Tag Archives: Summer

Working to Play, Playing to Work: Mexican-American Baseball & Labor in Southern California

Tropics of Meta

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“I remember traveling to Lake Elsinore, which was a long way in those days,” reminisced Zeke Mejia in 1996. “But the only ride we could get was from a friend who hauled fertilizer in his truck, so all the guys crawled inside … and tried not to breath during the ride. By the time we arrived to play well we all smelled like fertilized fields. We did it because we loved the game.” 1

For Mejia and thousands of other Mexican Americans laboring in Southern California during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, baseball served as a means to at once demonstrate belonging in the United States, while simultaneously asserting their own identity. In Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties, Mexican American baseball teams dotted the landscape, creating a human geography of social, economic, and political connections that helped buoy working class communities, and even contributed to unionization efforts amid widespread…

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Diamonds Separated by Oceans: Baseball, Japanese-Americans, and Southern California’s Pacific Rim

Tropics of Meta

Baseball game at Manzanar War Relocation Center | Photo: Ansel Adams, courtesy of the Library of Congress Baseball game at Manzanar War Relocation Center | Photo: Ansel Adams, courtesy of the Library of Congress

“If California has made any contribution to sport on a national level, it is in the democratization of pursuits that were previously the prerogatives of elites,” noted the dean of California history Kevin Starr in 2005. “Most of the champions of the twentieth century who come from California first developed their skills in publicly subsidized circumstances: municipally supported swimming pools, golf courses, and tennis courts in particular, where middle class Californians, thanks to the recreational policies of Progressivism, were introduced to these previously social register sports.” 1 Indeed, even under the weight of racism, groups denied equal access to mainstream U.S. society found sports as a means to greatness and, in part, as a declaration of their commitment to America. Take two-time gold medalist Highland Park native Sammy Lee, or Hall of…

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“Down in Mexico” (The Coasters)

Down in Mexicali
There’s a crazy little place that I know
Where the drinks are hotter than the chili sauce
And the boss is a cat named Joe

He wears a red bandanna, plays a cool piano
In a honky-tonk, down in Mexico
He wears a purple sash and a black mustache
In a honky-tonk, down in Mexico

Well, the first time that I saw him
He was sittin’ on a piano stool
I said “Tell me, man, when does the fun begin?”
He just winked his eye and said, “Man, be cool”

He wears a red bandanna, plays a cool piano
In a honky-tonk, down in Mexico
He wears a purple sash and a black mustache
In a honky-tonk, down in Mexico

In Mexico
All of a sudden in walks a chick
In Mexico
Joe starts playing on a Latin kick

In Mexico
Around her waist she wore three fishnets
In Mexico
She started dancin’ with the castanets

In Mexico
I didn’t know just what to expect
In Mexico
She threw her arms around my neck

In Mexico
We started dancin’ all around the floor
And then she did a dance I never saw before

So if you’re south of the border
I mean down in the Mexico
And you wanna get straight, man, don’t hesitate
Just look up a cat named Joe

He wears a red bandanna, plays a cool piano
In a honky-tonk, down in Mexico
He wears a purple sash, and a black mustache
In a honky-tonk, down in Mexico

Hey, como est usted senorita
Come with me to Mexico City
South of the border, that is
In Mexico, yeah in Mexico

You can get your kicks in Mexico
Ah we can watch the bull fights together
Come with me, baby, come with me
Come with me, crazy, yeah

Yes, I TOTALLY watched Death Proof last night. Love that movie.

J.W.

“Street Fighting Man” (The Rolling Stones)

Ev’rywhere I hear the sound
Of marching charging feet, boy
‘Cause summer’s here and the time is right
For fighting in the street, boy

Well, what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock n’ roll band?
‘Cause in sleepy London town
There’s just no place for a street fighting man

I said hey and the time is right
For a palace revolution
But where I live the game
To play is compromise solution

Well, then what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock n’ roll band?
‘Cause in sleepy London town
There’s no place for a street fighting man, no

I said, Hey and my name
Is called Disturbance
I’ll shout and scream
I’ll kill the king, I’ll rail all his servants

Well, what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock n’ roll band?
‘Cause in sleepy London town
There’s just no place for a street fighting man, I know, no

(JW)

“What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” (R.E.M.)

What’s the frequency, Kenneth
Is your Benzedrine, uh-huh?
I was brain-dead, locked out, numb
Not up to speed

I thought I’d pegged you, an idiot’s dream
Tunnel vision from the outsider’s screen
I never understood the frequency, uh-huh
You wore our expectations like an armored suit, uh-huh

I’d studied your cartoons, radio
Music, TV, movies, magazines
Richard said,
“Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy”

A smile like the cartoon, tooth for a tooth
You said that irony was the shackles of youth
You wore a shirt of violent green, uh-huh
I never understood the frequency, uh-huh

What’s the frequency, Kenneth
Is your Benzedrine, uh-huh?
Butterfly decal, rear-view mirror
Doggin’ the scene

You smile like the cartoon, tooth for a tooth
You said that irony was the shackles of youth
You wore a shirt of violent green, uh-huh
I never understood the frequency, uh-huh

You wore our expectations like an armored suit, uh-huh
I couldn’t understand
You said that irony was the shackles of youth, uh-huh
I couldn’t understand
You wore a shirt of violent green, uh-huh
I couldn’t understand
I never understood

J.W.

What if Other Planets Were as Close to Earth as the Moon?

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TwistedSifter

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What if a celestial body like Jupiter, the biggest planet in our solar system, was as close to the Earth as our moon? Would it fill the night sky? Illustrator and author Ron Miller sought to answer the question using the reference photograph above.

It’s important to note that this is strictly a visual exercise. If a planet like Jupiter were actually as close to Earth as the Moon, its immense gravitation would wreak havoc on our planet. So for the gallery below, please temporarily suspend your disbelief and just imagine how amazing it would be to see a planet like Saturn in such incredible detail.

For reference, the Moon is about 386,243 km (240,000 miles) from Earth and has a diameter of approximately 3,476 km (2,160 miles). The Earth’s diameter is 12,742 km (7,918 miles)

[Ron Miller/Black Cat Studios

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‘Masters of Sex’ Season 2, Episode 8: “Mirror, Mirror”

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Flavorwire

At what point do we call Masters of Sex a runaway train? With only four episodes left in season two, the Showtime drama just keeps introducing new subplots and characters, making me seriously wonder: how can this wrap up into something cohesive? Or is that not a concern here? Whatever the intention is, it’s hard to follow two of the best Masters of Sex episodes ever in recent weeks — “Fight” and “Asterion,” the first a slow-burning character study of Bill and Virginia, and the second a wildly-paced overview of several years in these characters’ lives — with “Mirror, Mirror,” an episode that introduces new ideas without resolving any of the ongoing problems. (The new character problem here feels similar to what Nashville went through last season. A big ensemble cast of leads and kooky sidemen is hard to pull off in just a couple of seasons; it took Mad…

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