being assigned to identify body parts) during Hanukah had moved me deeply. Nonetheless, with the twin proscriptions of Codell never again re-entering the California Home, and my own disallowance of leaving the overly renovated joint but for a one-block radius, the only venue for our armistice was Tel Aviv, the Restaurant Not the City, for Barry Codell (I can reassure one and all) may never go to Israel, per stipulations of both his harem and his herem!

While B.C. extolled the dubious dietary merits of his mayonnaise-laden half a tuna sandwich on pita as he chastised my chosen “Looney Tuna” (the house special of tuna, cheese and God knows piled high upon itself), I quietly and earnestly realized our devoured fish had not died in vain, for we were truly talking again, one of us with his mouth full. Still, I wished we were dining at my favorite hole: Flukey’s hot dog stand on Western, which even without Sharia law yet ruling us, is being turned into a mosque!

Rabid boxing boy that he has always been (“Beyond baseball,” he lies, or as Kant might say, “lies prepared”), Mr. A.D. (Activity Director in the sense of Hume, described by Samuel Todes: “Indeed, Hume finds that the experience of activity makes his philosophy seem ridiculous, even to himself”) was soon, without being asked, graciously informing me of the remaining 2010 (“5771,” I corrected him) fight schedule, culminating in the Jean Pascal-Bernard Hopkins December 18 World Boxing Council Light Heavyweight Championship bout.

Mere mention of Pascal-Hopkins was the million-to-one shot of the day. “Are you talking about Saturday night December 18 after the Havdalah blessing?” I asked with an innocence impossible to surpass. “Of course,” Barry warily replied, “They switched it from Pay Per View to Showtime, Abraham--you can watch it at the Home, I hear they’re cable-ready now!”

I was far less than excited as he continued to continue. “Hopkins can become the oldest fighter ever to win a title. Remember when we watched George Foreman back in 1994 knock out Michael Moorer to win the heavyweight crown? Big George was the oldest champ until now. Well, if Hopkins wins, he’ll be older, although actually George is older now than Hopkins, if you know what I mean,” the great gerontologist babbled. “It’ll be great, we’ll talk about the fight like in the old days when I was in charge there. I’m rooting for the Frenchman, Pascal.” (Actually, I’m rooting for both of the Hopkins--the brutal Bernard and the gentle Gerard--to win their respectful, respective fights.)

I gave him the icy. No one, especially Barry Codell, is a quicker thinker than I. “Well, you’re not in charge now,” I reminded him. “It just so happens that I have a championship book fight scheduled that very Havdalah, and it also just so happens to be between your Gerard Manley Hopkins hardcover Selected Poems and Blaise Pascal’s Pensees.” (Barry had that well known look of a man who had left too many books behind after he had been summarily and justifiably dismissed from a managerial position.) “Yes, what a coincidence.” I smiled warmly, heatedly. “I’ll be busy. I can’t watch your little fight, I’ve got a better one of my very own!”

It all got the usual rise out of him. “Those are still my books!” he cried. “Is it the Dover or the Penguin Pascal?”

(I saved the Dover for myself, the big gorgeous one. I love beautiful books even more than I love beautiful girls, although come to think of it, I do like those lady boxers!)

“I don’t know what Dover edition you’re talking about. And the Penguin is already torn to shreds. It’s the cheap Pocketbooks Pascal. Hopkins will kill him,” I yelled. “He’ll destroy that Pascal, that dirty anti-Semite!”

Moishe, the short, long-time proprietor of the place, warned us to quiet down for the sake of the other customers, who numbered zero at best. I guess he had forgotten when, ten years before, he had permanently banished us (when Tel Aviv was teeming) for a screaming difference of opinion that makes, as my unmanly Manley might say, “my body bloodly boil” to this very day: Barry Codell telling me that he agreed with Talmudic commentators who would say that the post-career Jewish convert Joel Horlen’s 1967 Summer of Love No-Hitter was a Jewish feat, as if Gerim could be Kohanim! I disagree loudly every day with both his premise and his process. It’s like asking the Baseball Writers Association to answer the (for him!) controversial question about the Jewishness of our Father Abraham, which he made much too personal in his restaurant rant.

We’ll just see who wins Saturday night, Hopkins or Pascal, Codell or me, once and for all, for all the marvels! (Breaking heartbreaking news as I went to press: all my Codell books are gone. It was an inside job. Somehow Barry must still have a friend in the California Home! So, evidently all these theses are in full flaw, Deconcentration now the new law, Being nothing biting, without fighting! And, worse, no more book fights--Hopkins-Pascal called a draw! The most spectacular of accomplishments by the most boring of fighters utterly ruined.)

Speaking of 1994, that, of course, was the year my friend, my ageless and bitter mentor Shalom Goodwill Aloha came to the California Home at the age of 94, full of piss if not vinegar, yet fuller of stories of all the greats and, most importantly to him, the not-greats. So proud that he was born in the year 1900, the year his beloved White Sox had the best record in baseball while banned from the record books, Shalom’s South Side allegiance caused him to reject his lineage from “my bastard father” Albert Goodwill Spalding, otherwise known as the revered father of the cross-town Cubs.

According to his records, as a young man Shalom served in France during World War I. He would be particularly aghast at the publicity Frank Buckles recently received as the last living soldier from what Shalom called “The War That Ended No Wars.” He often saw Buckles as his main competition for the “last man standing” title. He said, “Frank was just a driver, I was the one fighting in World War I. I just don’t talk about it. It cheapens the experience. I’ll wait until I’m the last one standing. Then everyone will know.” With Buckles 110th birthday on the national horizon, Shalom’s death at 107 was, I’m sure, his biggest disappointment. I’ll never forget him. I recall every conversation verbatim!

Shalom’s biggest thrill? Meeting, after the War, the one and only Babe Ruth at McCuddy’s Bar across Comiskey Park. (Comiskey was the only place, not Wrigley, that Baseball Cathedral, or as he loved quoting Lee Elia, “that fucking place for all the motherfuckers to go to!”) Working as a clubhouse mascot at South Side Park made him comfortable, even ornery, with ballplayers at a very young age. But he remembered Ruth as “a different sort of animal,” leaving him not only speechless but soon serving Ruth’s most secret of cravings.

By 1923 (the year Yankee Stadium , The House That Ruth Built, opened) Shalom was doing the Babe’s bidding regularly, whenever the Yankees were in town. His job was to run to McCuddy’s between the third and fourth innings, repeating the routine between the seventh and eighth, to bring Ruth a beer and two hot dogs. Shalom was sent by Yankee management after Miller Huggins, Yankee Manager, ran the riot act when Ruth would go himself between innings. Shalom remembered, “That McCuddy, that dirty anti-Semite! Actually I was proud I was the only Jew they let in McCuddy’s. He’d say, ‘Here comes that little Jew boy again,’ but he loved the Babe, too, and gave me the goods every time. I’d run back to the Yankee runway and give Babe the bag. He’d say, ‘Thanks, kid, what’s your name?’ Every time! I brought him from McCuddy’s for three years, and he never connected who I was.

“That’s how I finally developed my most revolutionary theory on his greatness. Babe Ruth had face blindness. Clinically they called it prosopagnosi, and I believe he got it from being hit on the head by a pitch, not congenitally. As a pitcher, every batter was unrecognized, and as a hitter every pitcher equally so. Babe threw to the catcher’s glove as a pitcher, he swung at the ball as a hitter. He never knew who he was facing, and he didn’t care. He was unburdened with face memory and therefore stripped the game to its instinctive essentials.”

At least that’s how I remember it was said. Oh, my old Shalom! You did it all, or to numbly borrow from Duns Scotus’ description of God’s role in the Immaculate Conception: you could do it, it was appropriate, therefore you did it!

“And music is not listened to as a real sound made by real things, but as a pure sound of tones and timbres sounding, as it were, by themselves.” Samuel Todes

“Like hidden elves, the instruments themselves making the music of sound, themselves in the things-in-themselves.” Barry Codell

What a mouthful, this life! So now, of all years, that lousy 1994 will not go away. Thanks for your contagious and intrusive anamnesis, Confessor Codell, thanks for all these numbing Names That Tunes and dumbing Natch Games—and may I say also, thanks for Nothing! Dayenu! Enough! Who else but Codell could think this stuff! So full of vigor, so full of vim, now so out of his mind, now the mind out of him! O Barry, my Hesperus, wreck age with thy wreckage! Or as Sam Todes would have said, if he were I, at the height of my hopelessness, a disembodied, oncoming copelessness. When you pronounced “Design is the residue of luck” (citing Frege) that year, how I lived that melismatic maxim--ready for the dance of life, the life of dance, ready to tinker ever with chance! And then Sam Todes told me you were just unjustly turning Branch Rickey on his head, and I saw your actions toward me with an aesthetic anaesthetic: not empathetic but pathetic, and I was, for a while, finished with your free yet costly associations. 1994 became becoming itself, the year the world’s greatest living philosopher became more than that: he became, in this reporter’s opinion, the world’s greatest dead one, forever more, becoming fully PhiloSophia.

I had been proud to be onto-theologist, anti-gerontologist (what Codell called aging, I call rotting) and noumenologist long before I breathlessly and literally ran into the true Thin King, Mr. Samuel Todes, perhaps sitting shiva for himself, on a bench near Lighthouse Beach in Evanston, earlier in the ‘90s, during my annual Herr Heidegger (that dirty anti-Semite!) book-burning pilgrimage near the Northwestern University Library, back when I had full access to the outside “world” (now a lack alack, never a doubt, to be once more on the outside looking out!), permitted voyage by the California Home Nursing Department that shimmering, simmering summery fall day with my angrily annotated copy of Being and Time (not a life sentence, as King Codell would call it, just one hundred little words that he might deem not for the birds!).

Todes, awaiting his friend Daryl on that bench we shared, had a copy of Merleau-Ponty’s Primacy of Perception in hand as our introductory conversation immediately became something more. I can modestly say Great Minds met. Our words turned to the ends of philosophy itself before its own imminent end, and when I ventured he use my term “noumenology” rather than his “noumenalism,” to lessen the Kantian overtone, was he ungrateful like Codell or down-to-earth like me? The latter, of course--he was as down-to-earth as an angel, which he would soon become. As a matter of fact, he was so kind about my input (and is not the greatest wisdom kindness?), I had to ask him if he was Jewish. (disclaimer: I must admit, as an Abramist, I am a mite pro-Semite), and he answered characteristically enigmatically, “I’ll find out soon. Ask me in a week.”

I generously invited Samuel (“call me Samuel”) to return to our very bench at the same time in seven days, but I never saw Todes again. In tribute to his epic “Body and World” (I like to think my contribution yet lies in all of his words), I am announcing no Tode tome will ever be in one of my book fights--and what higher praise can there be?

For, after all, aren’t I a disordered-attentive, oral-retentive, handsome-repulsive, obsessive-impulsive, manic-depressive, passive-aggressive sweetheart of a guy? And what of Barry, now stricken from Sam’s “One man, One book?” Look at his look--has not incuriosity killed this dog as he walks in his final fog? What can be his duty, now that I have pied Beauty? I have become the polar Bar-opposite, no sign of a sign, the good knight ever neigh to his oversight. At last, perhaps tonight, he yields the mine all mine, the fill of Three Fields: Baseball left, Aging center, Religion right! O for such a colorless man, there is no dyeing dying (or as he calls it, and as I but once mistook, the finishing of the Great American Songbook!). Have I not been more than his equal, his mime? Do I not take off my pants one leg at a time? Shall I not be numb to the Wisdom of the Whiz Dumb, from zygote to old goat? Am I not the true patrician when compared to the Singing Statistician? Today, more than yesterday, I deeply miss both my friends Shalom and Shmuel, but unfortunately, not Barry Codell!

Have a happy new year and, most importantly, a good shabbos.

Yours or mine,

Don’t Call Me Abram

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Substantiation of Instantiation: Gornischt, the Musical!

“In the ‘perception of a melody,’ we distinguish the tone given now, which we term the ‘perceived,’ from those which have gone by, which we say are ‘not perceived.’ On the other hand, we call the whole melody one that is perceived, although only the now-point actually is.” Edmund Husserl

“Let us listen to a melody, letting ourselves be swayed by it; do we not have the clear perception of a movement which is not attached to any mobility--of a change devoid of anything which changes?” Henri Bergson

Once more, I am Abraham Abramson and I am not an alcoholic. Call me Abram not Ishmael his son. I do not base all in baseball--that would be absurd! (To be exact, I base exactly one-third). Here at the Home, always anticipating the execution of the master, I lovingly learned (with some painstaking pleasure) the differences Barry discerned between the Husserlian Name That Tune and the Bergsonian, especially when his aging analysands belted out that little known Nellie Kelly verse to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” he had taught them unknowingly. (How their collective anamnesis burst through—those poor amnesiacs couldn’t help but remember! How I warily watched their melodious mouthings become Codell’s “last vestige of memory.”)

The melismatic became, through his awful auspice, automatic, and when Mr. C. observed my devout observance of his spellbound room of warblers, he would invariably promise, “Abie, one day this will all be yours!” All mine indeed, because it all added up, and I was the one who added it, from the parts of its sum to the sum of its parts. Barry called me the “Summer Supreme” for good reason. He might have even first said (through Chance), “When the Summer ends, the Fall begins,” referring to me. I am sure he dubbed me the “Geiger Counter” for correctly recounting the careers of Hans, Abraham, Gary, Matt and Teddy Geiger. He could count on me to count anything. Have I not fled like a frightened masseuse from Al Gore to algorism? Ah, but that is now, and this was then: but once, yet once again fine, a gain, indeed all mine. Why now do I not feel? Because I put my shoulder to the wheel? Have I not put my ear to this terrible year? What is left to hear? Where is a wherefore, a Y chromosome in the wink of a transcendental I, something still with us, not even-steven, yet oddly even, evenly odd?

I say, “Cease the day!” I will end swearing to God: Enough lying in relying--give me more memory! Sure as my name is Abraham “Abram” (Don’t Call Me Abraham) Abramson, Barry once said (without consulting his wife) I could leave this joint and live with him as a boarder so I could study Tyndale’s Torah. So what kind of cleaving, bar devekut, was he leaving? For giving, I forget. For getting, I forgive. All in all, I let him live. Now I am pure, with no lure burning. O, cure of learning! I have put lids on all my hybrids! No more ligers and tigrons nestling, no more chess-boxing, no more checker wrestling. I am no longer “the perilous perwinkle of all life’s crayons” or “the little boy with his finger in the dike crying wolf” or whatever words with such relish he always mustered!

I know English Gematria as well as the next fellow. I understand “now here” equals “nowhere.” I see how he mixed my Idea Unfixed! I ask most respectfully, most reverentially, what kind of abandonment is this, orphaning the California Home as well as myself? Did he not know the “straw epistle” (especially 1:29) by heart? How could he leave, that newly rotting bridge-burner, that vain no-brainer, that streak of little poison (not Lloyd Waner)? Is he sick in the head, that stick in the mud? He is no longer my Buddha. I am no longer his bud. This was a Waldorf-Astoria of a place! What’s next for Barry Codell? Buckingham Palace?

But I do not digress. I waver. For I am nothing but a life-saver. (See Tyndale, Epistle of James, 1526.) O pupil, peer through pleasures--no need to re-rejoice, this is not a choice choice by any means (by many measures). Perhaps my protention of Barry’s mellowed melodies at the end was a miss amiss--does not “Somebody Loves Me” begin the same way as “Give My Regards to Broadway’? Do not “When You’re Smiling” and “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” start with the same three notes? Perhaps for an instant instant at a Name That Tune I surrendered my vigil of virtual vigilance. Codell, it must be noted, never fully subscribed to Professor Van Gelder’s “Theory of Yankee Doodle Dandy” during the Australian phenomenologist’s dynamic presentation at the Actualite De La Phenomenologie Husserliene. Les Defis De La Naturalisation in Bordeaux in 1995. We must remember Husserl himself, at a similar conference over 80 years before, declared, “We are the true Bergsonians!”

Barry, if only I could speak with him, would probably merely attribute my momentary attribute to an instantiation, he would likely say, “For each moment we foment, there is one undone,” and leave it at that. And I would believe him. For we are the true Codellians.

That is why I hesitate to litigate. I know that he knows that his nursing home revue, “Gornischt--The Musical!” is based on my play, “Much Adieu About Nothing,” written for his Scriveners’ Circle playwrights’ group at the California Home (that only I attended). He knows that I know he has sold the rights for the show to the owners of the largest Jewish Nursing Home chain in this entire country of Jewish Nursing Home chains. But as my winning song on that final Name That Tune I played with Barry says, I’ll see him in my dreams--not in court! Why sue? Soon he’ll be suing me, and in no time at all, we’d be suing ourselves. It’s happened before. At bottom, we are brother Abramists, “the Tribe of the Diatribe” (according to the missing sura), Friends of God, Sons of Keturah! Was it not for me, this perfect plan to go from wise guy to wise man? I wish Barry Codell well, through and through, as he, of course, would often do.

So let us belly back to the BAR and drink of the true baseball solutions of the grandly great, too-late Shalom Goodwill Aloha, who died at 107 (I think the suspense, not the suicide, killed him) talking to me, not Barry, decrying the Cubs and life itself (in that order), a man suddenly apropos more than ever, thanks to the controversial call depriving Armando Galarraga of a recent perfect game, reminding me Addie Joss’s 1908 “perfecto” ended with a missed call at 1st base (Shalom, secret pal of peerless mathematician Richard Brauer, and non-bastard son of Albert Goodwill Spalding, was there Charlie, the same year he watched with reverence rookie Albert Schweitzer hit a career high .291 for the St. Louis Browns!) in the pitcher’s favor, prompting me to give Galarraga credit, taking away Joss’s gem, leaving the historical perfect game total at 20, changing the record book for ever before that so-called Barry Codell gets his hands on it


Friday, April 9, 2010

Codell's Continuing Use of Physics: Time-Space, White Holes and the Effects of Defenestration on Anti-Matter (Based on the novel Push by Sapphire)

April 1, 2010

Not to worry, just foolery--seeing if I was still paying attention to this already decayed decade!  As a matter of fact, so lovingly, so without tact, opening day I say:  Bury Code!  Bar Concentration!  O Barry, lie in thy library, surrounded by spineless books without thy looks, at last at ease between Maimon and Maimonides!  For this bliss is the ever-ending of the thin king, in deed (by far) the leaving of the cleaving, the passing of the BAR!

Yet this ill illuminating is just ruminating.  His baseball, aging and religion become but my hymn to his acronym--each field covered before discovered, imprecise borders come from dim precise orders.

The “circus of circuitous circumstances” leading to my abandonment, my fighting alone his war against Old-timer’s Disease at the California Home, has to do (unsurprisingly, living in Codell’s so-called “world”) with nearly everything, incidentally, but last year’s twin incidents that one day, I am sure, will be commonly associated with it.  For the record, these would be, on consecutive days 1) the seemingly advertant locking of the still-growing and absonant Rabbi Lipshits in the ice cream parlor on Yom Kippur, and 2) the legendary laughing fit of that ceaselessly unsmiling Bingo cheat Ida Factor during the “tendance” portion of a maieutic session with Codell, both occurrences resulting not only in evidently sudden deaths, but after the Home’s untypical investment in investigation, final absolution for one Barry Codell!

(The aforementioned affirmations will be examined hopefully in more thorough and excruciating detail in my upcoming, soon to be unpublished tome, Things That Happened to the White Sox or The Autobiography of Barry Codell.)

As a dutiful dreamer, I assume Barry’s story will end happily, if not snappily.  It is, at this point of my “pointlessness” (his word), that I resolve to re-solve Codell’s allusions via my own illustrious illusions.  Take, for instant instance, his ostensibly innocuous presentation of the “Proper Season” terminology in one of the “hidden in plain sight” articles on the Barry Code website.  I know it is my responsibility only to unveil that reference from Clementine homily, inserted by the BAR as a “certain man,” to plant Clement’s first century letters to James in our ballgame consciousness for his Abramist purposes!

Who else to argue that my Jacob of Kfar Sachania is not Codell’s “James the Just for Fun” but the Second Jacob for whom “heaven and earth were created” and was so named “True Ruler of Jerusalem” by the Second Jedidiah (Philo Judaeus, himself renamed fourteen centuries later by that master of rhyming prose Azariah dei Ross, whose biography, retrieved from Codell’s hidden genizah, handily won last week’s book fight decision over a more academic study of Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague, de Rossi’s contrarian contemporary.  All of Barry’s followers should see the condition of that old book now!)?

Unweeping, now tired of sleeping, am I a wake?  For my sake, forsake!  Was not today a way away?  Here, I am but a cob of Jacob!  O Job, is this my job?  Is this the dun of a dunce?  I must err and errand at once!

                        Abrahamically, apologetically,






Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hear O Israel - Is Not Abram Father of Ishmael?

Today I will subject all I can reach to a subject or two formerly and futurely taboo.  The first, I would dub “the boner of contention” between Barry Codell and myself.  This concerns my efforts to be able to support myself one day in the style to which I have become accustomed in my California home, while doing worthwhile work worth my wile.  I would calculate that for many years I have, in perfect rhythm, alternately selfishly and selflessly, collected monies for “Barry’s Kids” on the streets of Chicago (although evidently my calculations are not as meaningful as Codell’s).  My regular tag days for his nonagenarians (and eventually his non-nonagenarians) were spent gathering funds yet unspent for my hopefully meaty salad days.  That seductive slogan taped to my colorful coffee cans, “A Cure for Aging in Our Lifetime” (not so far-fetched, according to the Braille New York Times article I saw yesterday), seemed to best express my hopes for Codell’s award--winning work with the elderly--and I feel I did well for both of us.

To not inform him of my ongoing efforts perhaps was erroneous.  Perhaps, too, this was a reason for the cessation of our relationship.  I tend to think not, although when he came upon the details of my campaign, he responded in the way I regretfully recall today.

“If I have wronged anyone,” [I may have said, “If I did anything wrong”], “I apologize for my mistake [as I have heard many say over the years]!”  Barry replied, “Mistake?  Mis-take?  Some mistake!  Like Merkle’s Boner, it’s a mistake alright!”  (Thankfully, I had learned from my previously mentioned old hero of heroes, the forever late Shalom Goodwill Aloha, that the famous “Merkle’s Boner” described the faux pas of young Giant, and eventually old Cub, Fred Merkle in running off the field instead of touching 2nd base, after Al Bridwell’s game-winning hit against the Cubs in 1908, which, starting a string of events too exciting to relate, ultimately cost the Giants the replayed game, and the pennant, which went to the Cubs and led to the last Cub World Championship that Shalom ever saw before his unprecedented “natural suicide” at age 107, following the 2008 Cub playoff loss [ending sentence and paragraph in honor of Adolf and Julie, parents of Husserl and therefore his discovery of epoche, and the end of these very parentheses!]).

Different things were never the same again.  The full circle would determine the better boner between me and Merkle.  Yet now I am a man aging, managing to break age with our breakage, beyond this contentious business, unfortunately today coming across one of those expensive Codell books he cruelly left at the Home--Portrait of Jacques Derrida as a Young Jewish Saint by Helen Cixous.  And as Codell’s Jiminy Cricket and Pinocchio, I feel obligated if not obliged to relate the following version (a/version?) of nothing less than the final days of Philosophy as we know it (not to be confused with Philo-Sophia, Codell’s sadly unending tribute to the marriage of the holy Alexandrian Jew and his Wondrous Woman of Wisdom), inspired more by the title than the book, which I found too readable.

Twenty years ago today, Codell’s theory of defenestration and its effect on deconstruction fired the imaginative capabilities (as such they were) of renown scholar, basketball opponent, and Derrida editor Gerald Graff to the point of Graff’s mailing, from across their common courtyard, a written invitation to Barry to join Derrida for a special 3 p.m. Shabbos soiree, whereby the two anti-rabbis could meet at last past repast.

Upon soon seeing Graff himself approach, dribbling his way toward Barry’s apartment, Codell literally threw out his window the torn missive at the anemic academic, signaling “Defenestration Declining Derrida Dunch” (the incident I still call the “4 Ds”) and effectively ending the neighborliness and modern philosophy as, as I say, we know it!  For without defenestration reaching the vulture of culture, the discipline died its long deserved death for want of disciple.  Yet, knowing Codell only as I do, thoroughly through and through, and his anathema to mid-day meals (“dunch” especially, between lunch and dinner), I fear the decision was not purely philosophical.  But enough for today about boners and dunches!  More (Thomas) to come . . . .

August 21, 2009, A.B. (Anniversary of Birth,

first breath in this world of death)

Post script!  Found and lost department, amid identity of id and entity:

Birthday Greeting to Self (El to Elf)

Hail Lure of Each Succeeding Failure!

What to Say on This August August Day

But “O, Boy!  Mitigated Horror!  Adulterated Joy!”

(Seminal Conception Lastly Understood--

Conceived in Honolulu, Born in Hollywood!)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Through the peephole of "a peculiar people" . . . .

Through the peephole of “a peculiar people” (Ecclesiastes 3:4), resign this infallible sign:

A Session of Free Expression, Without Coinage, from Abram’s Son Abramson

(Ever Doubting Doubt,
On the Outside Looking Out . . . .
A Fool Aloof
Perfecting Proof!)

Grudging Greetings from Momentary and Momentous Meetings
After Philo Judaeus Met Just James, Four More Naming Names ALL,
Wise from a Fly off the Wall:

1) William Tyndale - Thomas More (Cambridge)

2) Paul Celan – Martin Heidegger (Black Forest)

3) J. D. Salinger – L. Ron Hubbard (New York City)

4) Barry Codell – Bill James (St. Louis)
(When Mark Beuhrle retired all, he also retired Codell. Add the numerical values of the English Gematria--see through these Husserlian parentheses! After the three “27’s,” Buehrle, Abramson retire the aging Codell. After all, this is about a bout.)

1) A. A. Gem: 27 numerical value, my Gematria

2) A Game: 27 numerical value, Buehrle’s perfecto

3) A Mage!: 27 numerical value, a magician--Buehrle, or Abram

At last, the whole whirled, the game perfect!

I enter prize enterprise when I myself comprise this egological, ecological compromise. Was not Codell’s experimental “ontology of gerontology” at the J. D. California Home, in the end, but a study of his own aging? Averaging, aver aging, Ave Raging! Should not my patrician self-maieutician now coax an inner, holy hoax? Border this order of disorder!

When the summer ends, a fall begins. Listen loudly to the mummers. (Is not the true summer one summing summers?) Just lying in the Son undone, still in ancient modernity, taking turn in eternity . . . .

O Yoke of My Joke:
Rule, James of Jerusalem!

(Diet of Worms! James is not Luther’s epistle of straw. Did not “Rule, James” comprise “Jerusalem” in Saint Tyndale’s Sacred English? Did not the circumcised Torah say, “And on the seventh day He rested and the rest became the dream”?)
A righting written July 31, 2009 A.B. (after/birth of James) by A. A. (Abraham Abramson), Tisha B’Av--what sin! Agog in synagogue without names of Jesus and James . . . .

Monday, July 6, 2009

Thinking of the Thin King

“Belonging to A.A., be longing . . . .”

Thinking of the Thin King

Abraham Abramson

Whereby I Sum Summarily Codell’s Abramism and the Christology of Jewish Jihad Most Appropriately and Airily


“Most Precise Misprision”*?  Undouble Vision!

Nightly, I pray to be wrong rightly:

Without profit, Final Prophet calls me for

Holy War to overcome elf of my self (my pariah),

While becoming, through scroll of my soul, my Messiah!

(This for those Avramists not Obamists, Chomskyites chomping at the bit to refute Abramists…)

*Codell’s own description heralding blooming Valued Bases in the “Barry Code.”


Half Note:  As “Guardian of the Gordian,” I shall not let “The Founder” founder!  My California Home was built in 1959, named for its benefactor, the reclusive raconteur/flaneur/entrepreneur J.D. California (not, both incidentally and coincidentally, the newly newsworthy fellow of the same name recently accused of copyright violation by the author J. D. Salinger, upon California’s novel 60 Years Later:  Coming Through the Rye, portraying Salinger’s Holden Caulfield and Salinger himself as main characters).  And until this varied moment, that unrelated and original J. D. California has been unknown (a phenomenon of noumenon) as the gentleman who, having befriended the aforementioned Shalom Goodwill (see “Call me Abram”), deigned that his beloved “centenarian of undestined destiny” would live freely in the Home for “at minimum, the rest of his days.”  O, elation of my revelation!  Ablution, drunk with my solution!  Is this not the true noteworthy half-note of the real J. D. California?


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Call Me Abram

Call me Abram. Happy New Year! Welcome to the BAR Concentration, my experiential discipline designed to synthesize Barry Codell’s Baseball, Aging and Religion insights, as I apprehended them during interaction with Barry at my beloved California Home over the past quarter century. My sole goal during that time has been to pass the BAR, which only now am I finally doing. So I hope this result will be beneficial to both of you, Constant and Inconstant Reader. (Now, thanks to Barry, I do not rede or right myself.)

To pass the BAR, of course, I had to know the law. This was of the cardinal college: "to know ledge of knowledge," to "unlearn the secular, to extinguish for the sake of sacred English." I had to become statistician, maieutician, and hermeneutician, to find not only the Truth I sought, but as Barry barely (as always, being the infinitesimalist he is) suggested, if I ever did "then find the Ruth within it!" Indeed, in deed I have found the true Babe of Baseball, the remorseful compassion of Aging, the believing Ruth of Religion, inspired by his work with me, and my work with the others here.

For in my lack of travels, I have met so many at the Home, those "forgetters" who I will in all ways always remember, and most especially one I today shall describe. He called himself Shalom Goodwill and I called him my "adopted father." Shalom passed away on December 25, 2008. He died of natural causes, following the annual Men’s Club celebration of Ricky Henderson’s birthday, killing himself at the unripe age of 107. "Shalom Aloha," as both his friends and enemies called him, claimed to be the "unrecognizable son" of Albert Goodwill Spalding, a legendary founder of both major league baseball and the sporting good industry. Shalom was born in 1901, the first year of our two-league system, "conceived (‘a seminal conception’) in Honolulu, born ("at a very early age") in Hollywood, and blown into Chicago!"

Let me remark, if I must say so, remarkably: In studying Codell’s life (and, in retrospect, perhaps too closely), the Hawaii, Los Angeles, Chicago adventure of Shalom duplicates Codell’s early journey. And is it just just coincidence that the years addressed (1901-2008) in Barry’s Batting Encyclopedia unveiled this past Christmas, coincide with the lifespan of "Mister Shalom?" I believe so, but I digress….

As I, as a self-licensed self-maieutician, brought forth true tales of Shalom’s Life that I, by most graceful God’s grace, will share (how he could, even at the height of his dotage, elucidate the differences between the theosophies of Spalding and Abner Doubleday that he learned in his youth at his beloved California Home, in Lomaland, and how he would regale me with anecdotes of his more famous 106-year-old Cub fan "friend and main competitor," the late Milton Altman, yet always closing his stories with Milton’s sad admonition, "Look homeward angel, and melt with ruth!"), I thought of my first meetings with Barry Codell, when he began to distill my "latent thoughts and memories" (end of that life sentence!). Our very first meeting? Unforgettable: "Call me Bar," Barry said. "Call me Abram!" replied I. He was the activity director of the Home, directing, he told me "the activity of consciousness." And though I did not belong to his "new generation of nonagenarians," I became one of "Barry’s kids."

Twenty-five years ago, through a miraculous combination of podiatry and psychiatry, I began to learn about "the empathy unsympathetic," walking and talking with Barry himself, joining him as an "official Peripatetic." I felt his equal ("Pupil, peer! Illuminator! Ruminator!"). I kept and keep one large picture frame in my one room: it holds a diamond shaped collage of Mr. Codell, gleaned from magazine and newspaper, picturing first the first base—him seated with calculators at his desk, identified simply as "Barry Codell, Father of the BOP." In second base position, a picture of Barry receiving the Governor’s Award for Innovation in Gerontology, for his "maiuetics program which brings forth ‘latent thoughts and memories.’" The third photo, going counterclockwise (in tribute to both baseball and the circumambulation around the Kaaba), advertises an upcoming lecture by Codell in the Bet Hamidrash of Ner Tamid Synagogue—"Entrance to the Utterance" (Readings from the Book of Second Jacob: A Translation)," saying, "Well known Chicago lecturer Barry Codell’s poetic rendition of a gnostic Jewish text brings this fascinating mystery to a discussion of our own history and beliefs, revealing a gnosticism of agnosticism!" God, I would have given anything to hear that one! (My favorite Codell lecture ever heard was his last "Kingdom of Poetry" radio program where, in dedicated deference to Plato, he overthrew the whole Kingdom!")

Standing at home plate in my collage is a photo of Barry and I, Abraham Abramson, smiling through the camera, arms around each other, trying to look like one another. It is my most prized possession.

Now, I do not see Barry. My long and unanswered phone message to him, eventually reduced to "Call me, Abram," were never returned. This is foregone, far gone. The truth lies between dream and dawn. This may be fractional, factional, frictional, anything but fictional. But I regress. That is another story, for another year.

As I rove through Barry’s trove, I unexpurgate Charles Darwin: "I need not enrich myself any further, I am a complete millionaire in odd and curious facts and fictions." Here at my "Maieutic Shop," it is nearly closing time for today. I realize I just have to overcome the mere enormity of my task (as well as the brevity of longevity). "What, if nothing, has my pain meant? Do not enter lightly this entertainment! O, sigh of silence, is this violins or violence? Should I, like Barry, sing? Is this music of muse sick, or just thinking of thin king? Be/set, secrete thy secret! Anoint anon us anonymous, full of fire, full of fuss! To the wind let sail this cautionary tale—a demon’s demonstration of pure defenestration….

Till now,

Abramism--"From the God of Abram to the Children of Abraham"

"Only things that one could imagine happening to real people, I guess, remain in a person’s memory." Buster Keaton
"I am master of the Stochastick Art, and by virtue of that, I divine that those Greek Words have crept from the Margin into the Text."
Jonathan Swift

Abramism--"From the God of Abram to the Children of Abraham"
(Excerpted from the Encyclopedias Aeternitatis)

Introductory Background – The Abrahamites were a sect of theists in Bohemia in the late 18th century, who professed to be followers of the precircumcised Abraham (Abram). Eventually early Hegelian through a lineage of Basilidian dualism*, they enacted a synthesis of two antithetical and ancient precursors by "thoroughly identifying the scholastic and the stochastic." The first forerunner was "Anti-Abramite," believing Abram was not divinely inspired, and the second was "Abramian," claiming the three faiths stemming from Abram became irretrievably defective when Moses, Paul and Mohammed "defected" from Abram, Jesus and Mani, respectively. Believing in one God, Abrahamites contented themselves with the Decalogue and the Paternoster. Declining to be classified Jewish, Christian or Muslim, they were excluded from the edict of toleration promulgated by Emperor Joseph II in 1781 and were deported to various parts of the country, the men being drafted into frontier regiments. Some became Roman Catholics, and those who retained their "Abrahamite" views were not able to hand them on to the next generation. As a religious sect (by now calling themselves "The Faith Underground"), they disappeared by the end of the century, some leaders purported, in the last years of diaspora, to have tended to a gnostic "Abramism." The second movement expressed a "sacred English," denigrated by remaining Abrahamites as derivative of "Abraham-Men," vagrants feigning insanity in England during Tudor times.

Recent Development – Today's translations of the Triptych ("Book of Books") throw light on the Abramist effort to both extol and equalize the Children of Abraham. By reducing their three Abrahamic referents from Torah, New Testament and Koran to one book, the Abramists radically give equal volume to the consequent faiths. Further, by the simultaneous credence given the "holy heretics" (Spinoza, Arius, and Avicenna), Abramism forms a gnosticism cleaving the conceptions of the religionists' God beyond reason and the philosophers' God within reason. Abramism is essentialized by a hermeneutic maieutic, bringing forth an "inner text" portraying, for example, St. James ("Second Jacob") as a messiah, Jesus of Nazareth as a "buddha of Judah." Exegetic figures of Melchizedek, Jethro and Thomas emerge from their "Philo-Sophia" with new primacy. Harkening to their "present as past" and "God's imminent immanence," Abramists lastly attained to "penultimate rhymes of unnumbered times."

*Undertaking the risk of asterisk to enter that entertainment of the mythic, mystic, base Baal, the "son of Basilides": "Now here (nowhere?) I foment the momentous moment--know these abracadabras to show Abram as Abraxas!"

Aging Notes

Aging Notes
(Found in California Home, 2008 A.B.* – by Abram)

July 6, 1983

Maieutics uncovers what covers, saying this silently: “The hidden parable makes the session apparent. The session, out of turn, phrases the gestic sensorium. Only the paradisiacal is parasitical. Fecal become fetal become fatal. Communion is the incantation of uncommon sharing. Word is tautological, an anticipation of the coming past, an absence of moment.’”

Maieutics covers what uncovers, saying this aurally: “I speak throughout my self, through you. This aphanitic continuum must be broken for the transcendental to cleave together. There are no other sessions, only other parables. The time before or after the session is the same, the space parabolical . . . . We pass this way but twice!”

What is covered or uncovered, the parable, is untouched by maieutics. Current creation is originative repetition.

B.C., A.D.
(Barry Codell, Activity Director)
*A.B.: after birth of James

July 19, 1983

Mediate maiuetics: is not all language a cipher, all cipher a silence, all silence all language? At first, at last, seek conflicting, rather than reproductive peace. The writing of the parable is the unwritten entrustment, generating the maieutic self. We may never deprive language. At most, we are deprived of the language that deprives us of our self. Is speech only thought, non-dimension? Is Abraxas the meeting point for the animistic and anthropomorphic tendencies? Is non-transference the point of death for the projective and introjective certainties?

Tune That Name (California Home Men's Club Quiz)

California Home Men’s Club Quiz
Tune That Name!
From: “Achieving Coincidence” March 2006
B.C., A.D.

Who is he? A large, right-handed batter (and right-handed thrower), he made an August debut in his debut season at the age of 22. In his first full season, he reached the 30 HR, 100 RBI, .500 SA marks that indicated promise of even greater things to come. He hit over 20 homers in 9 of his first 10 full seasons, with more RBI than Ks during 5 of his 6 full years.

He played in the first of his three All Star games (his team winning one, losing two), in his fourth season. In his fifth full season, he led the league for the only time in sacrifice flies, with 12. He tied for the major league lead in games played in his sixth season.

In his seventh season, he had the only three-homer game of his career (note: the homers were consecutive, on the road). In his tenth full season (as in his first full season), he led his team in HRs, RBI and SA.

He was a selection on the Sporting News’ major league All Star team, as an infielder. He became his team’s single-season home run record-holder (a title he later relinquished). For a short while, he wore #15 . . . .

At the age of 29, he had his only season of exactly 35 homers. He had 109 RBIs the only year he had exactly 65 extra base hits, but never won an RBI crown--one second place finish was his best showing in that category. He was part of his team’s first four-homer innings in club history and multiple three-homer innings. He reached double figures in HP but one time, but by age 35 he had his twelfth season of HR double figures (by that age, he had reached his career HR high).

Although not known for fielding or speed, he did have a 1.000 fielding average and a 100% SB percentage season during his stay in Chicago. He left Chicago for good after his sixteenth season. Sadly, he never got to play in a World Series during those years, although in his last year with his first franchise, he played for a future World Series’ winning manager, in his second full year at the helm. (He did play regularly with a Hall of Fame immortal with that first team.)

Although he did not play a majority of his career games at first base, his best OBP season came at that position.

Hint: At one point, following his most unproductive Chicago season to date, still no other player in baseball history with a last name beginning with a “T” had hit more than his 286 career homers!

Extra hint: He was born a Gemini, during the beleaguered administration of an unpopular, only once-elected president.

Penultimate hint: His full name contains 17 letters (5 for first, 6 for middle, 6 for last)

Final hint: He has the same name as another player who also exactly fits this entire description. (See “Didymas, “A Gnostic Gospel.”)

Answer: Frank Thomas! Question: Which one? Answer, too: Both!!

May Day! (California Home Men's Club Quiz)

California Home Men’s Club Quiz
May Day!
From: “Achieving Coincidence” March 2006
B.C., A.D.

Who is he?

On May 1, 1951, this rookie played his first game at Comiskey Park (he had a three-year minor league career). Four spots below him in the lineup that chilly day was a future Hall of Famer (in the opposing lineup, multiple Hall of Famers). A future A.L. All Star (and Gold Glove) outfielder, he promptly hit his first homer of the year, a 2-run shot, 425 feet into the center field bullpen, off a future A.L. All Star right-hander (who pitched, with a winning record, for the 1947 World Champion Yankees). Eventually, he would hit a Comiskey Park roofshot!

His team would soon be in first place during that ’51 season and would go on to have a winning record for the next 14 years! He had two key hits starting in the A.L. outfield in the 1954 All Star victory (after playing on the losing A.L. stars in ’53) and another in the tight ’57 win.

The first games of the ’59 and ’60 All Star series, he was hitless in losing efforts and started in defeat in 1960’s second All Star game. He did lead a major hitting category, however, in 1960 and lead the League in three straight years in another category. Indeed, be became a historically rare leader in both total bases and reached bases in the same season. His batting average was .298. His 1951 manager would not have a losing record in the team’s city (which had more than one team), until a fine career comeback.

Playing in St. Louis, he hit a road homer in the ‘60s, head consecutive team “triple crown” seasons in the ‘50s. He had one 1.000 Fielding Average and a 100% Stolen Base Percentage during his over-15-year career. A right-handed thrower, he played in the outfield alongside (to his left) a left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing HR and RBI champ.

Offensively versatile, he was a future leader in triples, slugging average and Runs Tallied and would also have four 100 RBI seasons over his career. Possessing power and speed, he had seasons hitting over 20 homers and stealing over 20 bases. He did play a handful of games in the infield for his ball club in a few seasons.

Of course, his uniform number was eventually retired by his team. Serious injuries could not stifle the accomplishments of his great career.

Hint: No pitcher ever gave up more home runs to him than Hall of Famer Early Wynn.

Extra hint: His last full year was played in the 1960s, but he is still remembered by thousands of fans visiting his memorial near his home team’s field.

Penultimate hint: His 12-letter name (6 first, 6 last) has the initials M.M.

Final hint: A famous Disney mouse has the same first name!

Answer: Mickey Mantle! Minnie Minoso! Either one fits the description!!