A BASEBALL POEM BY OGDEN NASH. Here is a link to: “Line-Up For Yesterday, An ABC Of Baseball Immortals”. It was published by Sport Magazine in January, 1949. The link is to the Baseball almanac website, which points out that the players in the poem would make a quite formidable team.

Line-Up For Yesterday
An ABC Of Baseball Immortals

by Ogden Nash ©

Published: Sport Magazine (01-1949)

A is for Alex
The great Alexander;
More Goose eggs he pitched
Than a popular gander.

B is for Bresnahan
Back of the plate;
The Cubs were his love,
and McGraw his hate.

C is for Cobb,
Who grew spikes and not corn,
And made all the basemen
Wish they weren’t born.

D is for Dean,
The grammatical Diz,
When they asked, Who’s the tops?
Said correctly, I is.

E is for Evers,
His jaw in advance;
Never afraid
To Tinker with Chance.

F is for Fordham
And Frankie and Frisch;
I wish he were back
With the Giants, I wish.

G is for Gehrig,
The Pride of the Stadium;
His record pure gold,
His courage, pure radium.

H is for Hornsby;
When pitching to Rog,
The pitcher would pitch,
Then the pitcher would dodge.

I is for Me,
Not a hard-hitting man,
But an outstanding all-time
Incurable fan.

J is for Johnson
The Big Train in his prime
Was so fast he could throw
Three strikes at a time.

K is for Keeler,
As fresh as green paint,
The fastest and mostest
To hit where they ain’t.

L is for Lajoie
Whom Clevelanders love,
Napoleon himself,
With glue in his glove.

M is for Matty,
Who carried a charm
In the form of an extra
brain in his arm.

N is for Newsom,
Bobo’s favorite kin.
You ask how he’s here,
He talked himself in.

O is for Ott
Of the restless right foot.
When he leaned on the pellet,
The pellet stayed put.

P is for Plank,
The arm of the A’s;
When he tangled with Matty
Games lasted for days.

Q is for Don Quixote
Cornelius Mack;
Neither Yankees nor years
Can halt his attack.

R is for Ruth.
To tell you the truth,
There’s just no more to be said,
Just R is for Ruth.

S is for Speaker,
Swift center-field tender,
When the ball saw him coming,
It yelled, “I surrender.”

T is for Terry
The Giant from Memphis
Whose .400 average
You can’t overemphis.

U would be ‘Ubell
if Carl were a cockney;
We say Hubbell and Baseball
Like Football and Rockne.

V is for Vance
The Dodger’s very own Dazzy;
None of his rivals
Could throw as fast as he.

W is for Wagner,
The bowlegged beauty;
Short was closed to all traffic
With Honus on duty.

X is the first
of two x’s in Foxx
Who was right behind Ruth
with his powerful soxx.

Y is for Young
The magnificent Cy;
People battled against him,
But I never knew why.

Z is for Zenith
The summit of fame.
These men are up there.
These men are the game.

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SOME OGDEN NASH POEMS. Kids, you may be unfamiliar with Ogden Nash because light verse is not taught in literature classes. I think the most famous Ogden Nash poem is:

“Reflections on Ice-Breaking

Is Dandy
But liquor
Is quicker.”

Here are some of his poems about animals:

The Cow
The cow is of the bovine ilk;
One end is moo, the other, milk.

The Turtle
The turtle lives twixt plated decks
Which practically conceals its sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
In such a fix to be so fertile.

The Hippopotamus
Behold the hippopotamus!
We laugh at how he looks to us,
And yet in moments dank and grim
I wonder how we look to him.
Peace, peace, thou hippopotamus!
We really look all right to us,
As you no doubt delight the eye
Of other hippopotami.

The Panther
The panther is like a leopard,
Except it hasn’t been peppered.
Should you behold a panther crouch,
Prepare to say Ouch.
Better yet, if called by a panther,
Don’t anther.

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THE ONE-L LAMA.Ogden Nash, to whom the poem “I eat my peas with honey” has been credited, was one of the great American poets. He has not received the recognition he should because, as I posted here, light verse does not receive the recognition it deserves.

Here is a poem by Nash that I know by heart. The footnote is an important part of the poem.

“The one-l lama,
He’s a priest.
The two-l llama,
He’s a beast.
And I will bet
A silk pajama
There isn’t any
Three-l lllama.*

*The author’s attention has been called to a type of conflagration known as a three-alarmer. Pooh.”

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THE ETIQUETTE OF EATING PEAS (COMMENT). In his comment, “Milton” asked: “What was the origin of eating peas with a knife?” I did some looking on Google without getting a definitive answer. It must go back some years because it was apparently well established when Virginia Woolf made her comments about servants eating peas on the point of a knife in 1931. This post says:”While I know you should never eat peas with a knife I have known a few people who do. All were fairly well educated men all born in the 1890s….”

This last post suggests that etiquette rules for eating peas have varied. My guess on the origin of using a knife for peas is that eating peas is tricky. The “cavone” that we saw in Venice was balancing a line of peas on his knife as he brought it to his mouth—a pretty tricky way of eating peas, it seems to me. The etiquette scholar blog proposes two techniques: here: “To capture runaway peas, use your knife as a pusher to pile them onto your fork (held tines-up by necessity). Alternatively, use the tines of the fork to spear a few peas at a time.”

Perhaps because there are a lot of different techniques for eating peas, it has been a good place to establish class-based rules of behavior.

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EATING PEAS WITH HONEY (COMMENT). “Milton” posted a comment on a post I made here about Virginia Woolf’s snobbishness and about Mary Jane pointing out to me a “cavone” eating peas with his knife in Venice. I am grateful for the memories brought back by a poem he quoted in the comment.

Here is the poem:

“I eat my peas with honey; I’ve done so all my life;
It makes them taste real funny, but they sure stay on the knife..”

I read the comment, and suddenly I could hear my father’s voice at the dinner table reciting that poem more than once in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. I also remembered the expression on his face when he recited it.

I did some Googling about the poem. This article by Patrick Sauer on the Signature website attributes the poem to the great Ogden Nash: “The poem was first recited in 1944 on a radio show called “It Pays to Be Ignorant,” a parody of high-minded academic quiz shows….”

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HORSESHOE CRABS DONATING BLOOD. Horseshoe crab blood is harvested in much the same way that human blood is donated. There is a good picture in Caren Chesler’s article (in the section captioned “The Catch”) of a row of horseshoes crabs giving blood (the blood is an unusual and beautiful blue.) Only about one third of a crab’s blood is taken. Then it is returned to the sea. But how do crabs do after giving blood? Much of Chesler’s article consists of current speculation about whether horseshoe crabs are harmed by giving blood. At the moment 500,000 crabs are bled each year. Global demand is growing at about 8% a year. While not an endangered species, horseshoe crabs are listed in the next category down—“vulnerable”.

From an evolutionary point of view, it seems remarkable that horseshoe blood is so useful in modern medicine, given that the crabs go back 450 million years.

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HORSESHOE CRAB BLOOD. The kids loved the “critters” that are on the shore of Long Island Sound from when they were infants. They especially loved horseshoe crabs from the beginning, even at an age when some of their friends were frightened by their strange appearance. As for me, I had never seen a horseshoe crab until we moved to Connecticut when I was forty, and I always found the sight of a horseshoe crab exciting.

This article by Caren Chesler on the Popular Mechanics website (link via Instapundit) tells about the uses for the blood of horseshoe crabs which give it value. (It’s pleasing to see how valuable horseshoe crab blood is. Chesler gives a price figure figure of up to $14,000 per quart.) The clotting agent in the blood is used to detect dangerous bacteria such as E. coli in injectable drugs such as insulin and hospital instruments such as scalpels and IVs. Chesler says: The clotting agent “is currently the only substance able to detect gamma-negative bacteria in the health field.” She quotes a conservationist: “Every man, woman, and child and domestic animal on this planet that uses medical services is connected to the horseshoe crab.”

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THE DANNY MURTAUGH STORY. Danny Murtaugh had a long baseball career as a player and then as a manager. One of the highlights of the career came when he managed the Pittsburgh Pirates to a World Series win over the Yankees in 1960. Murtaugh had heart trouble in his later years as a manager, and a reporter once asked him how he always stayed calm and cheerful in a somewhat high pressure job. Murtaugh said he had learned not to worry about things one day when he was a minor league player.

Murtaugh’s team had an off day and Murtaugh spent the day at the racetrack. It was his lucky day. Every horse he bet on won. He spent the night spending all the money he had won. Morning came, and he went straight to the ballpark. Murtaugh had broken curfew and now his manager confronted him. The manager asked Murtaugh where he had been. Murtaugh decided to brazen it out and answered that he had gone to bed early, well before curfew.

The manager said that was not what he wanted to know. What he wanted to know was:”Where were you when the truck went through your motel room?”

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MOSQUITOS AND EVIDENCE (COMMENT). Nick commented here on my post of a couple days ago about a dead mosquito which was found in a stolen car that “I’d have to think a defense attorney would have a field day with that one.” Yes. The persuasive power of the letters “DNA” can cause people to forget the elements of proof needed in a criminal case. Where circumstantial evidence is involved, a defense lawyer will raise other explanations, and the prosecution will have to address those. I posted here about the alternative explanation for a perfect alibi that paramedics who had brought the accused to a hospital had brought his DNA to a crime scene two hours later and about the alternative explanation for the Phantom of Heilbrun that the DNA at crime scenes came from a worker at the factory that made swabs.

In the case about the stolen car, the man gave the alternative explanation that he was a hitchhiker rather than a car thief.

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HOW A COMPUTER CHOOSES ITS NEXT CHESS MOVE. Nick sent me this article by Ethan Chiel at the Fusion site which shows how a computer chooses its chess moves. A man named Matt Wattenberg has developed a program which “visualizes the computer’s thought process in real time”.

The first part of the article shows the possible series of choices for both players after different possible first moves by white. The moves are shown as colored threads.

What I liked best is the second chessboard, which shows the computer examining a number of possible moves before making the obvious move, after a hypothetical blunder by white which gives away a queen. (Of course the computer would take a fraction of a second to examine those moves).

If you’d like to play the computer, click here.

I tried it for a few moves. The computer is programmed to take some time on each move so that there is time for you to see what the computer is considering.

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