Another legend has retired. I’m not the only person who’ll be reminiscing about this one.
It’s a dry/hot So Cal summer evening, and my childhood home has no AC, not even a floor fan. My parents open the windows in their bedroom, hoping for a light cross-breeze; hoping for air circulation. They let me curl up on their bed until I fall asleep, and the next morning, due to that wonder of nature which is Transporting A Sleeping Child ®, I wake up in my own bed with no memory of how I’d gotten there. 
My parents almost always had their bedroom radio on in the evening. More often than not, in the summer it would be tuned to the broadcast of a LA Dodgers game, whether it was a home game (in the stadium known as Chavez Ravine) or an away game. Night after night, I fell asleep listening to That Voice ® which belonged to the play-by-play announcer deemed the “greatest baseball broadcaster of all time.“
“It’s time for Dodger baseball! Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant good evening to you, wherever you may be.”
There was a gap – of how many years, I’m unsure – between my early childhood, falling-asleep-listening-to-the-Dodgers-game years, and when I began developing my own interest in baseball.  Those years paralleled my thinking I was too old/cool to spend time in my parent’s room listening to the radio (especially when there was Star Trek on the TV, which was in the living room).
And then there was another blistering hot summer night – this time, after my parents had purchased a floor fan, which they kept in their bedroom.  I plopped down on their bed, savoring the fan’s breeze, and was both mesmerized and unnerved by That Voice coming from the radio.
“That sound – what’s… it’s that voice! WHO is that voice?!”
The voice was at once so familiar and soothing and yet for a moment I couldn’t place it, and it unnerved me. The lyrical, almost literary phrasing; the distinctive tone, melodious and comforting – was it from a recurring childhood dream?
The voice, of course, belonged to the reassuring narrator of so many of my primal, happy childhood memories. Thank you, Vin Scully.
* * *
Department of Nifty Segues
Speaking of sports legends, I am neither a fan of golf nor of bastardized ice tea-lemonade beverages, but I know who Arnold Palmer is was. Thus, when I heard Palmer had died, I dutifully began to read a New York Times articles paying tribute to him. No disrespect to the man and his status, but I didn’t get very far before I was overtaken by a case of hyperbole-induced giggles:
“Palmer captivated fans with his ferocious swing and fearless attitude…”
Now then: I recognize that, being a nonparticipant and non-fan, there are nuances to the game of golf of which I am unaware and therefore do not appreciate. But still…
Words like ferocious and fearless are non sequitur descriptors when used in a story related to the attributes of a golfer. Golf is a sport game that can be played by otherwise out-of-shape and sedentary beings; it is the pastime of white middle-aged men wearing pants made of materials and patterns they’d be embarrassed – and rightfully so – to wear in any other circumstance. 
Ferocious and fearless? A golf course’s hazards are ponds and sand, not wolverines or samurai.
* * *
Department Of Disgusting Yet Unfortunately Not Surprising Revelations
Two mentions of people who made positive contributors to their sport; I close this blog with an example of some really, really, really – and did I mention really ? – poor sports.
Reports have surfaced about how, beginning in the 1960s and for the past five decades, the sugar industry paid scientists to downplay the role added dietary sugar plays in heart disease – a role we now know is substantial – and to tried to shift the blame to consumption of fats.
There’s no evidence that the SRF (Sugar Research Foundation) directly edited the manuscript published…but there is “circumstantial” evidence that the interests of the sugar lobby shaped the conclusions of the review, the researchers say.
For one thing, there’s motivation and intent. In 1954, the researchers note, the president of the SRF gave a speech describing a great business opportunity.
If Americans could be persuaded to eat a lower-fat diet — for the sake of their health — they would need to replace that fat with something else. America’s per capita sugar consumption could go up by a third.
(From the NPR story on the newly published article,
“Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research:
A Historical Analysis of Internal Industry Documents,” JAMA, 9-12-16 )
The sugar industry’s strategy was effective: American’s sugar consumption over the past three decades rose by more than 31%, and we’ve got the obesity, Type II diabetes and heart disease rates to prove it.
Whisper sweet nothings in my ear, but keep your fucking saccharine propaganda out of my science, okay?
* * *
May you read sugar studies with a grain of salt;
May you be wary of games which actually require true ferocity;
May a voice from your past induce memories of warm summer nights;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 How I long to be able to sleep that deeply, now!
 Grades 5-6, perhaps.
 The radio; the fan…my parents got all the good stuff in their room.
 Is that where the “fearless” comes in?