My home town has done well in the past week, with former Mets and Yankees star Carlos Beltran being named manager of the Mets, and former New York popinjay Donald Trump announcing he had changed his official place of residence to Florida.
Trump may soon be looking to spend more time at "home" now that many of his lackeys are having amazing memory surges, either from medication or dream sequences or advice from counsel in the Ukraine caper.
He is surely doing it to avoid taxes that he may not pay anyway. But until the process server or Roger Stone's police escort come a-knocking, he can preen in Mar-a-Lago.
Don't tell him that the Florida coast is going to be inundated sooner rather than later by the rising seas that he is increasing with his wanton scorn for the Paris environment agreement.
The part I liked best about Trump's announcement was the way it was greeted by his former neighbor, New York governor Andrew Cuomo. Trump is older, but for many years his family lived on Midland Parkway in Jamaica Estates and the Cuomo family lived on Rio Drive in Holliswood. Their homes were roughly 10 blocks apart, via Henley Drive. I know this because my family lived for a very long time on the busy 188th St., with the buses and the cabs and the lunatics, right in between those two tony neighborhoods.
Yes, Queens boys are a yappy lot -- from point guards to tennis stars to rappers to comedians to politicians -- even a few journalists. In his see-ya farewell to his former Queens neighbor, the Guv channeled his inner Gene Wilder in the movie "The Frisco Kid."
As a rabbi, a long way from Poland, Wilder refuses to allow the killing of an outlaw who is threatening him, Instead, (in heavy Yiddish accent): the rabbi shows mercy, saying: "Would somebody please show this poor asshole the way out of town?"
Now, about Carlos Beltran. Remember Carlos Beltran? The Mets made him the first Latino manager of any major New York team, not that I think they were making a statement like that. He always struck me as a proud, skilled and somewhat reticent artisan, who plied his trade in modesty. I never saw him as a manager. But the teams he served near the end of his admirable career attest to his knowledge and quiet leadership. Plus, he has the reputation of a Hall of Fame signal-stealer.
But can he manage? Never done it. There is something to be said for learning the trade in the minor leagues where the stakes and the attention are not so high. Leadership can be learned, even taught (I still remember the ROTC leadership manual we used in college;an they could pass it out in companies like Facebook and Boeing.)
Managers these days seem to have a bench coach to give them backup. (Trump could surely use one.) Managers also have to live with instructions from the Analytics Laboratory. Personally, I'd like to see Terry Collins, an old-school manager who had the Mets hustling during his regime, back as bench coach.
One thing the Mets won't have to worry about is moving expenses since Beltran already lives in a sumptuous "apartment" on the East Side of Manhattan. I know this from the collected works of a real-estate maven named Laura Vecsey:
Nobody really knows how Carlos Beltran, quiet star, will fare as a manager.
But as for the shady character who is now officially leaving New York as his official residence, may I summon the dismissive words of Casey Stengel whenever the Mets dispatched one of their early failures:
"I seen what he done."
Indeed. Buena suerte, Sr. Beltran.
"Among the things that have long fascinated people about Jesus and explain his enduring appeal is his method of dialogue and teaching. "He asked a lot of questions and told a lot of stories in the form of parables. In fact, parables form about a third of Jesus’ recorded teachings. The Gospels were written decades after he died, so his questions and parables clearly left a deep impression on those who bore testimony to him....
"Some of Jesus’ questions were rhetorical; others were meant to challenge or even provoke. In some cases, Jesus used questions to parry attacks by religious authorities who set traps for him. In others, he used questions to enter more fully into the lives of others and to help people look at the state of their hearts. He asked people about their fears and their faith. Jesus used questions to free a woman caught in adultery from condemnation and to inquire whether people considered him to be the Messiah. He probed deeply into questions not many had asked before him, like “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
---(Peter Wehner, long-time White House consultant and writer, in the NYT last week about Jesus Christ’s method of teaching by asking questions.)
"Would that I could mention all the illuminating details in this biography, for example, why Wells praised Black Americans so highly, saying, 'I took a mighty liking to these gentle, human, dark-skinned people,' and 'Whatever America has to show in heroic living today, I doubt if she can show anything finer than the quality of the resolve, the steadfast efforts hundreds of black and colored men are making today to live blamelessly, honorably and patiently, getting by themselves what scraps of refinement, beauty and learning they may, keeping their hold on a civilization they are grudged and denied.''
-- "How H.G. Wells Predicted the 20th Century," Charles Johnson, NYT Book Review, Nov. 19, 2021. ***".
...the monsters arrive."
"They come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts.
"Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry."
---The great Margaret Renkl, from Nashville, one of my favorite NYT bylines, Oct. 26, 2021.
(She describes our Long Island enclave to every decibel, every stink.)